Obtaining the Filipino citizenship is a very straightforward process if you meet the basic requirements. Children of Filipino parents have an easier time obtaining citizenship, but those who have lived in the Philippines for a certain period of time might qualify, too, as long as they can prove they are of good character and an asset to the country.

Check if you qualify through the jus sanguinis law. Jus sanguinis means “right of blood,” and it refers to the right of becoming a citizen if your parents hold the same citizenship. According to Filipino law, a person born after 1935 has a right to obtain Philippine citizenship if he has either a father or a mother who is Filipino. This applies regardless of whether you were born in the Philippines or abroad.

Apply for citizenship if have lived legally in the Philippines for at least 10 years. This rule only applies if you’re at least 21 years old at the time of the application. The naturalization law only applies to people who don’t have a jus sanguine right to citizenship.

Meet the ownership and financial requirement. Besides a 10-year residence, you also need to own real estate or have a lucrative trade or company in the Philippines to qualify for naturalization. You also must speak and write either Spanish or English plus one of the major local languages.

Determine if you qualify for a time reduction. Men married to a Filipino woman, teachers who have worked there for at least two years and people who established an innovative industry or invention in the country can apply for citizenship after a residency of only five years.

Enroll your children in a public school that teaches Filipino history, civics and the basis of how the government works. If your children don’t attend a school that includes these topics in the curriculum, you won’t qualify for citizenship. This means that if you have home-schooled children or children who attend alternative schools or those with a foreign-based curriculum, you might not qualify for citizenship.

File a declaration with the Bureau of Justice one year before you intend to apply for citizenship. This declaration is a sworn bona fide statement declaring personal information, such as full name, place of birth and other details — as well as your intention of becoming a citizen. Once the declaration is submitted, you will receive an approval via email. If your application is not approved, you'll get a letter telling you why so you can reapply.

Visit a local court a year after your declaration has been approved. You’ll need to present a number of papers, including a filled-out application, two photographs, proof of residency and an affidavit signed by at least two Filipino citizens who know you and can vouch for your moral character. Paperwork varies depending on your circumstances – whether you’re applying under just sanguine or through marriage, for example -- so make sure you contact the court in advance to find out what papers you need. Once you file paperwork, it can take from days to several months for approval. This varies based on whether you're applying from inside the Philippines or at an embassy. Your application status --child of Filipino parents, citizen by marriage -- also affects processing time.

Things You Will Need
  • Passport

  • Forms (various, depending on type of application)

  • Proof of residency (bill, police report or other)

  • Affidavit

  • 2 passport-size photos