Every country has its own laws when it comes to acquiring dual citizenship, and its nationality is conferred upon individuals based on its own independent domestic policy. Individuals may have dual nationality not by choice but by automatic operation of these different and sometimes conflicting laws.

Under the Philippines’ Republic Act 9225, known as the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003 (more commonly known as the Dual Citizenship Law), natural-born Filipinos are allowed to retain or reacquire their Filipino citizenship if they have been naturalized in other countries. The Filipino would then hold two citizenships, and would be known as a dual citizen.

Eligibility of Acquiring Dual Citizenship

Only natural-born citizens of the Philippines who have become citizens of another country by reason of naturalization may retain or re-acquire their Philippine citizenship under this Act. This includes the following:

1. A child born in the United States on or after 17 January 1973 when either or both parent/s was still a Filipino citizen is considered to be a dual citizen from birth.

2. A child who, at the time of his/her birth, has at least one Filipino parent.

3. Acquire another nationality later in life through immigration or other specialized legal processes (for example, citizenship by marriage).

For more detailed information, consult an immigration lawyer or your Philippine consulate or embassy to know your eligibility for dual citizenship in your current country.

Advantages of Dual Citizenship

1. Dual citizens can acquire the benefits and privileges offered by each country where they are a citizen.

    - The right to vote in both countries

    - The right to two social security systems

    - The right to work without getting a visa or permit in either or both countries

    - The right to engage in business or commerce in either or both countries

    - The right to attend school at the local tuition rates in either or both countries

    - The right to live and stay indefinitely in either country, without the need for a visa or permit

2. Two Passports

Having two passports makes travelling to another country more convenient. For example, if you have an American and Philippine passport, you can visit more countries as a tourist without the need for a visa, since an American passport is much more powerful than a Philippine passport.

3. Education

Dual citizens can attend school in their preferred country without having to pay the international tuition rate.

4. Family Sponsorship

Having dual citizenship, you may be able to sponsor your family for citizenship, depending on the country you are a citizen of. In the U.S. for example, the American nationals can sponsor their spouses, parents, children, and siblings for green cards. In addition, their children will automatically become U.S. citizens, even if they are born abroad.

5. Property Ownership

As a dual citizen, you have the ability to own a property in either country, which is particularly beneficial in the Philippines, where only Filipinos are entitled to own a land. However, land ownership by former Filipinos is still possible but is restricted to only 5,000 square meters of residential land and one hectare of agricultural land.

Disadvantages of Dual Citizenship

In spite of the luxury of acquiring dual citizenship such as the privileges and benefits from both countries, there are still dual obligations needed to be aware of after becoming a dual citizen.

1. Double Taxation

Individuals who are dual citizens of the U.S. and another country are liable for taxation in both countries. The American citizens are required to pay taxes on any income they earn anywhere in the world in addition to the country where they maintain their residence. In terms of double taxation, there are income tax treaties between the U.S. and certain countries that help to reduce the taxation rate on an individual’s income earned.

2. Military obligations

As a dual citizen of a country with mandatory military service, you may lose your other citizenship if you are engaged in combat with a foreign military of a country in which you hold citizenship.

Written by Karisma Primero

Karisma Primero is currently a Digital Marketing Intern of PS Media Enterprise, and a 3rd year Broadcasting student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines - Manila.

Andrei de Guzman

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