FAQ: PRIMER ON DUAL CITIZENSHIP
Dual citizenship is the status whereby a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of two countries. Former natural-born Filipinos who have acquired citizenship of another country (for example, Australia) can reacquire their Philippine citizenship through the provision of the Philippine law Republic Act 9225 (Citizenship Re-acquisition and Retention Act of 2003). Persons who were naturalized Filipinos and had acquired the citizenship of another country are not eligible for Philippine dual citizenship.
WHAT IS THE CITIZENSHIP RETENTION AND RE-ACQUISITION ACT OF 2003?
Republic Act. No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003 is a law enacted by the Philippine Congress on 29 August 2003 which provides the procedure for natural-born Filipinos to re-acquire their Filipino citizenship after losing their Filipino citizenship through naturalization in a foreign country.
WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR PHILIPPINE DUAL CITIZENSHIP?
All natural-born citizens of the Philippines who have acquired Australian (or any other) citizenship are eligible to be a Philippine dual citizen. A person is a natural-born Filipino citizen if s/he was born to a father and/or mother who was Filipino at the time of her/his birth.
HOW DOES ONE RE-ACQUIRE FILIPINO CITIZENSHIP?
Under Republic Act No. 9225, a natural-born Filipino who lost her/his Filipino citizenship through naturalization in Australia may re-acquire Filipino citizenship by taking the Philippine Oath of Allegiance before a duly authorized Philippine official. The Philippine Oath of Allegiance does not require the renunciation of citizenship in any other country.
DOES PHILIPPINE DUAL CITIZENSHIP AFFECT THE STATUS OF AUSTRALIAN CITIZENSHIP?
For Filipino-Australians (or former Filipinos who have acquired Australian citizenship), Philippine dual citizenship does not affect in any way the conditions or status of their Australian citizenship. However, persons who hold an elected office or are seeking an elected position might be required by their political party to renounce any non-Australian citizenship.
DOES A DUAL CITIZEN NEED TO RESIDE IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Residency in the Philippines is not required of those who wish to re-acquire or have re-acquired Filipino citizenship. Those who intend to vote in local elections, however, must establish residence in the locality where they wish to vote.
WHAT RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES IS ONE ENTITLED TO ON RE-ACQUIRING FILIPINO CITIZENSHIP?
Dual citizens enjoy the full civil and political rights of Filipinos as guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and existing Philippine laws. These include:
right to vote in Philippine national elections
right to own land and property in the Philippines
right to engage in business or commerce as a Filipino
right to travel bearing a Filipino passport
all rights and privileges enjoyed by Filipino citizens
DO DUAL CITIZENS PAY TAXES TO BOTH THE PHILIPPINE AND AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENTS?
The Philippines and Australia have a bilateral Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation. The Philippine Government will tax the individual for income generated and assets held in the Philippines. The Australian Government will tax the individual for income generated and assets held in Australia.
AFTER RE-ACQUIRING FILIPINO CITIZENSHIP, CAN ONE PRACTICE HIS OR HER PROFESSION IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Despite having re-acquired Filipino citizenship, one does not automatically gain the right to practice her/his profession in the Philippines. To be able to do so, s/he must apply with the proper Philippine authority (Professional Regulations Commission and other accrediting bodies) for a license or permit to engage in such practice. If, before acquiring Australian citizenship, the person was a licensed professional in the Philippines, the said license to practice can be re-activated by renewing the license with the Professional Regulations Commission of the Philippines.
DO THE SAME LIMITATIONS ON FORMER FILIPINOS CONCERNING LAND OWNERSHIP STILL APPLY TO THOSE WHO HAVE RE-ACQUIRED THEIR FILIPINO CITIZENSHIP?
Having re-acquired Filipino citizenship under this Act, one is deemed to have re-acquired the right to own land as a Filipino citizen without prejudice to citizenship in a foreign country. The limitations imposed on former Filipinos no longer apply to him/her.
CAN THE NON-FILIPINO SPOUSE AND CHILDREN OF A FILIPINO DUAL CITIZEN LIVE IN THE PHILIPPINES?
The Filipino dual citizen can apply his non-Filipino spouse and children for permanent resident visas which entitles them to permanently reside in the Philippines. The said visa may be applied for at a Philippine Embassy or Philippine Consulate General.
CAN CHILDREN APPLY FOR PHILIPPINE DUAL CITIZENSHIP?
An applicant may include in her/his dual citizenship application her/his children who are unmarried and below 18 years of age.
DO THE AUSTRALIAN SPOUSE AND CHILDREN OF A FILIPINO CITIZEN OR FILIPINO DUAL CITIZEN NEED A VISA TO TRAVEL TO THE PHILIPPINES?
Under the Balikbayan Law, a Filipino citizen’s (including dual citizens and former Filipinos) foreign spouse and children are entitled to a visa-free entry to the Philippines and visa-free stay for a period of one (1) year, provided they enter the Philippines with the said Filipino and they have a return air travel ticket.
CAN A DUAL CITIZEN VOTE IN PHILIPPINE ELECTIONS?
Yes. A person who re-acquires Filipino citizenship may vote in Philippine elections. To cast the vote in Australia, s/he must register as an overseas voter (OV) at either the Philippine Consulate in Sydney or the Philippine Embassy in Canberra. To cast a vote in the Philippines, one must register as a voter in the district where s/he intends to vote and establish residency there.
HAVING RE-ACQUIRED FILIPINO CITIZENSHIP CAN ONE HOLD OR RUN PUBLIC OFFICE IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Yes, provided that s/he meets the qualifications for holding such office as required by the 1987 Constitution and existing laws. The prospective candidate must, at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before authorized public officers. The same requirement is imposed to those who are about to be appointed to any public office in the Philippines.
IS THERE A FEE INVOLVED IN RE-ACQUIRING ONE’S FILIPINO CITIZENSHIP UNDER THIS ACT?
The Philippine Consulate General in Sydney charges AUD 90.00 in notarial and administrative fees for the processing of documents for dual citizenship application.
DOING BUSINESS OR INVESTING IN THE PHILIPPINES?
The Board of Investments of the Department of Trade and Industry (BOI-DTI) may assist overseas Filipinos in promoting their commercial interests in the Philippines. They may be contacted through:
Board of Investments
Department of Trade and Industry
385 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City
Tel. nos. (+632) 890-1332 / (+632) 897-6682 / (+632) 865-3640
In Australia, information is provided by the Office of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC).