Foreigners who wish to become Filipino citizens can do so through a legal process known as naturalization. Naturalization is governed by the Philippine Republic Act No. 9139, also known as the “Administrative Naturalization Law of 2000.” Here are the general steps and requirements for a foreigner to become a Filipino citizen through naturalization:
- Residency: The applicant must have resided in the Philippines for at least ten (10) continuous years.
- Good Moral Character: The applicant must demonstrate good moral character and must not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.
- Proficiency in English or Filipino: The applicant must be able to speak and write English or Filipino and any one of the principal Philippine languages.
- Knowledge of Philippine Government and History: The applicant should have a sufficient knowledge and appreciation of the Philippine government, history, and the Constitution.
- Property Ownership: The applicant must own real estate in the Philippines.
Steps to Apply for Naturalization:
- Secure a Petition Form: Obtain a petition form for naturalization from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) office or download it from their official website.
- Submit the Petition Form: Fill out the petition form completely and submit it, along with the required documents, to the Legal Division of the BI.
- Pay the Filing Fee: Pay the filing fee for the naturalization petition.
- Publication of Petition: The BI will publish the petition in a newspaper of general circulation, allowing the public to raise objections against the application.
- Attend Hearing: The applicant and any oppositors will be given the opportunity to present evidence during a hearing conducted by the BI.
- Recommendation by the BI Commissioner: If the BI is satisfied with the applicant’s qualifications, the Commissioner will recommend the approval of the petition to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
- Approval by the DOJ: The DOJ will review the recommendation and may approve or disapprove the naturalization application.
- Oath of Allegiance: If approved, the applicant will take the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.
- Issuance of Certificate of Naturalization: Upon completion of the process, the applicant will be issued a Certificate of Naturalization, signifying Filipino citizenship.
It’s important to note that the naturalization process can be complex, and applicants are advised to seek legal assistance to ensure that they meet all the requirements and properly navigate the procedure. Additionally, the requirements and procedures may be subject to change, so it’s recommended to check with the Bureau of Immigration or legal authorities for the most up-to-date information.