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Hello all!

I would like to share in detail (and I mean that, in detail, haha) my experience regarding the CFO GCP Seminar dated June 3, 2019 at the CFO Manila site. As much as the people on this site have helped me out with the process thus far, I thought I'd give back in my own way and maybe someone out there would find this helpful. :)

DISCLAIMER: The following account is based solely upon my personal experience and is not to be used as official reference for the CFO GCP Seminar procedure. Your needs, circumstances, and experiences may vary from mine. Always refer to the official websites and/or proper authorities for the requirements and procedures.

Also, this is NOT PDOS. This is GCP.


My info:

Seminar for K1 Fiance(e) Visa, USA, I am the beneficiary
California Service Center
NOA1 - January 25, 2019
NOA2 - April 18, 2019
MNL# - May 9, 2019 (approx.)
In Transit - May 28, 2019
NVC letter (e-mail) - May 29, 2019
Visa issued? - No. I decided to take the seminar early because most times the online appointment calendar will not have available dates within the next 3-4 weeks. For instance, on May 14 the earliest available date was June 3rd (3 weeks later, including weekends). In those three weeks I gathered and prepared all the other documents that I would need for the medical exam and the embassy interview. Before I leave for the US I would have to go back to CFO Manila (a second time, the first being attending the seminar), bringing my already issued US Visa with me, so that I could get the sticker on my passport (no falling in line, no extra payment, except for transportation costs as applicable). If you want to do the same, don't forget to bring 1) Your passport, 2) The CFO Certificate, and 3) Other valid government IDs just in case. :P


As for the seminar experience itself:

June 3, 2019 Monday AM schedule (9am-12nn)

8:00 am - I arrived at the CFO Manila office and fell in line to be received at the lobby. The line was quite long, extended up to the outside of the building, and slow-moving. At this point, prepare 1) A valid government ID, and 2) Your appointment confirmation/registration page (the one showing your photo, other details, and the QR code). The security guard will ask you to show him these (along with a bag check).
Note: Before entering the building you may find a snack vendor right outside the main entrance. If you haven't had a heavy breakfast and/or are the hungry type, you might wanna buy snacks for later.

8:15 am - I surrendered my ID at the reception area of the lobby, far left counter (take note: this is not the air-conditioned area with counters numbered 1-7, you'll need that info later on). The reception guy gave me an ID lace tag with a number (like a visitor's pass). I wore it around my neck and followed the instruction to take the elevator to the 3rd floor.

8:20-ish - Upon entering the room at the 3rd floor, the lady to my left gave me a 3-page form to fill out, instructing that I fill it out completely and that the document cannot be taken anywhere outside the room. WITH VISA: Give the personnel your passport. WITHOUT VISA: No need to hand over your passport.
Note: When I was there, the room was easily filled with people and the chairs and tables were limited so I didn't know where to write. If you encounter this problem, try checking the seminar rooms which would most likely be empty. It's alright to fill out the forms in there, too.
The first page of the form asked about my personal information, the second page was about my petitioner and other information about us both, and the third asked about the beneficiary's children, among other things (I feel I shouldn't disclose too much because the form was confidential to begin with). The bottom of the third page is where you sign and date the form.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you answer the form completely and accurately because as far as I've researched, some applicants get delays and other issues because of this. Most people tend to overlook 1) The beneficiary's and petitioner's complete home address including zip code, beneficiary's phone number, and mother's maiden name; 2) The petitioner's educational attainment and/or course/degree finished, job title, and other small details. Be ready with as much info as you can just to be sure. You can check your phone or notebook for reference anyways, so jot these details down ahead of time.

Extra note: There was a part that asked how I met my fiance, I didn't expect this one. There are some check boxes you can select from. I met my fiance online so I checked "internet". The form asked to detail the "website", so I wrote down the name of the Android application (a game on my phone), and then the website address and "fees charged" were also asked. I wanted to make sure I completed the form as much as I can, so I Googled the application developer and the address of their headquarters and wrote those down. 😂 They didn't seem to have any issues with that, haha. Then for "fees" I just wrote "None" because the app was for free.

8:30 am - I submitted the accomplished form to the lady at the form verification cubicle (the stations are labeled, you can't miss it). At this point, prepare 2 valid government-issued IDs, they will ask it from you. People commonly tell the personnel "My other ID is downstairs at the reception area", so it's best to bring 3 or more government IDs with you. Afterwards, you will be instructed to take a seat and wait for your name to be called.

8:45 am - The lady in cubicle one (who gave me the 3-page form) called my name and asked me to take a seat beside her. She proceeded to verify if the information on the form is correct, and then my photo was taken. You will be asked to check the photo and see if you find it satisfactory. Note: If you think it's a terrible photo, ask her to retake it because that photo is for FOREVER😂 And I say that because this photo will be printed on your CFO Certificate and that document will never expire. (Setting expectations: You may find that the photo is vertically compressed a bit. Don't panic. Apparently, that's normal. At least you'll look skinny, lol)
After the picture-taking, the lady told me to "go have breakfast if I want to and be back before 9am". Basically, you can just wait it out in there if you like.

9:00 am - We gathered inside the room labeled "USA", it was the first room. Note: If you're quite short (like me, haha) don't sit at the back because it will be hard to see the screen if someone sits in front of you.
From this point on you may find personnel going around the room handing out the immigrants'/emigrants' handbook and brochure about anti-mail order spouse law, along with a survey sheet where you can score the seminar experience.

9:20 am - The speaker arrived and apologized for the lateness. We started late because we had to wait for all the participants to finish registration before we could begin. Do the others a favor and come to the office early (around 7:30 am) to spare everyone else the trouble. Haha

10:32 am - The speaker gave her closing remarks and asked us to wait for our names to be called for the one-on-one interview. As soon as she left, I placed my completed survey form on the table, as instructed. There will be a cute little video playing on loop for those waiting in the room. At this point (and moving forward, while waiting for anything really), I recommend chatting with the other participants and maybe increasing your social network a bit. Personally, I found someone who was moving to the same state I was; so I got her info and now...I am going to be one of the principal sponsors at her wedding. 😂 Charisma: 25 (If you know what I mean)

11:00 to 11:30 am - I'm not sure when my name was called but I was something like 5th or 4th to the last to be interviewed. At the time there were two interviewers available, one guy and one girl (the seminar speaker). I was interviewed by the speaker.
From what I've heard, each consul has his/her own style of questioning. Some kind of drill you while others were super nice and easy to work with. Just be prepared for more in-depth and personal questions regardless of who interviews you. A lot of people are so paranoid but there's really nothing to be afraid of. You can answer in English/Tagalog/Taglish anyways, so answer honestly and straight to the point and you'll be fine.
My interviewer was more in-depth, I think, especially because my fiance is twice divorced and he has a kid, so I get why she wanted to understand how I am processing these circumstances. Anyway, your consul may refer to the 3-page form you filled out and ask you to expound on what you wrote on there.
Extra note: My consul didn't even ask for any of my documents. She just asked for 2 valid IDs. My file folder did not see the light of day. 😂 DISCLAIMER: This doesn't mean you can attend the seminar with just confidence and honesty, lol. Bring all your documents regardless, as I did. It helped with my confidence and peace of mind. Y'all can't act nervous in front of the consul.
IMPORTANT: If you are bringing divorce papers, bring the copies that show both parties' names and signatures, together with details of the divorce, not just the simple 2-page one. I think one of the participants in my session experienced issues because of that. If you don't have the printed copies, at least ask your petitioner to send soft copies to you; it just might work with the consul.

11:30-ish - My interview lasted about 5-10 minutes. The consul instructed me to go down to the ground floor and proceed to the air-conditioned area (one with the glass door, 7 counters, and lots of chairs). Try to sit by counter numbers 6 and 7 because that's where the magic happens. 😂 
If you see other people holding receipts and the like, don't panic. At this point you should just wait for your name to be called (person from counter 7 will probably do that one) and he/she will collect your Php 400.00 payment and issue your receipt. WITH VISA: Hand over your passport. WITHOUT VISA: No need to give your passport.
After that, you will once again wait for your name to be called. In the meantime, make new friends. Haha

Around 12nn - My name was called by a lady at counter 6 and she gave me my Certificate. Because I don't have my visa yet, this isn't my last encounter with CFO just yet. But if you already have the Certificate AND the CFO sticker, you're good to go! As in, go leave the country. LOL

Other notes:
On Sunday, June 2 I booked a room at a nearby hotel to make sure I wasn't late the next morning. I live quite far from Manila proper, Monday morning traffic would have killed me, so I decided that staying nearby was the best option for me. You don't have to do this, too; but the option is there if you need it.

If you've made it this far, congratulations. Your patience is praiseworthy. LOL. I hope I wasn't blabbering on too much.

Hope y'all have a smooth-sailing experience like I did.

Best of luck! 😁

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Good write-up  :thumbs:

 

All goes to show that the confident and self-assured have fewer issues ..     

 

Those that are timid or shy tend to draw more attention.

 

And yes for sure being prepared with all the documents saves extra trips, should they hit you for "additional documents"

 

 

Thanks


Hank

"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

 

      HandArrow.gif.adeb854ba620933849ae921ca0b44a0c.gif  Link to the Visa Process for Manila Embassy  : Click Here

 

Contact Hank: HERE

K-1 visa approved 21 March 2012

...Citizenship... complete!

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Del A. said:

 (I feel I shouldn't disclose too much because the form was confidential to begin with).

I guess you're also going to follow the making sure you pay your income taxes to the Philippines as instructed during the presentation. The form is available online. Buried in their website. 

 

Gcp is just another step to extract money from people. My wife was sending me photos of the slides presented. She was amused at some of the silly info. While waiting after the presentation my wife was video chatting with me. She said she was the only married one there the rest were k-1 visa holders that already got their visas. She said they all looked nervous vOv

 

She was second to last to be called. I stayed on the video chat and greeted the interviewer then I hung up. 

 

The interviewer got caught up in conversation with my wife for like 40 mins because she was telling her of all the places in America she visited during her J 1 program. Lost track of time.  

 

She has to go a second time when she gets her visa but this step is also out of the way. 

 

 


01/28/2019 - Mailed Express Mail USCIS Lockbox Phoenix

01/29/2019 - Received by Phoenix Lockbox
02/04/2019 - Receipt Notice Via Text Message assigned to Nebraska Service Center 

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Yes to this! I would recommend the afternoon sesh because it is faster.

 

I was done in  less than 3 hours, left CFO at 4:30ish with my certificate. Before the seminar, I was already interviewed by Ms. Ventura, the facilitator. I got asked 4 questions, his full name, bday, how did we met and what happened to my first GDCP seminar. All in all, the interview is just a little under 3 minutes I think.

 

Oh, I volunteered to show the scrapbook that I made because nobody looked at it(or any documents at all) during my embassy pre-screening and CO interview a day before. Lol.

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3 hours ago, JMPM said:

I guess you're also going to follow the making sure you pay your income taxes to the Philippines as instructed during the presentation.

Nah, we didn't have anything like that in my seminar experience.

 

 

3 hours ago, JMPM said:

Gcp is just another step to extract money from people. My wife was sending me photos of the slides presented. She was amused at some of the silly info. While waiting after the presentation my wife was video chatting with me. She said she was the only married one there the rest were k-1 visa holders that already got their visas. She said they all looked nervous vOv

If your wife found the presentation and some of the info silly, I guess that's a good thing for you guys (either that or your wife had to sit through a terrible session, LOL. My session was pretty alright); she must have been knowledgeable enough to begin with, especially considering she'd already been around the states beforehand. 😉 But to everyone else who was nervous, it was probably a whole new experience for them; and they'd benefit more from what the presentation could teach them.

 

 

3 hours ago, JMPM said:

The interviewer got caught up in conversation with my wife for like 40 mins because she was telling her of all the places in America she visited during her J 1 program. Lost track of time.  

I wish I had the same luxury of taking my sweet time to talk more.  LOL. I enjoy a good conversation. But sadly, there were people waiting in line behind me. 😉



Glad that hurdle is over for the both of us. Good luck to you guys! 😁

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5 hours ago, Hank_ said:

And yes for sure being prepared with all the documents saves extra trips, should they hit you for "additional documents"

Thanks, Hank!

And yes, having all documents on-hand throughout the visa process ensures you have everything you need regardless of which phase you're in. I can use the files I prepared for the CFO Seminar for the embassy interview. 😊

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