After 2 years and a few months, we finally got around to filling a report of birth for Swe-cha with the Philippine Consulate in New York. We could've filed via mail earlier but I wanted to go in person because we are required to submit original documents and I didn't feel confident about mailing in our passports and permanent resident cards.
First off, there is a new Philippine Consulate General NEW YORK website. I didn't know this until recently and I kept going to the old url to check and was so annoyed that it was down. Before I learned about this new PCGNY site (and since the old website was down), I went to the website of consulates in a different state only to find out later that there are small differences in their requirements (i.e. the form itself has "Philippine Consulate General New York" in the corner while a form I downloaded from a different site has a form which does not have any headers).
To get the list of requirements and forms for the NY Philippine Consulate, check out this link:
here are some notes about my experience:
- Fee: $25
- bring original documents and make 4 copies of each. If you need to make more copies there, a coin-operated photocopy machine is also available at the embassy for 25c per copy. Bring quarters.
- The website does not mention it but you may opt to also submit a stamped, self-addressed envelope so they can just mail you your Report of Birth Certificate when it is available instead of you having to come back to claim it on another day. I got a USPS flat rate envelope w/ $5.15 worth of stamps (delivered w/in 2 to 3 days from mailing). I got this because I thought we'd have to leave the original documents and they'd have to be mailed back. As it turns out, I was able to bring home the originals so a regular letter envelope with a first class postage stamp will suffice.
- When filling up the form, hubby and I had a long discussion on how to fill up the following fields: "Child's Citizenship" and "If multiple citizenships, please list...". We eventually settled on putting "USA" in the citizenship field and leaving the other field blank. Baligtad pala.
Citizenship should be "Filipino" and in the other field, list "USA" or "American".
- The list of documentary requirements say that you need to submit either parent's proof of Filipino citizenship at the time of birth of the child. I brought mine and while going over my papers, the PCG staff suddenly asks me "saan ang ID ng tatay ?". [ insert curse words here ] And then I realized that I did bring photocopies of my husband's passport as well, just not the originals. I submitted that and they accepted it.
Note: bring anything and everything that you can think of to avoid having to make another trip.
- Last tip: BE ALERT!
When you get in the bldg, you'll be given a number & asked to go up to the 3rd floor and wait for your number to be called. When I got to the 3rd floor, there were several groups of people in the waiting area. Some were just sitting and waiting, some were scrambling around looking for quarters for the copy machine and others were going back and forth between the window & their desk, filling up forms and correcting mistakes.
A "Currently serving ##" electronic sign was on and showed "09". I was number 14 so the wait wasn't going to be so bad, I thought. After around 20 minutes of waiting and not seeing / hearing any number change, I asked one of the people waiting if they've heard any numbers being called. Wala raw. Note that at this point, there were 2 open windows - #3 (Cashier) and #6 (not labeled).
Since #6 was open but unstaffed, I went to #3 to ask the cashier, "Ma'am, nagtatawag po ba kayo ng number ?" and she says "oo, maghintay ka lang na tawagin ka." I went back to my seat. Some time later, the lady at #6 got back to her post and sat there. Nobody moved. We were still sitting down and waiting.
At around 2p, this was 40 minutes after I first got there, I decided to try and make eye contact with the lady at window 6 and when I did, she mouthed "meron pa ba ?" and I approached her. She helped me immediately and processed my papers. When I was done, I was instructed to pay the fee at Window 3 and I was done.
As I was paying at window 3, the cashier then calls out to the lady in #6, "ay, naka #9 pa pala itong sign, anong number ka na ba tayo para palitan ko to ?" and #6 answers, "Di ko alam, ginagawa ko lang kung sino lumapit sa akin."
Pakshet. Kainis. I waited 40 minutes to be called and worse, what about all those people who were ahead of me and were still waiting to be called ? Note, probably not all can speak Filipino so they probably didn't know what was going on.
In retrospect (and considering that I was able to walk all the way back to Port authority and catch the ideal express bus that I wanted), aliw rin this experience because even though we were in USA, the experience was 100% Pinoy =D