“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dual Citizenship for Filipino's

Taking the Oath of Allegiance in front of an attorney in BI Intramuros
A few weeks ago we went to the consular service of DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) in Manila, after we made an appointment via their call center, for the renewal of my asawa's Filipino passport.

It turned out that the call center lady had not asked for all the details and hence did not inform us correctly on the required documents in our case.

So it turned out that we missed one document, that should be issued by the BI (Bureau of Immigration), being the Certificate of Dual Citizenship.

I was not aware that according to Republic Act No 9225 of 2003, if a Filipino gets (or got in the past) a foreign citizenship, he/she will lose the Filipino citizenship, but is since 2003 eligible to retain it again after having taken the oath of allegiance.

So far so good, we could do this easily according to RA 9225, but BI has for the implementation of this law invented that you have to present a:
"Photocopy of Certificate of Naturalization or an original affidavit stating how foreign citizenship was acquired".
Of course we have such a document, but it is in Dutch and they can't read it here, so my conclusion was I need a legalized translation. I asked already our embassy in Manila whether they could help us, but they could not and referred me to the standard procedure you have to follow in the Netherlands and next in the Philippines. It is quite complicated, costly and it takes weeks or maybe even months. So I was not very happy and optimistic.

We went to the local BI field-office in Dagupan to see if there was an easy way to solve this problem, but they couldn't help and probably didn't understand the problem and impact. Also my cloth (short pants, slippers) were not suitable to enter their office, so I couldn't explain in more detail what was going on and what I thought was the impact of our situation.

Meanwhile I asked a legalized translation service in the Netherlands if they could do such a translation, and within a few days I got their proposal. It would cost us about 150 euro, or 8.000 pesos.

Because my asawa was not a Filipino anymore (I didn't know that until recently), she should have a visa for her stay here in the Philippines. The last entry date was March 5, 2012, after her trip to France, so my calculation was that she was illegal in the Philippines for about 3-4 month. The fine for not having a visa is 500 peso per month, hence expected a fine of at least 2.000 peso.
I am wondering what the status of our property is, since my asawa is not a Filipino anymore.
We are now not allowed to purchase a weapon, as we were intending to do, or if we did before, what would be the status in this case?
In her Dutch passport she had an arrival stamp with a reference to her Filipino passport (hand-written "PP") and in her Filipino passport a regular arrival stamp with a signature, meaning that as a Filipino she was allowed to stay without any restrictions, so forever.
But if you look at the law RA 9225 she was not allowed to have a Filipino passport, as she was not a Filipino anymore. It seems that Immigration is not checking for it and they also have no record of it in their computer files. So what I believe is missing in the Immigration's entry procedure is a check for a "Certificate of Dual Citizenship" if someone is presenting a Filipino and a foreign passport. They have never done this in our case, but I recommend now to always bring this certificate.
As my asawa is very practical, we decided to go to Manila BI in Intramuros, where we have been already so many times for my 13A visa, and find out what we really need to present to them before the oath of allegiance can be taken.

Luckily the guy who was checking our file with all collected documents, was willing to talk to us about the Certificate of Naturalization. I gave him a brief translation in English and he was willing to accept it as the proof of naturalization.
Lucky we, another employee would have not accepted this document, and we had to go for an official translation taking weeks or months.

It seems that it now takes only weeks to process all documents and to send us a confirmation by post in two weeks, then we have to prepare again our trip to Manila and pick-up the documents including the Filipino passport which they kept as part of the file.  

This is the oath she had to be taken.

Oath of allegiance:

"I _________________, solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated by the duly constituted authorities of the Philippines, and I hereby declare that I recognize and accept the supreme authority of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; and that I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion."  

Required documents:

  1. Duly accomplished verified petition (BI form MCL-08-01);
  2. Proof of payment of Application fee - Original Receipt;
  3. Two pieces passport photp's 1x1 inch, royal blue background
  4. Proof as natural-born Philippine citizen (original and photocopy, at least one of 5 options like marriage contract, birth certificate, old Philippine passport, etc.);
  5. Photocopy of and original foreign passport;
  6. Photocopy of Certificate of Naturalization or an original affidavit stating how foreign citizenship was acquired.

Application fee 500 pesos, express lane 500 pesos.


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