RT Cunningham

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Americans Living in the Philippines

Tagged with american, citizen, dual citizen, filipino, philippines, united states on February 12, 2024

Americans I am not unique when it comes to Americans living in the Philippines, even if my particular set of circumstances are unique. There are other Americans living in the Philippines, and they’re living here for a variety of reasons.

Although the Americans include a lot of Caucasions, not all of the Caucasions are American. There are foreigners from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, and countries I know nothing about. Filipinos will call any Caucasion a “kano” until they know that person isn’t American.

Retired Americans

In my situation, Philippine law allows me to be a permanent resident of the Philippines because I’m married to a Filipino. I’ m retired from the United States military, and I’m retired for social security purposes. My wife, Josie, is also retired for social security purposes (she’s only nine months younger than me).

There are other Americans who are also retired from the United States military, and living here as permanent residents in the same situation. I don’t know any of them, and that’s probably for the best. I have difficulty with casual relationships with anyone outside my family, my relatives and their families.

There are also retired Americans who aren’t living here as permanent residents. They play the visa game because they’re not married to Filipinos. They come into the country on a 30-day visa waiver, and then they pay fees to one of the local bureau of immigration offices to extend their visas for 29 days or more. At some point, they are required to leave the country for at least 24 hours in order to start the same processes all over again.

Other Americans

There are Americans living here who are not retirees at all, but are still either permanent residents or in the process of becoming permanent residents. They either work for American companies with locations in the Philippines or are using their life savings to attempt lives here based on the local economy. Yes, if you have the money to invest in something that produces an income, you can live on the local economy just like everyone else.

There are Americans living in the Philippines as illegal aliens as well, with expired visas. As long as no one reports them to one of the bureau of immigration offices, they can get away with it. If you think tracking and finding illegal aliens is hard in the United States, imagine how hard it is to do the same thing in the Philippines.

Dual Citizens

Whether you regard them as Americans or not doesn’t matter. Dual citizens are legal citizens of both the Philippines and the United States. There are three ways that I know of in which Filipinos are, or can become, dual citizens.

The first and most common are the Filipinos who’ve immigrated to the United States, gone through the process of alien residency and naturalization, lived in the United States for a while and have moved back to the Philippines. Many of the people in this category move back to the Philippines after retirement.

The second are the natural-born children of Filipinos who haven’t yet become citizens of the United States, born on American soil. American soil is defined as any of the states in the United States, its territories and its possessions. The children are Filipinos due to being born to not yet naturalized Filipino parents, and also American citizens due to being born on American soil. My younger son is in this category.

The third are those that became American citizens before the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003 (Republic Act No. 9225) was enacted and lost their Philippine citizenship. The only requirement to becoming a dual citizen is to swear in as a Filipino citizen at one of the Philippine Consulates or at the Philippine Bureau of Immigration. Both Josie and my mother-in-law (who lived with us for more than 10 years in the United States) are in this category.

My older son is my adopted stepson, who was born in the Philippines to Filipino parents. He became an American citizen at the same time as Josie. He’s not a dual citizen yet because he hasn’t completed the re-acquisition step.

The ways in which people are classified dual citizens can be confusing, even to officials in the Philippines. Josie carries passports for both countries so she doesn’t have to pull out our marriage certificate and her oath paperwork every time we return to the country.

Image by Andreas from Pixabay

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