Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ako ay Isang Imigranteng Filipino...

Plane View | I Am A Filipino Immigrants
Aerial view of The Philippines

She writes...

Ako ay isang imigranteng Filipino...

Malayo sa aking sariling bansa, sabik sa aking pinagmulan
Ako ay isang baguhan sa mga estrangherong bayan.

Ako ay Hilaga, Ako ay Kanluran
Ako ay Timog, Ako ay Silangan.
Kayang kong sayawan ang tugtog
Saan man sa mundo ang aking tirahan.

Ang “Perlas ng Silangan”
ang aking inang bayan.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Medical Requirements for Filipino US Immigrants

St. Luke's Medical Center | Medical Requirements for Filipino US Immigrants
SLEC is at 1177 J. Bocobo Street Ermita, Manila
(Google Earth Photo)
She writes...

Throughout our immigration process learning pains and pangs, there was nothing that I dreaded more than the medical examination. 

A clean bill of health is a prerequisite for the last step of the visa application: the interview at the U.S. Embassy. The thought of failing too close to the finish line was daunting because it would set us back for three to four months, maybe more.

I was confident in Ray's ability to follow instructions to the T, and I knew that with filling out forms, he would do it as smoothly and as efficiently as the latest upgrade of a Mac Operating System. I also knew that he would see to it that he would go above and beyond what was required just because he's wired that way. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Love or Consequences: The Value and Costs of the US Spouse Visa

US Spouse Visa | Love or Consequences: The Value and Costs of the US Spouse Visa

He writes

A United States citizen may not fully understand the premium behind her or his citizenship status until she or he reads the dozens of articles on the web about marriage fraud.

News stories occasionally cover incidents of US citizens who become grooms or brides for hire in order for a non-US resident to gain entry into the country and become a citizen in a few years.  This is usually a business deal where a non-resident either pays a US citizen, or the latter is paid to “assist” someone else, to gain entry into the US by exploiting the immigration system.

The occurrence of such incidents begs the question, “how dumb and desperate do you have to be” to try to game a system that takes months to complete, that has an investigative force of multiple governmental agencies behind it, and that carries penalties of jail time in federal prison? As was quoted once in a movie, one must ask oneself, “is the juice worth the squeeze?"

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I am a Filipino Immigrant...

San Diego Bay | I am a Filipino Immigrant...
At the bay near the San Diego USS Midway Museum

She writes...

I am a Filipino Immigrant...

Away from my homeland, detached from my roots
I am a beginner in many strange lands.

I am East, I am West
I am North, I am South.
I can conform to the norm  
wherever I am.

The “Pearl of the Orient Seas”
is my motherland.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Filing Your Taxes in the United States

Tax Day 2015 | Filing Your Taxes in the United States

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
-Benjamin Franklin

He writes…

If you worked in any US State in 2014, you have most likely received your W2 in the mail some time ago.

By now, you’ve probably seen all the commercials, border ads, and maybe emails about Tax Day coming up on April 15th. The day is approaching quickly, and other than Christmas Day for those who are horrible at finding gifts for others, it’s a day that every US taxpayer dreads for various reasons

The process of filing one’s tax return is somewhat of a social equalizer, a responsibility that everyone shares. Unlike in the Philippines, where your employer would file your taxes on your behalf with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, we here in the States must initiate the process ourselves. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The “First World” American Way of Life from a New Immigrant’s View

sachet vs king size tide | The “First World” American Way of Life from a New Immigrant’s View

The battle of purchasing power: the sachet for the third world and the tub for the first world.
She writes

My weather is still in Celsius and my distance in kilometers instead of the US imperial system of Fahrenheit and miles.

When my husband and I go to shopping malls and I see the $20 price tag of clothes on sale, I still think it’s too pricy and still say “that’s only $7 in Divisoria and Circle C” as if the malls are just a jeepney ride away from wherever we are. It’s already spring and supposed to be more temperate but it’s still chilly by my standards.

I still interpret the world on a Philippine mindset and there’s no surprise there. I’ve uprooted myself for love as a mid-career woman who has spent more than three decades living in different parts of my country.

Monday, April 6, 2015

CR-1 Immigrant Visa from USCIS to NVC

offices that process a US immigrant visa | CR-1 Immigrant Visa from USCIS to NVC
Institutions/offices involved in processing a US immigrant visa

He writes…

Making progress towards achieving something that’s important to you such as successfully petitioning your better half can bring about feelings of excitement, elation, and hope. 

When the results aren’t always guaranteed or prompt, it inspires one to continue to move forward with the same verve and determination as with which one started. It also strengthens belief in the established institutions that their system of procedure works. 

After the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forwarded our petition to the National Visa Center (NVC), there were more steps to take, forms that needed to be filled out, and fees to pay. The following are the forms that we accomplished and completed for the NVC:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter or Wester: a Latitude of Holy Week Observations

Palm Sunday 2015 | Easter or Wester: a Latitude of Holy Week Observations
Palm Sunday mass, L.A. 2015

He Writes...

For those who observe it, Holy Week in the US must seem to look different every year, and I wonder if it has become easier to uphold the feeling and tone of the most solemn time among Christians.

Amid the store sales ads, the commercials for the best libations, and the images of elation among students lucky enough to have Spring Break on the same week, does the week still feel like the days leading up to Easter Sunday? Does it still hold as the time to reflect and gather oneself for all that follows the weekend of awareness and remembrance?