Uh-Oh, Now We Are In A Hurry...

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Posted

We originally planned to relocate to PI permanently in June 2016 and were looking at getting my wife her US citizenship and myself the 13a visa in the interim.  But... I was just laid off and now there is a sense of urgency.  US house is up for both rent and sale, now targeting on or about Jan 31 for the move.  Lots of information here, but in pieces, so I am seeking help with my specific situation:

 

Pinay wife here now 7 years, green card and valid (just renewed) PI passport.

Myself, US citizen, valid US passport also just renewed.  59 in a few months.

Two children:  Almost 4 yrs old, registered as PI birth abroad with embassy, and 6 months old, not registered as PI birth abroad yet.  No passports or travel docs for kids.

Civil marriage in 2008, also registered as marriage abroad with PI embassy.

We have all docs:  passports, her GC, all birth certs (3 US, 1 PI-her), marriage cert, embassy registrations of marriage and birth abroad (1).

 

We will be moving to the Cebu area, furthest would be Tagbilaran/Bohol so relatively easy access to Cebu BI offices.

 

With 3-4 months, what are our best options?

Not sure we can get her US citizenship in that time frame?  Any experience?  If this does not work, what happens if she wishes to return to US (with me)?

13a here or Balikbayan then 13a there?

If she travels on her GC, what happens when we get to PI?

I am starting to look at flight tickets, do we need throwaways for ongoing flights?

Should I get the FBI background check before we go, do I need the apostille stamp?

What else should we do/get before we go so to avoid coming back to US for paperwork (at round trip $1200 and 45 hours flight time)?

 

Any advice/experience would be greatly appreciated!

 

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Posted
What else should we do
For a start off Calm Down, 1 Day and 1 thing at a Time.

 

Jack :)

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Posted (edited)
Balikbayan then 13a there?

Are you planning to leave the Philippines within the first year?  Perhaps to vacation or to go back to US to finish any business? If so then just come on a BB as it is much cheaper for those who are in and out of the country frequently.

Edited by Dave Hounddriver
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Hahaha.  Point well taken and thanks for the reality check.  My concerns go up and down, but mostly calm.  It's simple math...living expense here is about $220/day, unemployment is about $83/day, that gap is PHP 6300...each day.  Tick...tick...tick.

 

Have an entire 3500SF house to paint, yard sales all day every Sat/Sun, hundreds of postings on craigslist and eBay to manage, balikbayan boxes to pack...an entire household to box/trash/sell or ship.  Creditors to negotiate with, travel paperwork, two wee ones and some occasional sleep.  Time is NOT my friend.  Hence the "sense of urgency".

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Dave, I am not planning a trip back that early, though budgeted annually after the first year.  I will most likely settle the house sale by power of attorney.  Once we are settled into an apartment rental near Cebu or Tagbilaran, I will have plenty to do:  Selling a large property we own in Bohol, buying land in one of the two areas we have settled on for permanent residence (east coast of Cebu south of the city, or the Valencia area of Bohol, southern coast), setting up construction, no doubt some time negotiating relocation paperwork, and working on expansion of the three businesses I am partners in with my father-in-law.  I do have older kids as well, so a marriage would bring me back, also unforeseen health issues...but these though accounted for are not planned.

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Your US cost of living is insane! Perhaps you can sell/rent the house and sell off some of the extra furniture... but just downsize and rent a much smaller and less expensive place... move to a place in the US with a lower cost of living... drastically reduce your daily living expenses so you can stretch out the time in the US to get your wife her US Citizenship. Then move to the Philippines. That could be an option depending on how long it would take for your wife to get her US citizenship.

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Not sure we can get her US citizenship in that time frame?  Any experience?  If this does not work, what happens if she wishes to return to US (with me)?

 

She has a Green Card as you say. So she will be able to travel back and forth on her Filipino Passport. In fact she has to report to the USA every 12 months, so coming here ASAP is not the best option right now.

 

With 7 years of US Residence and marriage to a US Citizen her citizenship is routine. I don't think it would take long (as in my own case), so that is priority No.1.

 

Upon obtaining her US Citizenship, she would apply for a passport and be free to leave.

 

Get the kids passports.

 

Come in under Balikbayan which is extendable up to? 36 months last time I checked, leave the 13 a for right now.

 

So therefore.

 

Get her citizenship.

 

Sell the house which gets you some funds. Surely you have enough resources to stick it out in the house a few months until she gets her citizenship?

 

Unemployment will stop when you leave the USA. Now you state you already have a plan to come here by June 2016. Which is over 2 years from SS kicking in at age 62 (I assume you know there's a child allowance for kids under 18 and it's going to be quite lucrative living here).

 

So from June 2016, per your original plan, what were you planning to live on here?

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Regarding a Balikbayan visa-a thought for much later too...if you need to go to the US alone after you have been in the Phl for about a year, you may want to travel with your wife to maybe HK (and maybe bring a friend of family member to keep her company). Fly alone to the US from HK to take care of your business and then return back to HK when your business is taken care of -then return to the Phl from there and renew your Balikbayan again.

 

Also at almost 59 yrs old-if you have any retirement money invested(401k)-you won't be required to pay any taxes on it at 59 1/2 which helps. You likely know this but pointed this out because you are so close to that age.

 

All the best with logistically handling this. :rolleyes:

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Earthdome, I suppose the sanity of one's living expenses are dependent on one's income.  But given my current circumstances, you would be 100% correct!

 

chris49:  I was leaning in the "wait for wife's citizenship" direction, now even more strongly.  However, if this math goes bad, what would be the consequences of not?  Once we return to PI, she would have no intention of returning here...today's intentions.  My older kids are not hers and she would not need to travel here for their weddings.  She is not on any documents here (titles, mortgages, etc.) and that could be handled by POA in any case.  Indeed, if my medical or the kids becomes so bad that the US would be the only option...that would be a challenge.  Or if the younger kids want college here in many years...they would travel alone.  Am I correct that a) technically she needs to return here every 12 months for her resident alien status to remain intact, b) that once her GC expires (in 2021), she's done and back to the whole PI citizen trying to get a US visa process, and c) she needs to be resident in the US (not just visit) for the citizenship process?  Note that we will have a US mailing address.  Obviously, we do not want to travel to the U.S. every year, though we budgeted my doing so, if we don't have to.

 

House is being listed for both rent and sale next week.  House rents here are great and will cover my mortgage, taxes, insurance...I may need to kick in a couple hundred a month for the broker rental fee, maybe the property management company.  Rental gives me some breathing room, outright sale makes all of this moot.  But it won't sell fast for what it is worth and I am determined to avoid a short sale...I worked too hard.  We could take a very small apartment on a month-to-month for probably 1/3 of my current M/T/I, we already have an offer to move in with friends for a few hundred/month short term, they too are waiting on PI wife's US citizenship just applied for.

 

Resources.  Waiting for wife's citizenship throws a wrench into this a bit.  I was hoping to do this all cash without touching investments (retirement or otherwise, and had it...that may change but they are there).  I'll re-crank the numbers tonight, my gut is we'll be fine but we'll have less in cash when we move to PI. The upside is the later we go the less time we have until SS kicks in, and the longer UC is in place.  And yes, I am fully aware of the child benefit...very nice.

 

As for PI living expenses, with rent I am budgeting about PHP 75K per month. 

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Posted
She has a Green Card as you say. So she will be able to travel back and forth on her Filipino Passport. In fact she has to report to the USA every 12 months, so coming here ASAP is not the best option right now.

 

Unless the law has changed, you must be living in the US a "majority" of the year in order to maintain a green card.  Visits out of country are allowed but immigration will pull the green card if they believe the person is no longer living in the US.  I would suggest you contact immigration and ask them what wait time you can expect.  Another good source of information is the website VisaJourney.com (JGF - hope it is okay to post this link).  There is no downside to getting the US citizenship and while your wife may not have any plans to return to the US, our friend Jake says "sometimes chit just happens".

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