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Stevephoto

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About Stevephoto

  • Rank
    Member
  • Member # 139580
  • Location Honolulu, HI, USA

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • City
    Honolulu
  • State
    Hawaii

Immigration Info

  • Immigration Status
    Naturalization (approved)
  • Place benefits filed at
    California Service Center
  • Local Office
    Honolulu HI
  • Country
    Philippines
  • Our Story
    I photographed Joan's brother-in-law's sister in Hawaii. Joan saw the photos and saw my name. She got curious and sent me a note and a friend request on Facebook on February 24, 2012. We got engaged on October 3, 2012 in Bohol! The rest will be history once we are approved!....and the rest has been a beautiful history for over three years. We are now in the Naturalization phase.

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  1. You are welcome Alison. I am quite sure the resources available to you are plenty. The questions will be the same no matter what the format. We happen to live very close to the local field office, so it was easy to get the booklet. The Hawaii field office is relatively small, so Joan's oath taking ceremony was small--I think 30 or fewer people. There were several ceremonies scheduled for that day. You said that you lived far from your field office. Ask if they offer oath ceremonies the same day as the interview. Some do, some don't. The Hawaii office offered same day ceremonies for people who lived on "the Outer Islands," or islands other than O'ahu. We live on O'ahu so we went back for the ceremony a few weeks later. Back to the test: relax and just study a little at a time. It was already mentioned, but I will say it again: pay attention to the question. If it asks for ONE answer (when there are several acceptable answers) then focus on ONE answer. Don't make it harder on yourself. I highly recommend this "classic" VJ thread by @TBoneTX to ease the stress of the exam. It is hysterical (spoiler: Mrs. TBoneTX passed the test). You will be fine!
  2. Hi Alison! First, congrats on making it to the final stage! It is natural to be scared, but not overly so. As others have noted, the questions and answers are available to you. We pick up a booklet at USCIS and Joan studied a little each night. Then I asked her questions randomly every night for a couple of weeks. She got 6 out of 6 correct on her test and was done. The only thing I would watch out for is your local and federal representatives and/or political party. It sounds like they won't change base on the timing of your interview, but Joan's interview was after an election and she had to relearn some of the names. Good luck!
  3. I was at a gas station in Hawaii and some guy offered to help me (I have cerebral palsy). I said thanks and went inside to pay. The (fill in whatever nasty word you want) then pulled his truck up to the still open pump and filled HIS truck up and took off. Thankfully the person working the counter recognized the truck and adjusted my bill. It happens and lesson learned. As for the Philippines, I had one scare going through security 10 years ago: the xray showed an Ipad at a strange angle and it looked like a knife. Cannot blame them for searching in that case. The only "hassles" I get at the airport is the occasional "medical clearance" interview I have to go through to explain what cerebral palsy is (two times). Maybe going through security in a wheelchair has some benefits! Funny story about taxis: Yes I was scammed, but I recognized it and got pissed. I through down an amount of money (before I really understood the conversions) that was...well let's say I unintentionally gave him a big tip. Another time some guy asked for P1000 for offering me a hand getting out of a kalesa. My then fiancee (now wife) took over and said some things that I still don't understand! Bottom line: many times in the PI with few attempted scams--BUT it is always good to be aware of your surroundings--even driving to work in your home town.
  4. UPDATE: The bill has lapsed into law according to the Philippine Senate website! (I added the bold to the last sentence): 18th Congress Senate Bill No. 2450 PERMANENT VALIDITY OF THE CERTIFICATES OF LIVE BIRTH, DEATH, AND MARRIAGE ACT Filed on November 9, 2021 by Pangilinan, Francis "Kiko" N., Recto, Ralph G., Gatchalian, Win, Villanueva, Joel, Revilla Jr., Ramon Bong, Angara, Sonny, Poe, Grace, Binay, Maria Lourdes Nancy S., Villar, Cynthia A., Gordon, Richard J., Cayetano, Pia S., Go, Christopher Lawrence T. Top of Form Overview | Committee Referral | Floor Activity | Leg. History | All Information Bottom of Form Download SBN-2450 (Per Ctte. Rpt. No.334) 11/9/2021 4.2MB SBN-2450 (Third Reading Copy) 5/26/2022 286.3KB Republic Act No. 11909 361.6KB Long title AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE PERMANENT VALIDITY OF THE CERTIFICATES OF LIVE BIRTH, DEATH, AND MARRIAGE ISSUED, SIGNED, CERTIFIED, OR AUTHENTICATED BY THE PHILIPPINE STATISTICS AUTHORITY (PSA) AND ITS PREDECESSOR, THE NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE (NSO) AND THE LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRIES, AND THE REPORTS OF BIRTH, DEATH, AND MARRIAGE REGISTERED AND ISSUED BY THE PHILIPPINE FOREIGN SERVICE POSTS Scope National Legislative status Lapsed Into Law (7/28/2022) @Chancy I would THINK that the US Embassy would now need to follow Philippine law. Please post here if anyone has any issues with the Embassy accepting pre-PSA documents (AKA NSO documents) to keep us updated on this. Salamat!
  5. Sorry, no updates. I THINK this bill is in limbo now. It was sent by the 18th Congress to former President Duterte. He did not sign it so I thought t would either need to signed, vetoed, or passed into law after 30 days under President Marcos. I cannot find any updates on its status (now past 30 days), but I saw an article stating that the "pass into law after 30 days" clause is on;y in effect when Congress is in session The 18th Congress adjourned and it is now the 19th Congress, so I am not sure if the bill needs to reintroduced to the new legislature or not. President Marcos did veto a tax incentive bill for the Bulacan Airport area, but there is some question about whether that will stand (because the old congress is no longer viable and therefore cannot exercise the right to override the veto or not). I had hoped to have a more definitive update on what I think is a very important measure that, as @Chancy indicated, may have implications for the procedures at the US Embassy. Please post here if you have any other information either on this bill or what happens in general in these situations. Salamat!
  6. I agree with this ^^^ I don't think we ever included ROM for any process with USCIS. We DID include it recently for Joan's dual citizenship with the Philippine Embassy here, but I THINK the local DOH marriage certificate would have been fine. We filed ROC because we wanted to be recognized as married in the Philippines, not for any paperwork issues. But as @top_secret said, can't hurt in the Philippines!
  7. There is a 30-year difference for us too. Not an issue in the Philippines (don't know about Colombia). I went to Joan's interview 10 years ago--not because of the age difference, but we just got lucky with the timing and I happened to be in the Philippines at the time. It was a great experience and one that we are both glad that I was there to share. It is not necessary, but yes, worth it if you can. As @bakphx1 said, you can be a support for your fiance as well as an extra set of ears to hear what the consul says. Go for it if you can.
  8. I would certainly hope so. The whole point of the bill is to save Filipinos time and money by securing the permanence of their old documents. I didn't realize that the US Embassy was not accepting NSO documents (it has been a long time for us!) Let's hope that changes and there is one less step (redoing old, but valid documents) in the process. Salamat for your comment.
  9. Sorry if this topic has been discussed. I could not find anything. Aloha everyone! This post is for information purposes for those of you who have or will have business to attend to with any government or school department in the Philippines. Many of you have important documents like birth certificates that were issued by the Philippine National Statistics Office (NSO) before that office merged with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in December of 2013. This has created situations where some offices or schools have required the newer PSA documents even though the PSA has stated publicly that the documents are identical except for the logo and a different type of security paper. The PSA did say, however, that it was beyond their control if a particular office required the newer documents. This may change very soon. We have been closely monitoring the progress of Senate Bill Number 2450, known as the PERMANENT VALIDITY OF THE CERTIFICATES OF LIVE BIRTH, DEATH, AND MARRIAGE ACT (sorry, shouting caps not intended...this is from the Senate website). The bill, if signed or passed into law, would make these certificates permanent regardless of when they were obtained if it was still possible to read them. It would also prohibit government offices from requiring the newer PSA documents if you could still read the older documents. The bill passed the third reading of the Senate by unanimous vote and was sent to the Office of the President on June 27, 2022. Former President Duterte had not signed the bill before his departure and the senate website (https://legacy.senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=18&q=SBN-2450) still shows that the bill was forwarded to Malacanang and seems to be as yet unsigned. I will post here as soon as I see any updates—or please post an update if any of you see something first.
  10. I can no longer edit my post so I am adding a new one: you will also need a Tax Identification Number (TIN) if you no longer have or did not a TIN. Your Attorney in Fact (SPA) can get you a one-time use TIN to pay the transfer tax on the title. Research Republic Act 8179 (especially section 10) for information on former Filipinos owning property. As noted, reclaiming your Filipino Citizenship is easy, does not impact your US Citizenship and removes a number of issues related to land/home purchase.
  11. Aloha @Marley2010! We seriously JUST did this! What @Chancy said is absolutely correct, but it is not as easy (not that difficult though) as that. You will need a Special Power of Attorney to allow someone in the Philippines to sign all the documents if you are not physically in the Philippines. The SPA needs to be notarized. The Notary then needs to be certified (circuit court in Hawaii) and apostilled (Office of the Lieutenant Governor in Hawaii). You may also need an affidavit of residence and Batas Pambansa 185 which will end up as an encumbrance on the Title stating that you are a USC/Former Filipino intending to reside permanently on that land. We may look into getting the title revised once we get to the Philippines next year. Note also that you cannot not own two lots in the same area as a Filipino ex-pat. All that goes away if you reclaim your Filipino Citizenship (RA 9225 is the law that you want to review). Again, we (Joan) JUST finished this process (as in yesterday). It is a very easy process and depending on where you are, the oath taking will be on the same day (Joan's was two days after submitting her documents). The document phase was very fast, but read the requirements very carefully and follow them exactly. You might see (depending on the Consulate) that they "require" the newer PSA Birth Certificate rather than the older NSO BC. This should not matter because the PSA has stated that the documents are identical except for the logo and security paper used. However, it is up to the specific government office whether they require the newer documents. Our consulate listed the PSA document, but Joan's older NSO document was fine. The Philippine Senate just unanimously passed Senate Bill Number 2450 which mandates the permanence of older NSO documents and forbids government or school offices from requiring the newer documents. This bill has not been signed or passed into law yet, but I am following it closely and will post the update once it is acted upon. The process of buying land in the Philippines is long and tedious will a lot of back and forth between offices over several months. We finally decided to hire a Real Estate Professional and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. He was incredible. You can send me a PM if you want his name. You can also either ask here or PM me with any questions on buying land/building houses (we also got very lucky and hired an excellent architect/builder)/Dual Citizenship/SBN 2450/etc. Good luck!
  12. You raise a good point (as usual). My reality makes your suggestion a little tougher. I know that we can get porters (on both sides) but I have cerebral palsy, so that makes what I can carry (even to a porter) very limited...whether I use a walker or electric wheelchair, bringing extra bags is not an easy option for us...and we are bringing our cat which just adds a whole extra dimension of fun to the trip--I will probably have the cat on my lap in the wheelchair and Joan will push whatever she can on the walker/porter cart. So, the reality is that we need to send as much as possible ahead of time. Hopefully something marked as "40-year stereo speakers" won't get too much attention. BUT, that is an option to add to the list, and right now i am just looking for options so I thank you for your thoughts. The good thing is we have more thoughts, ideas, and suggestions than we had five days ago, so again, maraming salamat everyone!
  13. Good call on checking with LBC for oversized boxes. They will be able to ship my speakers for about $90.00 each. Shoots, for that I can send my whole stereo/sound system for about $250.00. It would cost more to replace one of my components over there (not that is an elaborate or very expensive set-up)! As mentioned, we are adding a 110 line in the living room, so it "should" all work. @flicks1998 we are also double checking on security features. Thanks everyone!
  14. Same here. I was a photographer in another lifetime and editing on a laptop is like playing pin the tail on the donkey! Unfortunately I have had MACS for about 20 years--not that I am in love with Apple, but some of my programs are MAC based...but that could change. Good tip on checking with LBC on over-sized items. Will do. Have you ever used Atlas in Waipahu?
  15. Thanks everyone. Yeah I know it is probably too soon for estimates. We are going to send most of the stuff in Balikbayan boxes but some things won't go in them. We hare having a few 110 outlets installed throughout the houses--including where the stereo would go so power "should" not be a problem. I hear the concerns about security. We won't have much of great monetary value---just those great sounding speakers! I am also looking at the question of bringing the desktop or getting a laptop when we get to the Philippines. All of the decisions to be made got pushed up a year so I am feeling a little more pressure to get things organized, but the reality is that there is still plenty of time. Salamat everyone!
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