Derivative citizenship, by the word “derivative,” is acquiring Philippine citizenship because a former Filipino parent who had been naturalized in a foreign country, reacquires Philippine citizenship.
Derivative citizenship is found in Section 4, Republic Act 9225, otherwise known as the “Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003”
Section 4 of this law provides:
“Section 4. Derivative Citizenship – The unmarried child, whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted, below eighteen (18) years of age, of those who re-acquire Philippine citizenship upon effectivity of this Act shall be deemed citizenship of the Philippines.”
This provision is saying that if one is unmarried, below eighteen years old, of parents who re-acquire Philippine citizenship upon the effectivity of the law, such child “is deemed” citizenship of the Philippines.
Here, the child derives his or her citizenship by virtue of the parent’s re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship under this law.
The government however has an interesting interpretation of derivative Philippine citizenship.
The government requires that the child who avails of the benefit of derivative citizenship must do so while being a minor and unmarried.
In other words, the parent, upon processing his or her reacquisition of Philippine citizenship must also apply for the minor unmarried child who may have a foreign citizenship upon birth.
If the child attains majority age, meaning the child becomes eighteen, and was not applied for derivative Philippine citizenship while the child was a minor, the child does not qualify for derivative citizenship.
Just like Sean, who was born in the United States by former Filipino parents (already naturalized U.S. citizens).
The mother re-acquired Philippine citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225 even while the child Sean was still a minor, and single.
But the mother did not apply for the son Sean for derivative citizenship.
Now Sean, who is above eighteen, wants to avail of derivative Philippine citizenship. He was denied because he no longer qualifies.
The reason given is that Sean is already majority age.
This is weird.
The law is quite clear in that the minor, unmarried child of a parent who re-acquires Philippine citizenship, “is deemed” Filipino citizen.
In other words, by the parent’s mere act of re-acquiring Philippine citizenship, grants the child derivative Philippine citizenship.
Note that there is no requirement by the law that the parent must also apply for the child’s derivative citizenship upon re-acquiring the parents own Philippine citizenship.
The law says such unmarried minor child “is deemed” Filipino citizen.
I think this is a mis-interpretation of the law by the government.
The only requirement for derivative Philippine citizenship is that the foreign parent reacquires Philippine citizenship upon the effectivity of R.A. 9225 while the child is a minor and unmarried.
If those conditions are present, whether or not, the parent applies for derivative Philippine citizenship should not be a factor in determining the child’s qualification for derivative citizenship.
There is nothing in the law that says that the parent must also apply for the child’s derivative Philippine citizenship.
By seeking prior application for derivative citizenship, the government is adding a requirement that is not found in the law.