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Visa Processing, ISD Memories

Yesterday my wife went to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to have the birth certificate (issued by NSO) of our kids authenticated. Also, she provided a copy of the birth certificate to the translation office (to be translated to Arabic). She was told that as soon as DFA released the authenticated document (in ‘red ribbon’) the translated document will be simply attached. The cost of translation is P500 per document. Cost for authentication is P100.

Meantime, today my wife went to ISD (International Skill Development) and submitted our documents. She was told that it is not necessary to translate the NSO-issued birth certificate of our kids since we have the original birth certificates issued by the Saudi Government (both our kinds were born in Saudi Arabia). But was advised that the DFA authenticated document will be submitted as well to the Saudi Embassy. DFA will release this authenticated birth certificate on Friday.

At ISD, my wife was processed for medical referral as required by GAMCA. It is unfortunate that there had been a technical problem on the system thus, she was not scheduled right away for medical tests which should had been tomorrow. She may take it on Monday (as she was informed GAMCA Office is closed on Thursday and Friday, I don’t know if this office is always closed on these days).

Good thing is that my kids will not undergo medical exams (unlike in IPAMS, they are still requiring even kids to undergo medical tests). I am not sure though if my wife will be subjected to both Phase I and Phase II.

My wife informed me that she met with my previous bosses, the President of ISD as well as the Vice President who is my direct boss and ‘partner-in-crime’. I worked in ISD and I consider it my family. Our work relationship is in the atmosphere of a family. All are hardworking, yet we always have time for bonding moments (though some part of which is work-related and with clients). We use to stay at the office even after office hours to play cards and have some round of beer (my max is 4 bottles). We also visit bars in Makati, Manila and Pasay. I am usually with the VP especially hitching a ride because his place of residence is near mine. I am also with the VP when we conducted recruitment campaigns in Cebu and Davao (such a nice experience). I miss these guys.

I even remember a time, while me and the VP is on the taxi on the way home (after enteraining a client) when my wife called my cellphone (obviously fuming mad as it is already 4:30AM that I am not yet at home). I passed the phone to the VP so that he is the one to confirm we are still together – performing our job. I arrived home at around 5:30AM, simply took a bath, changed my clothes then went back to office to report for work. I have a client (we are on a recruitment campaign) thus I need to go back to the office soon that day. I miss those days and do not complain.

And of course, it is the kindness of the President of ISD that brings me back here in Saudi Arabia thru his contacts and channels. If not for him, I won’t be here.

Authenticating An Authenticated Document

I finally got the authenticated document at DFA yesterday. 

Step 1: Present your claimstub, at DFA’s ‘CHED’ authentication office. Wait to be called.
Step 2: Pay to the cashier P100, then present back the receipt at DFA’s CHED authentication office. Wait to be called.
Step 3: Releasing of the document (now in red ribbon).

Thereafter I went to IPAMS to submit the authenticated documents.  I was told that these documents – again – need to be authenticated by the Saudi Embassy (perhaps the right term is to be ‘stamped’) after collecting their own authentication fees (this time it is P420, to be deposited at their designated BDO bank account). Only God knows how they authenticate these thrice previously authenticated documents.

We have Saudi Embassy authenticating authenticated documents from the DFA, which was actually authenticated alredy by CHED which is first and foremost authenticated by UST. 

The authentication started on 18 Jan 2008 at UST (thereafter forwarded to CHED), after two weeks was given a claim stub for pick up at DFA on designated date (20 Feb 2008). However I noticed that the date 20 Feb 2008, is still not the ‘pick-up’ date per se, as it is mere the start of processing the documents at DFA. Perhaps it is more ideal and efficient if applicant could simply present claimstub and retrieve the documents within minutes.

There we have it, authenticating a twice authenticated TOR and diploma.

Authentication of Diploma and TOR

I went back to the clinic to submit the specimen of my stool, thereafter went to UST to have my diploma, transcript of records and certificate of graduation authenticated.

I was told that the entire process would take about one month or less.
a.) Authentication at UST
b.) UST will forward the documents to CHED
c.) CHED will forward the documents to DFA

DFA will issue claim stub that I need to collect at UST, then have to pick up the document at DFA.

This is the first time I entered UST Main Building in about nine years.  While the facade comfortably looks like those good old days I am still a student there (and probably the many years before me).  Yet there are some renovations and relocations made, like I was hoping to take a snack at the canteen inside main building only to find out that it is no longer there replaced by other offices.

I miss old days in UST, but I have no time to explore as I need to hurry back for work. 

Online Passport Renewal

Today I went to DFA for personal appearance for the renewal of my passport.  The lines are very long, seems all Filipinos are hurrying to obtain a passport and travel abroad (read: to work elsewhere despite the US Dollar depreciating, as of today it is USD1 = PHP40.45).

Lucky me, several days ago, I came accross www.passport.com.ph and found it very convenient.

1.) I simply filled-in my details on-line on a Saturday (12 Jan 2008).
2.) The courier company (2GO) picked-up my documents on Monday (14 Jan 2008).
3.) I made a personal appearance today at DFA (16 Jan 2008).
4.) I am expecting to have it delivered to me after 10 days (26 Jan 2008).

Hassle-free! I was treated like a ‘vip’, no need to fall miserably in line, the entire procedure took me only about 20 minutes, including having my photo taken.  Everything is arranged and fast-tracked.