Any Disadvantages to Dual Citizenship: have USA; add Philippines?

Quick background: I was born in the Philippines in the 1960s. My parents were born and raised in the Philippines and were Philippines citizens at that time. My family moved to the USA when I was 2 years old and we all were naturalized as American citizens when I was in grade school. I am American, red white and blue; baseball - hot dogs - apple pie - Chevrolet, and all that. I am a retired Marine Corps veteran. I have visited the Philippines twice in my life, and the last time was over 20 years ago. God willing, I will retire here in the USA, and also die here. I’m lining up my paperwork to be buried in a Veterans Cemetery (Fort Rosecrans, hopefully - it’s beautiful).

I’m thinking about applying for dual citizenship, and am looking into the requirements. Without getting into the Why, my question here is, if I were to add Philippines citizenship do I lose any advantages of being an American citizen? Does it affect any foreign travel, or my rights or protection when abroad?

Basically, what are the disadvantages (or advantages) to adding the second Philippines citizenship for me?


I think it’s allowable, although see this: “General Principles of Income Taxation in the Philippines. - Except when otherwise provided in this Code: (A) A citizen of the Philippines residing therein is taxable on all income derived from sources within and without the Philippines; (B) A nonresident citizen is taxable only on income derived from sources within the Philippines; […] (D) An alien individual, whether a resident or not of the Philippines, is taxable only on income derived from sources within the Philippines”

So they are stricter than many countries, but not as much as the US. So a major disadvantage for either would depend on how you earn income, although it looks like you don’t plan on working over there. The cost is of course a drawback, but I am not equipped to comment specifically on how easy or hard it is for getting .ph citizenship.

That part of the taxation code is actually pretty common: if you’re a resident for tax purposes, you’re a resident for tax purposes for any income of yours - independently of where you’re a citizen from. Since the US insist in that any US income must be taxed in the US, there may be a treaty which establishes that in the case of a person who is a resident in the Philippines for taxation purposes and who has US income, the US income has to be taxed in the US and not in the Philippines. Found the treaty, haven’t checked the details.

But the Philippines does not, unlike the US, have the rule that their citizens are always considered residents for taxation purposes, nor do they consider that any and all income obtained in the Philippines must be declared there: therefore, this does not affect the OP at all so long as he does not become a resident for taxation purposes in the Philippines (again, he can have income from the Philippines and not be a resident for taxation purposes). Being a citizen of the Philippines does not require you to file income taxes there, it’s separate from being a resident for taxation purposes.

Not just the advantages, but by volunteering for another country’s citizenship, you could very easily lose your US citizenship entirely. I know that when US citizens move to Israel, the usual procedure is to stay on a temporary resident visa for three years, and then after the three years, Israeli citizenship is put on automatically, unless certain steps are taken to avoid it. The point is that by never actually applying for Israeli citizenship, the American is allowed to keep his US citizenship. but that would NOT be the case for the OP.

Hmmm. The above was accurate in the 1980s. But possibly not now. I expected some mention of this to appear in Wikipedia here, but the US is not listed there, so my info may be outdated.

Re-reading the OP, I think you may not need/be able to apply for Philippine citizenship at all: you were a Philipine citizen at birth, so if you did not renounce Philippine citizenship when you became a US citizen and if the Philippines isn’t one of those countries where people residing abroad need to “renew” their citizenship every few years (Venezuela is one, for example, I don’t know about the Philippines), you still have it - ask the Philippine embassy about it. It would be pretty weird to get a naturalization application from someone who is already a citizen!

No. Old, outdated information.

This remains valid —>

One thing that could bite you is if you need a (US) security clearance to do your job, they may be uneasy about giving a clearance to a dual citizen to the point where you might need to renounce it in order to get the clearance. I believe I used to know a dual US/Australian citizen who couldn’t get a US clearance, but I’m not sure how hard he tried. If the US doesn’t trust Aussies (one of their greatest and most intimate allies) with their secrets, I don’t know who else they would trust.

Another minor issue… if you are in the Philippines and somehow get into legal trouble the US Embassy may not offer its (admittedly minimal) assistance because you are Philippine citizen.

The US does not generally recognize taking an oath of citizenship of a foreign country to be sufficient to also renounce your US citizenship. No worry on that point.

As an aside, does the Philippines even accept naturalized citizens who don’t reject their previous citizenship? All the cases of multiple citizenship I’ve heard of have been from birth, not naturalization.

Ignorance fought! Thank you!

But if anyone else is interested, this link (to that same site) is even more relevant: Loss of citizenship

Apparently The Philippines allows natural-born citizens (like the OP) to re-acquire their Philippine citizenship by taking an oath. This wasn’t originally the case, but a law was passed to this effect in 2003.

(I’m not an expert in Philippine nationality law, BTW. I just happened to find the Wikipedia page on it.)

I don’t think that’s true. When my parents moved to Israel in 1971, they received their Israeli citizenship basically before they left the airport; 41 years later, and they’re still U.S. citizens.

At least these countries do not allow dual citizenship: Azerbaijan, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Nepal, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, South Africa.

Italics means citation needed from Wikipedia. Some of these may have exceptions, e.g. if they became another citizen before a certain year.

The US and other countries may ask you to renounce foreign allegiances as part of the oath, but it is not binding. They want you to serve the US if the two nations came to blows, say.

And I guess Spain only allows it for dual with certain Latin American nations. Including… Puerto Rico! That can’t be right?

Yes, as MikeS points out, the law that the OP is talking about is Republic Act 9225. OP does not have to apply for naturalisation, but it is not automatic either: you have to talk to the consulate and take the prescribed oath.

As an aside, you should note that RA 9225 is IMHO completely and utterly illegal. The Constitution says that “dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law”. There is a good discussion of this issue in this law review article. Sooner or later, unless there is a constitutional amendment I think the courts will strike down RA 9225. By complete and utter coincidence, I bet that “sooner or later” will come on exactly the same week that the president’s cousin’s wife is having an ownership dispute with a balikbayan about land or about a company on the foreign investment negative list.

Back in the 1980s and earlier, the State Department could unilaterally start the procedure to determine whether a U.S. citizen had voluntarily committed some action described in INA 349(a) (taking foreign citizenship, serving in a foreign government/military, and some other acts which were struck down by earlier court cases). If they found that he did, then they could interpret that as intent to give up U.S. citizenship and issue a Certificate of Loss of Nationality. After (I believe) Terrazas v Vance and then the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1986, State was no longer permitted to do this; the U.S. citizen would have to explicitly inform State himself that he had “intent” to lose U.S. citizenship before State could make a finding of loss of nationality; they were no longer allowed to infer the “intent”.

Israel’s policy about automatic acquisition of citizenship was designed to make sure that immigrants would not lose their original citizenships, because they had never actually voluntarily done anything to acquire Israeli citizenship. (If you ever see another country’s citizenship law which talks about foreign citizenship acquired by “act or omission”, then that’s probably specifically targeting Israeli citizenship). However, in a more recent case earlier this year (Fox v. Clinton), the US Appeals Court for the DC Circuit ruled that Israeli citizenship acquired by this route is indeed sufficient to trigger INA 349(a)(1) if the person acquiring Israeli citizenship wants it to — Fox wanted it to, and so the court told State to give the man his CLN.

The U.S. in fact uniquely insists that any U.S. citizen’s income anywhere in the world has to be taxed in the U.S. independently of where you live. OP seems to be planning to continue living in the U.S. so this shouldn’t be a problem for now, but if he wants to retire in the Philippines or go do business there then things get more complex. A U.S. citizen residing abroad cannot take advantage of U.S. tax treaties to lower their U.S. tax bill. It’s called the “saving clause” and Congress makes damn sure every treaty has one. In the US-PH treaty it’s Article 6(3): “Notwithstanding any provisions of this Convention except paragraph (4), a Contracting State may tax its residents (as determined under Article 3 (Fiscal Residence)) and its citizens as if this Convention had not come into effect.” The only exception is that you can claim benefits under Article 23 of the treaty, which gives you no new rights that you didn’t already get from the usual U.S. foreign tax credit system (26 USC 901).

The general rule is that you pay the source country first, then you pay the country where you live, and then you pay the U.S. — if the U.S. wasn’t already the source country in the first place — generally taking foreign tax credits at each stage for whatever was already paid (though social insurance taxes, stamp duty, etc. often do not get you any credits — only income taxes). E.g. if you live in Singapore and get Spanish dividends, you pay Spain and then the U.S.; if you live in the Philippines and get U.S. dividends, you pay the U.S. and then the Philippines.

The thing about Puerto Rico is for real. Of course, it has something to do with the fact that Puerto Rico was a former Spanish colony (though I’m not sure why the same logic doesn’t apply to, say, Florida). I have hazy memories of the details so I’ll look into it and get back to you with an actual law or something. Ricky Martin got Spanish citizenship last November without giving up his U.S. citizenship; I believe being Puerto Rican is the reason he could do that, though I’m not 100% sure of it.

Because Florida is a State and Puerto Rico is not. Also, Puerto Rico fulfills the criterion of having Spanish or Portuguese as an official language, while Florida does not.

Let’s say I want Spanish citizenship (never mind the details). Would I need to be born in Puerto Rico? Live there for x years? Or just move and establish residency at the local DMV-equivalent?

Are you Puerto Rican according to US law? That would be the question. If Puerto Rico considers you Puerto Rican, Spain does.

A co-worker of mine from Spain just had a child here in Ireland with his Irish wife. The child has Irish and Spanish citizenship, according to my co-worker. Perhaps the law on the books isn’t strictly enforced?

Different situation. What thelurkinghorror was talking about was renouncing a former citizenship upon acquisition of Spanish citizenship by an adult foreigner; the baby has both citizenships from birth. There are cases where the baby will have to pick a citizenship upon majority (my last two generations of Italian forefathers had never been closer to Italy than Barcelona’s harbor) and others where not, but in any case it’s not done at birth. And by the time that particular baby turns 18, who knows what will have happened with the EU (or whatever it’s called then).

Norway allows dual citizenship, at least according to a friend of mine whose children are Norwegian, because of him (who has never lived in Norway), Thai, because of their mother, and US citizens because their were born in the USA. He had to fight some Swedish bureaucracy regarding permits of residency for his family when he moved back here from the USA, but he had no problems with Norway regarding the citizenship of his children.