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Dual Citizenship for Kids

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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.

I am a Dual Citizen

I am a Dual Citizen

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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

Got Dual?

Got Dual?

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!

Bob Martin

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.

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Greg Brown
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Another excellent article Bob.

Bob Martin
Guest

Thank you Greg, I appreciate that very much.

Marie wilson
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Marie wilson

Fantastic find reading this! Answers my questions and sounds pretty easy to do. Thank you!

Patrick Duffey
Guest

This clears up alot of confusion just like your other articles, I just go to you where it’s simply just the facts instead of the usual hoopla. …. thanks again and blessings always ~P

Bob Martin
Guest

Thanks, Patrick. I hope that it is a useful article for you!

Patrick Duffey
Guest

Although I am not married, their mother may want this useful information later. Thanks

Jeff Kelton
Guest
Jeff Kelton

If I understand correctly, my wife was a naturalized US citizen living in the US when our children were born. She re-acquired her Philippine citizenship after our children turned 18,so the children are not eligible for dual citizenship, correct?
I’ve wondered about that thanks to your article, now I have my answer.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Jeff – Unfortunately, what you said is correct. Given the way things happened, your children do not have any claim to Philippine Citizenship.

OB
Guest
OB

Hi Bob, another scenario which applied to us was we adopted a Filipino child (nephew) and once the adoption was finalized, he became a US Citizen while still retaining his Philippine Citizenship. Great article. Thanks.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi IB. Thanks for your comment. Adoption is a completely different can of worms. One that I didn’t really intend to get into with this particular article.

OB
Guest
OB

No worries, and yes, it was a very big can of worms. 🙂

MindanaoBob
Guest

Yeah, there is a can of worms on both sides of the ocean with that one! 🙂

joop teernstra
Guest

Our children would qualify for Philippine citizenship… they would also qualify for military service. Something to consider.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Good luck Joop.

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

what happens to an unknown national baby abandoned by unknown national parents in the philippines? Then?……………………….

Also, if the birth is overseas, some countries permit “citizenship through descent” of their father, but limited to only one generation. For example, in New Zealand and Australia, citizenship through descent is permitted for 1 generation born outside those 2 countries. The grandkids therefore must be born in those nations in order to maintain citizenship, they can’t be born overseas and again inherit citizenship through descent for a 2nd time.

MindanaoBob
Guest

I really don’t know about the law in relation to abandoned children. It was a big issue in the recent presidential election though.

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

Yes, the Grace Poe issue.

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

Also like to correct you, it is not really “blood” in the sense of Racial blood, because Filipinos have Chinese Philippine Citizens and Indian Philippine Citizens, Korean blooded Philippine citizens as well, their children inherit Philippine citizenship.

It means, if your father or mother is a Philippine citizen, the child inherits it upon registration.

MindanaoBob
Guest

You are not correcting me. Blood is the direct translation of the Latin in the law.

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

In some countries, only certain “ethnic groups” can inherit citizenship, but in case of Philippines it is the “citizenship” of the parent, rather than the ethnicity. We must not confuse citizenship with ethnicity. Yes, when taken from the direct latin translation Jus-Sanguinis means “right of blood”, but it cannot be taken in the literal sense when it comes to Philippines. I only referenced to the line where you mentioned “both parents or one parent must have Filipino blood”. It should be “citizenship”.

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

Eg: Chinese Filipinos (Tsinoys) who are Philippine citizenship are not “ethnic indigenous Austronesian” Filipinos, they are descendants of migrants from China. Their children inherit Philippine citizenship. “Filipino” cannot be termed as a “blood”, but rather a national identity/binding citizenship. Same applies to Indian Filipinos, or Indians with Philippine Citizenship (naturalized ones). Their children inherit Philippine citizenship.

MindanaoBob
Guest

The things that you are bringing up go way beyond the scope that is necessary to inform site readers.

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

Always good to learn new things, readers won’t mind ;). They will love you for it.

Mike Mcgeshick Bottea
Guest

Bob what if you adopted a child from Philippines that is your wife’s

Mike Mcgeshick Bottea
Guest

Bob what if you adopted a child from Philippines that is your wife’s

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Mike, as I said earlier, adoption is not part of the scope of this article. I cannot answer the question, because I would need to research first. I will see if I can write another article about this later.

Bob Martin
Guest

As I commented earlier, this article is not about adoption. I don’t know that information, so I will need to research, and I’ll try to write a new article about that at a later time.

Cecilia Cenon
Guest

I have a question, u said in article that the US parent can go to the american embassy to report the birth of the kid, what if the parent is in the states right now, can the filipino parent so it instead?

Bob Martin
Guest

No. Only the American citizen parent can file the CRBA. Sorry.

Cecilia Cenon
Guest

Thank u

Rusty Shackleford
Guest

My wife was able to obtain my daughters U.S. Passport and CRBA without my presence at the embassy. I had to fill out and sign all the documentation, along with a copy of every page of my passport, and every one of those pages needed to be notarized by a U.S. Notary. I mailed these original documents to the Philippines and my wife took them to the embassy, and everything went off without a hitch.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Wow, that shocks me, because it is not supposed to happen.

Bob Martin
Guest

Wow, Rusty, they are not supposed to do that! Very strange.

Cecilia Cenon
Guest

Thats what i read online too that the filipino parent can do it but the american parent has to sign some paper work…

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