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How to Become a Filipino Citizen Through Administrative Naturalization

Is it possible to be born and raised in the Philippines, and yet not be a Filipino citizen at all? A child born in the Philippines would always be granted Philippine citizenship as long as one of their parents is a Filipino citizen. However, if both parents are foreigners, the child will not be granted Philippine citizenship. If the said parents choose to stay and raise the child in the Philippines, the latter may apply for Philippine citizenship once he or she reaches the age of eighteen (18). To achieve this, he or she would have to go through administrative naturalization.

One of our previous articles discussed everything there is to know about judicial naturalization. To recap, judicial naturalization is the best procedure for foreigners who were not born and raised in the Philippines. In the second part of this series about naturalization, we will be diving into administrative naturalization. 

What is Administrative Naturalization?

Administrative naturalization is the legal process of granting a foreigner Filipino citizenship by naturalization, provided that such foreigner was born and raised in the Philippines. Usually, this occurs when a child’s parents are both foreigners, yet chose to raise him or her in the Philippines and not in their country of origin. 

This process is governed by Republic Act No. 9139, otherwise known as the Administrative Naturalization Law of 2000. This is an act providing for the acquisition of Philippine Citizenship for certain aliens by administrative naturalization and for other purposes.

Qualifications to get Naturalized

There are many similarities between the qualifications to obtain Philippine citizenship through judicial and administrative naturalization. Any person desiring to avail the benefits of administrative naturalization must:

  • Be born in the Philippines and has resided therein since birth;
  • Be eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of filing his or her petition;
  • Be of good moral character and believe in the principles underlying the Philippine Constitution, and have shown proper conduct during his or her residence in the Philippines towards the government and the community;
  • Have received his or her primary and secondary education in a school recognized by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. This school must also have Philippines history, government, and civics as a part of the school curriculum, and enrollment must not be limited to any race or nationality. In addition, if he/she has children of school age, he/she must have enrolled them in similar schools;
  • Have a known trade, business, profession ,or lawful occupation, from which he/she derives sufficient income to support him/herself and his/her family if necessary; 

Note that this shall not apply to applicants who are college degree holders but are unable to practice their professional because they are disqualified to do so by reason of their citizenship;

  • Be able to read, write, and speak Filipino or any dialects of the Philippines; and
  • Have mingled with Filipinos and evinced a sincere desire to learn and embrace Filipino customs, traditions, and ideals.

Disqualification from Naturalization

An applicant can get disqualified from applying for administrative naturalization if they meet any of the following disqualifications. Note that this list is identical to the disqualifications from applying for judicial naturalization. An applicant is disqualified if he or she:

  • Is opposed to organized government or are affiliated with any associations that oppose all organized governments;
  • Defends or teaches the propriety of violence, personal assault, or assassination for the success of their ideas;
  • Is a polygamist;
  • Is convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude;
  • Suffers from mental alienation or incurable contagious diseases;
  • Has not mingled with the Filipinos during the period of residence in the Philippines, nor has he or she evinced a sincere desire to learn and embrace Filipino customs, traditions, and ideals;
  • Is a citizen of a nation with whom the United States and the Philippines are at war, during the period of such war; or
  • Is a citizen of a foreign country other than the United States whose laws do not grant Filipinos the right to become naturalized citizens or subjects thereof.

Petition Requirements

There are many documents an applicant must secure before he/she files a petition. Preparing these in advance can help make the naturalization process smoother and faster. An applicant must ensure to accompany his/her application with the following:

  • Duplicate original or certified photocopies of his/her birth certificate;
  • Duplicate original or certified photocopies of his/her alien certificate or registration and native born certificate of residence;
  • Duplicate original or certified photocopies of petitioner’s marriage certified, if married, or the death certificate of his/her spouse, if widowed, or the court decree annulling his/her marriage, if such was the fact;
  • Duplicate original or certified photocopies of birth certificates, alien certificate of registration or native born certificate of residence if any, of petitioner’s minor children, wherever applicable;
  • Affidavit of financial capacity by the applicant, and sworn statements on the good moral character of the applicant by at least two (2) Filipino citizens of good reputation in his/her place of residence stating that they have personally known the applicant for at least a period of ten (10) years and that said applicant has in their own opinion all the qualifications necessary to become a citizen of the Philippines and is not in any way disqualified under the provisions of Republic Act No. 9139;
  • A medical certificate that the applicant is not a user of prohibited drugs or otherwise a drug dependent and that he/she is not afflicted with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS);
  • School diploma and transcript of records of the applicant in the schools he attended in the Philippines. Should the applicant have minor children, a certification that his children are enrolled in a school where Philippine history, government and civics are taught and are part of the curriculum; and
  • If gainfully employed, the income tax return for the past three (3) years.

Filing of the Petition

An applicant can file his or her petition with the secretariat of the Special Committee on Naturalization. He/she will need to create five copies of the petition, all of which must be legibly typed and signed, thumbmarked and verified, and with a passport-sized photograph of the applicant attached to each copy. The petition must then set forth the following information about the applicant:

  • Name and surname, and any other name that he or she uses or is known by;
  • Present and former places of residence
  • Place and date of birth, as well as the names and citizenship of his/her parents and their residences;
  • Trade, business, profession, or occupation, and also that of his/her spouse if applicable;
  • Marital status, wherein if married the applicant shall also state the date and place of his/her marriage, and the name, date of birth, birthplace, citizenship and residence of his/her spouse; and if the marriage is annulled, the date of decree of annulment of marriage and the court which granted this;
  • The name, date, birthplace, and residences of the applicant’s children, if any;
  • A declaration that the applicant possesses all the qualifications and none of the qualifications under Republic Act No. 9139;
  • A declaration that the applicant shall never be a public charge; and
  • A declaration that it is the applicant’s true intention to acquire Philippine citizenship and to renounce absolutely and forever and prince, potentate, State or sovereign, and particularly the country of which the applicant is a citizen or subject.

If the petition is complete in substance and in form, the Committee will immediately publish it in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for three consecutive weeks. The applicant will have to coordinate with and pay the newspaper company regarding the publication of his or her petition. 

The committee will also forward the petition to the National Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Bureau of Immigration, and the petitioner’s local Civil Registrar. The petition will be posted in the offices of these government agencies.

Should the petition be sufficient, the petitioner will have to go through the final test and interview. Should the petitioner also pass this final stage, a date and venue will be set for the oath-taking. Taking the oath will finally turn the petitioner into a full-fledged Filipino citizen and the Certificate of Naturalization will be forwarded to the Bureau of Immigration and the local Civil Registrar.

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