Duality

When RA9225 (otherwise known as the Philippine Dual Citizenship law) was made into law on August 29, 2003, I remember hearing about a lot of Filipinos abroad being interested in re-acquiring their Filipino citizenship. Not only could they engage in business, vote and own property in the Philippines but also has the option to retire there in the future. It certainly sounded like a good idea for the government to finally recognise that Filipinos who were naturalised citizens in their country of residence could continue to contribute to the growth of the Philippines.

I initially thought that people who lost their Filipino citizenship prior to the passing of this law would have to apply to re-acquire their citizenship while Filipinos who become naturalised citizens of other countries after September 17, 2003 (when the law went into effect) would automatically be dual citizens. I recently learned that this is not the case – all Filipinos who become naturalised citizens of other countries automatically lose their Filipino citizenship and should submit a petition to the Philippine embassy in their country to have it re-instated. No big deal, right? Well, once you take into account the number of documentation they are asking for and the AUD$100 fee, you start to question the process. And don’t get me started on that oath-taking ceremony they could only administer in either Sydney or Canberra. Tough luck to those of you who don’t reside in either area.

To compare, please see the table below in this comparison of applying for Australian citizenship versus the process of applying for re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship. Why the list of requirements to retain Filipino citizenship is longer than the list to apply for Australian naturalisation is beyond me. Shouldn’t copies of the birth certificate, old passport and marriage be enough? As well, the requirement to take the oath-taking in either Sydney or Canberra is a big hassle for Filipinos living elsewhere in Australia who are considering this step. Do they propose to pay your airfare and possible lost income in attending the ceremony?

Australia (naturalisation)* Philippines (retention/re- acquisition)**
Method Online/email Post (snail mail)
Requirements
  • PR visa holder
  • present in Australia for 2 years in the previous 5 years, incl. for 12 months in past 2 years
  • Basic knowledge of English
Natural-born citizen or dependent of a natural-born citizen
Required to attend a short interview? Yes, to look over your application form and documents and learn about the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship to assess that you understand and speak basic English No
Supporting documents needed
  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Evidence of permanent residence (visa)
  • Proof of any changes of name (i.e. marriage cert.)
  • Police clearance certicates (if overseas for 12 months or more)
  • NSO-certified birth certificate
  • Old passport
  • Baptismal certificate
  • Marriage contract
  • 3 recent 2×2 photos showing front, left and right side views of applicant over white background
  • original or certified copy of Certificate of Foreign Citizenship
  • photocopy of data page of applicant’s foreign passport or driver’s license
Fee $120 $100
Method of payment Credit card Bank cheque or postal money order
Oath-taking Venue Local government council office or at a location near you Sydney or Canberra
Oath From this time forward, (under God), I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose Democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.
I, ___________, solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and local orders promulgated by the duly constituted authorities of the Philippines, and I hereby declare that I recognise 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.

*Source: Australian citizenship website **Source:Philippine embassy in Australia

Then there’s the subject of the fee. The FAQ document in the Philippine embassy’s website claims that this is an administration fee covering all expenses in the processing of documents and oath-taking. Again, why even have this oath-taking in the first place? Shouldn’t the signed application sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace by the applicant be enough to signal his/her desire to be a Filipino again?

The whole thing reeks too much of bureaucracy and looks like yet another money-making vehicle by the Philippine government. How ironic is it that ex-Filipinos may well be discouraged in taking this step simply because it is too much trouble, costs too much money and remind them of the red tape that is one of the reason why they left the Philippines in the first place?

So if you’re a Filipino who is currently a permanent resident of Australia, would you a). apply for
naturalisation, lose your Filipino citizenship and apply to retain it; b). remain a permanent resident of Australia indefinitely while to maintain your Filipino citizenship; or c). apply for naturalisation and forget about re-acquiring your Filipino citizenship altogether?

I guess the question is, what is the Filipino citizenship really worth to you these days?

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Published in: on March 21, 2006 at 12:20 pm  Comments (7)  

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi! My Lola applied for a dual citizenship.

    We had to do this because we kept on extending her visa, 3 x paying more than P3,ooo for each extension. She came to the Philippines for a vacation, you know oldies who are used to living in Pinas would always want to stay and eat laing. Our agent, who processed the visa extensions, advised me to tell my Lola to just avail of the dual citizenship. Our agent faxed a form to me, i filled up the form and have it notarized, photocopied the passport and australian naturalisation (got it from oz thru my titas), then sent the form to our agent together with the original docs. We waited for 2 months for the interview ( a letter is sent by embassy to set the interview). On that same day, Lola got the dual citizenship. This saved us from extending her visa every 3 months. But of course, her pension from centrelink was discontinued because she stayed for more than 1 yr in the Phils.

    She’s going back to OZ on Nov 11…she’s 88 y/o, so God’s will…she’ll be coming back after a year.

  2. @pogingoverseas: well, I’m not sure how the Phil. immigration office keeps track of which Filipinos have undergone naturalisation in their country of residence but you can’t renew your Phil. passport anymore once it expires as they would need proof of residency for you to renew it. And because you are now a citizen of that country, they can’t give you proof of residency (dahil nag-expire na yung visa mo automatically once you get citizenship). The question is, do you really want to still get a Phil. passport when a foreign one might suffice anyway?

    From what I’ve heard, banks in the Phils. prefer a Phil. passport as a form of ID compared to a foreign passport so this may be one reason to still retain Phil. citizenship (if you need to deal with banks or other institutions and you need a Phil. ID other than a Phil. driver’s license).

    About staying in the Phils. on a foreign passport, balikbayans could stay in the country for less than a year without getting a visa. Not sure about working there on a foreign visa though and the subsequent payment of taxes.

  3. pano malalaman ng phil immigration kung naging citizen na ng ibang bansa ang isang pinoy?

    assuming you became a citizen of australia, then after 10 years, decide to go home for good.

    does this mean you wont be able to work na sa atin? nakikita ko lang sigurong problema, mahirap ng lumabas ulit ng pinas, kc sa record nila, australian ka, tapos overstaying. naging turista pa sa sariling bansa hehe.

  4. @Inggo: Ok lang, hopefully your friend would find the site useful as well. Cheers!

  5. very useful information yung mga nilalagay niyo dito sa blog niyo. ang galing! :d

    nirefer ko yung site niyo nga pala sa mga kabarkada ko na gusto mag punta (o nasa) Australia for tips. oks lang ba? 🙂

  6. @Inggo: sa totoo lang, di ko nga malaman kung ano ang mas shocking at nakakainis – na kailangan pang mag-apply para ma-retain ang Filipino citizenship o yung process mismo. Very disappointing, really.

  7. grabe. complicated din pala ang pag dual citizenship. dati akala ko pag pinoy ka na nag migrate na sa ibang bansa automatic may dual citizenship ka na. pati ba naman sa pag process ng dual citizenship e prehistoric pa rin tayo? :-w


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