The I-751: Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

Green card

The first (and maybe most difficult) step to living happily ever after in the USA is getting the initial 2-year green card for your wife (I’ve shared some things about that process in previous posts).

There’s one more hurdle awaiting you on your way to her becoming a US citizen: the ten-year green card (or ten-year visa).  You will eventually have to complete an I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence in order for her to continue living in the United States legally once her 2-year green card expires. (and eventually apply for citizenship).

It’s more paperwork and red tape, but it isn’t all bad news.

I-751 Application

*This step is not nearly as complicated as the initial spousal/fiancee visa process.  There’s no harm in getting some professional help for it, but you may find that it is unnecessary.  The form is fairly simple and straightforward.  You can look for some sample forms online that have been filled out (with fictitious names, of course–just to give you an idea of how it should look).

*Unlike the previous step, you are presumably waiting out this one together.  She should already be with you at this point and maybe you’ve even started your family (having children).

*Technically the burden of proof would be on the government to deport her–a judge would have to get involved.

*Most filers don’t have to go in for an interview if their paperwork is in order.

The only bad news (other than the cost) is that it may take 8-9 months.  The government is backlogged (at the time of this post) and most offices are running behind.  Good thing you are waiting this out together, right?

Here are some tips for the I-751 application:

*You are eligible to apply once you are within 90 days of the expiration of her 2-year green card.  Go ahead and send it once you reach this time frame, but don’t send it any earlier than that–otherwise your application will be rejected.

*Documentation: The most important thing you can do to avoid delays is have complete documentation (evidence of relationship) in your initial application.  They may ask for additional information if they aren’t satisfied with what you sent.  The instruction form spells out the kind of documentation they are looking for, but here are a few additional ideas that will help:

  • Probably the most important thing you can do is provide copies of a Power of Attorney (POA), Living Will, and Last Will and Testament with you and your spouse listed as each other’s beneficiary or POA. Birth certificates of children would also be very strong evidence if you have already started your family.  If you don’t have any of these forms you can buy them at a place like US Legal Forms (the “Dave Ramsey special” is a good deal), fill them out, and get them signed/notarized.  You can go to an attorney if your will is more complex.  Legally binding documents like this are strong evidence that your lives are intertwined.
  • Provide evidence that joint bank accounts or credit card accounts are still active.  Just showing them a copy of a check or bank card with both of your names on it isn’t quite enough.  Print out a few months’ worth of transactions and include that with your application.
  • Include proof that joint insurance policies are paid for.  You can ask your insurance company to email a letter to you or (easier still) print out a transcript of your payment history.
  • You can order IRS transcripts online a few weeks before you put your information together.  These are considered authoritative in terms of evidence that you filed jointly (and paid your taxes).  Ordering them online also saves you the hassle of having to make copies yourself.
  • Make a cover letter with a list of all the evidence you are including with your application.

The government can still ask for additional information (or even for an interview), but following these steps will probably minimize the chances of that happening.

After you apply your spouse will be required to go to a local office for biometrics (finger printing, etc.).  This happens pretty quickly (within a few weeks after your application).  You’ll also receive an official government letter stating that your spouse’s green card has been extended for one year.  Hang on to this letter because it’s the only legal proof you have of her legal immigration status while you wait for application to process.  She would have to carry this letter with her if for some reason she needed to leave the country and get back in.

You probably won’t hear anything from the government for a while after the letter and biometrics appointment.  You just wait for their decision.

Once the petition is granted your spouse will have almost all the rights of a US citizen (she can’t vote, but almost everything else would be the same).  You’re set for the next ten years and you can apply for her US citizenship once she’s eligible.

Filipino Women: Should You Date/Marry a Filipina?

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You may be thinking about meeting, dating, or marrying a woman from the Philippines. Romantic relationships are serious business in my opinion and I’m not going to try to convince to you pursue a relationship with someone halfway across the globe.   I’m just writing this to give you my perspective as someone who is happily married to a Filipina.

Filipino women (more appropriately called Filipinas) have a lot to offer if you are seriously considering a long-term relationship that would lead to marriage. I’m going to repeat some things that I’ve previously shared on this blog or the sake of an easier read (some of my posts from previous years were bit short or choppy). Anyway, here are a few reasons you may want to consider marrying someone from the Philippines:

Filipinas are Beautiful

The Philippines is home to some of the most breathtaking natural beauty known to man: beaches, waterfalls, and all kinds of natural wonders can be found there. But there’s something besides the natural landscape that’s attractive to the eyes: I’m talking about feminine beauty.   Men from the West are often struck by the physical attractiveness of the women there. They tend to have slim, petite figures. Most of them have naturally tan skin along with dark hair and eyes (the typical Filipina is often said to have “exotic beauty”).

Beauty is, as they say, only skin deep. Good thing that there’s a lot more to be said about women from the Philippines.

Filipinas are Good in English

People in the Philippines start studying English in grade school and are used to watching movies (and TV shows) from the West. Their proficiency in English varies according to education and other factors, but you should be able to find a woman who can communicate with you (and her ability to do so will only get better as she practices her English). Here’s another thing to consider: the Filipino accent is very pleasing to the ear when compared to other parts of Asia.

Filipinas are God Fearing

The Philippines is a predominantly Roman Catholic country and religion is deeply ingrained in their culture. You may not find a woman with this outlook on life in other parts of the world. Women from Russia or China may be coming from an atheistic background. People from other parts of Asia may follow Buddhism.

Men seeking women from Asia are usually looking for marriage based on traditional Judeo-Christian values, and similar religious beliefs is one reason they look to the Philippines. Women from the Philippines generally have a sense of devotion to God and the church.

This is not to say that Filipinas are fanatical about the Catholic Church.   They are open other expressions of Christianity (Protestant, etc.) and will usually join your church once they move to the States. It is not uncommon, in fact, to meet Filipinos who are already members of non-Catholic groups (Protestant missionaries have been in the country for decades).

Filipinas are Marriage and Family Oriented

Family is extremely important in the Filipino culture. People from the Philippines believe in putting family members ahead of themselves and doing everything in their power to help their loved ones. You’ll find that Filipinas are incredibly selfless and generous when it comes to their families.

Filipino culture also puts an extremely high priority on marriage and children. Most Filipinas dream of settling down with a good man so they can start a family. They take romantic relationships very seriously because they see it as preparation for marriage. Once married they usually become faithful, loving wives and dedicated mothers.

Filipinas are Open to Marrying Older Men

Another advantage of dating women from the Philippines is you can find younger women who are interested in you. This is especially nice if you are middle-aged but are still interested in having children. Women who date older men are often labeled as “gold diggers,” but this is unfair and judgmental. The truth is that Filipinas tend to look for the characteristics that an older partner can offer: maturity, stability, etc. This outlook goes back to some of the issues I’ve already mentioned: they are searching for life partners, not just boyfriends or flings.

These are just a few reasons that you may want to consider Filipino women (Filipinas) in your quest for a life-long, loving relationship. Living with someone from a different country and culture can be challenging, but may Western men (yours truly included) can attest that it is worth it.

If you are interested in meeting a woman from the Philippines you could always start by joining a website. I’d recommend Christian Filipina because I believe this website does the best job of screening their members and making sure they are sincere. You can just meet them through social media, but your chances of success will be improved by joining a site specifically designed for facilitating dating and marriage.

Filipina Dating

heartI started this website quite a few years ago and I think it’s time for a bit of an update.

I want to summarize (and restate) some of the things I’ve said already in a longer, more comprehensive post.

Here’s your ultimate guide to Filipina dating. I’ll share the step you should consider if you plan to meet a woman from the Philippines online.

Step 1: Choose a Good Website

I would personally recommend Christian Filipina because I’ve communicated with the creator/owner of the website and he’s a good guy. I think he really does his best to make sure that members have a good experience. I also believe the name and theme of this particular site tends to draw the kind of woman you want: a conservative, God-fearing Filipina.

I don’t believe I ever encountered a scammer on Christian Filipina back when I was still searching for love. Having said that, you will have to take some cautionary steps regardless of what website you use. That brings me to my next step.

Step 2: Watch for Scammers

You’ll hear a lot about Pinay scammers of you search about Filipna dating on Google or YouTube. Some make too much of this phenomenon; others make too little of it. The bottom line is that part of your task will be to weed out those who are misrepresenting themselves (usually for the sake of financial gain). It isn’t that difficult if you’ll just do a few things:

*Do a little social media background check on the girl you are chatting with. She should give you her Facebook information so you can check here profile out. You should see several “natural” pictures–photos with friends, family, classmates, etc. Even those who are not rich tend to be active on social media, so it may be a “red flag” if she directs you to a profile that doesn’t have much on it.

There are also several social profile searches you can use: just Google “free social profile search.” Search her name and/or email address and you should get some idea of whether or not she is who she claims to be. You may also want to put her email address in Google (or other search engines) and just see what comes up.

*Do an image search. Tineye is a great search engine you can use to find out if a Filipina you want to meet or date is using a genuine picture. If she’s using celebrity/model photos you’ll see that pretty quickly. You may also want to do a Google image search on her name and just see what comes up.

*Use video chat. Services like Skype are great for two reasons. First, you’ll be able to see her and verify that she’s a living, breathing woman that looks like the pictures she’s sent you. More importantly, I’ve found that it’s much easier to get a sense of chemistry when you are actually talking (instead of typing).  It’s kind of the next best thing to talking to a Filipina in person.

Understand this: internet cafes with webcams are now widely available in the Philippines. If she refuses to do video chat I can promise you she a scammer. It’s one thing if she is occasionally unable to do video chat–but don’t trust her if she always makes excuses not to be on camera.

*Very important: never, never, never give money to someone you haven’t met in person! Don’t blame me or anyone else if you ignore this rule and get ripped off. I’ve heard quite a few testimonies of guys that have started sending money to a girl in the Philippines only to discover that she was using him.  These are the nightmare stories that give Filipina dating a bad name and ruin it for the sincere ones.  Women who ask for money or start giving you “hints” about their desperate situations are not worth the trouble. I would advise you to simply cut off communication if a Filipina asks for money (directly or indirectly).

One more thing: I have found that the scammers who are out for money are usually not that patient.  She’ll show her true colors pretty quickly if fleecing you is her only goal.  Scammers lose interest pretty quickly if they find out you won’t send any money or gifts before meeting in person.

Step 3: Cautiously Build Friendship and Trust

Let’s say you have met a girl that seems sincere and genuine. Chat with her as often as you can and build the friendship. Do not profess your love to her or start making promises about engagement/marriage if you haven’t met her in person. You may think you love her, but there are just too many things you will not know without meeting her in person.

In the meantime you can get to know each other through frequent chatting and emailing.

I’ll interject something here: you may be wondering how many girls you should chat with at once and how many you should plan to meet. I can’t give you a cut-and-dry answer for this. You’ll probably start by contacting more than one Filipina and see who responds. I know guys who narrowed it down to one “prospect” before visiting the Philippines. I’ve known of others who plan to meet more than one and making a decision once they visit the country. Either way can work and you’ll have to decide what is best for you. My main advice is just to be completely honest with the women you are chatting with regarding your intentions.

Step 4: Plan to Meet Her Within a Reasonable Time Frame

Let’s say you have narrowed your search down and believe you have found the girl of your dreams. I would encourage you to book your ticket to the Philippines and try to meet her as soon as practically possible (within a few weeks). As I’ve mentioned, this is the only way you’ll know for sure she’s the right one for you.

I’ve encountered men who have chatted with Filipinas for months or years without any “end game” in mind: no definite plans to go to the Philippines. Don’t do this if you are really serious about love and marriage–go meet her! Don’t waste your and her time!

Filipina Dating: Summing it Up

Hopefully these tips have helped you. I feel very grateful to be married to a Filipina and I think there are plenty of lovely, sincere women in the Philippines who would make excellent wives. A little wisdom and common sense will go a long way in finding the right one for you.