How to Apply for a US Green Card WITHOUT a Lawyer: 7 Tips

The process to apply for a Green Card of Permanent Residence in the US can be complicated and expensive. But if you are willing to read a lot of documents, and carefully fill out the application forms, you can choose not to use a lawyer’s services.

Disclaimer: This is not a legal advice on immigration. I am just sharing my experience for educational purposes.

Here are 7 tips to help you apply for a US Green Card without a lawyer.

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Where to Eat Filipino Food in and around Nashville TN

For people like us who grew up in the Philippines, our palates and taste buds will always long for the familiar taste and smell of Filipino cooking.

Thankfully, several restaurants in Nashville offer Filipino food and cooking.

If you’re missing food from the homeland, here’s the list of where to eat Filipino food in and around Nashville, TN. The list below is not ranked. Instead, I organized them based on relative distance away from downtown Nashville.

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Moving to the USA? Teach Your Child the Filipino Language First

Our son Malcolm was a few months short of two years when we started planning for our move to the USA.

We decided to start talking to him mainly in English to help him prepare for the transition since he will be surrounded by English-speaking Americans.

Nope, that is not how it turned out. We were wrong.

Teach Filipino first!

Looking back, the same reasoning would have helped our son acquire Filipino as a mother-tongue first. Since he’s surrounded by English-speaking people–in church, at school, and in our neighborhood he could easily pick the language up.

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What does it mean to have children who are American citizens?

When we first moved from the Philippines to Nashville, TN, we were a family of 3: Tatay, Nanay, & Malcolm. Five years later, Caspian joined us and another baby is on the way.

It also means that in our soon-to-be family of 5, three of us are Filipino citizens while two (2) are American citizens.

To be completely accurate, Caspian is a dual citizen and our next baby will be one, too.

Citizenship by birth

The USA is one of the countries that follow the jus soli doctrine of citizenship. It means that all babies born within its territory are considered citizens. This is also called birthright citizenship, which the Trump Administration has been challenging as part of tightening policy on immigration.

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My Annual Review – 2019 Edition

At the end of each year, I sit down and look back at my year–what worked well, what didn’t, and what lessons I learned. It helps me be on top of my goals, and this practice provides a way for me to remember my goals and assess changes and improvements I need to make.

If you’re interested in doing the same, read about how I do my personal evaluation at the end of the year. Alternatively, read how James Clear (author of Atomic Habits) does it here.

2019: A Year Waiting & Dealing with Uncertainties

The year 2019 entered with a lot of joy and uncertainty. In November 2018, we welcome our second son, Caspian, into the world! Although, we are far away from family (who are in the Philippines), we managed to contain the chaos and organized our lives.

Thanks to the organization I work for, I enjoyed a rather long paternity leave–a paid one at that! That helped me take care of my wife, our new baby, and Kuya Malcolm who was in Kindergarten.

I faced two big uncertainties, though, at the start of the year. For one, our visa expires in March 2020, and unless we receive our Green Card before that, we will need to pack up and go back to the Philippines.

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Sometimes fatherhood feels like pulling your own teeth with pliers

At Malcolm’s karate class last week I saw a dad packing up his 5-year old son’s karate gear while asking his 3-year old daughter to wear her jacket and come to him. Good thing, his other child, an infant, quietly waited in the car seat.

He almost lost his cool toward his daughter. He raised his voice–almost a yell. Perhaps being in public helped him rein in his temper.

I’ve been in that position, too.

Being a father sometimes feel like pulling your own teeth with pliers.

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Biggest Surprise of the Year: We’re Pregnant (again)!

Before getting married, Cha and I have decided that we could have 2-3 kids. And that the ideal would be 2: a boy and a girl. So far, God blessed us with two energetic boys!

Even before Caspian’s birth last year, we talked about the possibility of having a third child.

If we were in the Philippines, we would have readily welcomed a third child. Alas, we are in the USA where healthcare is expensive, heck, pretty much everything is expensive! So, we thought that two is probably going to be the maximum number of kids for us.

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The Price of Success and Achievement

I’ve been fascinated with the lives of people who have achieved significant success and made a big impact in the world. I’ve read Walter Isaacson’s biography of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs.

While the author tries to present a full view of these famous person’s lives, I was still left in awe at the magnitude of what they have achieved.

Elon Musk has introduced significant innovations in online payment systems, in electric cars, in solar power, in the race for reusable space rockets. Steve Jobs also innovated many different industries – computers, animated movies, the iPhone, and the iPad.

As a person of faith, I have also read about the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. How he established a movement in the 1700s that some analysts say prevented civil unrest in England; and this movement continued and grew into the global denomination that it is now.

There is always a price for achieving huge success and creating big impact.

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7 Simple Hacks to Achieve Goals Effectively and Efficiently

I thank God for the New Year. It’s a great reminder of the circle of life. The previous year might have been great for you. Or not. But the new year brings fresh hope that things could be better if we make the most out of it.

We should all review the past year to learn from our experiences and celebrate our wins. But we should also plan for the new year that is here now. On the first few days of this year, I sat down to identify my goals. This has really become my habit at the start of the year since 2010.

During a meeting with my team, I just reflected on the renewed sense of commitment and energy. It will probably not last for very long. But by making some changes to my schedule and my lifestyle, I could probably make the most out of the excitement of the new year. I might even make this the year I achieved all the goals I’ve identified!

7 Simple Hacks to Achieve Goals Effectively and Efficiently

Here are 7 Simple Hacks that I am implementing to help me achieve my goals effectively and efficiently.

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