Philippines 9a Visa for USA spouses during Covid

If you have been keen to travel to the Philippines, now you can. 

Spouses of Philippine citizens are now allowed in. No longer banned from travel due to Covid 19.

So if you are married to a Philippine citizen and ready to travel, now you can.  

This really is great news. 

To the great frustration of all, since Covid quarantine started, nobody except Philippine citizens have been allowed to enter the Philippines.

Until recently.

Starting in August 2021, after 15 months of Tight lockdown, the Philippines immigration service finally announced that they would start issuing visitor Visas to American citizens who are married to Philippine nationals. 

This includes those who got online marriages and may not have even met in person yet.

For details on how to obtain an online marriage for $100 

The visa now available to allow American spouses travel to the Philippines, is called a 9a temporary visitor visa. 

To apply for it, reach out to the nearest Philippines consulate, fill in an application form, pay $30, and provide  supporting documents and evidence.

Last week, I got calls from two of my clients who had successfully accomplished this. They were on their way to the Philippines.

And of course, immediately on return To the USA,from this honeymoon trip we will apply for their spouse visas. 

Previously They had to put their plans to submit CR1 spouse visa applications on hold, because US immigration only approves spouse visa applications when there is proof that the couple has met in person, AFTER the wedding has taken place.

So not only are these couples on the way to their honeymoons, but are finally making progress to complete the necessary steps to have a Life together In the USA !!

For those who don’t know about online marriages, this is what they are and how an American can obtain one.. 

An officiant based in Utah can conduct a lawful marriage ceremony over a zoom conference. 

This is called a “web conference” wedding. It is not a proxy wedding. As a proxy wedding means one of the couple is absent and someone else is standing in as a representative, a “proxy” at the ceremony.

At the “web conference” wedding everyone is present, bride, groom, officiant, and witnesses all via a Zoom video conference.

The result of this wedding is a binding and acceptable marriage certificate. And it does not mention that the ceremony took place online. It reads the same as any marriage certificate proving a lawful marriage has been entered into.

And this proof of marriage is totally acceptable to the Philippines and can be registered in the Philippines at the PSA, the Philippines statistics authority.

But for US immigration purposes, you are not quite there yet. US immigration requires this piece of paper proving a lawful ceremony has taken place, AND on top of that also requires proof that the couple spent time together in person after the ceremony.

Due to Covid this in person requirement has been very hard to satisfy. 

Until now!

Here is how you you apply for your Philippines visa

Your marriage needs to be recognized by the Philippines government. If you married in the Philippines this should have followed as a matter of course. Obtain a certificate that confirms your marriage from the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA). 

If you married outside the Philippines then register your foreign wedding certificate at PSA and wait on them to issue their corresponding certificate.

Do a google search on what Philippines Embassy or Consulate location is responsible for handling cases from the State where you reside and download from the consulate an application form for the 9a Temporary Visitor Visa. Fill it in.

Gather the documents and evidence needed for your application. Usually this includes your Passport, your PSA marriage certificate, proof of income, visa photo, and an invitation letter from your spouse. Unfortunately the application process is still in its early stages, and there is no uniform set of requirements yet. Each consulate appears to have slightly different requirements. So obtain the list of supporting documents that is needed from the consulate you will be working with and follow their individual procedures..

Send in your completed application package and include a self addressed prepaid return envelope.

Be patient.

Feedback so far is that it takes awhile for the consulate to process your application, And I have received multiple reports that the consulate’s seem to change the goal posts during the process asking for more materials than which were instructed to you at the start. Bear with it and eventually your visa will be on its way to you.

Once you receive the visa, Jump on a flight to the Philippines, and enjoy quality time with your spouse and her family in person. If you had married over the internet and this is your time to meet then also enjoy your honeymoon and collect and bring back proofs to apply for a CR1 spouse visa. Ideally you hired me and the VisaCoach staff to prepare your application.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach,  here to personally guide you on this journey.

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