Dual Citizenship: How to Acquire

What is citizenship?

It is membership in a political community, which is personal and more or less permanent in character.[1]

How is it different from nationality?

Nationality is membership in any class or form of political community. Thus nationals may be citizens [if members of a democratic community] or subjects [if members of a monarchical community]. Nationality does not necessarily include the right or privilege of exercising civil or political rights.[2]

Is it possible for Filipinos to have dual citizenship?

Yes. Before the passage of R.A. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003, dual citizenship of some Filipinos already exist by virtue of the operation of nationality laws.

To illustrate this, take the example of a child born in the United States of America of Filipino parents. Under US law, the child will be considered as an American citizen because of the jus soli or place of birth principle, but under the Philippine law, the child will be treated as a Filipino citizen because of jus sanguinis principle or citizenship of the parents.

With the enactment of R.A. 9225 it is now possible for Filipinos to hold dual citizenship through means other than birth.

With the passage of this law, what will now happen to the Philippine Citizenship of natural-born Filipinos who become naturalized in other countries?

Natural-born Filipinos who acquire naturalization in other countries is deemed not to have lost his or her citizenship under the provisions R.A. 9225.

Does this mean that I am automatically a citizen of both the Philippines and the foreign country?

No.  You must still “retain” or “re-acquire” citizenship.

I thought Natural-born Filipinos who acquire naturalization in other countries are deemed not to have lost their citizenship under the provisions R.A. 9225 why do we need then to “retain” or “re-acquire”?

Technically he is still a Filipino, but he must take a positive action to show this.

How will I be able to retain or re-acquire my Filipino citizenship?

A Filipino who lost his citizenship through naturalization in another country may re-acquire Filipino citizenship through the following process[3]

What rights and privileges is one entitled to on re-acquiring Filipino citizenship?

Filipinos who re-acquire Filipino citizenship under this Act may enjoy all the rights he exercised before getting naturalization in a foreign country. Among these are:

1. right to won real property in the Philippines

2. right to engage in business or commerce as a Filipino

3. right to practice one’s profession in accordance with law

4. right to acquire a Philippine passport

5. right to vote in Philippine elections under existing laws

6. other rights and privileges enjoyed by Filipino citizens

[1] Antonio E.B. Nachura, Outline Reviewer in Political Law, 2009.

[2] Id.

[3] Source: Commission on Filipino Overseas

Author: Atty. James Biron
Atty. James S. Biron is a corporate lawyer specializing in foreign investments, trade, mergers and acquisitions, planning and financing of projects and capital raising. Clients served include real estate, construction, energy, information technology, agriculture, education, medical and casino gaming companies.


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