BY: LEAH DUDGEON
We are flying home to the Philippines this December and we finally got the Philippine 9A Visa for my husband!
I was very worried when I learned that foreign nationals married to Filipinas are now required to get a visa due to COVID.
I was afraid we won’t get it in time for our December plan, considering the response time of most government offices during this pandemic.
The best thing I did was to file it early.
It was scary mailing all the documents, especially the passports.
I was pleasantly surprised by the speed of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles. It took less than ten days (if all documents are in order).
- File it as soon as you can! I sent my application second week of October to anticipate delays and to give me enough time if more documents are required.
- Make sure to attach a cover letter listing all the documents sent. It makes it easier for the reviewer not to miss any documents. It’s a good checklist for you too.
- We used a courier service instead of regular mail so we have a tracking number.
- Make sure that the application is NOTARIZED! The wording on the application was vague and we didn’t understand. They will return your documents if you miss this.
I am sharing a brief Question and Answer based on my experience.
Q: WHAT ARE THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS?
Application form (must be notarized)
Original marriage certificate
Evidence of income at least two (latest bank statements and credit card statements)
Filipino spouse birth certificate
Filipino spouse government issued ID
Check payable to the Philippine Consulate General $30
Self addressed and stamped envelope
(Please check the PCG website for updates https://www.philippineconsulatela.org/foreign-spouse-of-a-filipino-national)
Q: CAN YOU GET AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE PHILIPPINE CONSULATE FOR VISA APPLICATION?
A: In most consulates, there is no personal drop off option. It has to be mailed (by USPS or courier. But they specify that you cannot use FEDEX.) You have to check your specific consulate. LA Consulate does not take appointments for this visa application.
Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PROCESS THE VISA?
A: Our experience was less than 10 days.
Within less than 7 days we got the document package back BUT informing us that the application form had to be notarized. So we did that and mailed it again. In another 7 days we got the visa.
Q: WHERE CAN YOU NOTARIZE THE APPLICATION FORM AND HOW MUCH?
A: UPS it cost $15
Q: IF YOU WERE MARRIED ABROAD, DOES THE MARRIAGE HAVE TO REGISTERED IN THE Philippines? (I was worried about this because I have not registered my marriage in the Philippines, yet.)
A: No. Just send your state issued marriage contract (original and copy)
Q: IS THE APOSTILLE REQUIRED FOR THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT? (If married abroad)
A: Not for the visa application. The Apostille on the marriage contract is required upon presentation to the Immigration at the Philippine port of entry.
You can get the Apostille from your State Secretary. Currently it can be by mail. https://www.sos.ca.gov/notary/request-apostille
Q: WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE NSO CERTIFIED PHILIPPINE BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
A: I sent a photocopy of my Philippine birth certificate and my Philippine passport
Q: DOES THE ITINERARY NEED TO BE A PAID/TICKETED FLIGHT RESERVATION?
A: No. You should not pay for your flight reservation until you get your visa. I only printed my intended departure and arrival dates from the Philippine Airlines site.
Good luck everyone and my best advice is:
FILE IT AS SOON AS YOU CAN!