Born & Living in the Philippines but Not a Filipino? Here’s an easier way to become a naturalized Filipino Citizen

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Were you born in the Philippines and living here all your life but still considered a foreigner? If you wish to become a Filipino citizen, then you can apply for administrative naturalization.


Republic Act No. 9139 otherwise known as the Administrative Naturalization Law of 2000, was enacted as a remedial measure intended to make the process of acquiring Philippine citizenship less tedious, less technical and more encouraging for people who were born and are living in the Philippines. In a nutshell, aliens born and residing in the Philippines may be granted Philippine citizenship by administrative proceedings instead of the usual lengthy court proceedings. 




It must be borne in mind that not all foreigners can avail of the benefits under this law.  The following qualifications must be met in order to qualify for administrative naturalization:


(a) The applicant must be born in the Philippines and residing therein since birth;

(b) The applicant must not be less than eighteen (18) years of age, at the time of filing of the petition;

(c) The applicant must be of good moral character and 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 duly constituted government as well as with the community in which he/she is living;

(d) The applicant must have received his/her primary and secondary education in any public school or private educational institution duly recognized by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, 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: Provided, That should he/she have minor children of school age, he/she must have enrolled them in similar schools;

(e) The applicant must have 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: Provided, however, That 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) The applicant must be able to read, write and speak Filipino or any of the dialects of the Philippines; and

(g) The applicant must have mingled with the Filipinos and evinced a sincere desire to learn and embrace the customs, traditions and ideals of the Filipino people.




On the other hand, the following are disqualified from being naturalized as a Filipino citizen:


(a) Those opposed to organized government or affiliated with any association of 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.


Before the advent of RA 9139, naturalization proceedings are lodged with regular courts.  However, for administrative naturalization, the petition is filed with the Special Committee on Naturalization composed of the Solicitor General as chairman, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, or his representative, and the National Security Adviser, as members. The Committee has the power to approve, deny or reject applications for naturalization.


The Petition


ThePetition must be legibly typed and signed, thumbmarked and verified by the Petitioner, with the latter’s passport-sized photograph attached to each copy of the petition.  It must likewise contain the following:


(a) The petitioner’s name and surname, and any other name he/she has used or by which he/she is known;

(b) The petitioner’s present and former places of residence;

(c) The petitioner’s place and date of birth, the names and citizenship of his/her parents and their residences;

(d) The petitioner’s trade, business, profession or occupation, and if married, also that of his/her spouse;

(e) Whether the petitioner is single or married or his/her marriage is annulled. If married, petitioner shall 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 his marriage is annulled, the date of decree of annulment of marriage and the court which granted the same;

(f) If the petitioner has children, the name, date and birthplace and residences of his/her children;

(g) A declaration that the petitioner possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications;

(h) A declaration that the petitioner shall never be a public charge; and

(i) A declaration that it is the petitioner’s true and honest intention to acquire Philippine citizenship and to renounce absolutely and forever any prince, potentate, State or sovereign, and particularly the country of which the applicant is a citizen or subject.


Supporting Documents


Furthermore, the Petition must be accompanied by:


 (a) Duplicate original or certified photocopies of petitioner’s birth certificate;

(b) Duplicate original or certified photocopies of petitioner’s alien certificate of registration and native born certificate of residence;

(c) Duplicate original or certified photocopies of petitioner’s marriage certified, if married, or the death certificate of his spouse, if widowed, or the court decree annulling his marriage, if such was the fact;

(d) 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;

(e) Affidavit of financial capacity by the petitioner, and sworn statements on the good moral character of the petitioner by at least two (2) Filipino citizens of good reputation in his/her place of residence stating that they have personally known the petitioner for at least a period of ten (10) years and that said petitioner has in their own opinion all the qualifications necessary to become a citizen of the Philippines and is not in any way disqualified;

(f) A medical certificate that petitioner 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);

(g) School diploma and transcript of records of the petitioner in the schools he attended in the Philippines. Should the petitioner 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

(h) If gainfully employed, the income tax return for the past three (3) years.


Filing Fee


The filing fee for administrative naturalization is P40,000.00.




Within fifteen (15) days from the receipt of the petition, the Committee shall determine whether the petition is complete in substance and in form. If such petition is complete, the Committee shall immediately publish pertinent portions of the petition indicating the name, qualifications and other personal circumstances of the applicant, once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation, and have copies of the petition posted in any public or conspicuous area.


In addition, the Committee shall immediately furnish the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Bureau of Immigration (BI), the civil registrar of the petitioner’s place of residence and tile National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) copies of the petition and its supporting documents. These agencies shall have copies of the petition posted in any public or conspicuous area in their buildings, offices and premises, and shall, within thirty (30) days from the receipt of the petition, submit to the Committee a report 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 sixty (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 in later, the Committee shall consider and review all relevant and material information it has received pertaining to the petition, and may, for the purpose call the petitioner for interview to ascertain his/her identity, the authenticity of the petition and its annexes, and to determine the truthfulness of the statements and declarations made in the petition and its annexes.


If the Committee shall have received any information adverse to the petition, the Committee shall allow the petitioner to answer, explain or refute the information.


Thereafter, if the Committee believes that the petitioner has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications required for Philippine citizenship, it shall approve the petition and henceforth, notify the petitioner of the fact of such approval. Otherwise, the Committee shall disapprove the same.


The petition may also be dismissed without prejudice, if the petition is found by the Committee to be wanting in substance and form.


Naturalization Fee


Within thirty (30) days from the receipt of the notice of the approval of his/her petition, the applicant shall pay to the Committee a naturalization fee of One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) payable as follows:


a)  Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) upon the approval of the petition and

b)  Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) upon the taking of the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines


Afterwards, a certificate of naturalization shall be issued. Within sixty (60) days from the issuance of the certificate, the petitioner shall take an oath of allegiance in the proper forum upon proof of payment of the fees cited above. Should the applicant fail to take the abovementioned oath of allegiance within said period of time, the approval of the petition shall be deemed abandoned.


Within five (5) days after the applicant has taken his oath of allegiance, the Bureau of Immigration shall forward a copy of the petitioner’s oath to the proper local civil registrar. Thereafter, the Bureau of Immigration shall cancel the alien certificates of registration of the applicant.


Status of Alien Wife and Minor Children


Once the petition for naturalization of the alien husband is approved, his alien lawful wife and minor children may file a petition for cancellation of their alien certificates of registration with the Committee subject to the payment of the filing fee of Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) and naturalization fee of Forty thousand pesos (P40,000.00) payable as follows:


a)  Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) upon the approval of the petition and

b)  Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) upon the taking of the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.


Status of Alien Husband and Minor Children


If the applicant is a married woman, the approval of her petition for administrative naturalization will NOT benefit her alien husband. However, it can benefit her minor children who may file a petition for cancellation of their alien certificates of registration with the Bureau of Immigration.


RA 9139 is a breath of fresh air for foreigners who wish to become Filipinos.  In view of this law, gone are the days when naturalization would take years and require voluminous documents.  Instead of a trial type set-up wherein testimonies are taken before the court, the procedure becomes summary and dispenses with the need of personal appearances.


This is how to become a Filipino citizen by administrative naturalization.


For more information, visit our website or e-mail us at [email protected] .


Nicolas & De Vega Law Offices is a Philippine law firm. We are located at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.  You may also call us at +632 4706126, +632 4706130, +632 4016392.