Getting a Visitors Visa for my Filipina Wife, Need Help

Hi, I realize this has been discussed here before, but I have some questions that haven’t been covered. I’m hoping that someone who has been through the process can offer some advice.

The visa requirements at the link below are straightforward enough: … 712&mp=272

But one of the requirements is that the marriage contract me authenticated by TECO. These are requirements: … 713&mp=272

What’s confusing me is #2 and #5.

  1. Original passport of both parties with one set photocopy of all pages used
    (Note: If the applicant is abroad, the passport of all used pages has to be stamp, seen & noted by their related embassy)

I will be abroad and my wife will apply, but what embassy is the “related embassy”? Does this mean I need to go to the American Institute in Taiwan? Or to the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan? Or do I need to go to the USA embassy in Manila?

  1. If one of the parties is a Taiwan resident, submit Alien Resident Certificate stamp by Foreign Affairs office. Make one (1) photocopy

What is the “Alien Resident Certificate stamp”? I have an Alien Resident Certificate card, but I don’t know about about any stamp. If they need the card, does my wife need to bring a copy only? Because I’ll be in Taiwan with my card.

For any American’s who’ve been through the process, what did you do about the requirement to have the marriage registered with the US embassy (which American embassies don’t do)? Did you apply at TECO without it? Or find someway to have it authenticated such as in support of a W-7 application?

I have not been in the same situation as you are, but I have had to deal with TECO in Manila many times. Let me share my thoughts

You were looking at the TECO Manila webpage, so “applicant is abroad” should refer to abroad from the Philippines. If you are an American in Taiwan, then you should go to AIT and have a photo of the used pages in your US passport authenticated. If I recall correctly, that isn’t going to be cheap.

I suggest you contact MECO in Taipei for additional guidance. Go to their website … &Itemid=77 - I’ve sought help from both Atty Eulogio (Assistance to Nationals) and Mary Anne Sioco (Information Center) - both are smart, proactive, and thoughtful pros. Call Mary Anne first and explain your story. If you can visit MECO during the week, lines are not long - but try reaching her by phone/email first.

Hopefully, MECO can shed some light on this.

But this is a TECO question. Bear in mind that (well, in the past at least), the TECOs and Taiwan’s MOFA are not always aligned. That may sound incredible, but keep in mind that it is the TECO whose requirements you/your spouse must absolutely satisfy. So do not be surprised if MOFA says one thing, and the TECO asks for more things or for other things. At the end of the day, it’s the TECO that will issue your spouse the travel document.

What might end up happening is that you end up sending a notarized copy of your ARC. That means lining up for notarization at MOFA for that.

Assuming you were married in the Philippines, then you should have requested a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry. The US Embassy in Manila provides something similar - and here is a link to the US Embassy Manila webpage about that:

NOTE: that that page pointed out that such an affidavit would not be usable if you were married in Makati, QC, or Davao. If you were married in one of those cities, then presumably you fulfilled the Philippine requirement for legal capacity for marriage with another document. It would be that document (or the Affidavit if you were married in the Philippines other than those 3 places) that you need to check TECO Manila is kosher with.

So, this ultimately, sounds like a TECO Manila question.

Some tips for you and your spouse from my frustrations having to deal with TECO - my latest experience was in 2012.

Be extra nice to the receptionists in the lobby who issue you the queue numbers. You will likely have to see them A LOT. When they start recognizing you as you come in through security, and if they like you, they have been known to help however they can, like by giving your a number even if you arrive beyond their well-defined time periods for getting queue numbers, or even holding a lower number for you. (And yes, there is a queue in the courtyard outside the Yuchengco Museum to get a queue number for upstairs). Remember that submitting forms is in the morning, picking up documents is in the afternoon. So, if you don’t make it at the right time, you are likely going to have to go the next day (heaven forbid there is a weekend or holiday coming up - expect them to observe every single holiday)

There is a bank in the lobby (not the HSBC) where you can photocopy documents. But if you can prepare in advance, you should take care to have at least 2 copies of everything just in case.

Do you have a travel agent in the Philippines? Ask them if they can handle some of the documentation for you first. If they are a well-established agency, their messengers may have guanxi with all the staff (the receptionists, the security guards upstairs, the local staff behind the windows) that could quicken the process or make it easier for them than for you. If you don’t have that kind of travel agent, find out if you might know someone in your and your spouses personal network who might have a messenger who has done this in the past. For years, I lined up myself - I found out later that the messenger of a relative of mine seemed to accomplish in one morning in TECO what would normally take me 2 days to do. Lesson: if you can avoid doing it yourself, look into it and be ready to pay a little extra - unless you do not mind spending A LOT of timing waiting around.

If you are the latter (like I was a lot of the time), if you are stuck with a high queue number, wait in the TAITRA library that is right next to the main waiting area. No one is in there except the TAITRA officer - don’t bother her with any questions, and she won’t mind you hanging around. The airconditioning is stronger because its a smaller space. Just pretend you are there to research something - so pull out some of those antique trade directories that they still have there to prop up around you.

There is A LOT of food on the 2nd floor, and in buildings across both Gil Puyat and Ayala Avenues. Mister Donut has an open Internet network.

There are open plugs in the waiting area of TECO where you can charge your phones. Well, they don’t seem to mind if you do, even if you are actually not supposed to bring in your mobile devices into the embassy. Also, the mobile signal up there isn’t great anyway.

Good luck. I don’t envy you - it’s most likely going to be a long process for whatever it is you have to do (unless you know someone high up). But hang in there (I also recommend reading Lee Child novels - there is a newstand on the 2nd floor where you can pick up good paperbacks)

Yes, I suppose it is the AIT that I need to get my documents validated at. I wonder if they would accept it if I had it done at the US embassy in Manila. I need to go there anyway. I don’t think the certificate of no-marriage the US embassy gave will do the job. That was done before the wedding. They want the marriage itself to be registered, and no US embassy can legally do this.

I’ve heard MFA and TECO don’t communicate from others here. Thanks for the advice about MECO, but I’m not sure how they might help.