Most people who read this site are in a relationship or a marriage with somebody from the Philippines. Myself, for instance, I have been married to a Filipina for nearly 26 years! My wife is Feyma, and we married in 1990 in General Santos City.
A big concern for a couple like us, or most readers of this site is citizenship of any children that come from your inter-cultural relationship. I mean, what is the citizenship of kids that come from a marriage where the father and the mother are citizens of different countries? Many people are confused about it. Let’s call this type of relationship “Double Citizenship Couples” for the purposes of this article.
Well, in the case of such children, their initial citizenship at birth depends on where they were born. For the purposes of this article I am going to use my marriage as an example, so we are going to talk about a marriage between a Philippine Citizen and an American Citizen. If you are from another country, it is likely that your child’s citizenship issues will be similar to ours no matter what country you are from, although there may be a few exceptions.
Children born in the USA
If you are a Double Citizenship Couple and you have a child together which is born in the USA, upon birth your child is a US Citizen automatically. Since the USA recognized citizenship based on the principle of “Jus Soli” any child born on US soil is a citizen of the United States.
However, that child also has the right to be classified as a Philippine Citizen as well, and it is not hard to do it. So, if you handle things properly your child will be a citizen of two countries at the same time, thus a Dual Citizen. Like in our case, our children are citizens of both the USA and the Philippines. They are considered “natural born” citizens of each country.
I have known many people over the years who were in the same situation as Feyma and I and said “who cares about the Philippine citizenship, we are not going to worry about it.” Why not? If your child has the right to have Dual Citizenship, why not preserve that right for your child, just in case that is ever needed? I believe in offering every opportunity that I can to my kids!
All you have to do in case of such a birth is to file a “Report of Birth Abroad” with the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC, or with the Philippine Consulate that serves the area where you live. You can just request the form for the report from the Embassy or Consulate,t hey will send it to you and you will fill it out and send it back in. After that, you will receive a certificate of recognition of Philippine Citizenship for the child, and he is instantly a Dual Citizen! It is all very easy, and the cost is minimal.
Children born in the Philippines
So, how about if you are an American man, like me, and you moved to the Philippines, and you and your partner had a child together? Now, here is something different from the USA, the Philippines recognizes citizenship based on the principle of “Jus Sanguis” which means the right of the blood. So, even if a child is born in the Philippines, that child may not be a Philippine Citizen. The child’s citizenship is based on the “blood” of his two parents. If both parents, for example, are American, but living in the Philippines, the child, even though it was born in the Philippines, has no right to Philippine Citizenship! That is because neither the blood of the mother or the father is Filipino blood, so the child has no right to Philippine Citizenship. However, as long as either parent is a Philippine Citizen, the child would automatically be a Philippine Citizen at birth. But the key is that at least one of the Parents MUST be a Philippine Citizen in order for the child to be a Philippine Citizen.
If your wife is a former citizen of the Philippines, maybe she became a US citizen and then moved back to the Philippines, and you are not Filipino, then the child, again, has no right to Philippine Citizenship. The child’s citizenship would depend on the citizenship of the parents.
Now, if you were a US citizen, your wife is a Philippine citizen and you have a child born in the Philippines, as I said, the child would be a Philippine citizen at the time of his birth. However, you (the American) could go with the child to the US Embassy in Manila and apply for a “CRBA” (Consular Report of Birth Abroad) for the child. You may be asked to take a DNA test to prove that you are the father, and if that comes back positive, the child will be given US citizenship, while retaining his Philippine Citizenship, thus a Dual Citizen.
One more scenario
There is one other way that your child could become a dual citizen! Let’s say that your wife became a US citizen while living with you in the States, and she had a child in the USA while she was only a US citizen. That child would be only a US citizen, and has no right to Philippine Citizenship, because he was born to two US Citizen parents. However, there is still one way to get that Philippine Citizenship for your child.
If at any time before the child turns 18 years of age, the wife (former Philippine Citizen) files for re-acquisition of her Philippine Citizenship under the Philippine Dual Citizen law, she can include any children that were born during her time as only a US citizen on the application for Dual Citizenship. When the wife is approved for Dual Citizenship, any children listed on the application will also become dual citizens of the USA and the Philippines!
So, based on the information in this article, it is not hard to protect your child’s rights to Dual Citizenship! Why not do it? It is easy and cheap to do, and you just never know when the child might want or need that Philippine Citizenship. For example, let’s say that at the age of 18, the child wants to come and study in the Philippines for college. As a dual citizen, it is very easy to do that, no visa to worry about, no hassles! Because the child has all of the rights of a Citizen of the Philippines, and also of the USA.. or whatever country you are from! With a few possible exceptions, of course.
I hope this article has been helpful to all of you parents out there!