By: Robelyn M. Yambao
Hola Mi Amigo/ Amiga!
It's me again, Robelyn, sharing my experiences as an expat with you. Today, I'm gonna be sharing my opinion in living in Costa Rica as expat.
Home, Shelter, Accommodation
In Costa Rica, some cities are expensive. The apartments and houses for rent are higher than expected. You will find cheap rent of apartment or casa in remote areas like mountains. If you are in the city, expect $300 for a studio semi-furnished casa and at least $500 one room furnished casa. If you wanted to stay by the sea or beach, expect $500 to $1500 accommodation depending on your needs. If you choose to live in a cheaper city, expect to have rough road and you will need your own car for transportation or else try to take bus to save money. Most cheap casa around $150 are not furnished, you will need to buy your own appliances which are expensive in town.
Most of the ingredients like Asian food can't be found in the groceries. They have American stores and Asian stores but they have limited stocks of what you are looking for, sometimes not available at all! When you crave for seafood, you can't find fresh, all are frozen! Buying fish is like buying expensive meat. All are expensive, only fruits and vegetables are the ones affordable but not all because there are still some expensive fruits and vegetables. Seasonings are also limited in stock if you want to cook your favorite dishes. It's so frustrating because you can't cook the correct taste of the recipe you want.
Clothing & Appliances
As usual, the prices are unbelievable very high. We always buy our clothes in a thrift store. They call it Ropa Americana where you can find some nice clothes for cheaper price. Buying appliances is twice or thrice the price from your own country especially in the Philippines. Well, they have stores that offer cheaper price but you are not familiar with their brands.
Language & Communication
This is the hardest part as an expat. If you cannot speak Spanish, you may find hard to live here because most of the people here don't speak Spanish. Only few can speak English. I'm glad that our Tagalog in the Philippines is similar to Spanish, I could hardly understand but I can communicate a little with sign language. If you plan to live here, you may start learning Spanish now!
Visa & Residency
Another thing is your legal stay in this country. If you are not a resident yet or you are not applying for residency, you may find it uncomfortable to renew your visa to stay in this country because you will need to leave every 90 days or cross the border to renew your stamp. If you are a resident already, you don't need to cross the border but you will need to pay in their Caja like insurance every month like locals do.
The cheapest transportation is taking bus and the most comfortable is buying your own car but cars here are expensive because all are imported. If you take taxi, you will burn your pocket because they charge too much unless you take the one they call in US gypsy. Taking bus is uncomfortable too because you need to wait for their schedule every hour to depart.
You will find it annoying sometimes because they work slow in here. For example, in the banks or government offices, they open very late at 9:00 and then a lot of people waiting in line. Every transaction, you will need an appointment because they don't have a walk-in so you will need to return not the next day but the next 3 days, 7 days or worst one month. Same in private establishments, you will need appointment. If there's a repair like wifi connection or cable because of damaged post due to heavy rain, it takes one week to wait to repair it. If you get married or gave birth, expect your paper will be registered in their system within 3 months.
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I hope you find my article interesting and looking forward for you to read more. Thank you!
by: Robelyn M. Yambao
Today, I'm gonna be talking about the immigrant visa process. Do you have a foreign family members that you wanted to bring to US so, they can live with you? We will discuss further what to do and how to process it.
Step 1: You will need to submit a PETITION
Who are the qualified persons for this petition?
Immigrating based on Family. If you, a US citizen, have a foreign spouse, parents and children, you can file for them an immigrant visa petition to live with you in US. A US lawful permanent resident can only file a petition for foreign spouse and unmarried son or daughter. You should submit Form I-130, a petition for alien relative, on behalf of your foreign family member with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This petition is required to file in the US.
Filing outside the US is limited. Check the USCIS website for the address where you can file properly your petition in the US. Before you can begin the immigrant visa process, your petition must be approved first by the USCIS.
What is Form I-130?
This is the correct form you are going to file in behalf of your foreign family member. This form shows the family relationship that exists between you and your foreign relative. You will need to complete the form neatly and accurately. Do not forget to sign the Petitioner's Signature part. This is the first step to do in order to help your foreign family member immigrate to US. Download this form at the USCIS website and be updated with the correct edition of the form. The edition date of the form as of the moment is 02/27/17 and it has 12 pages. You will need to print out the instructions too for your guide in completing the form. Print the form on one side only. The filing fee for this petition is $535, please check the USCIS website for the increase of the fee. You must file a separate Form I-130 for each eligible foreign family member.
How Do I File?
If your foreign family member lives in another country, you may file the petition with a USCIS lockbox based on your place of residence. If your foreign family member is already in the US entered legally, then they may be able to file an I-485 application to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident at the same time as you file the form I-130.
Assemble Your Packet
This packet is just an example. You will need to submit all the required documents that the USCIS will ask from you to submit to establish your relationship with your foreign family member.
Sample of Cover Letter for Relative's Child
Address of the Petitioner
PO Box 21700
Phoenix, AZ 85036
RE: I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
Petitioner: (Petitioner Name)
Relative: (Relative's Child Name)
To Whom It May Concern:
I am filing the enclosed Form I-130, Petition on behalf of (Relative's Child Name), the beneficiary. I, (Petitioner's name), am a US citizen petitioner, and (Relative's Child Name) is my step-Child.
The following documents accompany and support this petition:
1. A money order for the amount of $535 to cover the filing fee;
2. Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative;
3. Birth certificate of the Petitioner;
4. Copy of petitioner's U.S passport and Driver's license;
5. Birth Certificate of the Beneficiary;
6. Proof of Relationship to the Beneficiary.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at (phone number) or email at (email address). Thank you for your prompt consideration of this I-130 Petition.
(Signature of the Petitioner Over Printed name)
That's all for today! I hope you guys informed a little bit about this petition and see you again next time. Thank you!
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A licensed teacher in the Philippines who shifted her career into another direction to follow her passion to be a blogger. Her blogs are related in traveling and simple living as an expat in a foreign land.