Citizenship through marriage?

Getting Philippine Citizenship for your child born abroad

Lately, I have been getting a number of e-mail inquiries from readers who want to become Philippine Citizens, and they are asking if marriage to a Filipina will convey Philippine Citizenship to them.

Let’s look at one of the questions I have gotten lately on this topic:

Hi Bob,

I got married to a lady from the Philippines in 2008, a little more than 4 years ago.

What papers to I need to file to claim Philippine Citizenship?

I am sure that because I am married to a Philippine Citizen, I am also entitled to Philippine Citizenship.

Cake delivery in the Philippines

Please guide me through the process.

Jerry in Alabama

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for writing, always nice to meet others who are interested in the Philippines like I am.

US and Philippine flags

US and Philippine flags

The fact is, Jerry, being married to a Philippine Citizen does not entitle you to being a Citizen of the Philippines.  Fact is, the benefits, citizenship-wise, to you are almost identical to the benefits your wife got when she married you.

See, the fact that your wife married you, an American, did not make her an American Citizen.  However, it gave her the benefit of shaving a few years off of the waiting time before she could apply for citizenship.

You get an almost identical benefit.  Normally, if somebody wants to apply for Naturalization in the Philippines, they must live in the Philippines for 10 years before applying.  However, for you and me, since we have Philippine spouses, if we wish to apply for citizenship here, we only have to wait for 5 years instead of 10 before we apply.

Now, here is the downside, Jerry.  Under Philippine law, if we wish to become Naturalized in the Philippines, and be a citizen of the country, we must renounce our US Citizenship as part of the process.  It’s the same for your wife, if she takes the oath as a US Citizenship, she is renouncing her Philippine Citizenship as part of the process.  The good thing for your wife is that under the Philippine Dual Citizenship law, she can re-acquire her Philippine Citizen and be a citizen of both countries.  The US does not offer such a procedure.  If you renounce your US Citizenship, there is no easy way to reacquire your US Citizenship.

Good luck to you, Jerry.  I hope that my explanation of the process answers your questions and concerns.

Comments

  1. Darrell Taylor says

    Hi there!

    I’m a US citizen and I am married to a Filipina and planning to move there to live with her. Not really to retire there but at least stay there for longer period like 5-10 years.

    May you please help me with the requirements?

    Thank you!
    Darrell

  2. aryn says

    Hi Darrel
    It’s almost 3years i married here in philippines
    you wrote we need to wait for 5years to get citizenship of philippines, i’m leaving philippines for 1 or 2 years,will this 2 years counted or i’m suppose to be here in philippines?

      • Jannah says

        Hello there,

        Just here to ask if by continously staying here for 5 to 10 years means not really going out of the Philippines even just for a week or a day? Because my fiance who is american is staying here with a tourist visa and he’s here since December 2013 and we keep on extending his visa every after 2 months. We’re planning to get married this year before his 1 yr of stay and go out of the country together as spouses and do the balikbayan visa fornhim to get one free year of stay here in Philippines.

        Would that affect the “continous 5 or 10 years of stay”?

        Hope you understand what I’m trying to say. I still struggle in explaining things in english.

        Thank you!

  3. says

    Actually that is not true. You do not lose your US Citizenship. Below is from the US State Department Government website: :

    US State Department Services Dual Nationality

    Editor’s note: This content has been deleted, because it is quoted verbatim from another website, which is copyright infringement. I do not allow copyrighted material to be posted verbatim on the site.

    • says

      Hi John,

      You fail to understand.

      Yes, the USA allows dual citizenship, that is not a problem at all. However, Philippine law requires that a person must renounce citizenship to become a Philippine Citizen. If you do not wish to renounce, you may not become a Philippine Citizen. It is that simple.

      So, while the USA allows dual nationality, the Philippines does not allow it for foreigners.

      • Jimney says

        This statement from your site is confusing me too: “It’s the same for your wife, if she takes the oath as a US Citizenship, she is renouncing her Philippine Citizenship as part of the process.” Since the United States does not require a Filipina to renounce her citizenship from the Philippines, are you saying that the Philippines will revoke it?

        • says

          The act of taking the oath of citizenship is generally regarded as giving up your previous citizenship. The Philippine Government considers you to no longer be a citizen if you become a citizen of another country, thus you must submit to re-acquire your Philippine Citizenship.

  4. Jaan says

    Hi I am a US Citizen and plan to marry my filipino boyfriend and plan to apply for a permanent visa in the Philippines. I have 3 children from previous marriage ranges from 8-12. Can I bring my children with me and apply for a permanent visa too? If not, what VISA will my children require?

  5. Irfan Shaikh says

    Dear Sir,

    Can you please help me out..i am an indian citizen and i want to go to philippines next year means 2013 on 1st of May -13 or 30th april-13. currently i am working in Saudi Arabia(K.S.A.). can you please tell me what is the correct time to apply for the philippine visa from saudi and what is the requirement from the Sponsor in the philippines. i am going for my marriage, i am going to marry a filipina. can you please help out with this situation it would be helpful..

    thank you.

  6. lara says

    hi im israeli citizen and im married to pilipina in im planning to stay more than a year there, what i need to do to make citizenship?can you help me please what i need to do?thank you in advance!!!

  7. Irfan Shaikh says

    hi as i ask before about the help which is stated in this comment i wanted to know that i am going to marry filipina girl and i will be opening business there in the philippines and i will be staying there. can you please tell me to get a philippines citizenship what requirement is needed and what are the procedure for the marriage there. can you please help me out this time

  8. James Iden says

    Hi bob ! Please help me with my problem. I am marrying my filipina girlfriend I have a dual citizenship American/Filipino since my mom which is also a filipina married to my dad an American. I have been living here in the Philippines for 6 years and been in a relationship with my gf for 2 years. How can I bring here to America since I’m planning to marry her here in the Philippines before going back to USA so that we can go there together and start our married life. Please advice.

    • says

      You won’t be able to go to the USA together, unless you wait in the Philippines for the process to be completed, which would probably take a year to 18 months. Marry her, return to the States and file a petition for her visa.

      • James Iden says

        Hi Bob thanks for the fast reply ! anyway Is there any other way that is more faster because 18months is really long? If I marry her here in the Philippines can’t she even acquire any American rights since I married her? Please advice.

    • Bill says

      James, since you’ve been living in the Philippines for more than six months, you qualify for Direct Consular Filing (DCF). If you present proof of residence (show them your passport arrival stamp and 13(a) visa), then you can file your I-130 at the embassy in Manila. That piece will only take about a months since it’s done locally. My wife’s was done in three weeks. After that, you can file for her visa, also through DCF. If the physical goes smoothly (i.e., if she doesn’t need a sputum test for TB), then she should get her interview/visa in another three months.

      One caveat, part of your visa application will require you to prove that you can keep her off of welfare. That means that you need to present proof of either a job or sufficient assets. (Assets need to be equal or greater than three times the poverty level for whatever size family you will be supporting.) Here’s the BIG point, you must be domiciled in the U.S. to file that particular form. You can still be physically present in the Philippines, but will need to prove that your intention has always been to return to the states, and that your return is imminent. One good way to do this is to establish a residency somewhere back home (e.g., register to vote, get a copy of a signed lease, show utility bills in your name, etc…).

      Long story short, you absolutely, positively CAN apply for naturalization here at the embassy, and the process is infinitely faster than if you do it from home. Do NOT go home to start this process. If you do, then you can’t do DCF, and it will take you about a year and a half to get your wife to the States.

      Good luck.

    • Bill says

      James, sorry. I just noticed the ”dual citizen” part. Please ignore the bit about the 13a visa, and provide whatever proof of residency the embassy requires.

      Also, one is generally better off going home and filing for a fiance visa and marrying in the States than they are if they marry here. It’s faster to bring a fiance over than it is to bring a wife, because the fiance visa falls under a non-immigrant status. Marry her in the states, and you’ll still have to wait for the green card for just as long, but at least you’ll both be together. Note, even this is slower than marrying her here and doing Direct Consular Filing, which only a few people qualify for. Luckily, you’re one of them.

      Finally, since you will have been married for fewer than two years, your wife will have a probationary Green Card. You can update it after your second anniversary. Not a big deal, though it will cost something.

      Again, best of luck to you.

  9. hanee says

    hi Sir, i m Pakistani n i want to marry with Filpino girl,
    can i get Filpino Nationality?
    can i live with her in Phillipine?
    plz sir, Guide me
    thanks….

  10. Bob L says

    Is it hard for a Thai or Phillipino lady to come here to the usa and get a citizenship.Which is easier? Would they have to get married then apply? Can we apply before we get married?

  11. george tweedie says

    hi bob,
    need alittle advice, im hoping to get married this year to a philippino lady, who is now my fiancee, as i spent 3 1/2 months with her from nov/last year until february this year, and i want to get married at the end of this year hopefully, can you please tell me what form i need to get here before i leave to go there so that i have everything in order, i have my b/c and my divorce papers
    but i need to know what forms i need to have before i can live there with her, appreciate your help as there seems to be conflicting stories as to the paperwork needed,,,await your reply
    george.. ohhhh by the way im retired and im 67yo and my fiancee is 58yo

    • says

      No, marrying a Philippine citizen will not give you Philippine citizenship. You can become naturalized as a Philippine citizen, but part of doing that means renouncing your citizenship that you have now.

      • shahzeb shah says

        sorry for interrupting u guyz Bob u mean even after marrying the foreigner partner wont get nationality of phil unless he/she leave his/her country nationality and takes phil nationality ?

        • says

          Yes, my answer was clear, I thought. If you marry a Filipina you will not automatically become a Philippine Citizen. I have been married to my filipina spouse for 23+ years, yet I am not a Philippine Citizen.

          • Ed says

            People, please pay attention to what Bob has extensively repeated, in short:
            You must be *permanently* resident in the Philippines for 10 years, or 5 if married to a Philippine citizen. That’s the easy part. You may then hire an attorney to process your case, *AND* be prepared to RENOUNCE your citizenship of birth. That defacto means that you must terminate your ability to earn income outside of the Philippines or receive any future pension from the country you abandoned. Is that sufficiently clear now? Are you independently wealthy? If you are, go for it!
            Otherwise, be happy with your ACR, report at BI and pay your 300 pesos annually, properly take care of your children and have a good life.
            Before you die, be sure to secure dual citizenship for your kids at the embassy of your original country, so they will have all the options and none of the issues.

  12. zayan mia says

    Dear Sir,
    i am zayan mia , 27 year young single man from pakistan , i like philphine for work , married and living , so please guide me what can i do then i have legal right for living working and married in philphine,

    i am waiting your sincer replay

  13. shahzeb shah says

    hi bob,
    need alittle info, im hoping to get married this cumming new year feb to a philippino lady, who is my gf since past one year, and i wanted to know as em frm Pakistan so like after marrying her will i get the PR or nationality so that we can live there also cox at the moment we both having job in Brunei so i wanted to know these thing and yeah like if that will b possible so how long will b the process.
    will appreciate your help u doing here hope to listen gud frm u soon thx

      • shahzeb shah says

        ohk thanks for the info bro
        but like if em married n then i want to get nationality of Phil so is there any process i can do ??

  14. TIBOR says

    Hello Bob !
    I am still not married with a filipina, we are only engaged. but our Plan, to get married here in Austria. Still now, she working abroad, as live in caregiver, babisitter.
    If we get married in Austria, then she will having this benefit, to get a longtime europa-visa, and she dont need to apply everytime for tourist visa. After this, we wish to move to Philippines, and our plan, to make a small business. A little backery.
    We have aquestion; What a documents we will need, to be able to get this business licence, and to opene this backery ? Then, we would like to employ 10 or 12 people.
    Can you please tell me abiut necessaries, or where I can make some large informations ?

    Thank you very much !
    Tibor

    • says

      Hi Tibor,

      Thanks for visiting the site.

      The process of registering a business is different in each locale. Sorry, I can’t really be of help on this particular inquiry.

      • Ed says

        Generally, you need the following to “open a business” (legally):
        1/ baranguay clearance certificate
        2/ police clearance certificate, at the municipal level
        3/ possibly NBI clearance if in the name of a Filipino
        4/ municipal permit (attend at your local Municipio)

        The above presumes it’s a “small” (ie. subsistence-level) business) offering services within the Philppines. If it’s a business abroad (ie. NOT operating in the Philippines) then none of this matters.
        If something large, involving legal financing, or a corporate entity, then you should research DTI and BIR registration and ongoing filing reqirements. … and hire a good accountant and attorney before you even presume to start thinking about it.

  15. says

    hi bob l am marrying a phillippno woman we hav bee going out with ech uthar for 2 years naw and wont to marry.we ar both 64 years of age. wen we marry.can l go and live in the phillippines with her as l am seling my house .to do that.and can you tel me wot forms l need

    • says

      Yes, you certainly can do that, Peter! Basically, what I would recommend is that you enter the Philippines with a regular tourist visa. You just come here, arrive at the airport and show your passport. You will be allowed 30 days stay. That 30 day stay can be extended for up to 16 months. After you complete the marriage, you will then qualify for a resident visa so you can live here permanently. So, after you are married, just go to the Bureau of Immigration and apply for the resident visa.

      For full information on getting a resident visa, I recommend that you read this article:
      http://liveinthephilippines.com/content/my-13a-visa-experience/

  16. Greg says

    Hi Bob,

    Please check wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Allegiance_%28Philippines%29

    “until 2003, when the Philippines legalized multiple citizenship and it no longer became mandatory to renounce foreign citizenship to obtain Filipino citizenship”

    New Oath for Philippine Citizenship:

    “I, (name), 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 imposed this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God.”

    Kind Regards..

    • says

      Hi Greg – Anybody can post anything, or modify content on Wikipedia, including your or me. Please post an authoritative Philippine Government website which confirms this. The law of the Philippines, which is published openly, says the opposite.

  17. fakhr says

    Hi bro have a nice day, I’m from Pakistan, going to Phil’s to get married my fiance this year 2014. How many days or month can allowed me to stay? And it is possible for me to get residence visA? Pls reply me asap I really need us help, thnx n go blessed u,

  18. Amar says

    Hello Sir,

    I am married to a filipina lady for last 19 years and we got three kids. We are staying in Middle East. We started a small business three years ago and we both are travelling frequently to Philippines in that regard. Every time I travel I obtain 59 days visa from Philippines consulate. We are planning to settle down now in Philippines and I will apply for my 5 years spouse Visa as per laws. The business we have is in the name of my wife.
    My question to you is will I be allowed to work on that visa to support my family or rather say Can I actively participate in my wife’s running business openly. Do I have to acquire any permission from any department?
    In anticipation of your response

    • Ed says

      Amar, since the business is (of necessity) in your wife’s name, there’s really no problem with you helping her at any time, since you won’t be paid, the income goes to your wife. That’s what I do.
      It is however my understanding that with a permanent visa you can legally work in the Philippines to derive income without any special permit, in which case you would presumably file and pay taxes like anyone else.
      That’s what I was told, I’ve never tested it; others may know more.

  19. Mahesh says

    Hello sir,

    Am an indian who came to phillipines to study medicine i stayed here 4 years under student visa after graduation i married to filipina under student visa and i have a nso marriage certicate now currently am doing my internship and under student visa too.. can i apply for naturalize citizenship here in philippines so i can give boards and continue my residency and work here. If i cant get citizen ship should i apply trv or prv? Anyway i can do my residency for another 5 years even am foreigner..

    • says

      Since you are married to a Filipina, once you have been here for 5 years you can apply for naturalization. Keep in mind that you must give up your Indian citizenship in order to become a Philippine citizen.

  20. conrad says

    Hi Bob!

    im a filipino married to my chinese wife in china, and presently residing in china.
    we want to go back to philippines start a buisness and live there.

    is she qualified to apply for a 13a visa? and what are the requirements and how long to apply?

    waiting for your positive response.

    thank you! and god bless you!

  21. JL says

    hi im a filipina and i am married a US citizen. And i plan to visit him in San Francisco. We also plan to married again but in US.

    Is there a possibility that I can stay in USA for good. And what will happen to my tourist visa if we married again but in USA..

    Please answer my question

    thank you :)

    • says

      It would be illegal for you to go to the USA on a tourist visa if your intention is to marry there or to stay. That is immigration fraud. If you intend to go there to stay you need to be applying for either a fiance visa or a spousal Visa.

  22. S. McLey says

    My family and I are planing on moving to the Philippines when I retire next year. My wife and children have dual citizenship. Do my family and I need to come back to the USA every so often to keep the Social Security benefits for all of us?

    Thank you,

    Steve

    • says

      Hello S. McLey – It depends on what benefit you are talking about. If you are talking about retirement from Social Security, no, you do not need to go back to the USA at all. If you are talking about some type of disability payment from the Social Security Administration, then there is usually a requirement that you must be on US soil to receive those benefits at all.

  23. saba says

    hi i’m wael from syria i am married to a filipina and we’re planning to settle down in philippines for lifetime how i can get my citizenship to stay permanent or i can stay in philippines permanent?
    please i need your advise…

    • says

      You cannot get citizenship immediately, wael. You must live here for a minimum of 5 years before you can apply. But, you can live here without being a citizen. Since you are married to a Philippine Citizen, it may be possible for you to get a 13a Resident Visa, you should check into that.

  24. Victor Emanuel Nobrega says

    Hi Bob,

    Australia allows dual citizenship, could I renounce my Aussie, humbly accept Philippine naturalisation then reclaim my Australian? Or not?

    Restart every five years!?! Wow! So guess I couldn’t fly to Sydney in that period.

    Thanks sir, always a pleasure

    • says

      Hi Victor – Technically, yes you can do that. We can as Americans too. But, doing it is not within the spirit of the Philippine law, and I would not encourage doing that. I mean, your first act of becoming a Philippine Citizen would be to thumb your nose at Philippine law. To me, that is not right and not the way that I would want to become a Philippine Citizen. It is not illegal, though.

      • Victor Emanuel Nobrega says

        I respect that, and agree it would be disrespectful. I would never insult the Philippine people in that way.if they are gracious enough to have, I would be humbled. I was simply thinking out loud. I apologise for any disrespect or insult caused.

        Thank you for your time.always excellent!

        P.s 5 years without a holiday?!? How will I make it

          • Victor Emanuel Nobrega says

            Thank you Bob, I was hoping to take my daughter back to Sydney to see my family,but if that interferes…2 or 3 weeks should be fine ☺

            Thanks Bob

  25. Valerio says

    Usually here in Italian for a pinoy/pinay have a regular permit for maintain the permit need to stay here 6 month a year always.

    I’m trying to see about dual cit… ‘cose we’re thinking to go and come without have lot’s of problems on both visa.

    At difference of other country , a pinoy married in here and between the embassy registered the same marryage on they’re state, if they acquire Italian cit.. not need to renounce they’re cit and if they elegible for keep ours automatically dual cit. i need to know better about me and when we go in phil next november we ask in phil all the thinks ,and then i try to comment better all about that things.

    Regards.

    Vale.

  26. Ed says

    Victor, I was once told that once you have your ACR you are free to come and go from the Philippines the same as a native Filipino may. That however may adversely impact on any question regarding obtaining Philippine citizenship. In your shoes I’d politely inquire at your local Philippine BI office *and* pay a good Philippine immigration attorney for their advice.

    Valerio, as has been repeatedly advised here and everywhere, obtaining Philippine citizenship absolutely requires *renunciation* of your natural citizenship (and depending on your situation in your home country possibly very adverse repercussions on you for doing so). You may be able to cheat by lying and then recover your natural citizenship, but as Bob clearly stated that’s not something you should do. Until there’s some change to the Philippine citizenship laws, just accept that you can live here problem-free with minimal further requirements, as a permanent immigrant once you have your ACR.

    The best short answer regarding acquiring Philippine citizenship is in the laws of the Philippines, not in your country of origin. The repercussions abroad of acquiring Philippine citizenship are thereafter something you deal with in your native country. That’s why Bob, I, and many others who legally live here with our wives and families have given up trying to become Philippine citizens. Perhaps the laws will change someday. Maybe we’ll live long enough. For now we count our permissible blessings. Best of luck.

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