Immigrating From Philippines to The United States

Learn the various pathways of immigration to The United States, including family-sponsorship and employment.

Interested in Immigrating to the US from the Philippines?

Filipino immigrants have a long history of immigration to the United States, beginning in 1899 when the US began sponsoring Filipino students to study at US colleges and universities. After 1965, immigration grew considerably, and as of 2013 Filipino immigrants constituted 4.5% of all immigrants in the US with a population of 1,844,000. In the late 1800s, the US annexation of the Philippines established Filipino status as US nationals. After being granted independence by 1945, the Philippines remained a close ally of the United States. This unique relationship between the two countries as former nationals sets Filipinos apart from many other prevalent immigrant groups in a way that facilitates migration.

Filipino Community in the US

Many Filipinos choose to immigrate to the US due to the long-established governmental and business relationship between the US and the Philippines, along with economic and educational opportunities awaiting in the United States. California is the most popular destination for Filipino immigrants to the US, with 45% choosing to settle in the Golden State. Other common destinations for Filipino immigrants include Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Texas.

Immigration Process

Most Filipino immigrants obtain their Green Card and become lawful permanent residents (LPRs) through family sponsorship or as immediate relatives of US citizens. A large number also choose to immigrate and obtain lawful permanent residence through employment-based pathways. Filipino immigrants are more likely to become LPRs through each of these pathways than the overall LPR population.

Worker Programs

The United States provides great economic opportunity for skilled workers in search of jobs, and the most likely way to obtain a Green Card is through employment in the US. Both immigrant and non-immigrant work visas exist, and it is important to decide which option best suits each individual’s interests. If an immigrant comes to the US under a non-immigrant work visa and wishes to become a permanent resident, they may change their classification and apply for an immigrant work visa while in the states. Speaking to an immigration specialist is also helpful in determining eligibility, as well as which visa is right for each individual.

Family Sponsorship

A few pathways by which immigrants may be sponsored by family members in the US include the Petition for Alien Relative (I-130), Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (I-485), the Affidavit of Support (I-864), or Petition for Alien Fiancé (I-129F). The most suitable option for each immigrant will vary based on their relationship to the sponsor. Speak to an immigration specialist to learn more about your eligibility.

Useful Resources for Filipino immigrants in the US

  • The US Embassy in the Philippines provides information on how to apply for a visa, as well as which visa is best for individual cases.
  • The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a non-profit association that serves as the voice of the Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the United States. It promotes active participation of the Filipino American community in civic and national affairs, and fosters unity and empowerment among members of the community.
  • The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) is a community based organization with the goal of promoting "understanding, education, enlightenment, appreciation and enrichment through the identification, gathering, preservation and dissemination of the history and culture of Filipino Americans in the United States." FANHS has also been celebrating Filipino American History Month in October for the past 21 years.

Sources: http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/filipino-immigrants-united-states

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