Monday, August 27, 2012

Destination Wedding: Hong Kong

I have the pleasure of meeting an online friend who have a destination wedding at the wonderful Hong Kong. It seems to be a good alternative for those who do not want to go all the hassle of paper works to marry in the Philippines ... or... just wanted to have a change of scenario. She is from the Philippines while her partner is a German national.

I did ask her what are the good points in marrying there. The following is her answer:

1. Less time consuming
-- she spend a total of one (1) week in Hong Kong: arriving there 2 days before the wedding date for the personal appearance and leaving after registering the wedding in 2 offices:  (a.) Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong & (b.) High Court of the Apostille to prove that the wedding is legal & is being recognize in Germany.
-- no seminar needed.

2. Less documents needed to present
-- German Partner were ask to present only 2 things: Birth Certificate & Passport
-- Philippine Partner were ask to present the following: NSO Cenomar, NSO Birth Certificate & Passport
-- and a notorized ''Notice of Marriage'' paper. She did warn that this is not known so she needed to explain that this document is one of the requirements for marrying in Hong Kong when she have it notorized in the Philippines.

3. A friend or relative living in Hong Kong is an advantage.
-- Her friend was the one who submitted their documents including their payment for the processing fee.
***NOTE: they only send photocopies of their passport & not the passport itself.
-- needed at least 2 witnesses (of legal age) for the wedding ceremony. You can always fly your family if this is what you prefer.

For more information on how to marry in Hong Kong, check the official Hong Kong website.

My wedding was held in a beach in the Philippines. This is my personal pointers on what are the advantages:

1. Affordable Dream Wedding
-- Beautiful & natural back drop for those who opt for destination weddings within the Philippines such as beach weddings among others.
-- Professional services such as photographers & videographers to capture the moments are much affordable in the Philippines.Just be sure that they have good reputations.
-- Filipino food are delicious and affordable.

2. Wedding Planning Stages
-- Planning a wedding is not easy esp. when one or both of you are out of the country. But you get to know your partner better in the process. I did notice that how we plan and execute for our wedding are the same approach we did when we now plan and execute for our new apartment.We can say that this stage is our glimpse of how it will be like when finally living together.

3.  Celebrating with family and close friends
-- I actually heard that this is one of the most common complain when marrying in the Philippines: too many guests. On the other side, it would be nice if you get to share your special moments with your family & close friends. But like in any wedding, the only important part is that its legal. My sole advise would be: Go for quality over quantity!


At the end of the day, its your and your partner's decision on where to held your wedding. My friend and I sincerely hope that we get to help you decide on what  maybe a better choice for the both of you. We wish you well!

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Claiming my Residence Permit ID card

So happy to finally have internet. My apologies for the delay of update. Now, let us discuss about getting the Residence Permit Id card. 

After applying for the extention of visa, we received a letter from the Alien Office that my card is already for pick up. In the letter, we were instructed to make an appointment to get it. 

It's time to go back and visit the Ausländerbehörde (Alien Office). We no longer need to sign up for the appointment (as we already done that over the phone). We simply need to go there earlier than the appointment time and then wait for our name to be called. And true, we were called in on time. 

The Alien Office guy will give you a quick introduction of the Resident Permit Id card (I got to say this but the ID card is really good looking). I was reminded that I need to bring it with me wherever I go and that I still need to bring my passport with me. In the Id card, you will see all your basic informations of yourself and it included the expiration date of your visa. The visa extention time differs from city to city -- some have longer duration stay. Futhermore, this is also dependent on what kind of visa you have. To know more about this, just click here  for my previous link.

Congratulation and enjoy your stay here in Germany! 

Until next time, regards!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Part 3, Visiting the Civil Registry Office (Standesamt)

Welcome to the last round!

This must be one of the thrilling part of the document battle for your partner, registering your marriage. They can change their tax classification, which simply means, lower tax pay for them. Let's face it, the taxes here are expensive!

As usual, this is a first-come-first-serve basis system unless you have an appointment.

Please take note while I was applying for my Family Reunion Visa in the Philippines, I was not subjected to document checking. I wanted to quote myself from my previous topic that it is best to assume that everyone who is applying for Family Reunion Visa or Fiancee Visa is subjected to document checkings. Read on to find out why I needed to quote myself now.

These are the things asked from us:
1. My Passport
2. My One (1) Passport size ID picture
3. My Resident Registration paper or the Anmeldebestätigung (given by the Ortsamt authorities)
-- Read Part 1 on how to obtain this.
4. NSO Birth Certificate*
5. NSO Marriage License*
* I attached a translation of these although it was not asked from me.
6. NSO Certificate of Marriage (CEMAR)
7. My husband's ID card passport or the Ausweis
-- Make sure that the home address are uptodate
8. Certified copy of my husband's Birth Certificate
-- This is taken from the registry where he was sign up after birth.
9. Profile Copy of my husband
-- taken from the Ortsamt. See Part 1.
-- must be uptodate.
10. Certification to allow & pay them processing fee of document checking
-- Fees: 190€ for processing fee + 10€ for postal fee
-- This is the same document checking where most was subjected to when they are applying for their Family Reunion Visa or Fiancee Visa.
-- Please note that I do know someone who were not ask for the document checking ever. It is safe to assume that this differ from Standesamt to Standesamt.

We are done... for now! It's back to the waiting game where they will just send a letter when all the necessary process are done. Until next time!!!


Part 2, Visiting the Alien Office (Ausländerbehörde)

Welcome to the part 2 out of 3

It's time to head to the Foriegner Registration Office or the Ausländerbehörde. Again, this is a first-come-first-serve, so, the first thing you should do is get a priority number. Incase there is none, try to locate for a registration sheet and sign in your name. This is for the Receptionist who will ask you what kind of assistance do you need -- he or she will give you the list of things that you will need to present. The same person will confirm that you will be listed to their appointment list if you have all the necessary documents with you. You will wait at the waiting area until an Officer calls your name.

Please note that this is a long wait depending on the cases the said Officers are assisting. If not urgent, do not leave the waiting room. During my stay there, there was this couple who went out of the room to smoke.While they were gone, an Officer repeatedly call for their attention, until such a time the Officer called for the next person in line. The time they were back, their appointment is gone and since its already cut-off time -- they were ask to come back in another time for their concerns. Consider yourself warned!


Almost every person in that room are there for their Residence Status which they called ''Aufenthaltsstatus''. By the German law, every Alien must hold a Residence Approval or the Aufenthaltsgenehmigung. This is subdivided into different parts:

1. Residence Permission (Aufenthaltserlaubnis)
-- Initially issued with an expiration date and can be extended or after number of years and complying to certain requirements, this can be exchange for an unrestricted resident permit.
-- This is issued for foreigners who are a close family relative of a German national.

2. Residence Allocation (Aufenthaltsbewilligung)
-- This is granted for people who are only temporarily staying in Germany for a particular purposes such as studying a course.

3.Authorisation of Residence (Aufenthaltsbefugnis)
-- This is granted for people who are allowed to enter and reside within the federal territory for reasons of international rights or urgent humanitarian reasons or for maintaining the political interests of Germany.

4. Right of Residence (Aufenthaltsberechtigung)
-- The no time limit resident permit.


With this, I am applying for the Residence Permission (Aufenthaltserlaubnis). Please be reminded that the requirements being sought are case-to-case basis. Do bring all the documents you felt important.On our case, we are both of legal age, married in the Philippines, and applied for a Family Reunion Visa. We both are never married before and have no children outside the relationship.

The things ask from us are the following:
1. A fully accomplished form
2. My Passport
3. My Two (2) Passport size ID pictures
4. My Resident Registration paper or the Anmeldebestätigung (given by the Ortsamt authorities)
-- Read Part 1 on how to obtain this.
5. My husband's ID card passport or the Ausweis
6. Proof of Health Insurance
-- can be the Health Insurance card or the letter of confirmation from the Insurance company.
7. Proof of Income
-- Can be Job Contract of your German's Partner or Payroll Slip

110€ for the visa extention

After all documents checked, papers stamped and signed for, I was given the following:
1. a list of  schools with their addresses and contact numbers for my German Language course
-- they included 3 forms to which you will submit to your new school.
2. a booklet about the newly feautured ID system for my Residence Permission (Aufenthaltserlaubnis)
-- the system is fairly new and I was subjected to their electronic finger printing and electronic signature
-- I was told that the process is more or less, one month, and they will send us a letter when it arrives.

We are almost done with the paper battle. See you the next round!

Part 1, Visiting the Local Civil Office (Ortsamt)

This is the first office that you need to visit: The Local Civil Office or the Ortsamt.

In Germany, you need to register where you are living. If you move to a new apartment or place, irregardless if its on the same street, you need to go to this office to inform them thru registration. If you guys are not going to move, please read on to the next paragraph. For those who will move or is planning to do so, remember that the very least they require is that your new home already have your name tags on the mailbox. They do not do any advance processings and will only ask you to come back again incase the name tags are not yet changed to yours.

They have a first-come-first-serve system. You can get your number at the information counter.

Moving on, here are the things they ask from us:
1. Fully accomplished form
-- the forms are located at the waiting area.
-- incase you guys move to a new address, and your partner needs to register too, he needs to fill up a seperate form.
2. My passport
3. Rental Agreement
4. My husband's ID card passport or the Ausweis
-- this is needed if your German partner is going to register to a new address

10 € for the registration fee per couple or person
10 € for a profile copy  of your German partner**
** This was a requirement for his Capacity to Contact Marriage. My husband needs to take a new one because he need to present an uptodate copy to the Standesamt (Part 3).

After everything is done, you will be given a stamped and signed Resident Registration Paper or the Anmeldebestätigung. This is your official proof of address of living in Germany.You will need to present this whenever you need to confirm your address, so bring it with you wherever you go along with your passport and other legal ID.

We're done... for now! Hope this helps!


Registering in Germany -- My Experience

Willkommen in Deutschland!  (Welcome to Germany!)

It's time to continue the paper battles!

My situation: I am born in the Philippines, had a destination wedding with my German national partner held in the Philippines, applied a Family reunion visa and is now in Germany. At the moment, I did not change my surname yet to my husband's. Now, I need to extend my visa stay.

There are 3 offices that I need to visit:

(1)  the Local Civil Office or the ''Ortsamt''
(2)  the Foreigner Registration Office or the ''Ausländerbehörde''
(3) Civil Registry Office or the Standesamt.

The good news is that all the said offices are compact in one building, at least from where I am staying. The bad news is that they all have a different opening and closing times. My husband and I were able to do all this in half of a day. You can call it luck or good timing, however, I still believe it is best that you should get the business hours of the said offices to save you time.

If you are anything like me who only got an A1 certificate and cannot speak the German language well -- I believe it is best that you have your partner or the very least, a German speaking friend to accompany you on this trip. This will save you the worries regarding language barriers.

For the other details such as what documents to bring or what are my personal experiences on each of the said offices, just click on their name/link.

Good luck!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

My First Glance of Germany

Lucky. This is what everyone told me when I arrive in Germany. The day I arrive was the same day they have their first sun signaling the start of Spring. Awesome timing! I was attentive with the things around me as soon, this will be my new home.

Pushcart with a 50 cents Euro
The first thing that greeted me after leaving the Immigration officer who stamped and signed my passport was a series of doors -- all opening automatic for me. Talk about high tech! What greeted me next was nothing I expected: The pushcart are locked with a certain device. To have it unlock, you need to slide a coin in the slot before you can unhook it. You can now push it around like a normal cart. When you are done, you can simply go to a cart area, park your cart in the pile, took the chain and snap it to the cart infront of you. You can now get your coin back. Cool, huh?

I find the Germans in general are warm and sincere people contrary to the other comments I had heard before. I had my first taste of celebrity status upon reaching the arrival area. Almost the whole family of my husband (uncles and aunts included) was there to give us a welcome home. I was given flowers, some welcome gifts with lots of hugs and smiles while several cameras snapping away. I was naturally embarrassed with all the attentions given. I was most relief when I noticed that the people around us seems not to mind... infact, they were smiling at me too. Awwww! :)

The following are my observations on my first day in Germany:
1. The streets are very clean. As expected!
2. The people are nature lovers. Almost every window or balcony I saw has flowers.
3. There are no security guards in malls, grocery store or in restaurants.

I did get to see my first ''Mercedes'' taxi car. Unfortunately, I did not get to take any picture of it. I heard of it, read about it and so on. But seeing it for real still manage to give me a shock. Hilarious!

This is all for now.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

My airline-of-choice to Germany

There are several airlines with different stop-over destination from Philippines going to Germany. It is best that you take the time to research on what is best for you. For this topic, I will be discussing about the airline I rode going to Germany. Please be reminded that I am not representing the airline company  or any company in that matter. I am  not getting  any payment to write this blog. This is all based on my personal experiences. Kindly read my  Blog disclaimers. For those who are still interested, please read on.

Gate 5
Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Manila, Philipppines
And so without further ado, our airline-of-choice is **drumrolls** Emirates. The stop over is at Dubai airport. This is 9 hours non-stop flight from Manila, Philippines. If you are arriving in Dubai and your first available connection flight is more than 8 hours and less than 24 hours, the airline Emirates will give you a voucher for a free complimentary airport hotel stay. For further informations regarding this, you can check the Emirates official websites. Or check your airline-of-choice's official website for similar offers.

Please take note that the free hotel varies and is dependent on what kind of tickets you are holding: first class, business class or economy. The better seats you have, the better hotel they will provide you. You must be wondering how the free hotel works upon arrival... so read on.

Emirates Economy screen
Upon reaching Dubai airport, proceed to the Emirates help desk that you can go to. Present them with your passport and the voucher. They will give you instructions what to do next.

Since I am holding a Philippine passport (needs visa to enter Dubai ... the hotel is outside the airport), I was ask to do 2 things before heading for the Immigration counter area:

1. Go to the bank located at the airport arrival ground
-- Give them your passport and hotel voucher. They will stamp and will redirect you to another counter to have your eyes scanned.

2. Have my eye scanned.
-- This is not frieky as it sound. There is a long counter which have 2 lines seperated by gender. They will scan your passport information then will ask you to sit down and look into their eye scanner. After this they will stamp and signed your voucher. Now you can move to the Immigration area.

The immigration officer will get the original copy of your voucher and will stamp & signed your passport. It's time to head to the Emirates lounge to ride the free shuttle to the hotel. For economy class, the hotel is Millenium Airport Hotel. This is just a few minutes ride to and from the airport.
hotel room

What about our luggages? We do not need to worry about our bags & they are tagged to be picked up at Germany. Anyway, going back to the topic: The hotel room is clean and comfortable. It have a flat screen TV and a bathtub. Not bad for a free hotel. Free breakfast are also provided ... though, we did not get to try it anymore.

I am now signing off with 2 pictures taken from the Dubai airport: (1)the jaw dropping beautiful oasis ; and (2) the beautiful  enormous waterfall which drops water 3 storey high (yes, both inside the airport). Nice, right?

This is all for now. Wishing for those who are flying for a safe trip!

Bon voyage!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Flying from Manila Airport to Germany

Here we go ... here we go ... here we go!!! Take a deep breath and here we go!

With international flight, it is ideal that you show up 3 hours before your flight or earlier. Hey, your tickets does not come in cheap... so be on time! The worst that can ever happen is that the check-in counter closes on you and that you need to buy new tickets on your expense. Ouch! 

My flight was through NAIA terminal 1 in Manila. I showed up 5 hours ahead of my schedule flight. It was an afternoon flight and the airport is packed with many passengers. After subjecting to security check up, I realized that my airline-of-choice has not open a check-in counter yet. That's alright and I rather be stuck waiting inside the airport lobby than stuck in a traffic jam. Along with other passengers of the same airline, I waited patiently.

I wore jogging pants with a 3/4 long sleeves shirt with a comfortable rubbershoes. I have a thick hoody in my check-in trolley bag. (Please check your airline-of-choice's measurement of the check-in bags and allowable weight as they are very strict regarding this). Remember that COMFORT is more important than fashion.

There are 2 things I needed to pay:

1. Travel Tax
This you can pay at the MIAA (Manila International Airport Authority) counter located at the airport lobby with the following rates:
a. 1,620php for Filipinos who are not permanent residents abroad. This is what I payed.
b.  810php for Filipinos aged 2 - 12 years old who are not permanent residents abroad.
c.  200php for Infants below 2 years old & for Filipinos permanent residents abroad.

You can also check the MIAA official website for more information.

2. Terminal Fee of 550php
This new fee started only this February 1, 2012 but may increase again soon according to the local media. The previous fee is 750php. Better bring more money, just in case.

Another long line awaits you at the Immigration Counter. They will check on your passport for the valid visa & CFO stickers. They will also take a look at your plane ticket & maybe interview you a little. When you are cleared, the officer will stamp & sign your passport. You can go ahead now to your assigned gate number (also printed on your boarding pass). You can go shopping too if you like at the duty free area, though I felt they are only limited selections.

You should be fine from here. Have a good journey ahead of you!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Clothing to Bring

My sincere apology for the delay. As you may guess, I am now in Germany & have been busy. What's my experiences during the trip is a story I will post in another time. Stay tuned! At the moment, I would like to discuss ''clothing''. What you should bring with you.

1. Jacket
-- at least bring one (1) that you felt is thick enough for the cold weather. Even on a sunny day, the wind is still somewhat cold.
-- light jackets can be useful for spring and autumn seasons. Bring two (2) or more as you wish.

2. Top
-- forget about the shirt or blouse made of thin materials. Chances of being able to use them is slim.
-- do bring several long sleeves, turtle necks, knitted wears, hoodies or T shirts that suits your taste.

3. Bottom
-- do bring several jeans, jogging pants, and the likes with you.
-- skirts of thick material is optional.
-- if you are used to wear shorts at home, you can bring some with you.

4. Shoes
-- do bring sport shoes or sneakers with you. You can wear them on the day you fly to Germany. Make sure that your toes can move inside your shoes.
-- if you are a flipflop lover like myself: at most, bring only one (1) flipflop for the summer seasons. Let's be practical.
-- other close shoes you can't simply leave behind. Hey, I'm a girl too and can understand you! But don't over do it and you can still buy some pairs in Germany too.

5. Others
-- undergarments or underwears. Bring several.
-- socks. Bring at least six (6) pairs of sport socks (the very thick ones) and 6 (six) pairs of normal socks. Bring more esp. if you are not used to cool climates. Knee-high socks are optional.
-- gloves and earmuffs are optional esp. if you are arriving on autumn or spring seasons.
-- caps, hats and beanies. Bring some if you have. This is also optional.

Please take note that you just need to make sure that all your clothing can last upto a week. Either way, you will go shopping for your other necessities when you come here in Germany.

Enjoy packing!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Pre-Departure To Do List

You got your passport with valid visa & tickets ready, Congrats! 2 of the most common advises you probably heard by now are: (1) enjoy your remaining stay with your family & (2) eat as many of your favorite filipino dishes (because chances are, they are not available or taste differently).

 Here is my list of things I tackled before leaving the country:

1. Identification Cards
-- I decided not to change my surname yet in all on my documents. If ever, they normally just ask for a photocopy of your NSO marriage license. Things to change will include: Driver's License, SSS, BIR, bank accounts & the likes.

2. Credit Card(s)
-- To keep or not to keep is totally up to you. Call your Credit Card Company for payment options or special instructions while living abroad to be able to determine if you should maintain a PH credit card or not.

3. Communication options
-- You know you will miss your family, so, take the time to determine on how to contact them once you reach your destination. Sure, internet is just there -- but, people like my mom, who is zero knowledge in using a PC & refuses to learn it ... well, that is not so easy now, isn't it?
-- If you have a cellphone company line & do not want to maintain it anymore, you need to have this cut. Or if you wanted to maintain a prepaid PH sim, then its time to get one if you haven't yet. With me, I decided to keep a PH prepaid sim card.

4. Documents
-- Bring with you documents that you felt you might need there. I have my NSO birth certificate, NSO marriage license, Deutsch A1 Certificate, University Diploma, Transcript of Records & the likes with me.
-- I had my marriage license translated to German recently, the charge is: 1,400php.

5. Clothing
-- I will list down what I have in my bag in a different blog topic, mainly, because its a long topic. lol.

6.Other items you want to bring with you
-- okey, let's face it: we have tons of stuff we wanted to bring. But we have to bear in mind that there are a certain weight allotment given to us. Best to check it with your airlines... read the fine prints! It will be costly for us if we went over the said allotment. What to do? sort your items. Bring the stuffs you MUST bring now on this trip or set aside the things you can bring with you next time. On your next visit maybe? -- You have an option to 'Balikbayan box' the other stuffs. Just bear in mind that it takes around 1-3 months to get there. Time for you to do a research on this!

Always check for new advisories and restriction of what you can or cannot bring with you. This will save you alot of trouble.

Happy packing!!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Claiming my CFO Sticker

Congratulation & your most awaited Passport with Visa is in your hands. It's time to get your CFO sticker! What is CFO? What were my experience in attending the CFO seminar? Just click on the questions for the link.

As reminder, do research on the topics I wrote in this blog, before heading to the respective agencies out there. For one, there might be new updates might need or no longer need requirements and the likes. A good example right now is about the CFO being just beside the DFA office in Cebu as I mention in my previous blog. Yes, I went back to Cebu for the sticker. Just recently, the DFA moved to a different address already, although the CFO still at the same location.

Anyway, going back -- This is what you need to bring with you:

1. your passport with Visa
-- photocopy your Identification page in your passport (the one with picture) & your visa page.

2. Ballpen
-- they will ask you to fill up a form. Information needed are similar to what the CFO seminar ask for.

3. Your green copy CFO certificate
-- they will attach this to your passport.

Just wait for them to process it and viola! You now have your CFO sticker affixed to your passport.

Do double check the name printed on the sticker.

Happy weekend!!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Visa Approval part 2

The German Embassy Manila contacted me through email though I heard some got theirs via phone call or snail mail. It must be case-to-case basis again.  I was ask to submit the following:

1. Printed copy of the email

2. Valid Passport

3. Planned date of arrival in Germany
-- I just wrote an informal letter informing them my arrival date in Germany. They did not demand any e-ticket copy from me.


I was given 2 choices on how to submit the documents:

1. Personally show up at the German Embassy during office hours.

2. Call the call center of the Embassy and request for courier pick up.
-- You can actually send the required documents through your choice of courier, however, the Embassy do not guarantee the timely printing & releasing of your visa.


I choose to call the Embassy's call center. They gave me instructions on what to do & gave me a pick up date of my documents. Including the day it was picked up from me until the day I received my passport with Visa print in it -- it took only 5 working days in total. Fast service indeed!

Other Facts:
-- the official courier of the German Embassy is Air 21.
-- Fee for round ticket of document (to-&-fro German Embassy) costs 320php and is payable upon pick up of your required documents.
-- Fee for one way (from German Embassy) to your place is 160php and must be paid upon delivery.

Hope it helps!

Happy Leap Year!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Visiting the Philippines & Extension of Stay

If your friend(s), partner or yourself is planning to visit & experience the Philippines: Mabuhay!!! Bonus to those who are coming from the Europe Union, USA or countries such as Japan, Canada, Saudi Arabia and the likes -- great news & you do not need to apply for visa if you are staying for 21 days or less. That's right! You don't need to get a visa!

Just bring your travel passport with you & upon reaching the Philippines, the Immigration Officer will give you a Visa-upon-Arrival by stamping on it. This is good for 21 days. So cool, huh? But maybe you would want to know: what to do if you wanted to stay longer than 21 days? where to go?

You can go to the Bureau of Immigration offices to apply for an extension good for another 38 days.  The good news is that their offices are not limited to Metro Manila only & they have a list of subport offices that is nationwide!

You just need to bring the following:

1. Passport
-- Photocopy the information page (where your picture is located) & the last arrival stamp page.

2. Fee amounting to 3,030php
-- This is a "one-pay-fits-all" thing. Irregardless if you use up the entire 38 days or not, this is the standard amount to pay. On our case, my husband only used up 2 days out of the 38 days extension time.

The Alien Control Officer will stamp & signed your passport & will give you a receipt. It is important that you bring the receipt with you when you are about to leave the Philippines to avoid paying further fines/penalties. You can also visit The Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines official website for further information.

So yes, enjoy your stay here. Its more fun in the Philippines!***

*** Current slogan of the Philippine to boost tourism.

Good news & instead of the ''21 days'' allowable stay in the Philippines without a visa, they now extend this for 30 days! You just need to make sure that your friend have: (1) valid tickets for their return journey to port of origin or to the next port of destination, and (2) passport valid for 6 months beyond the contemplated period of stay in the Philippines. Happy planning!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Visa Approval

My apologies for the delay of posting & I was stunned at the wonderful news (still am actually). I was contacted by the German Embassy Manila, Visa division via e-mail. They instruct me to send my passport, date-of-arrival to Germany & an option on how to send my passport to their office for the visa printing. I have not done any of those yet as my husband & I are still planning on our trip. I will write another post regarding how I send mine.

My visa was approved within a month since I applied & had my interview at the embassy. My husband did not follow up the Alien office at all as on the letter they send him, it was written that they prefer you do not make any follow up. Well, yes, you can but then you just get to hamper their work by needing to explain things for you and so on. They did send my husband a letter explaining that they have already "decided" on my case & have send back my documents to the German Embassy in Manila. However, due to their policies, they cannot reveal their answer: if yes or no. Simply put that not necessary mean they send their approval that the Embassy in Manila will no longer ask for additional documents. Yes, this do happens in certain cases.

In my case, I would consider myself lucky as there were no additional documents that were ask of me, nor did I undergo any "document checking". Most cases that I learn from my acquaintances that they were required for document checking: Some were already asked of this when their husband were getting their Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage document. While the others were ask of this after applying for their visas. I would think it is best to assume still that everyone is required to have their documents checked, so not to raise false hope.

Wishing the people who are waiting for their visas good luck & a speedy process.

And for those who are jumping in joy in learning their visas are already approved... Congratulation!!! Happy planning!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Visa Fee Waive-able: True or False?

Good news to those who married in the Philippines with their German spouse and is now applying for a Family Reunion Visa: It's confirmed! The visa fee of 60 euro equivalent (roughly around 3,500php + depending on the current exchange rate) will be waived. Yes, they will not ask you to pay this anymore. This is our privilege being married to a German national. Isn't that cool?

First week after the Interview

It's such a big question mark in our head what exactly happen after your interview in the German Embassy. What to do and what to expect?

Our documents are being send by batch to Germany. Expect it to arrive there (the city where you are planning to reside soon) in 2 weeks. On the first week, the Alien Office of your German partner will send them a letter informing them of your visa application and will be asking in turn some of their documents. They will be given around 2 weeks deadline to complete and submit the documents. Per my husband, there is nothing extraordinary from their request, so there is nothing to worry about. My husband did ask me to send him a scanned copy of our Marriage License & CEMAR (Certificate of Marriage). It was a good thing I had a copy with me.

This is all for now. I will keep you guys posted. Good luck!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Interview at the German Embassy Manila

There are 2 German Embassy in the Philippines: One in Cebu while the other one in Manila specifically in Makati City. And from time to time, the good Consul have appointment trips to Davao. However, all visa transactions are redirected to the main office which is in Manila.

So, after your Visa Appointment experience, the other things you need to do are:
-- plan/schedule your trip to the Embassy carefully.
-- book your plane ticket (if applicable)
-- book your accommodation (if applicable)
-- photocopy your documents as instructed from the website.

Here are some pointers that you might find useful:

1. Appointment time
-- Do not underestimate the traffic of Manila.
-- Do not be late or they will forfeit your appointment and will advise you to call the call center to set for another appointment.
-- They will only allow you to enter the German Embassy if you are there before 30 minutes but not more than your appointment time. If you are too early, they will ask you to come back later as no loitering allowed in that floor. But hey, better already in that building than stuck somewhere else in traffic.

2. Complete documents please
-- You read it on their website, heard it from your friends and they are all true: they will only accept/process your documents if they are complete. I did not see any photocopier during my trip there, so please, have them photocopied before hand as specified in their website.
-- Organize your documents in a plastic envelope or folder as they will ask to leave your other stuffs behind.
-- If you have questions, you can write it down and ask the representative about it after the interview.

3. You represent yourself
-- You cannot bring your friends or family with you inside the 25th floor of the RCBC building. There is a smoking area which doubled as a waiting area which they can go to at the ground floor. Unfortunately, there was no other option that I saw during my trip there.
-- Their representatives are fluent in German, English and Tagalog. So, be yourself and choose the language where you are most comfortable with.

4. Items beware
-- They do not allow cellphone into the Embassy. They do have a locker where you can leave it behind.
-- Do bring a pen with you for additional things you might need to sign.

You have nothing to worry about regarding questions to be ask as they are basic questions about you and your partner. They will inform you what is the next step, what to expect and what to do. So, breath easy!

Hope it helps! Good luck!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Visa Appointment

After getting your NSO certificates, your passport and other documents as required from the German Embassy, you are now ready to make an appointment. The procedure is actually listed in the website but allow me to impart my own experience.

The website wrote that they starts at 8am. I tried dialing at 7:30am and a voice mail answered me saying that no operator is available and gave their working time. I called back 3 minutes before 8am and was thrilled that the phone rang normal and no more voice mail. I was most relief that the lady behind the call can speaks Filipino. She ask me basic information similar to the application form that the Embassy will be requiring us to answer. Over all, the total bills that I needed to foot for this transaction cost me around 850php. 

My tips to save up time (and money) are:

1. Have all the documents being requested from you nearby.
-- These are your completely filled up application form, passport and the likes.

2. Have a calendar or your planner near by. 
-- This is so you can quickly check which day would your appointment land on. In case you have preferred dates for your appointment, they can check on this too but is subjected to availability.

3. Have an International phonetic alphabet list near by.
-- Just in case you have a mental block that A for Alpha, Q for Quebec or Y for Yankee ... this will save you time. Sometimes, to make sure that your name or address (or other information) are correctly spelled, you will be ask to spell it in this manner.

4. Call the Call center few minutes before starting time of work but never too early.
-- Remember what happen to me and a voice mail answered my first call? Yes, you guess it: I got charged for that. 

5. If your line got cut, do not panic!
-- Yes, this happen to me too. Mid way of our conversation, my line got cut!!! I was using a post paid cellphone sim when calling them up and can only guess that something went wrong with the signal. I simply dial again. This time I was on waiting line. I waited on until someone answered. I quickly explain that my line was cut, she just ask what's my name and went to search on their computer. Then, we continue where we left off. So, its not back to zero. 

6. Have a pen and a paper near by.
-- For your reference, they will give your unique code of your profile. You will be ask to list this down.

7. List down your questions.
-- If you have questions that is not answered by the Embassy's website, you can ask the call center representative. They will answer as much as they can and will tell you if its beyond their knowledge.

Hope it helps! A belated Happy New Year!!!