Thursday, October 1, 2015

Want to be a naturalized citizen in RP? Here’s how

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Want to be a naturalized citizen in RP? Here’s how
By WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL, The Manila Times Reporter

Under Philippine laws, there are two ways for a foreigner to acquire Filipino citizenship—by legislative act of Congress or through naturalization proceedings.

Immigration Executive Director Roy Almoro explained that citizenship granted through an act of Congress is conferred only to aliens who have made "significant" contributions to the government or to the national patrimony.

"They are granted to special foreigners who have excelled and contributed knowledge and resources in enhancing the welfare of the government. That’s the fastest way to acquire Filipino citizenship but not that easy also," Almoro told The Manila Times.

A resolution approved by the House is forwarded to the Senate for approval.

The naturalization process is done in two ways, judicial and administration proceedings, Almoro said.

Administrative proceedings apply to native-born persons of foreign parents, while judicial proceedings are for foreigners who migrated here and married a Filipino.

Almoro said the administrative process is "less tedious and easy but entails an exorbitant filing fee of P140,000."

The judicial process, meanwhile, is less expensive but takes years to finish.

Naturalized citizens are those who have become Filipino citizens through naturalization, generally under Commonwealth Act 473, the Revised Naturalization Law, which repealed the former Naturalization Law (Act 2927), and by Republic Act 530.

To be naturalized, an applicant has to prove that he possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided by law to become a Filipino citizen.

The lawyer Ramoncito Tolentino of the bureau explained that the decision granting Philippine citizenship becomes executory two years from its promulgation when the court is satisfied that during the intervening period, the applicant has not left the Philippines, has dedicated himself to a lawful profession, has not been convicted of any offense or violation of government-promulgated rules, or committed any act prejudicial to the interest of the nation or contrary to a government policy.

"There is a probationary period of two years before a foreigner becomes a Filipino citizen. The court or the Office of the Solicitor General should approve it after two years," Tolentino said. One of the requirements is a five-year residency period.

The law also provides that Filipino citizens who have lost their citizenship may reacquire it in the manner provided by law—by naturalization, by repatriation and by direct act of Congress.

There is also the Dual Citizenship Law that allows former Filipinos to reacquire their citizenship.

Naturalization is a mode for acquisition and reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. As a mode of initially acquiring citizenship, naturalization is governed by Commonwealth Act 473, as amended.

Repatriation, on the other hand, may be acquired under various laws by those who lost their citizenship for the following reasons: desertion of the Armed Forces; service in the Armed Forces of the allied forces in World War II; service in the Armed Forces of the United States at any other time; marriage of a Filipino woman to an alien; and political and economic necessity.

Repatriation consists of taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and registering in the local civil registry in the place where the person resides or last resided.

Under the 1973 Constitution, there are two categories of Filipino citizens who were not considered natural-born: those who were naturalized and those born before January 17, 1973, of Filipino mothers who, upon reaching the age of majority, elected Philippine citizenship.

Those "naturalized citizens" are not considered natural-born because they were not Filipinos at birth and had to perform an act to acquire Philippine citizenship.

Those born of Filipino mothers before the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution were not considered natural-born because they had to perform an act to perfect their Philippine citizenship.

The (1987) Constitution, however, considers those born of Filipino mothers before the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution and who elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the majority age as natural-born.


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