Friday, May 2, 2014

The Choreography of Reacquiring Philippine Citizenship

When my wife Lydia regained her Philippine citizenship last week. she had a motivation in doing so that I wasn't aware of:  an end to the alienation that she had felt in living here for nine years without the full empowerment that comes with the privilege of being a full member of the society in which she was born and raised.  So in taking this step Lydia not only helped to resolve my visa issue, but she regained the rights that accompany citizenship and, equally important, peace of mind.  

As I mentioned in my last post, reacquisition of Philippine citizenship and thus becoming a dual citizen in the process is on the whole not a difficult procedure and may take only one trip to the Bureau of Immigration to complete. But applicants have to make sure that they dot their i's and cross their t's. And as in any instance in dealing with a government office, "expect the unexpected".   For example, Lydia originally completed the application form  for reacquisition  of citizenship (BI Form MCL-08-01)  that she picked up from the BI in March. She properly completed it at home,  had it notarized as required, and presented it along with the necessary supporting documents to Immigration for approval on April 23, only to be informed that the application form  had been revised in the meantime.. So she would have to fill out a new app, (BI Form 2014 01 005 Rev 0) (legal size).  Further, the requisite photos of herself that she brought along were also invalid  as the requirement for their size and background color had also been changed.  The other problem was with one of her supporting docs: proof of her naturalization by a foreign government: The BI officer who reviewed her papers deemed it to be inadequate. Fortunately, Lydia was able to correct all these problems during that one visit.  But it was very stressful to be blindsided this way. 

So for those interested in regaining their Philippine citizenship, in addition to the above  Bureau of Immigration form, click here for the latest list of necessary supporting docs. Once you've finished the paperwork, assembled the file, and are ready to bring it to the BI in Intramuros, Manila, here is the "dance" you will likely have to do on arrival. I call it the "reacquisition shuffle:" But first a reminder: In almost any dealings with the BI, it's essential that you arrive there early in the day, preferably before 7:00 a.m. You snooze, you lose.

Present your completed file to the  Public Information Assistance Unit which is located on the first floor directly across from the building entrance. An agent there will scan your papers to ensure that you have the right forms. You can also pick up blank forms there as well.

Proceed to Window 14 where your application and supporting documents will be examined in depth.

If all is in order, you will be sent to the legal department on the 4th floor where a Bureau of Immigration attorney will administer the oath-taking.

After the oath-taking, return to Window 14 where the clerk will check your file for the attorney's endorsement.

Proceed to Window 15  where  your file will be reviewed for final approval.

After this authorization, go to the cashier at Window 21 and pay the P3,010 fee (ouch!)

Return to  Window 15  and  present  your  receipt for proof of payment.

You will then be directed to the "Air 21" Desk (not to be confused with the BI Cashier Window 21) where you will  pay a P100.00 delivery fee. The clerk will hand you a receipt with a tracking number and a delivery bag bearing your name and address. This is the envelope in which your approval for dual citizenship  will be sent to you within 30 days.

Take this envelope back to Window 15 and give it to the clerk. This is the final step in the "acquisition shuffle". Take a bow for your performance. You've earned it.


Kano said...


You could not have explained it better, probably even better than those who work at the BI's office. Hats off, fellow.

Good that Lydia has now her dual citizenship. Just keep the docs in a filing cabinet's drawer, so she can live here as an American or Balikbayan only.


Secular Guy said...


Thanks for your response. You can be the documents will be stored securely.

Under dual citizenship, Lydia will be able to exercise full rights as a citizen in each country.


Steve said...

An excellent article! My filipino American friend is going to have to do this shuffle for his elderly mom at the BI in Manila in a few weeks. She is repatriating back to the PI to live out her remaining days. We hope the trip to the BI goes smoothly. I am wondering if you can address a few questions for us? Assuming your wife had to pre-assemble a file, can you give some details ... type of folder, how paperwork attached inside, etc.? What kind of the two stamped self-addressed envelopes did she need to provide? How did she know what postage to attach? How many photos did she need (various sources are confusing...some say only even said SIX!)? If you could help us with some of these answers, it would be hugely appreciated! We may even have a few more questions on the process if you don't mind.

Secular Guy said...


Thanks for your kind words. When My wife and I first read the instructions and instructions from the Internet page furnished by the Bureau of Immigration,to which my blog post linked, we were also overwhelmed. The devil is truly in the details, but Lydia figured it out. (I would
reprint that link here, but But my blog host would automatically erase it as it doesn't accept url's in the comment page).

The required folder is legal size (8 1/2'' by 14"). Attach the documents for review to the folder with a hole puncher and a fastener.

Here's the order of assembly for the forms from the General Instructions: The top form is the petition with just two photos attached via paper
clip (BI will be one to paste them.) Next is the the birth certificate, speaking of which that form should specify the citizenship of both
parents. Otherwise it will be rejected. In lieu of the birth certificate, Other forms proving natural born Philippine citizenship, such as a Philippine marriage certificate or Philippine passport are acceptable. Next is the certificate of naturalization verifying that the applicant
became a citizen of another country. If that's not available, the applicant needs to furnish an affidavit explaining why. Next is any affidavit(s) such as a "One and the same" affy. This form should be obtained by those who have undergone a name change, such as for marriage,
wherein the married name doesn't match that on the birth certificate or other locally issued docs. Finally, the applicant's I-card and paper ICR form should also be furnished. I don't think the paper ICR's were giving out any more after the BI started issuing the I-cards. But I could be wrong on that one.

For the two self addressed stamped envelopes, we placed two P25 stamps on them for priority delivery.

Now I would also advise you to call Immigration (02)465-2400 to determine if there are any other forms or paperwork to be completed, especially if your mother in law has not yet left the country from which she's repatriating to the Philippines. she may need to complete some forms at the consulate or embassy where's she's residing. In my wife's case, she had already been living here for several years. So that wasn't an issue for her.

I hope this helps.