Philippine citizenship – who is a Filipino citizen?

Adelaimar C Arias-Jose
is a Legal expert in the Philippines

Philippine citizenship – who is a Filipino citizen?


The simplest answer to this question is: any person who is born to a father or mother who is a Filipino citizen is also a Filipino citizen. It does not matter if you were born in the Philippines or anywhere else in the world, if one or both of your parents are Filipino citizens, then you are also a Filipino citizen. Opo, ang sinumang tao na ipinanganak saan man sa mundo, basta’t ang ama o ina ay Filipino citizen, ay isang Filipino citizen.



What is a dual citizen?


A dual citizen is a person who has two citizenships: Filipino citizenship (because he was born to one or both parents who are Filipino citizens themselves) and some other citizenship (because one parent is a foreigner and the parent’s law of citizenship gives citizenship to his or her child; or because the person is born in the territory of a country where citizenship is given to any person born within their territory).

Ang isang tao na ipinanganak na ang ina ay isang Filipino, at ang ama naman ay isang citizen sa ibang bansa (basta’t ang mga batas ng bansa ay nagbibigay ng citizenship sa kanilang anak) ay citizen din noong ibang bansa. So, dalawa ang citizenship ng bata.


Thus, if Wayne has a mother who is a Filipino citizen and a Father who is a Japanese citizen, Wayne will be a dual citizen – he is a citizen of both the Philippines and Japan. Sa halimbawang ito, si Wayne ay Pilipino dahil sa kanyang inang Pilipino at ang ama niyang Hapon. Bawat magulang niya ang kapwa nagbigay sa kanya ng citizenship. Siya ay dual citizen.

On the other hand, if Christopher has parents who are both Filipino citizens, but he was born in the Los Angeles, California, he will be both a Filipino citizen and a US citizen because he was born to his parents who were both Filipino citizens, but he was born within the territory of the US. Dito sa halimbawang ito, parehong Pilipino ang mga magulang ni Christopher, pero dahil sa siya’y ipinanganak sa US – itinuturing ng US na ang lahat ng sanggol na ipinanganak sa kanilang teritoryo ay US citizen, si Christopher ay dual citizen din.


The US is one country that follows the jus soli principle. Jus soli is a principle that holds that all persons born within the territorial jurisdiction of the US is a US citizen. The Philippines is one country that follows the jus sanguinis principle. Ibig sabihin, ang mga anak ng mga misyonerong Amerikano na dito ipinanganak sa Pilipinas ay hindi magiging Filipino citizens dahil lamang sila’y dito ipinanganak sa Pilipinas, kailangang may isang magulang silang Filipino para maituring na Filipino citizen. Jus sanguinis is a principle that holds that all persons born to a Filipino parent whether in the Philippines or abroad is a Filipino citizen. Sa Pilipinas, ang dugo ng isang tao ang makapag-bibigay sa kaniya ng citizenship. Ang Filipino citizenship ng magulang ay nai-papasa sa tunay na anak (lehitimo o ilehitimong anak). Sa mga lehitimong anak, awtomatiko ito, at hindi na kailangan ng mga legal na hakbang. Pero kung ang bata’y ilehitimo, dahil sa hindi kasal ang kanyang mga magulang, kailangan na ang magulang na Pilipino, recognized ang anak na Pilipino (naka-pirma ito doon sa likod ng birth certificate ng bata) para maibigay sa bata ang kanilang Filipino citizenship.


Kung ang ama’t ina ay hindi kasal, at ang ina lamang ang Filipino citizen, awtomatiko na maibibigay ng inang Pilipino sa kaniyang anak ang Filipino citizenship. Kung hindi recognized ng foreigner na ama ang bata, hindi makukuha ng bata ang citizenship ng ama.



What happens to OFWs who give birth in other countries—what is the citizenship of their children?


Overseas Filipino Workers who give birth to children in the foreign countries where they work are still Filipino citizens. OFWs must report and register the birth of their children with the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate so that a Birth Certificate and passport can be issued to that baby.


Overseas Filipino Workers who give birth to children in countries such as the US which confers citizenship to all persons born within the territory in the US can register the birth of their children both with the US Civil Registry and with the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate. The child can then have dual citizenship and apply for two passports.


Ang mga OFW na Filipino citizen, na nanganak sa ibang bansa kung saan sila’y nagta-trabaho ay mga Pilipino kung kaya’t ang kailangan nilang gawin ay ireport lamang ang kapanganakan ng kanilang mga anak sa Embassy o Consulate ng Pilipinas, ay makaka-kuha din sila ng Philippine passport para sa kanilang anak. Pero, kung ang mga OFW na Pilipino citizen pa rin ay nanganak sa ibang bansa (katulad ng US na sumusunod sa jus soli principle), maaari silang magreport ng kanilang kapanganakan sa Philippine Embassy at sa Civil Registry sa US, at sila’y makaka-kuha ng passport mula sa Pilipinas at mula sa State Department ng US.



What is a natural born citizen?


A natural born citizen is one who did not acquire citizenship through any legal process. Being born of parents who are Filipinos makes a person a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. Kung halimbawa’y ang isang tao’y kina-ilangan pa silang mag-hain ng petisyon sa husgado o sumumpa (oath of allegiance) sa watawat ng Pilipinas, hindi sila natural-born citizen.



What is a naturalized citizen?


A naturalized citizen is the complete opposite of a natural-born citizen because a naturalized citizen had to perform an act or perform a process in order for him or her to acquire a citizenship. Biland isang halimbawa, kung ang isang Pilipino ay napa-naturalized citizen sa US, dahil sa ang batas ng US ay nagbibigay ng naturalization kung ang isang Pilipino ay susumpa “to adjure all allegiances” ibig sabihin nito’y kanilang tinatalikuran ang kanilang pagiging Pilipino. Kung nais nila ulit maging Pilipino, sila’y maghahain ng Petisyon sa husgado, at sila’y mangangako muli na sila’y magiging tapat sa Pilipinas, kanilang mari-re-acquire ang kanilang Filipino citizenship – pero, sa ilalim ng batas, hindi na sila itinuturing na natural-born citizen ng Pilipinas (kasi nga, may ginawa silang hakbang na legal para maging citizen muli ng Pilipinas – nawawala na ang bias ng kanilang dating natural-born citizen na katayuan).



What is the difference between citizenship and legal residency?


Legal residency is a status given by a country to a person who is not a citizen of that country. This status allows a non-citizen to stay and live in the country, work and own a business in the country, and to freely leave and enter the country as a resident here. In exchange, a legal resident has to pay taxes and abide by the laws of the country where he is a resident. A legal resident also has the option to apply for citizenship. In some countries, legal residency for required number of years is necessary prior to applying for citizenship.


Para maintindihan ito, halimbawa’y ang isang nurse na Pilipino citizen ay nagta-trabaho sa US, dahil sa siya’y may working visa, puede siyang mag-apply ng green card. Kung siya’y mabigyan na ng green card, or siya’y isang green card holder, siya ay isang permanent legal resident ng US. Malaya siyang maka-labas-masok sa US, basta’t siya’y maninirahan at magta-trabaho sa US ng ilang buwan sa bawa’t taon, mananatili siyang permanent legal resident ng US. Matapos maging green card holder sa US ng ilang taon, maaari na silang mag-appy ng citizenship – basta’t sila’y maka-pasa sa citizenship test at sa interview, at sila’y mag-o-oath of allegiance sa US, sila’y magiging US citizen na – iyon na nga lang, dahil sa exclusive ang oath of allegiance ng US, mawawala na ang kanilang Filipino citizen.



How can legal residency be acquired?


Legal residency can be acquired by applying with the Bureau of Immigration. Usually, legal residency is permitted when a foreigner and non-Filipino citizen has married a Filipino resident and seeks to live in the Philippines; or when a foreigner and non-Filipino citizen is employer here or has a business in the Philippines.


Ang isang foreigner na citizen ng ibang bansa ay maaaring maging legal permanent resident sa Pilipinas kung sila’y mag-a-asawa ng Pilipino, o kung sila’y magtatayo ng business dito, o kaya’y sila’y magta-trabaho dito sa Pilipinas.



How can naturalized citizenship in the Philippines be acquired?


A person seeking naturalized citizenship status in the Philippines must acquire all of the following:

1. At least 21 years of age at the time of the application.

2. Ten years’ legal residency in the Philippines.

3. Must be of good moral character:

a. Must believe in the principles underlying the Philippine Constitution

b. Must have conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable manner during his ten year residency

4. Must own real estate in the Philippines or must be engaged in trade, profession or lawful occupation in the Philippines

5. Must be able to speak or write English or any of the principal languages in the Philippines

6. Must have enrolled his minor children who are of school age in any of the public or private schools in the Philippines

a. Schools must be recognized by the Department of Education

b. Philippine history, government and civics are taught in the school



Who cannot apply for naturalized citizenship?

1. Persons who are opposed to organized government

2. Persons who are affiliated with any association or group of persons who uphold and teach doctrines opposing all organized governments

3. Persons who defend or teach the necessity or propriety of violence, personal assault, or assassination for the success of predominance of their ideas

4. Polygamists or those who believe in polygamy

5. Persons who have been convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude

6. Persons suffering from mental alienation (mental disease) or incurable contagious diseases

7. Persons who have not desired to learn or embrace the customs, traditions and ideals of the Filipinos

8. Citizens or subjects of countries with whom the Philippines is at war

9. Citizens or subjects of nations who do not grant to Filipinos the right to become naturalized citizens



Can marriage to a Filipino citizenship automatically bring naturalized citizenship?


No, marriage to a Filipino citizen will only allow you to apply for citizenship after a shorter period of residency (five years’ residence instead of 10 years’ residence in the Philippines).


Kung ang isang foreigner ay mag-asawa ng isang Pilipino, hindi awtomatikong magiging legal permanent resident o citizen sila ng Pilipinas. Kailangan pa rin nilang mag-apply sa Bureau of Immigration na sila’y maging resident dito. At kung matapos ang limang taong pag-tira dito sa Pilipinas ay nais nilang maging Filipino citizen, maaari na silang mag-apply ng citizenship. Bumababa ang requirement ng residency mula ten years patungong five years lang.



Can Filipinos who have lost their citizenship reacquire their Filipino citizenship?


Yes. Some Filipinos who have acquired residency in other countries abroad or have married citizens of foreign countries acquired citizenship in those countries. Other Filipinos served in the US Armed Forces and were granted citizenship because of that service. If they want to re-acquire their Filipino citizenship, they must go through the process of re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship.


Ang Filipino citizen na nag-apply at nag-serve sa US Navy, kapag sila’y nakatapos ng kanilang tour of duty, sila’y binibigyan ng green card at, sila’y maaari nang maging US citizen. Kapag nangyari iyon, ay nais nilang maging Filipino citizen ulit, sila’y maghahain ng petisyon upang ma-reacquire ang kanilang Filipino citizenship.



Can natural-born citizenship be reacquired?


When a Filipino who has lost his or her citizenship re-acquires Filipino citizenship through a legal process, then that person is a Filipino citizen, but he or she has lost the status of a natural-born citizen, because he or she performed an act or process to re-acquire Filipino citizenship.

Natural born citizenship is reserved for those who see to run and serve as President, Vice-President, Congressman, Senator or a justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.


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About the author

Adelaimar C Arias-Jose

I am a graduate of the UP College of Law. Member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since 1995. I am currently involved in private practice in criminal, civil and labor law.
Profession: Lawyer
Adelaimar C. Arias-Jose
Office Address: #34 St. Michael Street
Philippines , Manila , Makati

 

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