Commission on Filipinos Overseas Program

An emigrating Filipino, or one who has been granted an immigrant-class visa, is required to register with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas before leaving the country to settle in a foreign land. They need to attend a seminar to help in understanding what their new life may be like.

Pre-departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) or the Peer Counseling Seminar

  • CFO = Commission on Filipinos Overseas
  • The Guidance And Counselling Certificate of Attendance = Seminar Attendance Certificate needed for the CFO Certificate.
  • The CFO Certificate = The Stamp in the Passport, needed to leave Philippines as an Emigrant.

Why do you need a CFO clearance ?

Who needs the CFO Seminar Stamp?

An emigrating Filipino, or one who has been granted an immigrant-class visa, is required to register with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas before leaving the country to settle in a foreign land. They need to attend a seminar to help in understanding what their new life may be like.
Note: Emigrants attending the PDOS or Peer Counseling Session must be at the CFO office at least 1 hour before their schedule to complete the registration requirements.


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Starting 30 January 2017, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) will be strictly implementing the ONLINE RESERVATION AND REGISTRATION requirement for J1 visa holders or Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) participants attending the mandatory pre-departure orientation seminar.

Does a Tourist Visa holder need to attend the CFO Seminar?

No. Only those who are leaving the country to settle in a foreign land will need to attend this seminar.

The CFO website now shows this statement:

If you are fiancé (e)/ spouse/partner of a foreign national or a former Filipino and you hold a visitor/ tourist visa, you only need a guidance and counseling certificate from our office. Kindly present the CFO Guidance and Counseling Certificate (GCC) to the port of exit and show them your temporary/ visit visa and other requirements asked by your host country.

What is the CFO Seminar?

The Pre-departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) or the Peer Counseling Seminar, is a brief, two-hour seminar on settlement issues and concerns such as finding employment, rights and obligations of immigrants as well as policies and procedures on how to secure foreign citizenship.

Exemptions from attending the PDOS include: Those who are 60 years old and above

One of the requirements for the CFO is to show proof of the relevant of Visa Grant. However, they seem to be not very strict on this, as I know of at least one person who went there with a Tourist Visa grant.  She got the CFO stamp but didn’t actually need it.  Another, also on a Tourist Visa, went for the seminar, but was turned away saying it wasn’t needed for her.

How long is the CFO stamp valid

The CFO Guidance and Counselling Certificate is a lifetime copy and has no validity dates. (see image below [click for larger picture])
However, if you change your partner, you do need to re-attend.

CFO Stamp Lifetime Validity

http://www.cfo.gov.ph/

CFO – MANILA
Citigold Center, 1345 Pres. Quirino Ave.
corner Osmena Highway (South Superhighway)
Manila, Philippines 1007
Telephone: (+632) 552-4700
Email: info@cfo.gov.ph

CFO – CEBU
4th Floor, K&J Building
#4 Don Julio Llorente St.,
Capitol Site, Cebu City 6000
Telephone: (032) 255-5253
Email: cfocebu@cfo.gov.ph

CFO – CLARK EXTENSION DESK
One-Stop Processing Center in Clark (OSPC)
Clark Polytechnic Compound,
Jose Abad Santos Ave., Clark Freeport Zone
Telephone: (045) 499-8119
Email: info@cfo.gov.ph

CFO – DAVAO SATELLITE OFFICE
5th floor, AMQ Building, Lakandula St.
corner, Dacudao Ave., Agdao, Davao City
Telephone: (+6382) 228-2432
Email: info@cfo.gov.ph

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24 thoughts on “Commission on Filipinos Overseas Program”


  1. If you feel like sending $5 to buy me a cup of coffee, please click the donate button.

  2. Hello! I need some advice for our plan with my Ecuadorian boyfriend. He want me to visit him and I’m free to visit him without tourist for only 90 days but we need to extend it and apply for tourist extension and we going to married there and apply for Amparo visa for permanent residence do I need to attend to attend GCC Or PDOS? Hope you can help me.

    1. Filipino emigrants or those leaving the country to settle permanently abroad are required to register with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Part of its registration requirements is attendance in the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) to prepare them for settlement overseas.

      Leaving on a visitor visa, or going to a visa free country, often means no CFO requirements, as the intention is normally to return.

      I know of those who have left under such conditions, with no CFO, but applied for residency in that country while there, and never returned. That was OK. But if they came back to the Philippines, they would need a CFO sticker to leave again, if they were on a more permanent visa.

  3. Hi im going to have a 3weeks vacations in philippines and i already have residents visa in netherlands im living here for almost 2 years now..do i still need to attend cfo? Iam au apir before and now living under the name of my boyfriend.

    1. This might also apply to you, if you can clear the 2 years, otherwise you need to attend the 3-hour guidance and counseling session (Three hours tuition to ensure you know what it will be like living in the country you have been living in for almost 2 years) !!:

      Please note however, that those who are living for 2 or more years overseas, may be exempt from attending the 3-hour guidance and counseling session provided they present documents that prove their residence status.
      Those living for 2 or more years overseas, who return to the Philippines and wish to leave again, need to come to CFO to register and undergo a one-on-one interview with a guidance and counseling facilitator.
      Subsequently, they will be issued a guidance and counseling certificate and a CFO emigrant registration sticker will be affixed on their passport as proof of their attendance to the program and registration with CFO.
      The certificate and the sticker are essential travel documents which they will need to present to the airport authorities on the day of their departure.

      Some rules are just over the top. But I suppose the principle of the system had some merit.

  4. Good day, I have been granted an open work visa with new zealand citizen partner. My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other for 8 years. I have complete timeline of our relationship plus photos and have met his parents in Hong Kong twice for tour. Do I still need to attend CFO seminar for my visa? He is legally separated but can’t have the divorce processed yet.
    Thank you in advance!

    1. This is the official answer I received when I checked with the CFO, for a similar situation.
      Please note however, that those who are living for 2 or more years overseas, may be exempt from attending the 3-hour guidance and counseling session provided they present documents that prove their residence status.
      Those living for 2 or more years overseas, who return to the Philippines and wish to leave again, need to come to CFO to register and undergo a one-on-one interview with a guidance and counseling facilitator.
      Subsequently, they will be issued a guidance and counseling certificate and a CFO emigrant registration sticker will be affixed on their passport as proof of their attendance to the program and registration with CFO.
      The certificate and the sticker are essential travel documents which they will need to present to the airport authorities on the day of their departure.

  5. Agoda
  6. Hi, i just want to ask.. is it mandatory to attend a guidance Counseling Program for a vistor visa holder? And it is sponsored by my foreign boyfriend. I’m leaving 1 week from now. Tnx

    1. Technically it is not required, if the relationship has not reached the fiance stage.

      However, some Immigration officers are unable to determine the relationship. If it becomes a problem at Immigration, make sure you can confirm the relationship hasn’t become too serious yet.

      If you are fiancé (e)/ spouse/partner of a foreign national or a former Filipino and you hold a visitor/ tourist visa, you only need a guidance and counseling certificate from our office. Kindly present the CFO Guidance and Counseling Certificate (GCC) to the port of exit and show them your temporary/ visit visa and other requirements asked by your host country.

      1. Hi, quick question. My permanent resident visa (sponsored by partner) has been approved and I only need to attend the CFO seminar. Do they need my partner’s divorce paper with red ribbon?

      2. Hi, just a quick question. If I already have my visa and I attend the GCP, do I still need to present my foreign partner’s divorce certificate and does it need to have a red ribbon?

        Thank you very much!

  7. Hi, i personally processed my schengen visa to visit family in europe. My parents in law sponsored my Visit Visa and the whole trip. Me and my husband got married in Cebu in 2014. I didnt read about cfo sticker or certificate in all my researches prior to my visa application, until i saw one vlog mentioning about it. Im going for 58days only though im granted for 105 days. I couldnt stay that long eventhough i would like. I have an important concern the month of my return. Now i wonder if I need CFO Sticker or CFO Certificate since im not migrating? Please advise asap…

    1. I suggest emailing the CFO office, and asking. They actually reply reasonably quickly, within 10 days, with a comprehensive reply.

  8. hi,I am married to a foriegner but married here in Philippines.im renewing my passport n change into married status as I hold an expired single status passport.do I have to apply CFO for renewing n change status for this?

  9. Agoda
  10. I got married to an austrian citizen in Austria 6years ago already..I stayed there for almost 3years..And now im staying in Philippines also for almost 3years now..And now deciding to go back to Austria for settling down as my 4years old son is going to start his schooling by this year.Do i need to attend CFO again?The Austrian embassy granted me a single entry visa in order that i could enter Austria again,,,as I have an approved residence permit to be pick up once i get there..

  11. i am offloaded immigration they said they need CFO i want to my meet partner and tour only there should i need to follow?

    1. To leave the Philippines on most partner visas, you need to attend a CFO course and get the sticker in your passport.

      What visa were you using?

  12. I went to Australia in November 2014 on a Tourist Visa and I did not need this. My friend told me I did need it, but the CFO website said I didn’t need it as tourist visa holder, and I didn’t.

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