Struggling with Citizenship Issues

I have been living in the Philippines for a dozen years already, probably more than that by the time you read this.  In all of that time, I have never been back to my country of citizenship, the USA.  Really, I have no desire to go back and probably never will.  I really can’t think of any reason why I would go back.

But, I am still a US Citizen, and not a Philippine Citizen.  I have been thinking for several years now of becoming a citizen of the Philippines, but I am still unsure.  One of the reasons why I go back and forth on this is because of the fact that if I want to become a Philippine Citizen, I must renounce my US Citizenship.  I am not certain that I want to do that.

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Some people argue that I can be a dual citizen – citizenship in the USA and the Philippines.  How?  Because the Philippines requires that I stand up and declare that I renounce my US citizenship.  Under US law, it is not that easy to renounce citizenship.  By simply standing up and swearing to a judge in the Philippines that I am renouncing my US citizenship, the USA does not consider that to be a true renunciation of citizenship.  However, the spirit of the law of the Philippines, and of the US would indicate that US citizenship has been renounced.

Philippine-and-US-FlagsThe United States State Department says that you have not renounced your citizenship by such a statement, unless you truly intend to lose your US citizenship.  But, if you make that sworn statement to a judge knowing that the statement is a lie, well, you have not really lived up to the law of the Philippines, have you?  On top of that, lying  as your first act as a Philippine citizen is not really a good start, is it?

What about you, how do you feel about this issue?

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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David
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David

My question would be concerning passports and travel. If you give up your US citizenship you would also be relinquishing your US passport. How would that impact your future travel as a Philippine citizen using only a Philippine passport? Would you then have to apply for travel visas to each country that you visit? I know that my wife on her Philippine passport can only enter certain countries on her Philippine passport and must apply for a visa prior to travel to enter other countries.
What are your thoughts and feelings on this matter?

Cheers

MindanaoBob
Guest

Yes, you are correct David. However, it is not a big concern to me. Yes, I would need to apply for Visas, but I am not worried about that. US Citizens have to apply for visas to visit many countries too. Would it make international trouble harder? Yes, a bit so. That is not something that really concerns me, though.

Ed
Guest
Ed

I’m not sure about the passport issue, since all the other requirements have kept me from pursuing Philippine citizenship though I would otherwise long qualify. Honestly I don’t know if someone from your country-of-origin will show up at your house to confiscate your (now foreign) passport. Personally I’ve realized for other reasons not to try that one on for size. What other reasons? I’ve posted this before, but consider, if you renounce your citizenship of birth: 1/ You surrender your ability to legally earn income external to the Philppines. 2/ You surrender any national pension you might otherwise have PAID… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Ed – I disagree with your point about surrendering your ability to legally earn income external to the Philippines. Thousands, maybe Millions of Filipinos earn money from outside the Philippines. Think about it… OFW’s earn their money overseas. How about being in the exporting business? There are thousands of ways to earn your money outside the country regardless of your citizenship.

Ed
Guest
Ed

Bob, where your foreign business requires you to maintain your foreign citizenship, renouncing that means closing that business and forever forfeiting your income from it. It’s quite clear.
That may not apply to many other businesses in many other countries but it certainly does in my case. It’s a complete show-stopper.
Your comment relates to Filipinos earning outside, but that’s a totally different situation without the requirement I stated.

Gordon
Guest
Gordon

Hi Bob, I have also had the same thought a few times but have never actually persuade the matter. Not sure if my situation would be the same as yours because im a British Citizen. Have spent the past 13 years here in the Philippines and like you have never been back to my country of citizenship. Did notice that neither of use called it back ‘home’. My home is here with my wife, kids and friends and i cant see that changing as i enjoy being here so much. Would i give up my British Citizenship to become a… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Gordon – My age is similar to yours, but a bit older.. I’m 49. I have similar feelings to what you describe. Home for me is the Philippines, and I feel a great love for the Philippines, probably more love for the Philippines than the US now, I guess. But, I am unsure as to which way I should go. Good luck in your decision, Gordon.

lost
Guest
lost

how did you get to the philippines to be able to stay without citizenship? did you not need a travel visa? did you have to overstay the visa? I am really needing help with this… Thank you…

MindanaoBob
Guest

I have a Resident Visa and can stay as long as I like.

Ron
Guest
Ron

You can also apply for a SRRV retirement visa and stay as long as you like.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Ron – Yes, a person can do that too. Not sure of any reason why I would want to do so, as I already have a 13(g) Resident Visa. It can be an option for others, though.

Miss August
Guest
Miss August

The 13 Series Resident Visa is available to foreign citizens who are married to a Filipino. If you’re not eligible for the 13(a) or 13(g) Resident Visa, you can get the SRRV Retirement visa instead.

Joe
Guest

This is for Gordon the British citizen. If you renounce your British citizenship you will lose all the welfare and benefits that British citizenship carries with it just like Canadian citizens. So, for practical side, you may retain your British citizenship. But if you are really determined to renounce your BC, then you have to prepare to face the consequences of losing all the benefits and welfare. I knew of a German priest who has been living in the Philippines for so long. He liked living in the Philippines so much but he did not renounce his German citizenship for… Read more »

Ed
Guest
Ed

Hi Gordon, I realize you addressed your posting to Bob, but you, Bob (as I understand), and I are in a similar situation. That noted, after a decade or more abroad, just possibly your country-of-origin may have already clawed-back anything you might have paid in during your lifetime. Might behoove you to check to see if your paid-for pension after so many years absence has by now been reduced to the order of 13cents per month by now. If you must work every night to earn a living for your kids then that’s one thing. If your only concern is… Read more »

Leandro
Guest
Leandro

I hope everything is well for you Bob. I hope the dual citizenship law be applied for foreign residents also. 10 years of continuous stay in the Philippines is already an outstanding dedication. I’m a filipino by heritage and birth. By the way, There is actually a short debate in a Filipino show on “Dual citizenship for filipinos by descent.” The filipinos living in the Philippines questions the worthiness of allowing other filipinos to obtain another citizenship. In addition, they disagree for dual citizenship with a question regarding allegiance. After watching the debate, dual citizen Filipinos may have lost the… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

I am doing fine, Leandro, and I hope you are too. I doubt that we will ever see the dual citizenship law apply to foreigners, though.

Ed
Guest
Ed

My personal experience suggests Bob’s guess is 100% correct. Wish it were otherwise, but in Taglish … “Don’t expect”.

Two names
Guest
Two names

Dear Bob,————————————————————————————————————————-I am Philippine natural born become American national,I changed my Rag name
to Rich name,married to filipino woman once,but sadly to say we’ve been seperated.Divorce outside united states can not recognize because there’s no divorce in philippine .My realty property in south cotabato under my Rag name while in the US under Rich name.
Now i’m retiree want to home for good.I want to get my Philippine passport but how to get my Rag name back?

MindanaoBob
Guest

I am sorry, I don’t have any information on this topic.

Ed
Guest
Ed

Not completely clear on your posting, but I would urge you to consult a local (Philippine) attorney on property issues. I would further urge you to seek out the most competent, which yes will cost you a lot more for actual service. That noted, initial consultation is usually gratis, as you relate your issue to the attorney and the attorney decides whether to accept your case. If you’re not sure, ask in advance.

David-Paul Newton-Scott
Guest
David-Paul Newton-Scott

I am a UK citizen married to Philippina, I love the Philippines and my Philippino family with all my heart I believe God has a purpose for me there. Quite simply, I would die for the Philippines if I had to. There is no practical way I can become a citizen under the present law. I have simply decided that I am a Philipino God Almighty wishes it to be so. Let’s petition the government to change the law.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi David – my view is that it is not our place to petition the government on this sort of thing. It is not our country, and thus not our place to do that. Of course, opinions may vary, and you are free to do what you see fit, but it is not something I would join in.

Ed
Guest
Ed

Bob, yes, it’s at this point *NOT* our country to be petitioning.
However those that feel strongly enough and can live long enough might engage a few thousand family to do so, or maybe just a few properly placed politicians. Don’t know if I’ll get to that point, too many other daily issues to survive for the family.
Still, recognize that if it’s important enough, that’s how it works here.
That commented, time for me to crawl back under my keyboard.

marilou
Guest
marilou

hi bob!can you give me more info how to get 3g visa and how it works?. my husband and i are planning of retiring in the philippines in 6 or 7 years God willing.
I know i should ask the immigration here in P.I. but i want to get first hand info.
thanks and more power!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi marilou – I suspect that you are a Philippine Citizen. If that is so, your husband does not qualify for a 13(g) visa, he should apply instead for a 13(a) Visa.

John
Guest
John

Bob, I have question about citizenship by naturalization. My father has been in Philippines continuously for 15 years after getting in by retirement visa. He applied naturalized citizenship three years ago. It has been more than three years since my father has been waiting for grant of citizenship already. My father’s case went up to high court and judge granted citizenship one year ago. Right after that, prosecutor lodged an appeal on the case. No action has been taken without any hearing or any decision from the court ever since. District Court is saying the case is on hold with… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi John – Wow, interesting. I can’t imagine what the appeal would be all about. I have never heard of such a case before. Sorry, I won’t be much help on this one.

John
Guest
John

hello Bob,
What the profs asked as you have been staying for 5 or 10 years in the Philippines, and where to get these profs?
Thanks a lot for your reply, Regards,
John

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi John – I am sorry, I don’t know what you are talking about. Who or what is “profs” and what did he ask?

John
Guest
John

Hi Bob,
Sorry Bob, I meant proof or evidence (the word evidence is a french word, iI should almost know my own language).
“He/she must have resided in the Philippines for a continuous period of not less than ten (10) years”;
My question is: who will give the paper, and what is the paper required with the proof or the evidence that you have been staying already 5 or 10 years in the Philippines?
Thanks, JohnLuc

MindanaoBob
Guest

Your passport should have entry stamps in it that would prove when you entered the Philippines.

Ed
Guest
Ed

Keep all your BI OR’s (official receipts) to supplement your proof of continued Philippine residence to nail it down.

It’s like when I offer my Philippines drivers license – ok, but they ask me for the OR!
I learned that a few years ago; so might you in context of your BI visa renewals.

That noted, if you’ve been in the Philippines for over 5 years, why haven’t you by now applied for permanent residency and and saved yourself a bundle and the requirement to show up at BI every 2 months to pay large?

MindanaoBob
Guest

In the Philippines, always, always keep your OR’s for everything! 🙂

John
Guest
John

Hello Bob,
Do you know any foreigners of Philippines who have got successfully the Philippines citizenship?
Thanks a lot, JohnLuc

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