Did you marry online via Utah? Or will you?
NOTE: This applies to those who marry a lady or a gentleman from the Philippines! If you happen to have stumbled onto our website and you have no connection to the Philippines, then this is not for you.
If you married your Filipina lady (or Filipino gent) via a Utah online wedding, then this is definitely for you. And I will explain why! It’s all about the CFO!
Does the Philippines recognise online weddings?
A question I’ve been asked many times. Not HUGELY important, because the Australian Government makes decisions on Australian visas. NOT the Philippines Government! However, this is what the Department of Foreign Affairs (Philippines) told me:
Please be informed that we accept applications for a Report of Marriage of marriages solemnized online provided that the marriage was legally registered/recognized in the host country and it will be subject for the evaluation of the PH Consulate abroad.
So there you have it!
The Commission for Filipinos Overseas (CFO)
The Philippines Government created the CFO back in 1980. “The agency is responsible for promoting and upholding the interest of Filipino emigrants and Filipino permanent residents in other countries.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commission_on_Filipinos_Overseas).
For the ladies in particular? CFO runs seminars known as “Guidance and Counselling Program” seminars. These are in place to protect Filipina ladies who go to other countries and suffer abuse and don’t know what to do about it. The ladies are informed about their rights and about what protections are available to them. A good idea, no question.
CFO and Partner Visas
The rules? If your Filipina lady has a PARTNER VISA, which includes: Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa, Subclass 309 Offshore Partner Visa, or has a Subclass 820 Onshore Partner Visa, then she needs to attend the CFO before leaving the country!
- Attend the CFO Guidance and Counselling Program seminar (which is held online now)
- Show them your marriage certificate (from the NSO) OR the Report of Marriage (issued by the Philippines Consulate in the country where the marriage took place).
- Show them everything else listed as required on the CFO website (under Guidance and Counselling Program), plus what Down Under Visa have listed on the Migration Hub
- Get a certificate of attendance
- Get a sticker in the passport from CFO
Without this? Won’t get on the plane! Simple as that!
Got an ONSHORE Partner Visa?
Granted whilst inside Australia? Need to attend CFO and do all of this on your next trip back, unless you obtain Australian Citizenship beforehand!
CFO and Tourist Visas?
Officially? Don’t need the CFO attendance or certificate if you are only getting a tourist visa. However lately we’ve had a couple of clients…..MARRIED ladies….get stopped at the airport and had to attend. Not supposed to do this, as far as I can understand, but they did. So we advise you do it anyway!
What do you need to attend the CFO?
A number of things, which I won’t cover now. If you are a Down Under Visa client you will have all the details on the Migration Hub.
The purpose of this is to highlight ONE thing you DO need, and that is you need to REGISTER YOUR(overseas) MARRIAGE!
You marry in Philippines? You marry online in Utah? You marry in a temple in Bali? All Australia cares about is that you marry legally, ie. that the wedding was legal in that country. Wave a US marriage certificate at Australia, and Australia gives a casual thumbs-up and a “Yeah, righto!” No registering of overseas marriage certificates. CAN’T do it, as there is no system in place.
They want the marriage registered, so it gets entered into the central marriage register managed by the National Statistics Office (NSO), now known as the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA). So you…..like Mila and myself…..will have a marriage certificate from the NSO/PSA with details of your marriage! Ours says that we were married in Rockhampton at St Josephs Cathedral, and has my parents names etc listed as well. You will have the same.
And the CFO will NOT accept the overseas marriage certificate!
They insist on seeing either:
- the NSO marriage certificate, or
- the Report of Marriage from the overseas embassy or consulate.
So basically if you want your lady to get on a plane, you get the marriage registered and we suggest you do so ASAP.
Why ASAP? Because you can expect this to take 2 – 4 months to be done.
If you’ve applied for a Subclass 820 Onshore Partner Visa, less urgent obviously. It will all be done and dusted long before you need to show a certificate to the CFO.
If you’ve applied for a Subclass 309 Offshore Partner Visa, you may need it sooner. We see two common scenarios these days:
- You’ve married (usually a Utah online wedding) and you’ve applied for an offshore partner visa. Lately we’re comfortably saying that NEW offshore partner visa applications are taking 8 – 12 months. However we’ve had some much faster ones this year! You do NOT want to go “Oh, great! Get on a plane, honey!” if you never even started the process! Even if you’re not one to swear much, I bet you would swear then!!
- You’ve had a Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa in the system being processed. You’re tired of waiting. And you decide to get married online and change the application to a Subclass 309 Offshore Partner Visa. Depending on the stage they’re at with the Subclass 300 visa application, maybe they grant two months later? You ALSO don’t want to discover you could have done this earlier!
Online Wedding (Utah)? What do you do?
You register the wedding through the Philippines Embassy in San Francisco in the US. NOT in Washington or New York or any of the other places. And DEFINITELY not in Canberra! San Francisco! San Francisco Consulate is the designated consulate for weddings that took place in Utah. And yes, your online wedding took place in Utah, regardless of where you were physically.
(Know what? I can predict future pilgrimages to Provo Utah in following years! Married couples standing outside the Government Office where it happened, all taking selfies to show the grandkids!)
So you can contact the Philippines Consulate in San Francisco and they will tell you what you need to do. And you should do it ASAP after your wedding.
Now……is it easy to do?
Registering a wedding and getting a Report of Marriage from a Philippines consulate in the US…..a PHILIPPINES consulate!…..no, not easy and not simple. It’s Philippines bureaucracy at it’s finest! Plenty of documents. Plenty of copies. Affidavits. Notarised copies. And get one minor thing wrong and you start all over.
Realising how it is, and knowing our clients as we do, we’ve spent the last few weeks working out of this is something that we could do to (a) make it easier and (b) make sure it works for you!
So if you would like this to be handled professionally? Then allow us to be your representative and manage this application process for you, just as we did with your visa application. This is what we do. This is just one more application, and we happily offer you this service.
Registering your marriage professionally
Please let us know if you want us to manage the marriage registration application for you. EMAIL US!
More information on online weddings?
Online Filipino Weddings website. Click HERE