Five citizenships

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WITH anywhere from 12 million to 14 million Filipinos overseas, it is no longer surprising to have kababayans with brown hair, average height of 5’6” and flat noses to be citizens of the US, Canada, Australia, the UK or New Zealand, the five countries with pathways to citizenship by birth or through naturalization.

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Canadian citizenship is acquired by children born in Canada (unless neither parent is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada or one of the parents is a representative of a foreign government, their employee, or anyone granted diplomatic privileges or immunities) or by children born outside Canada to a Canadian parent on or after February 15, 1977.

Certain British subject parents in Canada under the 1947 Act may not qualify but a British subject parent who has lived in Canada for 20 years immediately before 1947 may. British subjects who lived in Canada for 20 years immediately before 1947 or who lived in Canada as a landed immigrant for at least five years before 1947 could also be Canadian citizens.

Women married to a Canadian before 1947 and who entered Canada as a landed immigrant before 1947, and women who were born in Canada or who were British subject by other means, and who lost their British subject status upon or during marriage before 1947 may likewise have claim to Canadian citizenship.

New Zealand
You might already be a New Zealand citizen if you were born

1) Before 2006 in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, or Tokelau.

2) After 2005 in the same areas and at least one of your parents was either a New Zealand citizen or entitled to live indefinitely in NZ.

3) Outside New Zealand to parents (one of whom is at least an NZ citizen by birth or grant.

Same is true for a British citizen who lived in New Zealand during all of 1948.

Citizenship is granted to:
1. Persons who have the right to be in New Zealand indefinitely (i.e., an Australian or a permanent resident of New Zealand);

2. Those who have lived in NZ – with right to be in NZ indefinitely for at least five years;

3. Samoans who were in NZ on September 14, 1982 or came to NZ after that date and have the right to be in NZ indefinitely.

Australian citizenship is acquired by most children born in Australia before August 20, 1986 unless one parent was entitled to diplomatic privileges or was a consular officer of another country.

Children born after that date are Australian citizens only if at least one parent was an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of their birth.

Children born in Australia to parents who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, automatically acquire Australian citizenship on their 10th birthday if they have lived most of their life in Australia.

You are an Australian citizen if you were born in Australia

Before January 26, 1949 and you were a British subject on January 25, 1949 (unless your father was a foreign diplomat).

Between January 26, 1949 and August 18, 1986.

After August 18, 1986, if at least one of your parents was an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia at the time of your birth.

To New Zealand citizen parents between January 26, 1949 and August 19, 1986 (Note: children born in Australia between August 20, 1986 and August 31, 1994 generally did not acquire Australian citizenship by birth).

You might have become an Australian citizen on your 10th birthday if you lived in Australia for the first 10 years of your life and neither of your parents was entitled to diplomatic privileges during that period.

Children who were permanent residents in Australia, adopted in Australia on or after November 22, 1984 by an Australian citizen may also claim citizenship.

UK citizenship
You are a UK citizen if you were born in the UK or qualified territories (except the sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus)

a) Before January 1, 1983 unless your father was a foreign diplomat or ‘an enemy alien in occupation’ – applicable to people born in the Channel Islands during World War 2.

b) On or after January 1, 1983; and one of your parents was a British citizen or legally settled (had right to indefinitely remain) in the UK.

Parent’s legal status in the UK. If you were born on or after January 1, 1983 in the UK or a qualifying territory to parents neither of whom were British citizens or legally settled in the UK; neither one of them has settled legally since your birth, and you were not adopted by a British citizen in a UK court, then you are not in the same league of extraordinary gentlemen in Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

US citizenship
Children born in the US or certain territories or outlying possessions of the US are American citizens regardless of the parents’ legal status.

Children born abroad to a US citizen parent or parents may acquire citizenship at birth if the parent meets certain requirements, among them physical presence in the US before the child’s birth.

To become a citizen after birth, a child must apply for “derived” or “acquired” citizenship through parents or apply for naturalization.

Naturalization. You may apply for citizenship if you have been in the US as a permanent resident for at least five years (three years if you are married to a US citizen and the same US citizen spouse was the one who petitioned you as an immigrant).

Certain Filipino veterans who served in the US Armed Forces during specific period in World War II were granted special benefits of naturalization (without going through the required period of permanent residency).

In all five countries, one rule applies to all: Citizenship is not by itself a guarantee of responsible governance.

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