Oh the joys of bureaucracy!!

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Oh the joys of bureaucracy!!


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Old 13th May 2014, 02:35 AM
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Default Oh the joys of bureaucracy!!

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I just wanted to pass on my experience on getting my wife’s name changed on her IDs, passport and bank accounts.

The requirements for her name change on the passport are;

NSO Copy of Marriage Certificate (on their special “security” paper)
CFO Brief Certificate Fiancee, Spouses and Other Partners of Foreign Nationals | Commission on Filipinos Overseas


This process started in January after our wedding. We were told that we would have the NSO copy of our Marriage Certificate 30 days after it was filed locally. So 30 days after the filing date, my wife goes to the local NSO office in SM Mall Olongapo. The clerk there tells her that it won’t be in the system for 6-12 months!! She is then told that it has to be requested for the 30 day expedite at the local jurisdiction that the marriage was filed in. Unbelievable. The wife makes arrangements to go there as she had other pressing matters to attend to there (change name on bank account, driver’s license, etc.). Why does she have to do the name change in her hometown vs locally? Because the Subic bank wants to see the NSO copy of the marriage certificate as does the Olongapo LTO for her Driver’s license.

When she goes to the registrars office in her hometown, she pays the 400p for the expedite and is told that in 30 days she will be given a reference number for the marriage certificate and that she needs to return for that. She arranges for her cousin to get this and send to her. She then goes to the bank and LTO in her hometown and they change her name without issue using her “local Marriage certificate”.

When she gets home to Subic, she gets her SBMA ID changed without issue. So now all that she has left is her Subic Bank account and the Passport. Before I left for my job, I left my wife a $4000 check for deposit in her married name. We were going to use that money towards a new roof on the house. She was reluctant to go back to the bank not wanting to be turned away again. I tell her to wave this check (money) in front of the bank manager’s face and to ask them “so you are telling me that you are turning away this money?”. Needless to say that they processed the request and now her account has been changed.

30 days later her cousin receives the info along with texting instructions on how to get the status of the application. So the 30 day “expedite” is just for a reference number. It will take only another 45 days for the status to go from “pending” to “processed”. She then proceeds to the same local NSO office and is told the same BS that she has to wait 6-12 months. My wife, using every bit of patience that she can muster, tells them that they are in error and to process the request. The clerk mutters that if it is not ready that the money spent on the request is non-refundable. The wife says that is fine and orders 2 copies at 150p each. She is then told that it will be ready in one week. A week later the wife presents her receipt and receives both of her NSO copies of the certificate.

Now she needs to obtain the CFO Brief Certificate. I arrange for her to go to Manila for this. You cannot make an appointment and they have only so many slots per briefing according to the nationality of the foreign spouse. For the US, they have 15 slots twice a day every day of the week. So no appointment = getting there before they open and stand in line “for a while”. For her to get there early she must leave Subic around 5am. She gets there around 8am and falls into the queues. When it is all said and done, it takes until almost 2pm for her to get her certificate (3 hour group brief plus a short individual brief and wait for the certificate to be printed). I had prepared her for the BS other forum members had experienced (crazy talk about foreign spouse sex habits, etc.). She actually received decent guidance and passed on info about how to have a successful marriage to a foreigner (good communication, common goals, etc.) and we were pleasantly surprised.

So now we have our final step; The passport.

We arrive at the Marquee mall at 10am when the mall opens, where the DFA is located so that she can file the application. While she is doing this I do some shopping. An hour later we go to lunch while we wait for her turn in line. She left her application in the stack with the guard. After lunch she returns and still too many people ahead of her in line. 3 hours later, I tell her enough is enough. We leave all pissed. The next day she returns without me as I am not going to hang out in the mall for 5-6 hours just for her to drop off an application. She has to leave at 6:30am to get there by 7:30am (the guard told her that they accept the applications for the queue at 8:00am). When she gets there the line is already 50 or 60 people long. They take her application and now she has to hang out. It ends up taking her until 2pm to get her application accepted and processed. She is also told that to expedite her application it is 15 business days and ready for pickup on May 30th! When she got her passport there 2 years ago, the process was much more efficient and she was in and out in less than an hour.

I just found out that you can now request online a copy of your NSO certificate https://www.ecensus.com.ph/Default.aspx . They also claim that your document will be delivered in 3-9 working days. Maybe this will be an easier process for someone in the future.

Overall it has been a frustrating experience for both of us.

I know, I know, “it’s more fun in the Philippines”.

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Old 13th May 2014, 04:12 AM
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Oh the memories of what I had to go thru in order to get that fiance visa on my passport (that also took forever to process).

Im curious, when you applied for retirement visa, did u have to go thru all the hassles?

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Old 13th May 2014, 05:02 AM
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I can just imagine on the fiance visa. I know that is probably 10x more involved (medical exams, certifications, etc.).

I am on a tourist visa for now. When we take our next trip abroad, my wife is going to ask for a 13A visa on arrival. Then I just do the annual renewal for 300p. If that doesn't work, I will just do the tourist visa as I am between jobs right now.
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Old 13th May 2014, 09:08 AM
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Oh the Memories!, Thanks...One of the things one must realize, especially in the Philippines, if one is in a hurry, especially a big hurry, hurry up and wait. Because it is hard for me to travel and not easy doing it, my sweet wife, for 4 years, could go to the PBI and take care of my annual ARC renewal, now that has changed, I have to be present. The first time my wife did the renewal, they wanted to delay it and even though she knows that big voicing a government worker is never the path to take, she did big voice, one time, one particular worker. They got my ARC done pronto.
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Old 13th May 2014, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by jon1 View Post
I can just imagine on the fiance visa. I know that is probably 10x more involved (medical exams, certifications, etc.).

I am on a tourist visa for now. When we take our next trip abroad, my wife is going to ask for a 13A visa on arrival. Then I just do the annual renewal for 300p. If that doesn't work, I will just do the tourist visa as I am between jobs right now.
For us, that was a trip, we had over 200 documents and then right in the middle of the process, we changed it to the marriage visa. I had one complete set, my wife had one complete set, actually, she had 3 sets, I had 5. A few times my wife was ready to quit and give up but I told her that we had to stay on the same page together for all of this.
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Old 13th May 2014, 12:37 PM
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For us, that was a trip, we had over 200 documents and then right in the middle of the process, we changed it to the marriage visa. I had one complete set, my wife had one complete set, actually, she had 3 sets, I had 5. A few times my wife was ready to quit and give up but I told her that we had to stay on the same page together for all of this.
That seems a common Filipino trait. If something get difficult throw your arms in the air and give up. My wife's answer to anything that seems difficult is I'll go home where it's an easier life.

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Old 13th May 2014, 01:54 PM
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That seems a common Filipino trait. If something get difficult throw your arms in the air and give up. My wife's answer to anything that seems difficult is I'll go home where it's an easier life.
I think this comes from being brought up to remain dependent on parents and other family members. It keeps people from really ever growing up and learning how to handle things and situations in life. Things that we learn at a very early age, the majority of people here never learn. Makes it difficult when one grows up and lives in a society that seems to pride itself on being AND STAYING childish and immature. Takes a lot of time and patients as many of our companions learn to deal with life in an adult manner.

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Old 14th May 2014, 08:30 AM
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It also makes it easier for them to be controlled and kept down. How many times have we heard "bahala na"??

For people like us, we like to have some control over our situations and refuse to let something be "decided" for us.

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Old 15th May 2014, 01:49 AM
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And the difference in dealing with the U.S. Government is what again? I have been in several countries in my years and it remains the same. Why when I go to the US Embassy(you pick the country) I as a US citizen must surrender my phone, must be scanned and searched. Then when I go inside I deal with local nationals only? Who haven't a clue about what I want. Its the same with VA in Manila. Jet said it best in another thread. Take something you enjoy. He uses the time to spend with his children (great idea) No need in getting frustrated since that will be your life. I myself am getting really good at Bejeweled and Tiger Woods Golf. I'd work with my dogs but many places frown on dogs in their agency

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Old 15th May 2014, 02:40 AM
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And the difference in dealing with the U.S. Government is what again? I have been in several countries in my years and it remains the same. Why when I go to the US Embassy(you pick the country) I as a US citizen must surrender my phone, must be scanned and searched. Then when I go inside I deal with local nationals only? Who haven't a clue about what I want. Its the same with VA in Manila. Jet said it best in another thread. Take something you enjoy. He uses the time to spend with his children (great idea) No need in getting frustrated since that will be your life. I myself am getting really good at Bejeweled and Tiger Woods Golf. I'd work with my dogs but many places frown on dogs in their agency
I haven't been to the embassy in maybe 6 months now. Giving up my phone etc is for security and I can understand that and to me is not an issue. I've had good luck each time I had to go there and actually enjoyed visiting with many locals that work there.

The most I deal with them now is by phone and email with social security. Even then, I'm dealing with a young lady that is a Filipina case worker in that department. Again, I've had enjoyable experiences without exception.

Coolest thing was back when I was ready to apply for Social. After contacting them by email, they called me on the phone and did the entire application process in less than 15 minutes and my social was in the bank as it should be the following month--thus saving me an expensive and time consuming trip all the way to Manila.

I suppose like any other place or agency, employees there can have a bad day. But for me it has always been a very positive and even enjoyable experience. So hats off for the all the US embassy employees; both the US citizen employees and the Filipina workers who so gracefully handle our needs and sometimes intolerant attitudes.
But as C_Action says, take a magazine or something with you to pass the time if it's crowded..
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Last edited by Asian Spirit; 15th May 2014 at 01:21 PM.
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