Between the pristine beaches, low cost of living and common use of English, there are plenty of reasons to live in the Philippines. If you're ready to make the transition from "under-the-radar beach vacation spot" to "home sweet home," the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003 – also known as Republic Act No. 9225, or RA 9225 – lays down the laws for making that happen, including the ins and outs of attaining dual citizenship in the Philippines.
Only natural-born Filipinos are eligible for dual citizenship in the Philippines, but naturalization is an option for others.
Who's Eligible for Dual Citizenship?
According to RA 9225, only constitutionally-defined, natural-born Filipinos who have lost their Filipino citizenship through foreign citizenship or naturalization are eligible to apply for dual citizenship in the Philippines.
So, if you're an American or any other type of foreigner, it sounds like you're out of luck in this department – but that's not exactly the case. For one, some exceptions apply. If you were born in the United States before January 17th, 1973 to a Filipino father or were born after that date to a father or mother who was a citizen of the Philippines at the time of your birth, you can apply for dual citizenship.
Similarly, the amended Commonwealth Act No. 473 (the Revised Naturalization Act) and Republic Act No. 9139 (the Administrative Naturalization Law) allow a foreigner to apply for naturalization as a Filipino citizen.
Dual Citizenship Application Process
If you're eligible for dual citizenship due to the "1973" exceptions, you'll first need to comply with Report of Birth requirements by ensuring that the details of your birth (and the documentation to back up those details, such as an original copy of your birth certificate or report of birth) are reported to the Philippine consulate or embassy that has jurisdiction over your place of birth in the U.S.
Once that's taken care of, the dual citizenship application process works just as it does for anyone else eligible under RA 9225. It all starts with the form called "Petition for Dual Citizenship and Issuance of Identification Certificate (IC) Pursuant to RA 9225," which you'll need to present to an official Filipino consulate or embassy along with your birth certificate, a current and valid ID and three 2" by 2" photos that show the front, left and right side of your face. You'll also need to pay a $50 processing fee, as well as provide a copy of your marriage certificate if you wish to use your married name.
Upon submitting your materials and fee, you'll receive a scheduled date to take an oath of allegiance before a consular officer. After that takes place, you'll be given a notarized copy of the oath and an Order of Approval from the Philippine Consulate General. Your petition is forwarded to the Bureau of Immigration in Manila – once the BoI approves your petition, oath and supporting documents, you'll be issued an Identification Certificate proving your dual citizenship.
More to Know
In the case that your petition is not approved due to non-compliance with the Bureau of Immigration's requirements, you'll have 30 days to correct the petition or supporting documents after being notified by the BoI. After getting your Identification Certificate, the Consulate General of the Philippines recommends applying for your Filipino passport immediately. Not only is a passport more convenient than an Identification Certificate, but when presented alongside your U.S. passport in the Philippines, it exempts you from paying immigration fees. Even better, having your Philippine passport allows you to travel to countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia visa-free for up to 30 days.
As a dual citizen, you'll have the right to travel with a Filipino passport, own property in the Philippines, engage in business as a Filipino and vote in national elections (including by absentee ballot if you're overseas). Likewise, if you have a spouse from another country, your spouse will enjoy automatic eligibility for a Filipino immigrant visa.