In March 19–20 2015, more than 180 individuals took their oath of allegiance to reacquire Filipino citizenship at an event organized by the Philippine Embassy in Melbourne.
The increased number of those who participated in the oath taking clearly showed that more and more are realizing the advantages of acquiring dual citizenship as Filipino-Australians.
Are you qualified to apply for a dual citizenship?
What are its pros and cons? Here are several things you need to know before applying for a dual citizenship.
The citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003 (R.A. 9225), popularly known as the Dual Citizenship Law, sought to revise the law mandating the automatic forfeiture of the Filipino citizenship of natural-born Filipinos who had become naturalized citizen of another country.
If you were granted citizenship to another country after the passage of R.A. 9225 (August 2003), you will be deemed not to have lost your Filipino citizenship. On the other hand, if you were granted a foreign citizenship prior to August 2003, you have the option to reacquire your Filipino citizenship without having to give up your current foreign citizenship.
An individual with dual citizenship is a citizen of two countries at the same time. If you are granted a dual citizenship, you will be able to enjoy the privileges and benefits offered to the citizens of both countries—in your case, Australia and the Philippines.
Philippine-born Australians who have reacquired their Filipino citizenship will once again be entitled to full civil, political and economic rights in the Philippines, such as the:
Right to own real estate property in the Philippines
Right to engage in business as a Filipino
Right to practice one’s profession
Right to acquire a Philippine passport
Right to vote in Philippine elections
Three Advantages of a Dual Citizenship
1. Two passports
As a dual citizen, you will be able to carry both Australian and Philippine passports. This will eliminate the need for long-stay visas and will make travelling between the two countries easier.
Having two passports guarantees right of entry to both Australia and the Philippines, which will come in handy if you have relatives to visit, plan to study or have to do business in either of the two countries. This will enable you to stay indefinitely in both countries.
2. Suffrage rights
If you have reacquired your Filipino citizenship, you may vote in the Philippines election. You can either vote in Australia by registering as an overseas absentee voter or in the Philippines by establishing residency and registering in the district where you intend to vote.
3. Property ownership
As a dual citizen, you are entitled to property ownership in both countries. Prior to the passage of R.A. 9225, Filipinos who have acquired foreign citizenship were prohibited from owning real estate properties in the Philippines.
Before the passage of the Dual Citizenship Law, Filipinos who have acquired foreign citizenship were generally holding property titles in the name of a relative or a friend. With R.A. 9225, you will now be able to purchase real estate properties in the Philippines under your name.
The Disadvantages of Being a Dual Citizen
Despite its many advantages, being a dual citizen also has its drawbacks.
1. Security clearance
Being a dual citizen poses a problem if you’re planning to work with the Philippine or Australian government, particularly if the position you seek grants you access to classified information.
As a dual citizen, you might encounter problems in gaining the security clearance needed to be employed in a particular job. If you’re keen on gaining government employment, you might have to renounce one of your citizenship.
2. Dual obligations
As a dual citizen, you are required to follow the laws of both the Philippines and Australia. Simply put, if you do something that is illegal in the Philippines, the Philippine Government could take legal actions against you, even if the crime was committed in Australia—and vice versa.
3. Military service
As no mandatory conscription is currently in effect in both the Philippines and Australia, we don’t see this as a problem for most Filipino-Australians. However, it is important to take note that enlisting in the military operations of either one of these two countries could lead to the forfeiture of one of your citizenship.
How to apply for dual citizenship?
If you wish to apply for dual citizenship in Australia as a Filipino, you need to apply at the Philippine Embassy in Canberra or at the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney. You will need to present the following:
Two (2) duly accomplished “Petition Under Oath to Re-Acquire/Retain Philippine Citizenship Under RA 9225” forms;
If you were born in the Philippines, you also need to submit the original, National Statistics Office (NSO)-certified true copy of your birth certificate (you can request a copy through here) and the original copy of your Philippine passport. If one or neither of those documents are available, you can substitute one or both with any of the following secondary supporting documents:
Children’s Birth Certificates
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance
Proof of Service to the Philippine Government
Apart from the original copies, you should also prepare two (2) photocopies of each document;
If you were born outside of the Philippines to at least one parent who was still a Filipino citizen at the time of your birth, you will need to submit the original copy of your Report of Birth issued by the Philippine Embassy in the country where you were born;
Four (4) passport-sized photos of you taken against a white background. The photos should have been taken within the last three months and you should not be wearing eyeglasses or skimpy (e.g., sleeveless) attire in them;
Certified true copy of Certificate of Foreign Citizenship;
Certified true copy of the data page of your Australian passport or your driver’s license;
For married female applicants, the original certified true copy of the marriage contract as issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages;
Certified true copy of Final Decree of Divorce if you are recently divorced;
Payment of the processing fee of AU$90 for each primary applicant and AU$45 for each beneficiary (i.e., minor children). This payment is non-refundable, regardless of your application’s outcome.
If you are applying via post, include a self-addressed, stamped/prepaid return envelope with your application and send it to either of the two addresses:
1.) The Philippine Embassy, 1 Moonah Place, Yarralumla, ACT 2600, or
2.) The Philippine Consulate General, Level 1, Philippine Center, 27-33 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney, NSW 2000. Payments made in this same manner should be through either postal money order or bank drafts payable to The Philippine Embassy or The Philippine Consulate General.
How to give up Philippine dual citizenship?
Let’s say you’ve already managed to secure your dual citizenship, but a few events have made it necessary for you to renounce the Philippine side of it, such as running for public office in Australia or applying for higher security clearance from the Australian government. How do you go about it?
First, you need to acquire a copy of the Affidavit of Renunciation of Philippine Citizenship from either the Philippine Embassy or the Philippine Consulate General. Fill that up accordingly.
Check your Philippine passport. If it’s expired for less than a year, you can substitute it with a valid identification document instead. If more than a year has lapsed since its expiry, you will need to apply for a new one to renounce your Philippine dual citizenship.
If you don’t have a Philippine passport, an NSO-certified true copy of your birth certificate will do.
Bring both documents along with your Certificate of Naturalization in Australia or any other official document attesting to your Australian citizenship, and appear in person at the Philippine Embassy.
Once you are in front of the receiving officer, sign the accomplished Affidavit of Renunciation of Philippine Citizenship.
Pay the notarization fee for all your documents.
Wait for the receiving officer to verify and approve all of your submitted documents.
Once the previous step is accomplished, you will move on to taking the Oath of Renunciation. After that, the receiving officer will cut up and cancel your Philippine passport.
Frequently Asked Questions on Dual Citizenship
Despite its advantages, many Filipino migrants are hesitant to apply for a dual citizenship because of several concerns. We have answered several frequently asked questions, which might help you decide on whether you should become a dual citizen.
Will I be taxed by both the Philippine and Australian Governments?
This is one of the major reasons why most opt out of applying for a dual citizenship. Many fear that they would have to pay taxes to both countries. The answer is a clear and definite “No.”
The Philippines and Australia have a bilateral Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation. This means that income generated in the Philippines will only be taxed in the Philippines and vice versa.
Do I need to reside in the Philippines after reacquiring my Filipino citizenship?
No, you will not be required to reside in the Philippines. However, if you intend to vote in local elections, you will have to establish residence in the area where you wish to vote.
Will my Filipino citizenship affect the status of my Australian citizenship?
No, a dual citizenship will not affect the status of your Australian citizenship. You might, however, be required to renounce your Filipino citizenship if you intend to hold public office in Australia.
How much will it cost me?
Some are averse to applying for a dual citizenship thinking that the entire process is expensive. The Philippine Consulate General in Sydney only charges $90 in administrative and notarial fees.
The application process for a dual citizenship can take anywhere between four to seven weeks. Upon approval of your application, you will need to attend an oath-taking ceremony at the Philippine Consulate or Embassy. The oath-taking ceremony is regularly held at the end of every month.
I was granted a foreign citizenship after the passage of the R.A. 9225, also known as the Dual Citizenship Law (August 2003 onwards), does this mean that I “automatically” hold a dual citizenship?
On our blog post “Things You Need to Know About Dual Citizenship”, we previously indicated that Filipinos who had been granted a foreign citizenship after the passage of R.A. 9225 would “automatically” be granted dual citizenship. We assumed that this was the case since according to the Act, “all Philippine citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship”.
However, we got in contact with the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration to clarify this statement, and we were informed that the procedures for both the “retention” and the “re-acquisition” of one’s Filipino citizenship are the same. This means that you will still need to lodge an application for Petition for Retention/Re-Acquisition of Philippine Citizenship, regardless if you were granted foreign citizenship before or after the passage of R.A. 9225.
Can I include my children in my application for the re-acquisition of my Filipino citizenship?
Yes. You can include your children in your application as long as your children are below 18 years of age and are unmarried. You will need to fill in the “Supplement for Dependent” form and provide the necessary documents for each of your dependent.
Can my spouse, who is not a natural-born Filipino, apply for a dual citizenship?
No, only natural-born Filipinos may apply for the retention or re-acquisition of their Filipino citizenship. However, an immigrant visa may be issued to your spouse, which will entitle him/her to permanently reside in the Philippines.
Which passport do I need to bring when travelling back to the Philippines?
When travelling back to the Philippines, you will need to present both your Australian and Philippine passports upon arrival and departure. Presenting your Philippine passport will allow you to stay in the Philippines for an indefinite period of time. On the other hand, presenting your foreign passport will let you leave the Philippines hassle free. Also, make sure to have both passports stamped upon your arrival and departure.
What about if I’m travelling to another country other than the Philippines or Australia?
Meanwhile, when travelling to another country, which is neither Australia nor the Philippines, you will only need to present one passport. It will be up to you to choose which one to present to the immigration official. Most dual citizens base their choice on which one will be more convenient and cost-effective.
For example, if you’re travelling to Brazil, it would be more practical for you to present your Philippine passport. Filipino citizens can visit Brazil without a visa, whereas Australians cannot.
Meanwhile, your Australian passport can grant you visa-free access to more than 160 countries (most of which wouldn’t grant Filipino citizens entry without a visa).
It’s important to remember that you should present the same passport upon entry and departure. Upon departure, the immigration official will check your passport to verify that you had legally entered their country.