I really have been blessed and truly have lived a life of LOVE. Feyma has been the right person for me, and I am so happy to have found her.
Feyma was born and raised in the Philippines. As such, she was a Philippine Citizen! Many people think that if an American Citizen marries somebody from another country, that person automatically becomes a US Citizen. It just is not so! Many decades ago, I understand that was the case, or at least it was a very simple process for the spouse to receive US Citizenship. However, under current laws. the foreign spouse is not entitled to citizenship unless she goes through the process just like any other immigrant.
There is one advantage for the foreign spouse of a US Citizen – she can apply for citizenship earlier than the non-spouse immigrant can.
I believe, as I recall, it was in 1997 that Feyma finally decided to apply to become a US Citizen. She was reluctant to give up her Philippine Citizenship. But, she also wanted to be an American, and I wanted her to do it too, so she was finally ready to take that step.
I went to a bookstore and bout a study guide for a US Citizenship test. Feyma studied that book for some time. It is amazing that Immigrants to the United States if they wish to become citizens, must take an exam showing that they have a good knowledge of the US governmental system and history of the country. I would say that the average new citizen knows significantly more about the United States than most people born as US Citizens! The immigrants must know this stuff or they cannot become a citizen. Natural born citizens don’t have to know anything, they are citizens from birth!
After getting her studying done, Feyma filed the application for citizenship. She was scheduled to go to the INS office in Portland, Oregon to take her exam. The person that gave her the test and interviewed her was very nice, and Feyma passed with flying colors. 100% on the exam as I recall!
It took about a year after applying for the entire process to happen. Finally, though, the day came when she was scheduled for the Citizenship Ceremony. She was so excited. At the time, we had two children. When it was time for the swearing-in ceremony, I went along with our two children, to watch Feyma become a US Citizen. I was very proud of her. It was a rather short ceremony, and there were a few dozen people being sworn-in. It was very nice. After the swearing-in, we went out for a nice lunch to celebrate.
At the time that Feyma became a US Citizen, there was no choice, she became a US Citizenship and in the process was no longer a Philippine Citizen. However, in 2003 the Philippines passed a new law – Republic Act 9225 – The Philippine Dual Citizenship Law. Under this law, people who were born as Philippine Citizens could “retain” their Philippine Citizenship even if they are naturalized in another country. It was retroactive too! So, when that act was put into law, Feyma applied to retain her Philippine Citizenship and was approved. Thus, she is now a dual citizen! She is a Citizen of both the USA and the Philippines.
Another good thing about RA9225 is that when Feyma applied, she also listed our 3 children on the application. So, now Feyma and our 3 sons are all citizens of both countries! It makes things convenient for them no matter which country they choose to live in.
I was proud when Feyma became a US Citizen, but I am also proud that she is a Philippine Citizen. She should be proud of her heritage and also of the country where she chose to become a citizen, and indeed, she is proud of each as well.
It has been a good life!