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I direct filed for spousal visa at Manila


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JohnFromTexas

So we got to the embassy around 6:30am. Turns out the window for filing doesn't open til 8am. Yay. We ended up waiting in line outside with other people who were waiting for citizen services. The guy ahead of us was one of those american's giving us a bad name here, but that's another story. They let us in to wait around 7:30 and we ended up second in line for the filing window.

 

We were pretty let down when we got to the window. He looked at our papers and asked a bunch of 'do you have this? and why did you do this?' questions. My answer, because that is what the USCIS website says to do for your application. His answer - you're direct filing, so that website doesn't mean squat (paraphrase). Here are the things that were different from what the USCIS website said so if you direct file you don't need to make the same mistakes:

 

* Original wedding certificate is required, not a copy (had that)

* Original birth certificate for my spouse (did not have that)

* Copy of ACR card (had to go make a copy). They wanted ACR, not ACR-i, but with the lease info we had they took it anyway.

* You do not have to be on a permanent resident visa, but it was obvious they do not like it if you are not. They did accept our leases, but they wanted receipts for our payments of the lease.

* Bank statement - we brought a bank certification document. He said they wanted a piece of paper saying what date we opened the account and a list of deposits made. He ended up at the end saying we didn't have to get that as long as we got the other things they needed.

* Affidavits - We brought several affidavits from friends and our landlords verifying we lived together in a bona fide relationship. They refused these altogether saying they were 'self serving' whatever that means - even tho these are allowed under the normal USCIS procedures.

* Photos - The only ones they were really interested in were wedding photos.

* Passport photos - we provided them but it appears they are not needed until the second package and it appears there may be some new rules on how this is done when going through the embassy.

 

We had to wait for the window guy to go upstairs and find out if he could accept our application because of what we were missing. We told him it was going to be a real problem for us to come back as we were from cebu and had to buy plane tickets and spend a lot of money every time we came. In the end I think that is the only thing that got them to accept the packet. We were pretty sure they were going to reject it and say we had to come back, but he said we could mail the things we were missing in. We paid the fee and filed it - in and out in about 2 hours time.

 

Now we gotta go to NSO and get a new copy of her original birth certificate as the DFA never gave her back her original we gave them for our passport (or our original wedding certificate for that matter). Now after this we have no NSO copies of our wedding certificate either. I wonder if this is a scam by the gov't where they take your originals so you have to keep ordering more copies from them :scratch_head:

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The Mason

Get serveral extra copies of the NSO marriage and birth certificates. You will be asked for NSO copies several more times throughout the process.

 

Good luck with your application. It would be great if you could update this thread as you proceed through the process. It will be interesting to see how the DCF differs from filing in the US.

Edited by The Mason
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Get serveral extra copies of the NSO marriage and birth certificates. You will be asked for NSO copies several more times throughout the process.

 

Good luck with your application. It would be great if you could update this thread as you proceed through the process. It will be interesting to see how the DCF differs from filing in the US.

 

i second both motions.

 

now on to the trivial stuff-- how was the mall?

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SkyMan
Now we gotta go to NSO and get a new copy of her original birth certificate as the DFA never gave her back her original we gave them for our passport (or our original wedding certificate for that matter). Now after this we have no NSO copies of our wedding certificate either. I wonder if this is a scam by the gov't where they take your originals so you have to keep ordering more copies from them.

Exactly. Order at least 3 of each now. I don't know how it is they can take originals like that. Surely would never happen in the US. But this ain't the US. Someday maybe the PI will figure out they don't need all these pieces of paper and move into the computer age but for now, it's a paper, multiple staple, white out, paperclip, folder, manual typewriter world.

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shadow
Now we gotta go to NSO and get a new copy of her original birth certificate as the DFA never gave her back her original we gave them for our passport (or our original wedding certificate for that matter). Now after this we have no NSO copies of our wedding certificate either. I wonder if this is a scam by the gov't where they take your originals so you have to keep ordering more copies from them.

Exactly. Order at least 3 of each now. I don't know how it is they can take originals like that. Surely would never happen in the US. But this ain't the US. Someday maybe the PI will figure out they don't need all these pieces of paper and move into the computer age but for now, it's a paper, multiple staple, white out, paperclip, folder, manual typewriter world.

 

 

This is the US Embassy, it IS the US, not the RP.

 

Larry in Dumaguete

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tom_shor
Now we gotta go to NSO and get a new copy of her original birth certificate as the DFA never gave her back her original we gave them for our passport (or our original wedding certificate for that matter). Now after this we have no NSO copies of our wedding certificate either. I wonder if this is a scam by the gov't where they take your originals so you have to keep ordering more copies from them.

Exactly. Order at least 3 of each now. I don't know how it is they can take originals like that. Surely would never happen in the US. But this ain't the US. Someday maybe the PI will figure out they don't need all these pieces of paper and move into the computer age but for now, it's a paper, multiple staple, white out, paperclip, folder, manual typewriter world.

 

I think they keep originals to prevent counterfiting of copys. Forgery is something Filipinos are famous for. If they have the original less doubt as to the document being real.

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JohnFromTexas

I'll keep on updating... crossing my fingers that we have more luck and speed than others, but we'll see.

 

As for the mall, it was pretty much what people described. i was a bit disappointed most of it was outdoors. The mall is actually four different buildings. One for the department store, one for the SM 'hypermarket', one an actual indoor mall area, and one an 'entertainment' area of different stores. The most interesting thing was the big ice skating rink. I took some videos I'll be posting later.

 

As for the hypermarket, it was a big SM supermarket. They did have more varieties of things in the same store - for example my grape soda they had all 3 of the national varieties (no other store i've been to has had more than one if any). They had US style milk in both bottles and cartons with skim/lowfat/whole represented. Didn't get any since I wasn't staying. They had a bigger selection of most things, but no real bigger selection of imported items or better prices.

 

As for US chains, in addition to the ones cebu has they had Wendys, Subway, Dairy Queen and el pollo loco. I had el pollo loco (not impressed) for lunch and wendys for dinner :D I wish I had seen the subway and dairy queen earlier but when we got to the mall we were both hungry and didn't want to walk the whole mall before deciding what to eat. Wendys was good pretty much like the US. I didn't find Dr. Pepper in manila :biggrin_01: We went and saw Piranha 3d at the movie theater, which was pretty much the same as the SM movie theater here - no bigger/more screens or better, which was a bit of a letdown. I figured they would at least have more screens/movies, but they didn't. I got blisters on my toes from walking around the mall all day. We were ready to head back by the time it was time to go but mainly that is because I didn't sleep the night before! It was a long day.

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SkyMan
Now we gotta go to NSO and get a new copy of her original birth certificate as the DFA never gave her back her original we gave them for our passport (or our original wedding certificate for that matter). Now after this we have no NSO copies of our wedding certificate either. I wonder if this is a scam by the gov't where they take your originals so you have to keep ordering more copies from them.

Exactly. Order at least 3 of each now. I don't know how it is they can take originals like that. Surely would never happen in the US. But this ain't the US. Someday maybe the PI will figure out they don't need all these pieces of paper and move into the computer age but for now, it's a paper, multiple staple, white out, paperclip, folder, manual typewriter world.

 

 

This is the US Embassy, it IS the US, not the RP.

 

Larry in Dumaguete

No, it's not!

Read the thread and you'll see it was the DFA that kept the NSO copies. The Embassy wants to see the NSO copies not photocopies which is all the OP has now. I am reasonably sure if the Embassy keeps the NSO copies they will eventually be returned unlike the DFA which keeps them even though they have no reason too once the passport has been issued.

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  • 4 weeks later...
JohnFromTexas

We got the second packet today via Fedex, requesting the affidavit of support/proof of income and maricel's bio/nbi paperwork. Yeeha. Three weeks after we sent in the papers we were missing when we filed 4 weeks ago. Guessing based on this that the medical/interview should be coming up in January or February and if all goes well hopefully will have the visa by march. We'll see. Realistically I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility if there are no delays with paperwork or the medical to have the visa in hand by end of January if we are really lucky.

 

anyone know how long it takes after you mail the SECOND packet in until your medical/interview gets scheduled? And how does that work with the medical and interview do the schedule them for the same week? medical first or interview? are we need to go up there twice to do each? What about that seminar with the nuns does that have to be done in manila or can it be done in cebu and can you do it while you are there for the medical/interview?

Edited by JohnFromTexas
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The Mason

anyone know how long it takes after you mail the SECOND packet in until your medical/interview gets scheduled? And how does that work with the medical and interview do the schedule them for the same week? medical first or interview? are we need to go up there twice to do each? What about that seminar with the nuns does that have to be done in manila or can it be done in cebu and can you do it while you are there for the medical/interview?

 

I filed in the US, but it was pretty fast for the second packet. It only took about 6 weeks after mailing in financial and other documents that we were approved for an interview. I think we got our approval in late October, and our interview was the first week of December.

 

The medical is not scheduled. Its first come first serve. Once you have your interview date, you can do the medical at any time after that. If all goes well, the medical takes 2 days. If there are problems at the medical stage, they will notify the Embassy that you won't make your scheduled interview, and reschedule you once you have medical clearance.

 

The CFO seminar can be done at any time after you have your interview appointment, but you have to have your visa in hand before they'll issue the sticker to you. My wife attended the seminar over the summer and went back there last week with her visa to get the sticker in her passport.

 

I would plan for a week in Manila. Do the medical as soon as you arrive, and if all goes well you can go sightseeing for a few days before your interview.

Edited by The Mason
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Thanks Mason

 

anyone know how long it takes after you mail the SECOND packet in until your medical/interview gets scheduled? And how does that work with the medical and interview do the schedule them for the same week? medical first or interview? are we need to go up there twice to do each? What about that seminar with the nuns does that have to be done in manila or can it be done in cebu and can you do it while you are there for the medical/interview?

 

I filed in the US, but it was pretty fast for the second packet. It only took about 6 weeks after mailing in financial and other documents that we were approved for an interview. I think we got our approval in late October, and our interview was the first week of December.

 

The medical is not scheduled. Its first come first serve. Once you have your interview date, you can do the medical at any time after that. If all goes well, the medical takes 2 days. If there are problems at the medical stage, they will notify the Embassy that you won't make your scheduled interview, and reschedule you once you have medical clearance.

 

The CFO seminar can be done at any time after you have your interview appointment, but you have to have your visa in hand before they'll issue the sticker to you. My wife attended the seminar over the summer and went back there last week with her visa to get the sticker in her passport.

 

I would plan for a week in Manila. Do the medical as soon as you arrive, and if all goes well you can go sightseeing for a few days before your interview.

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Headshot
Now we gotta go to NSO and get a new copy of her original birth certificate as the DFA never gave her back her original we gave them for our passport (or our original wedding certificate for that matter). Now after this we have no NSO copies of our wedding certificate either. I wonder if this is a scam by the gov't where they take your originals so you have to keep ordering more copies from them.

Exactly. Order at least 3 of each now. I don't know how it is they can take originals like that. Surely would never happen in the US. But this ain't the US. Someday maybe the PI will figure out they don't need all these pieces of paper and move into the computer age but for now, it's a paper, multiple staple, white out, paperclip, folder, manual typewriter world.

This is the US Embassy, it IS the US, not the RP.

 

Larry in Dumaguete

No, it's not!

Read the thread and you'll see it was the DFA that kept the NSO copies. The Embassy wants to see the NSO copies not photocopies which is all the OP has now. I am reasonably sure if the Embassy keeps the NSO copies they will eventually be returned unlike the DFA which keeps them even though they have no reason too once the passport has been issued.

I think you would be wrong on this one, Skyman. The US Embassy has always wanted photocopies only for the birth and marriage certificates, but now they want originals (certified copies)...and they KEEP them. I went through the same thing with the embassy, except that Larry (Shadow) is helping us through the process and so I had everything I needed with me when I went up to the embassy. Larry and Ronnie went through everything with us, and there were very few things they missed. I actually had a lot of extra documents with me (just in case), and it was a good thing, because the original documents thing is a new requirement. I had the original birth and marriage certificates with me, so there was no problem. When I was done at the window, the Consular Officer actually thanked me for making his job so easy, since I had everything he needed. He said very few filings go so smoothly.

Edited by Headshot
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Gorilla Stench

ok mate thanx

 

so youve had enuf of paradide and heading back to no red tape USA.

 

Goodluck mate

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JohnFromTexas

He's right, they usually don't go smoothly. Because the embassy does not make it clear what they want until you get to the window, and they do not make it easy to get ahold of them by phone. :scratch_head:

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tobster

Good luck. Its a painful process and you never know what they want so as I and Headshot did bring more than you are told to bring and be prepared to be shafted by the doctor as he will more than likely find some non existant medical issue which will cost you a few pesos more. Unfortuneately there are no set times for the visa process, some get it quick and some slow. Be prepared for a hard time from the nuns especially if you are non catholic since they really excel at being nasty. Be patient, be prepared and it will all happen in its own time.

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