An interview with Ray Bacon

If you have cruised the Internet much over the past 15 years or so in search of information about the Philippines, there is a good chance that you know who Ray Bacon is.  I first came to know of Ray about that many years ago, or so.  I used to operate an e-mail list in the early to mid-90’s called “Asialink” which was mostly a group of men who were married to Filipina wives.  We gathered on this on-line e-mail chat group for support, sharing information and such.  After a few years, the group splintered into two groups, and that other group later splintered again, and a new e-mail group called “Mag-Anak” was born.  Ray was one of the original founders of the Mag-Anak group.

Over these many years, Ray Bacon has been active in assisting people who have married Filipinas.  He has assisted people get through the Immigration process so that the couple could be re-united in the United States and begin their families.  While the process of a wife immigrating to the USA has been fairly straightforward, when a problem does arise, or for those who are unsure how to proceed, Ray has been a godsend.  As a matter of fact, on the Mag-Anak group, Ray has a nickname, or at least he used to in the days when I was active on the group.  Ray is known as “The Pope.”

I don’t normally write about issues regarding marriage in the Philippines and that kind of thing.  It’s something I did a very long time ago (nearly 20 years already), so it is not something that consumes me anymore.   This site tends to focus on expat issues instead.  However, nobody can argue that there is not a cross over between the two issues.  Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for information on this sort of thing, lots of questions like, “Bob, I just married a lady in the Philippines, what do I do now, I want her to come live in the States.”

So, because of the interest that I get on this, I decided to do a little interview with Ray Bacon.  Ray is a guy who can help you greatly if you need this kind of assistance.

So, here is my interview with Ray Bacon.

Ray and Ampee Bacon
Ray and Ampee Bacon

Hi Ray, nice to talk to you again, it’s been a long time since we’ve been in contact.  I remember that you used to do a lot to help people who got married or engaged here in the Philippines.  Helping with things like Immigration and such.  Are you still doing that, and if so, can you direct the readers how to get to your website, or how to contact you?

We maintain a resource website called Multi Ethnic Services with links to immigration-related sites, our enhanced versions of the latest U.S. immigration-related forms and some information about what we do.

A lot of people ask me, what is best… getting married in the Philippines, or getting married in the States.  What do you think, in terms of the Immigration process?

It’s a personal choice, but sometimes influenced by the fiancee’s parents.  The Spousal Visa procedure, after marriage, has a stronger legal basis for the young lady’s eventual Immigrant and Green Card status, but currently averages about 2 months longer than the Fiancee Visa process.

Are you able to help people with immigration concerns in countries other than the USA?

We have assisted with Immigration paperwork for nationals from more than 10 other countries inthe last year.  The requirements are the same for most countries, except for minor local procedural differences once the paperwork arrives at the foreign U.S. Consular Post (Embassy or Consulate).

What kinds of visas are available for wives or fiancees of American Citizens?

Spouses of U.S. Citizens are eligible for the Immigrant Visa, CR-1, or the Non-Immigrant Two Year Spousal Visa, K3.  The K3 Visa was originally touted as getting wives to the U.S. much faster, but that is no longer the case, though a one to two-month faster timeframe may still be experienced with the K3 Visa.  Use of the K3 Visa, however, results in significant extra expense and waiting before the young lady can get an SSN, work approval or Green Card once in the U.S.

About how long does the immigration process take?

From 7 to 10 months, on the average.  Any “Fiancee or Spouse of a U.S. Citizen” Visa taking longer has experienced unusual delays due to improperly prepared paperwork or failure to have all evidence available when needed.

After getting the spouse to the States, are they then US Citizens?

U.S. Citizenship is not available to spouses of U.S. Citizens until the spouse has Green Card Status for 2 years and 9 months (for filing an application).  If the immigrant enlists in any branch of the U.S. Military, it is possible for U.S. Citizenship to be available much sooner than 3 years.

Once the Immigration is complete, are there other steps that must be completed in the future?

Yes.  If on a K3 Visa, the entrant must apply for Adjustment of Status, to get a Green Card, within two years of arrival in the U.S.  If in the U.S. on a Spousal Immigrant Visa, CR-1, and the marriage is less than two years upon arrival in the U.S., she must apply for “Removal of Conditions” to obtain a 1-year Green Card before her second-year anniversary of Green Card issuance arrives. This requirement also applies to K3 entrants who’s subsequent Green Cards were issued for only 2 years.

After the lady arrives in the States, what if she wants to become a US Citizen?  How long does it take?  What is the process?

After she receives her Green Card, she can apply for U.S. Citizenship at 2 years and 9 months from the Green Card issue date.  If the marriage terminates before then, or she is not married to a U.S. Citizen, she must wait until 4 1/2 years from the Green Card issuance.  The Naturalization Application fee is currently $675 and requires submittal of Form N-400 with supporting documents.  After acceptance, she will be scheduled for biometrics (fingerprinting), then an interview and test consisting of civics, history and basic English questions.

How long have you been doing this kind of service, Ray?  About how many people have you assisted?

We have been doing Immigration-related work for fees for about 10 years.  We started by assisting with Citizenship Applications on a contract basis and assisted about 2,000 Citizenship Applicants at different locations around the country.  When that private contracting program was terminated, about 10 years ago, we began working primarily with Fil-Am couples doing fiancee and Spousal petitions and adjustment of status packages.  We’ve probably worked with about 600 couples, as well as other relative categories during the last 10 years, from at least 14 different countries.

Last question, Ray, because you are a busy man!  I believe that you have an online group that delves into this whole type of thing, can you tell me about that?  Who can join?  What is the procedure to join?

We assist in moderating Mag-Anak, an online listserve, with a Yahoo Groups messaging application. This group, Mag-Anak, has been active for more than 10 years.  Information about this Online Community can be found at:  Mag Anak Website or Yahoo Groups Mag-Anak page.

The Mag-Anak Web Forum, linked from the Mag-Anak website is no longer active.

Thank you very much Ray, for sharing your expertise and information with the readers of my LiP Web Magazine!  All the best to you and Ampee.

Thank you, Bob, for your longtime help to the Expat Community in the Philippines!


So, that wraps up my interview with “The Pope,” Ray Bacon.  If you have needs for Immigration assistance I highly recommend Ray as a resource with experience and a great deal of knowledge.

I would like to point out that I receive no remuneration from this interview at all.  I only recommend Ray because I really believe that he is the best man to provide the type of assistance and information that somebody would need and desire if they are embarking on the journey of helping their wife or fiancee immigrate to the USA.

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1353 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

49 Ways to Make a Living without a Job


  1. ROSE says

    Hello Bob, hope all is well, I pretty much read your blog everyday and I enjoyed it very much, I look forward everyday to see if there’s new blog posted! It’s addicting! My comment/question or basically looking for some input, way out of topic here! My family and I live here in AZ and really thinking about moving back home, we are from Floridablanca Pampaga, 2hours away from Manila, 45minutes from Angeles and 1hour from Subic, been thinking about putting up a bed and breakfast in our place, we have a 3 bedrooms 3 bath home in Pampanga, have another little house next to us..wondering if a bed and breakfast would be attractive to foreigners that would like to just try and visit Philippines and have a taste of the laid back life in our country..siriously thinking about putting this together but wanted to see if I can get some feedback from your readers!

    hope to hear from you and your readers!

    thank you and God Bless!


    • says

      Hi Rose – I have been to Floridablanca, Pampanga one time, but just passing through. Here in Davao, within walking distance from my house there are three Bed and Breakfasts, and they are quite popular. I assume that if it works here, it would likely work in Pampanga too! Give it a shot!

      Nice to hear from you, and I am happy to know that you enjoy my site!

    • says

      Hello Rose,

      You have been away a while … Florida Blanca will be much closer in time now to Subic and Clark. The interchange for Florida Balnce on the SCTEX toll road will be open soon .. Porac interchange just opened and the F.B. interchange is being actively worked on … the last one left to complete the original interchanges.

      As Bob pointed out, well run B&B’s seem to do well here in the Philippines … wishthere weresome here in Bulacan where my wife and I live … people write and ask about visiting, but there is no place decent to send them.

      In additon to it’s central location, Florida Blanca is close to a large Philippine Air Force base, and the military market for accommodations is similar in many ways to any other country … members get sent to different locations for training and temporary assignments and they are always needing family-friendly accommodations just as tourists do.

      Very, very, very few Philippine lodging establishments from tiny B&B’s to major hotels are foreigner freindly … that is web sites for reservations, US phone numbers to call (very cheap through VOIP), or even email that gets answered, so as someone who lives in that general area and who passes through Florida Blamca sometimes several time a wekk, if a B&B is your dream, go for it!

      • Rose says

        Hi Dave, been living here in Az for 21 years and been married for 21 years. Since we bought a house there in Fb in 2004, we’ve been coming home yearly for vacation and where we hope to retire soon. B&B was really my husbands idea and been giving a lot of thought. He is Kano also and was ex marine and would love to retire and enjoy the laid back life and hope to be one of the writer here at Bobs site someday . Thank you for your input you know the area well than I do.! Take care n god bless!


  2. LJinIL says

    Ray Bacon is very well known in the online Fil/Am community. He has helped many with their questions on Fil/Am forums where I am a member. He is truly a God send when it comes to answering questions and giving advice about the fiance or spousal visa process.

    Bob, I had no idea you had any type of relationship with Ray. I guess it goes to show that the Fil/Am community is still a small, tight knit group of people. Even if some out there don’t get along, they at least know who the others are.

    Did you ever run a forum on Fil/Am relationships?

    • says

      Hi LJinIL – I have known Ray for a long, long time. We are not close, but do stay in touch. He is indeed a very good man.

      Yes, I believe that I ran the first Fil/Am relationship forum that ever existed. It started in 1992 and was called “Asialink.” I ran it until 2000.

  3. Kenneth Crawley says

    I have a friend in Gensan that moved here and married a lady in Gensan. From what I can find out, and I’m not sure, if he dies, she is not eligible for the death benefits and widow pension from the States.
    Just to make sure my wife would be taken care of after my death, I’d go back to the States, get her a fiance Visa, and marry her there first.
    When we returned to the Philippines, I would have a second wedding for family and friends.
    I may be way off on this message about eligibility. Someone else may know more about it.

    • says

      Hi Kenneth – What you say is part right, and part wrong…

      You are exactly correct that if an American moves here, marries, and lives here, his wife will not be eligible for SS and such benefits. However, you can get married here, and have your wife move to the States and live there for a while, and she is fully eligible. You don’t have to marry there at all, you can marry anywhere in the world.

      Take care, my friend!

  4. says

    Hi Bob – I didn’t know you knew Ray Bacon. It figures though.

    Ray was very helpful to me when I ran into some issues with our process. He gave me some great advice specific to my unique situation, and I couldn’t be more grateful. He also later answered questions regarding the middle name/last name situation that arose when we had Rechie’s passport renewed. That also proved to be right on.

    My brother would have been well served to consult Ray instead of the nightmare process they just went though.

    • says

      Hi Randy – Did your brother marry somebody from over here? I didn’t know about that!

      Yes, Ray has always been very helpful. It amazes me how many people tell me that Ray Bacon helped them!

      • says

        Hi Bob – my younger brother was married to a filipina before I was. In fact that’s how I met Rechie, when I was visiting after the birth of their first boy. They now have two, and recently moved back to WA. Their immigration process was difficult, partially in part to the legal advice they had paid for.

        • says

          Hi Randy – I didn’t know that! Learn something new everyday. When we lived in Vancouver, we knew a Filipina lady who had been married to an American guy for a long time. After knowing this lady for some time, we found out that three of her sisters were married to her husband’s 3 brothers! Can you imagine? These people were all brothers/sisters and in-laws of their own siblings! 😀

  5. says

    Hi Bob as you know we are ging through the visa process as we speak, I am surprised Ray doent mention the IR-1 visa for couples that have been married 2 + years and the benefits that brings as no AOS required, automatic 10 year GC, no wait for SSN or work requirements.

    Still as we have studied in depth every visa possibility available to us this one seems to be the best fit

    • says

      Hi Tommy – It’s been a long, long time since I’ve done the visa thing, almost 20 years. So, I am not an expert on the differences between the IR-1 and the CR-1. Perhaps part of the reason that Ray mentioned the CR-1 is because he rarely works with people who have already been married 2 years. Most of those he works with are petitioning immediately after marriage.

      Good luck to you.

  6. says

    And let me say Hi to Ray and Ampee here. For those of you in doubt, let me add my personal vote of confidence, Ray Bacon is the ‘real deal’. He knows the rules and further, he knows the best way to make the rules work for you … always staying 100% inside those rules … something, sadly, a lot of folks don’t always do.

    The immigration rules and visa choices are something a lot of folks I have talked to get frustrated with and often take shortcuts and make wrong moves with, leading to future problems. I’m grateful for Ray’s great advice over the years, thanks my friend.

  7. imagine says

    Mag-Anak was of great help to us. We did all of our own paperwork for Melanies fiancee-visa. When we were stumbling with questions we got our answers from M-A.

    Our issues were a wee bit different. 4 months after marrying in the USA we left for the Caribbean, and sailed from island nation to island nation, and then returned to the USA VIA sailboat. Thanks Ray, and check our gallery to see how successful your advice was……i2f

  8. Howard says

    Hi Bob! Again thank you for the security report I ordered for Mindanao in December. I stayed for 30 days in Bayugan and married there on January 21st. Everyone was wonderful and I had no problems nor did I fear for my safety. Ray is working on my CR-1 as we speak. Thanks for all your help! Your advice was great and I plan to visit again in July!

    God Bless,

    • says

      Hi Howard – I am happy that I could help you, and also very happy that everything worked out well for you! It sounds like it was a great trip, which is what I expected for you! Congrats on your wedding!

  9. Luisito F. Young Jr says

    Hi Sir, I know you are helping a lot of people like are in need you help and advise, I am Luisito Young (Amerasian) 40 years old residing here Baguio City, I am son of US air force. I’ve found my dad just last year and now I am planning to go to the united state to meet him as will as my sisters and brothers. But the problem is that I don’t know where to begin with. Could you advise me exactly what to do? I think American Embassy is sending application forms for US passport for those sons and daughters of US servicemen who where stationed here in the Philippines. Please help me sir. Thanks and God bless you always.

    • says

      Hello Luisito – you are not entitled to a US passport unless you are a US Citizen. You cannot become a US citizen unless your father takes action to allow you to become one. He will need to submit to a DNA test to prove that he is your father, and there will be forms that he must fill out and such. It is all up to him.

      Good luck in your travels!

  10. says

    My name is Aryan, 33 years old, working in BPO industry from Pasig City, Philippines. I have a relationship to a 43-year old American guy whom I met in the internet. I love him so much and it feels like heaven to be with him every time we talk at Skype. We are both serious to one another and this is something we are proud to say to anyone. He wants to visit me this summer to meet my parents, My boyfriend wants to marry me and bring me to USA. In fact we are both wearing engagement rings with our name written on it as our proof that we are so serious to one another.

    This is the start of the problem I can’t get married here in the Philippines because I am a transsexual. The Philippine law will not allow it. The only way I can make my dreams come true is to get married in USA by applying Fiancée Visa (K-1). Applying fiancée visa in USA will require following proper documentation. My birth certificate cannot be amended because there is no Philippine law that permits transgender to change their birth certificate even done with SRS. (sex reassignment surgery). So the only chance is to get medical certificate.

    And as a transsexual applying for US fiancée visa is the toughest part. I will be needing a medical certificate stating that the individual has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to new gender (male or female) Or a language stating the he/she has review and evaluated the medical history of the applicant in relation to the applicant’s change in gender and that he/she has a doctor/patient relationship with the applicant. Please check the attached pdf files from the US embassy which explains everything. It clearly stated that Medical certification should be issued by a licensed physician (a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) I had irreversible hormonal treatment (hormone replacement therapy for transgender) I am taking female hormones for years up to now and I had breast augmentation performed several years ago. it says that the medical certificate will speak for itself. I am so optimistic that you will understand me. I need a transgender friendly doctor that can make this all possible in addition to immigration lawyer. Doctors here are quite unfriendly towards transgender.

    Assuming i can obtain medical certificate, i would like to know my chance to change my change my gender in state of california? please tell me some advice, Your reply is MOST appreciated. I am looking forward to your reply.

    Thank you so much and God bless you.

    Sincerely, Aryan Dumale

    • mike cowan says

      Aryan, I think that you’re worrying about something that isn’t going to happen. Of all of our 57 states, California isn’t going to raise an eyebrow regarding a transgender issue. I’m not a lawyer or a Californian, but even if the state had some law, at this time, preventing you from marrying, there are plenty of other states that recognize same-sex marriages. Who cares what your birth certificate says?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *