Minor can’t enter into legal transactions


Dear PAO,
My cousin is currently living with me here in Manila. Both her parents and my parents are in California, USA. She was born in California but she is staying here in the meantime. She needs to extend her tourist visa, but she is not being entertained as she is only 17 years old.

Our grandparents are very old and they cannot assist her in her Immigration concerns. I just want to know whether I can process the extension for her. Also, her parents are contemplating on having her recognized as a Filipino citizen. Is this possible?

Dear Pamela,
It is understandable that the officers from the Bureau of Immigration refused to entertain your cousin in processing her visa transaction because, being only 17 years old, she is still considered a minor. Under Philippine laws, a minor cannot enter into legal transactions as they cannot lawfully give consent to a contract (Article 1327 (1), New Civil Code of the Philippines). Only those who have been emancipated are qualified to all acts of civil life, which includes entering into contracts, and emancipation only takes place upon attainment of the age of majority, that is, reaching the age of 18 (Article 236 in relation to Article 234, Family Code of the Philippines).

Accordingly, your cousin may only be able to extend her tourist visa if she is assisted by any of her parents or her guardian. Since her parents are presently outside the Philippines and your grandparents are unable to assist her, you may aid her in the processing of such extension, provided that you, yourself, are already of legal age.

Insofar as her parents’ desire to have her recognized as a Filipino citizen, this may be possible, provided that either of them is a Filipino citizen at the time of birth of your cousin. In addition, it is essential for them to submit the following documents before the Bureau of Immigration in support of their application for the recognition of their daughter as a Filipino citizen: duly notarized letter request for such recognition executed by the Filipino parent, with attestation that all the documents they are submitting were legally obtained from the corresponding government agencies; your cousin’s authenticated birth certificate or her report of birth issued by the Philippine embassy or consular office; NSO birth certificate of the Filipino parent; duly notarized Affidavit of Citizenship executed by the Filipino parent; plain photocopy of your cousin’s passport as well as the passport of her Filipino parent and Bureau of Immigration Clearance Certificate.

Please be advised that if any of the documents is executed outside the Philippines, the same must be duly authenticated by the Philippine embassy or consulate official of the Philippine Foreign Service at the place of issuance or nearest to it. Furthermore, an English translation must be attached thereto, if the document is written in any other foreign language.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.


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