Friday, October 30, 2020
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Foreigner can become Filipino citizen through naturalization


Persida Acosta
Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My husband has been residing here for nine years and we have a two-year-old son. He has been contemplating on getting Filipino citizenship. He is a citizen of India who was born in Australia. He moved to Manila because of his work but eventually decided to stay here. If he decides to become a Filipino citizen, what are the requirements and where should he file his application?

Dear Cheka,
Under our 1987 Philippine Constitution, a person may acquire Philippine citizenship by being born to either a father or a mother who is a citizen of the Philippines, by being born before January 17, 1973, of a Filipino mother, and electing Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority, or through naturalization in accordance with law. (Section 1, Article IV, id)


You mentioned in your letter that your husband is a citizen of India born in Australia but it does not appear that he was born of a Filipino parent. Accordingly, he may only acquire Philippine citizenship through the process of naturalization in consonance with Commonwealth Act 473, or the Revised Naturalization Law. Pursuant to Section 2 thereof, your husband must meet the following qualifications: (1) He must be not less than twenty-one years of age on the day of the hearing of the petition; (2) He must be of good moral character and believes in the principles underlying the Philippine Constitution, and must have conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable manner during the entire period of his residence in the Philippines in his relation with the constituted government as well as with the community in which he is living; (3) He must own real estate in the Philippines worth not less than five thousand pesos, Philippine currency, or must have some known lucrative trade, profession or lawful occupation; (4) He must be able to speak and write English or Spanish and any one of the principal Philippine languages. In addition, he must have resided in the Philippines for a continuous period of not less than five years. (Section 2 in relation to Section 3 (3), id)

Nevertheless, it is important that your husband does not possess any of the following disqualifications: (a) Opposed to an organized government; (b) Believes in violence as a means to espouse an idea; (c) A polygamist or believes in such; (d) Convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude; (e) Suffers from an incurable contagious disease or mental anguish; (f) Not mingling socially with Filipinos nor embraces Filipino culture, ideas and customs; (g) Being a citizen of a country with which the Philippines is at war, during the time of the war; and (h) His country does not grant naturalization to Filipinos. (Section 4, id)

The application for naturalization may be filed before the Regional Trial Court of the city or province where he has been residing for at least one year prior to his application and the same must be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in the Official Gazette and a newspaper of general circulation where your husband resides. Copies of the petition and a general notice of the hearing shall also be posted in a public and conspicuous place (Sections 7 and 9, id). Should everything be in order, the court will issue your husband a favorable decision. The decision, however, will only become final thirty (30) days after its promulgation. Your husband will also be required to take the oath of allegiance, and thereafter, he will be issued his certificate of Philippine citizenship.

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.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to


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