Your spouse or fiancee will not be allowed to leave the Philippines unless her passport has been stamped by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO). I’ve met a few people who weren’t aware of this requirement and and had to make this arrangement the day before their flight. I even know of unfortunate incidents where people had to re-schedule their flight and stay an extra day in Manila to complete this step before they could leave.
I’d recommend getting this step done as soon as she has her passport/visa in hand. Maybe she could stay in Manila an extra day if there is no office in her province.
I won’t do a step-by-step walk through of this process like I have done with some of the other things. You can just click here to visit the official CFO page for more instructions.
Here’s the abbreviated version: the biggest hassle with getting the CFO stamp is having to go to the nearest office and attend a seminar that lasts over two hours (only the Filipino/Filipina attends–the foreign petitioner will not even be allowed inside). The intent of this seminar is to inform Filipino citizens and protect them from being victims of fraud. My wife said the speaker was friendly and humorous, but she didn’t really learn anything that helpful. Once the seminar is done the future immigrants get a certificate which is used to acquire the actual stamp.
Here’s some extra information about the CFO for those going the spousal visa route: Filipinas who want to change their name on their passport (to their married name) will also have to attend the CFO seminar (regardless of whether or not they have expressed an intention to leave the country).
In this case she wouldn’t get the actual stamp yet, but she would attend the seminar, then present the certificate of attendance when applying to change her name on her passport.
I think it’s a bit ridiculous that a Filipina has to jump through such hoops just to have her name changed on her own passport. Regardless, I’d still recommend she change her passport to her married name. It is one extra way to document the legitimacy of your marriage.
The downside to this is she’ll still have to go back to CFO once she has the visa to get the actual stamp. The good news is once she goes back she can get the stamp without attending the seminar again or paying any more fees. She can probably avoid the crowd by going mid morning or mid afternoon to get the stamp while others are attending the seminar. All she’ll have to do is present her passport (with the US Visa now stamped in it) and they’ll give her the CFO stamp. Once she has both the US Visa and the CFO stamped on her passport you’re all set to leave the country.
You can download the registration form before going to get the stamp if you want. They are available at the CFO office, but it’s a little more convenient to print it and fill it out ahead of time.
One final tip: there are places around the CFO office where you can make the needed copies for your stamp (copies of your passport, etc.).