There’s something I have to admit. I’d been looking forward to this part of my trip to Los Angeles the most. (Well, it was second only to Disneyland, so close enough.)
That sounds completely crazy, I know. Who in their right mind would look forward to going to a consulate of the Philippines for a half day? Why, that would be me of course!
Why was I at the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles? To become a dual citizen!
Prior to 2003, the Philippines didn’t recognize dual citizenship. When my mom was naturalized, she had to give up her Filipino citizenship to become an American. As a result, I was born as an American citizen.
Because of the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003 (Republic Act No. 9225) signed on 29 August 2003, natural-born citizens of the Philippines who lost their citizenship because of naturalization in a foreign country are now able to re-acquire their Filipino citizenship and become dual citizens. Not only that, but the unmarried children (under 18) of a Filipino who re-acquires their citizenship can also become dual citizens.
Filipinos who re-acquire their citizenship would have the right to vote in Philippine national elections, the right to own land and property in the Philippines, the right to engage in business or commerce as a Filipino, the right to travel bearing a Filipino passport, and other rights and privileges enjoyed by Filipino citizens.
Applications for dual citizenship were from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM and oath-taking is scheduled at 12:00 noon. “I want to get there right at 9 AM so we can get the paperwork done quickly,” my mom said.
We arrived at the Philippine Consulate shortly after 9:00 AM, just missing the targeted time by about 10 minutes. There was a window with the words “Dual Citizenship” in the back of the room, and a line was forming behind the window.