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Philippine Dual Citizenship: Complete Guide

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philippine dual citizenship

Philippine Dual Citizenship

Philippine Dual Citizenship

The process we followed

I intend this article to be a complete guide to Philippine Dual Citizenship. Everything from thinking about it to going through the process. This article is a compilation of our Philippine Dual Citizenship experiences and thoughts over the years. You have to read the entire article to get the full scoop. Feyma (and our kids) are dual citizens now, but in the beginning thought they would not go that direction.

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Feyma became a US Citizen

When we lived in the States, my wife, Feyma, became a US Citizen.

Most readers of this blog are married to or plan to marry people from the Philippines. Having a spouse that is a Philippine Citizen, or former Philippine Citizen opens up some doors for you. It allows you to get a better visa so that you can live here.

If your spouse is currently a Philippine citizen, then he or she can buy property. If you want to own land, build a house, buy a house or whatever, one of you must be a citizen! Non-citizens cannot own property here, it’s that simple. Former citizens can own a small amount of land, only up to 1,000 square meters.

She made the right choice

I have never regretted that my wife got her US Citizenship, don’t take me wrong. Having US Citizenship is a great thing, and it allows my wife to go to the USA whenever she wants, even in the event of my death. In addition to that, having a US Passport has lots of advantages, in that it allows travel to a lot of other countries that a Philippine Citizen would have trouble getting into. All in all, having Citizenship in the USA is a good thing for my wife.

Philippine Dual Citizenship is now available

However, did you know that you can now take advantage of the best of both worlds? It’s true – under a law passed in 2004, your spouse (or you, if you are the former citizen) can now obtain Philippine dual citizenship! So, in my wife’s case, she can retain her US Citizenship while re-obtaining her Philippine Citizenship at the same time.

Now, I know that I will hear from people who will tell me that the USA does not accept or recognize dual citizenship. That is not correct. The USA discourages Dual Citizenship, but there is nothing illegal about having or obtaining dual citizenship.

Once a former Philippine Citizen applies for and is granted Philippine dual citizenship, they may then own property or take advantage of any rights that any other Philippine Citizen has – except for holding elected office.

Citizenship can be like a maze

Sometimes, the whole issue of citizenship can seem like a maze when you are involved with a cross-national marriage like I am, and many of the readers of this site are. When a Citizen of one country marries a Citizen of another country, things can get somewhat confusing!

Children complicate things further

Perhaps the situation is most confusing when it comes to our kids! You see, our two oldest kids are dual citizens. By their birthright, they are US Citizens since they were born on US soil. But, at the time of their birth, Feyma was a Philippine Citizen, and thus under Philippine law, our two oldest kids are also Philippine Citizens. Now, our youngest son is a different story, though! Feyma had already been naturalized as a US Citizen by the time Jared was born!

Jared was born on US soil, so he automatically has US Citizenship. Because at the time of his birth Feyma was not a Philippine Citizen, Jared is not a Philippine Citizen at all. Confusing, huh? Of course, in addition to their birth on US soil, the fact that I (their father) am a US Citizen also makes them US Citizens as well.

13g Visas

At the time that we moved to the Philippines, we all got Resident Visas here (13g Visas). We all still hold 13g Visas. However, there is a way to change this. Since the time that we have lived here, Philippine Republic Act 9225 was enacted. RA9225 is the Philippine Dual Citizenship law of the Philippines. Under this law, anybody who is a former Citizen of the Republic of the Philippines (like Feyma), but was naturalized in another country may file an application to obtain Philippine Dual Citizenship.

Dual Citizenship applies to the Children too

When an adult obtains Philippine Dual Citizenship, their minor children also obtain Philippine Dual Citizenship. So, by filing for Philippine Dual Citizenship under Republic Act 9225, Feyma would become a Dual Citizen (concurrently a Citizen of the Philippines and also of the USA), and all of our kids would also have Philippine Dual Citizenship as well, including our youngest. Because of this, the Resident Visas of Feyma and all of the kids would no longer be necessary.

Confused yet?

Yes, this can be quite confusing, but if you take the time to sit down and think it all through you will figure it all out. The Citizenship issue is black and white, there is really no gray area in there, so if you just follow the facts you will get it all straight for your family too!

More Philippine Dual Citizenship Information

Sometime back, I went down to General Santos City for our annual Check-In with the Bureau of Immigration.  This is required for most foreigners that live here. You must check in once per year, in either January or February.

During this visit to the BoI office, I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with the local BoI Commissioner for General Santos City.  Feyma took care of all the paperwork for the check-in, so I was free to have the discussion while finishing the check-in.  I was able to gather a few very interesting facts while we talked.

Information from the Commissioner

Feyma and I have been pondering for a couple of years now whether we feel that Feyma would be best served to file for Philippine Dual Citizenship.  Basically, this would leave her US Citizenship intact, while restoring her Philippine Citizenship as well. For multiple reasons, we also thought it would be good for our kids to have Philippine Dual Citizenship.

We wanted our kids to be dual citizens

A while back, I was thinking about this and realized that Feyma was a Philippine Citizenship at the time of AJ’s birth, thus he should rightfully be a Dual Citizen already.  Just to confirm this, I asked the Commissioner.  He told me that it is indeed true that AJ is already a Philippine Citizen, as well as an American Citizen.

However, the law of the Philippines is that you are treated as what you declare yourself to be.  By filing for a Resident Visa for AJ, we declared him to be an American Citizen.  Thus, while he is legally a Dual Citizen, he must take steps to retain his Philippine Citizenship now.  That step is to simply go to Manila, to the BoI headquarters and to file a paper stating that he considers himself to have retained his Philippine Citizenship. Another solution would be for Feyma to simply obtain Philippine Dual Citizenship.

Better to apply for Dual Citizenship outside the Philippines

I also asked the Commissioner about the procedure for Feyma to apply for Dual Citizenship.  His advice to me – don’t apply for Philippine Dual Citizenship in the Philippines.  It is riddled with problems and takes a long time.  He said it is best to just forget about the Philippine Dual Citizenship or to go back to your home country to make the application, where it is done much quicker and more efficiently.  At this time, Feyma has decided not to apply for Philippine Dual Citizenship, as we really don’t see any advantages in doing so.

Feyma did it, here is what she says

As you know by reading above, I applied for and received my Philippine dual citizenship here in the Philippines. See, when we first moved here the dual citizenship was not yet approved by the Philippine government. So I came here with my American passport as did the kids.

After a few years of living here, the dual citizenship was already approved. Bob’s been on me to apply for it, and that includes the kids too.

Visit the Bureau of Immigration

Finally, Bob told me to go and inquire at the Bureau of Immigration here in Davao City. He said to ask them about the requirements to apply. Also about the procedure to get Philippine Dual Citizenship for the kids.

So there I went to the Immigration office to inquire. I just asked the guy that was an expert for the dual citizenship there at the Immigration office and he directed me to the person in charge of the Philippine Dual Citizenship office here Davao. He gave me some papers to be filled out. I told him that I also had 3 kids that I want to include. He showed me where to list the kids on the application form. I’m glad that I listened to what Bob was talking about. It was all so simple, and inexpensive too, just like Bob thought.

Requirements

Here are requirements for re-obtaining Philippine Citizenship.

Oath Taking

One of the requirements you will have is an oath-taking.

The Immigration people told me of several attornies nearby. I went to one and for a very low price, I was able to take the Oath of Philippine Citizenship. They gave me an affidavit of that oath. I also took each of our children to take the oath as well.

The Philippine Dual Citizenship application lists all of the required documents and procedures. It is all very simple. Just follow the list of items on the application. Since these types of requirements change over time (and where you apply), we won’t list them here.

Turn in your Application

After acquiring all of the documents listed and filling out the application, just pass this to the Bureau of Immigration. If you are applying overseas send it to a Philippine Embassy or Consulate, that is where you should pass your application and supporting documents.

Keep a copy for yourself

Be sure to keep a photocopy of everything for yourself. If you have a complete application and supporting documents you can refer to if needed.

Sometimes the agency where you apply will call to ask a question. If you have a complete copy that makes it easy for you to answer based on looking at the exact same document that they are asking you about.

Don’t forget to put your Contact Number (home phone and cellular phone) in case it is needed.

You can get one final check

Before I mailed my paperwork I went back to the immigration office. I showed them my paperwork and asked if I need anything more. They said it was all good. He then gave me the name and address of the person in BOI Manila to send my applications to.

Notarize the Documents

The documents that you turn in to the Bureau of Immigration must be notarized by an attorney. Be sure to get this done.

Honestly, I am so thankful at the Bureau of immigration office here in Davao. The dual citizenship people in-charge were really nice people and willing to assist me. I’m really thankful for that.

Don’t worry, it’s easy

Thinking of applying for Philippine dual citizenship? Try it, it’s easy. You can do it. For those that applied here and abroad congratulations to you.

Cheers, and good luck!

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Patrice
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Patrice

Hello Bob, I would like to know how did your wife adjust when she went back to Philippines? I heard many times peoples saying that when you've been away from the philippines for awhile, its harder to adjust even just for vacation. You talk a lot about us, the foreigners, but what about the filipino? What wife told me yesterday that she would like to go there alone for about 2 months to see if she can make it….So I reply, if you can't make it, I hope you will come and visit me 🙂 . For me I have… Read more »

Bob
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Bob

Hi Patrice – I am working on getting my wife to join me as a writer on this blog, so that we can have the perspectives of me (the foreigner here) AND her (the native of this country). She says she will do it, but getting her to sit down in front of the keyboard is not all that easy! I will say this – making the adjustment to living here again was very difficult for her. For me it was hard too, but not nearly as hard as for her. She did not realize what she was getting into… Read more »

Wendy
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Wendy

Hey, that would be something I'd like to read…hey, the hubby and I might want to live there someday..

The prospect of moving back there…hmmm..I'd have to think about that for quite sometime. My family immigrated to Chicago almost 30 years ago and us kids(21 years ago)…just in time to see the Bears win the Super Bowl!…Go Bears! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my visits, though I never really stay too long…I mean, 16 days was about the longest I stayed!

I am looking forward to hearing from her…

AllenO
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AllenO

Hi Bob,
I hope Feyma does contribute in your blog, just to get her take on being back in Mindanao and what she had to adjust to. My experience would be more like your children's once they come back to the states. Having been born in the states, I didnt learn tagalog or bisaya till my parents returned to Davao when I was five. I returned to the states after my high school years in Davao. I do romanticize about retiring in Davao.

Bob
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Bob

Hi Allen – no need to romanticize! Just do it (as Nike says).

My kids were young enough when I moved here that they are pretty well grounded in Filipino culture by now. I have one son who talks about wanting to return to the States for college, but we'll have to see if that happens!

AllenO
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AllenO

Hi Bob,

Yeah I could retire there but thats at least 20 years away. But then again my parents are getting older and will probably stop travelling to the States every 6 months. So maybe I'll probably will have to come to Davao more often.

College for your son would certainly be more expensive here in the US. But I can't blame him for wanting to experience American life again especially college an ocean away from mom and dad 🙂

Bob
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Bob

Hi Allen – Yeah, Aaron sometimes says he wants to go to college here in Davao so he can be close to his Mom and Dad… sometimes he says in the States because he wants to be near his Grandma. When he is a little older he will probably want to be AWAY from all of us! Ha ha.

Marie
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Marie

Hey i was wonder how to go about getting a Phillipines Passport.

and links or directions would be greatly appreciated.

🙂

Bob
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Bob

Hi Marie – are you a Philippine Citizen?

Marie
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Marie

No, well you see my mom was she came to the U.S. when she was in her teens. However i need to try to get one because me and my sister are atheletes and are trying to represent the phillipines, and to do so we need a passport. I have no idea if it is even possible to get one in time, which is why i have been asking around.
🙂

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