Vizard’s Corner! What is the pre-departure seminar, anyway?

Dear Vizard,

Have visa, will travel. Now you just need to attend the CFO seminar!

I got my fiancée visa last week. However, the airline did not allow me to get on my flight as I did not attend this thing called a Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar.  I thought I only needed my passport and my visa to travel. Do I really have to attend this seminar? Is there a way to get out of it?


Xena Dinavaza



Hi Xena!  

Filipino law says that anyone emigrating has to attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.  Only emigrants aged 12 years and younger don’t have to attend. 

Although the U.S. Government requirement doesn’t require the seminar, we do make this information available to all fiancé(e)s and immigrant visa applicants.  The US Embassy will attach to your visa packet an information sheet so that you know about the seminar. 

Want more information on the seminar? See below for a direct quote from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas:

The Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar is for emigrants petitioned by their parents, siblings, and immediate relatives. Travel regulations, immigration procedures, cultural differences, settlement concerns, employment and social security concerns, and rights and obligations of Filipino migrants are some of the topics on the PDOS Seminar.

Filipino spouses and other partners of foreign national are given guidance and counseling program.  They are given advice on the realities of intermarriage and migration, rights and obligations overseas, available support networks for women in distress, cultural and social realities overseas, and other information which may help them make informed decisions about cross-cultural unions and settlement overseas.

Excerpt from the CFO Information Sheet

 Sounds pretty helpful to me!

 For additional information, such as registration and counseling requirements and the seminar schedule,  please visit the Council’s website at:

Later, skater!