Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
One of the unique things about citizenship in the Philippines is that descent serves as the primary factor in determining who qualifies. This concept is known as jus sanguinis. Generally speaking, Philippine nationality law allows a person, who is born to at least one parent who was a citizen of the Philippines at the time of their birth, to be classified as a Philippine citizen.
This is the case for our three Filipino American children, two born while their mother was a Filipino citizen and the youngest born after she became a dual citizen which had the effect of adding a few more steps to the entire process. Despite having to fulfill some additional requirements, overall, the process of acquiring their Philippine citizenship and passport was not nearly as complexed as one would be lead to believe.
Before you read on, please be aware this is absolutely not intended to be legal advice. This is simply a description of our personal experience and what we have come to know about the process of acquiring Philippine citizenship for our three children. Consult an attorney about your individual situation along with how and where to apply based on your jurisdiction. (Dual Citizenship Philippines – RA 9225 LA)
Why does it matter if it was before or after their mother was designated as a dual citizen?
Technically, one loses their Philippine citizenship after becoming a naturalized citizen of another country and therefore this would prevent the process from proceeding further. However, Philippine nationality law allows for the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship by way of the processs described below:
HOW DOES ONE REACQUIRE PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP?
Natural-born Filipinos who lost their Filipino citizenship through naturalization in a foreign country may re-acquire Philippine citizenship by taking the Philippine Oath of Allegiance before a duly authorized Philippine official. The Philippine Oath of Allegiance does not require a person to renounce his allegiance to any other country. (Source: Philippine Consular General, Los Angeles, California)
We learned a lot during this process.
To begin, United States citizenship is based on territory, i.e. place of birth, with exceptions granted in section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Although the FilAm FamBam kids were all born in the U.S. and already American citizens, they were also qualified to apply for Philippine citizenship. In fact, our children were automatically considered to be dual citizens by birth, since at least one of their parents was Filipino at the time of his/her birth. However, there were several filings and other formalities required to make the election of Philippine citizenship official.
Jus sanguinis (English: /dʒʌs ˈsæŋɡwɪnɪs/ juss SANG-gwin-iss, /jus/ yoos, Latin: [juːs ˈsaŋɡwɪnɪs]; “right of blood”) is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship is determined or acquired by the nationality or ethnicity of one or both parents.
A cautionary tale for FilAm couples like us.
Within the Filipino American community, it’s not uncommon to find that a spouse may have immigrated from the Philippines, eventually married an American citizen, and had children in the United States. If this applies or will apply, do yourself a favor and report your marriage and births abroad as soon as possible!!! If you wait too long, don’t be surprised if you have to explain why you waited years to file and in a worst-case scenario, it could bring your progress to a screeching halt. Submitting these filings is the first and most important step in acquiring dual citizenship for your children.
Our filings took place over several years so it helps to be very organized. Try keeping your vital records along with a few extra copies in a secure binder for easy access. Get a large one because it will fill up quickly. For extra security, we also used a fireproof bag to store all of our critical items. All we say is that it worked well for us.
What we submitted with our Report of Marriage Abroad form.
- Extra copies of the completed Report of Marriage Form
- Original and photocopies of our marriage certificate
- Photocopies of our passports
- Photocopies of birth certificates
- Applicable Fees (Could also include a late registration fee depending on your situation)
Again, we are not attorneys, so be sure to check in with your local consulate to precisely confirm all the requirements. The place of marriage determines where you need to file. We filed with the Philippine Consular General in Los Angeles, California which at the time of this writing covers Southern California, Southern Nevada (Clark, Lincoln & Nye Counties), and Arizona. For other locations refer to this list of Philippine consulates in the United States.
Report of Birth Abroad (Also Very Important!)
The Report of Birth is a declaration of the person furnishing information on the birth abroad of a Filipino child. It is important for Filipinos permanently residing abroad to promptly register with the Consulate the birth of a child in order for such a birth to be registered with the Office of the Civil Registrar General in Manila. (Source: Philippine Consular General, Los Angeles, California)
Fortunately, we were also able to report the births of our children in a timely manner. Here are a few examples of what we submitted:
- Originals of Report of Birth Forms (Notarized)
- Originals and photocopies of the child’s birth certificate
- Original and photocopies Filipino parent’s passport
- Filipino parent’s naturalization certificate and proof of Philippine citizenship
- Copies of foreign parent’s license and birth certificate
- Original and photocopies of the marriage certificate of parents
- Applicable fees along with a self-addressed USPS Priority Mail envelope with prepaid postage and tracking
In this case, a delayed registration also requires an additional fee and affidavit explaining the circumstances surrounding the delay. So, avoid this if possible. The location of your child’s birth will dictate where you file. Again, thoroughly research the requirements and/or consult an attorney. After we managed to complete these filings, the remainder of the process of registering as a Philippine citizen and requesting a Philippine passport was relatively simple.
Dual Citizenship Philippines
In terms of citizenship, one may be inclined to believe that it is either one or the other, but here is what the U.S. Department of State has to say about this matter:
U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one nationality or another. A U.S. citizen may naturalize in a foreign state without any risk to his or her U.S. citizenship. (U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs)
So with this, the option to be dual citizens is available to them. There are clearly pros and cons, however, for us, the benefits are quite obvious and also provide our children with a wealth of future opportunities. In addition, it provides some additional security for our very modest investments in the Philippines. The benefits of Filipino citizenship (see Primer on Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003) either re-acquired or derived from a parent include the following:
- Right to own land and property in the Philippines
- Right to engage in business or commerce as a Filipino
- Right to travel bearing a Filipino passport
- Right to vote in Philippine national elections
- Other rights and privileges enjoyed by Filipino citizens
The remaining steps that we followed in electing Philippine citizenship for our children under the Republic Act No. 9225 (RA 9225) are described in detail on the Philippine Consular General’s website. (check with the consulate in your jurisdiction for a similar bulletin)
Republic Act No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003 is a law, signed by the Philippine President on August 29, 2003, which grants natural-born Filipinos who have lost their Filipino citizenship through naturalization in a foreign country, the opportunity to re-acquire their Filipino citizenship.
We can’t say this enough – pay attention to the details and make sure your documents are well organized. Also, try to make an appointment as soon as you are ready and factor in that it may be months away. Appointment slots are normally full and therefore the consulate is almost always busy. Definitely be prepared for a long day of waiting.
How did we get a Philippine passport for our American child(ren)?
Having met the dual citizenship prerequisite, we submitted the following in order to have a Philippine passport issue to each of our children:
- Report of Birth Abroad filed at a Philippine Embassy
- Philippine Passport application
- Application Fee
Be sure to refer to the Philippine Consulate in your jurisdiction in order to obtain an application, instructions, and fee schedule.
Yep, that’s it. With the hard part behind us, we are now looking forward to more frequent visits to the Philippines and enjoying the best of both worlds.
- Philippine Consular General (Los Angeles, California)
- Other Philippine Consulates (United States)
- Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)
- PSA Serbilis (Online Birth Certificate Applications)
- Dual Nationality (U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.