Published 24 January 2020, The Daily Tribune
Previously, I described the process of becoming Pinoy through legislative naturalization. Expectedly, many have asked, what are the citizenship pathways for foreigners who desire to become Filipino citizens but wanting on “notable service to the country and to the Filipino people.” They may resort to either administrative naturalization or judicial naturalization.
Let us take up administrative naturalization.
Administrative Naturalization is governed by Republic Act (RA) 9139, which requires a foreigner-applicant aiming for administrative naturalization to have the following qualifications:
(a) Born in the Philippines and residing herein since birth;
(b) Not less than 18 years of age, at the time of filing of his/her petition;
(c) Of good moral character, believes in the underlying principles of the Constitution, and must have conducted himself/herself in a proper and irreproachable manner during his/her entire period of residence in the Philippines in his relation with the government and the community in which he/she is living;
(d) Has received his/her primary and secondary education in any educational institution duly recognized by the government, where Philippine history, government and civics are taught and prescribed as part of the school curriculum and where enrollment is not limited to any race or nationality. Should he/she have minor children of school age, he/she must have enrolled them in similar schools;
(e) Has a known trade, business, profession or lawful occupation, from which he/she derives income sufficient for his/her support and if he/she is married and/or has dependents, also that of his/her family. However, this shall not apply to applicants who are college degree holders but are unable to practice their profession because they are disqualified to do so by reason of their citizenship;
(f) Able to read, write and speak Filipino or any of the dialects of the Philippines; and
(g) Has mingled with the Filipinos and evinced a sincere desire to learn and embrace the customs, traditions and ideals of the Filipino people.
Aside from meeting the above qualifications, the foreigner-applicant must not be covered by any of the following disqualifications:
(a) Those opposed to organized government or affiliated with any association or group of persons who uphold and teach doctrines opposing all organized governments;
(b) Those defending or teaching the necessity of or propriety of violence, personal assault or assassination for the success or predominance of their ideas;
(c) Polygamists or believers in the practice of polygamy;
(d) Those convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude;
(e) Those suffering from mental alienation or incurable contagious diseases;
(f) Those who, during the period of their residence in the Philippines, have not mingled socially with Filipinos, or who have not evinced a sincere desire to learn and embrace the customs, traditions and ideals of the Filipinos;
(g) Citizens or subjects with whom the Philippines is at war, during the period of such war; and,
(h) Citizens or subjects of a foreign country whose laws do not grant Filipinos the right to be naturalized citizens or subjects thereof.
The application process is commenced by filing a Verified Petition with the Secretariat of the Special Committee on Naturalization (SCN) at the Office of the Solicitor General. The Verified Petition must be accompanied by duplicate originals or certified photocopies of the following documents:
1. Birth certificate;
2. Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR);
3. Native-born Certificate of Residence (NBCR);
4. Marriage certificate, if married;
5. Death certificate of his/her spouse, if widowed;
6. Court decree annulling his/her marriage or granting legal separation, if such was the fact;
7. Birth certificates of petitioner’s minor children;
8. ACR of his/her minor children;
9. NBCR of his/her minor children;
10. Affidavits of financial capacity by the petitioner, duly supported by bank certifications, passbooks, stock certificates, or proof of ownership of other properties;
11. Affidavits of at least two credible witnesses who must be Filipino citizens of good reputation in petitioner’s place of residence;
12. Medical certificate from a government hospital stating that petitioner is not suffering from mental alienation or a user of prohibited drugs or otherwise a drug dependent, and that he/she is not afflicted with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), or any incurable contagious disease;
13. School diploma and transcript of record from the school/s he or she attended in the Philippines;
14. Certifications stating that petitioner’s minor children are enrolled in educational institutions duly recognized by the government, where Philippine History, Government, and Civics are taught and prescribed as part of the school curriculum, and where enrollment is not limited to any race or nationality;
15. Income tax returns (ITR) for the past three years, if gainfully employed; and,
16. Receipts of payment of income taxes for the past three years.
The processing fee for the application for naturalization shall be P40,000. Within 15 days from the receipt of the petition, the SCN shall determine whether the petition is complete in substance and in form. If in the negative, the petition will be dismissed without prejudice to the filing of another petition. Otherwise, the petition will be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation, and posted in any public or conspicuous area, at the expense of the petitioner.
The petition will likewise be furnished to pertinent government agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the National Bureau of Investigation for clearance and lack of derogatory record on the petitioner. Within 30 days from the receipt of the petition — during which the foregoing agencies should have posted the petition in any public or conspicuous area in their buildings, offices and premises — they shall submit a report to the SCN stating whether or not petitioner has any derogatory record on file or any such relevant and material information which might be adverse to petitioner’s application for citizenship.
Within 60 days from receipt of the report of the agencies which were furnished a copy of the petition or the date of the last publication of the petition, whichever comes later, the SCN shall determine whether to approve or disapprove the petition. If necessary, the SCN will conduct a test, hearing, or interview the applicant.
Within 30 days from receipt by the applicant of the notice of the approval of his petition, the applicant shall pay certain oathtaking and naturalization fees.
Forthwith, a Certificate of Naturalization shall be issued. However, the petitioner must take an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines within 60 days from the issuance of the certificate; otherwise, the approval of the petition shall be deemed abandoned.
Finally, within five days after the applicant has taken his Oath of Allegiance, the Secretariat of the SCN shall forward a copy of the Certificate of Naturalization to the proper local civil registrar for proper recording, as well as to the BI for the cancellation of the ACR of the applicant.
Forthwith, the foreigner-applicant will be able to enjoy the perks and privileges of being a Pinoy.
For comments and questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.