Why US Filipinos delay applying for citizenship

JERSEY CITY, NJ – There are about 13.3 million legal permanent residents (LPR) living in the US and 8.8 million of them are eligible to become US Citizens.

But according to the 2012 USCIS data, most LPR’s wait an average of seven years before applying for naturalization.

Alice and Virgilio Manalang are taking one giant step toward realizing their American dream.

They have been eligible to become naturalized US citizens since 2009 but they have not done so until today.

“We got busy with work and application fees went up, so we weren’t able to apply right away,” Alice said.

Virgilio said, “We’ve already been here for 11 years, so might as well become citizens so we can get the full benefits that the US offers.”

US citizenship costs $680 per person to apply. But thanks to the We Are One, New Jersey citizenship clinic, the Pinoy couple found out that they are eligible to waive those fees.

We Are One, NJ staff Yves Nibungco said, “If you’re at 150 percent of the poverty level; if your household income is $17,000; or if you receive Medicaid or foodstamps, then 98 percent [probability] you will qualify for a fee waiver. So you won’t have to pay the $680 application fee.”

The Philippines is the second largest source country of green card holders who are eligible to naturalize after Mexico, which has 2,690,000 naturalization-eligible LPRs.

There are 590,000 Filipino legal permanents residents in the US and 57.6 percent or 340,000 of them are now eligible to become US citizens, according to the USCIS 2012 data.

However, statistics also show that fewer than 45,000 Filipino LPRs became US citizens yearly since 2012. Fewer than that, 43,489, became citizens in 2013.

Nibungco said sometimes complicated immigration situations need a more experienced attorney.

Nibungco said, “If you have a criminal record or deportation record, though it does not automatically disqualify you, the process will be harder.

The We Are One Center provides naturalization application assistance and citizenship preparation classes to empower future new Americans in Jersey City.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

3 Comments on this post.

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  • noz
    2 February 2015 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    there is no such thing as free lunch. wait, i take my words back, the code red flag are medicaid / food stamps recipients as always get the free lunch from the american hardworking taxpayers, waiving the $680.00 naturalization application fee. so, the new breed of would be naturalized american citizens are living off on other people’s hard earned dollars in exchange for votes of commie, socialist politicians aka demonicraps, like obobo. what a shame, these clusters of radical groups are in full force to rule america that’s no more.

    • Generoso Magaoay
      4 February 2015 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      What has gotten (misled) a lot of people is/are the promises of the “change that we Americans can all believe in”…

  • kikay Pang0
    3 February 2015 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Just save one dollar a day for two years and you can apply for yourself without getting victimized by Filipino scammers.