Information on buying a house, condo, lot or any real estate property in the Philippines.
It includes relevant information on Philippine laws and regulations, specially for former Filipinos who are now naturalized citizens of other countries and for foreigners who wish to purchase a property in the Philippines.
Former natural-born Filipinos who are now naturalized citizens of another country can buy and register, under their own name, land in the Philippines but limited in land area (see below). However, those who avail of the Dual Citizenship Law can buy as much land as any other Filipino citizen. A natural born Filipino is one who was born of at least one Filipino parent at the time of birth.
Under Republic Act 9225 (Dual Citizenship Law of 2003), former Filipinos who became naturalized citizens of foreign countries are deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship, thus enabling them to enjoy all the rights and privileges of a Filipino.
Steps to Gain Dual Citizenship:
• If you are in the Philippines, file a “Petition for Dual Citizenship and Issuance of Identification Certificate (IC) pursuant to RA 9225” at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and for the cancellation of your alien certificate of registration.
• Those who are not BI registered and overseas should file the petition at the nearest embassy or consulate.
• Birth certificate authenticated by the National Statistics Office (birth certificate from the NSO can be requested online and mailed to you)
• Accomplish and submit a “Petition for Citizenship and Issuance of Identification Certificate (IC) pursuant to RA 9225” to a Philippine embassy, consulate or the Bureau of Immigration.
• Pay a $50.00 processing fee, schedule and take an “Oath of Allegiance” before a consular officer.
• The Bureau of Immigration in Manila receives the petition from the embassy or consular office. The BI issues and sends an Identification Certificate of citizenship to the embassy or consular office.
If a former Filipino who is now a naturalized citizen of a foreign country does not want to avail of the Dual Citizen Law, he or she can still acquire land based on BP (Batas Pambansa) 185 & RA (Republic Act) 8179 but limited to the following:
For Residential Use (BP 185 – enacted in March 1982):
• Up to 1,000 square meters of residential land.
• Up to one (1) hectare of agricultural of farm land.
For Business / Commercial Use (RA 8179 – amended the Foreign Investment act of 1991):
• Up to 5,000 square meters of urban land.
• Up to three (3) hectares of rural land.
By law, foreigners don’t have the right to acquire land in the Philippines. Only Filipino citizens can own land (there have been many proposals to amend this law but of this writing, the law remains unchanged.) The simplest way for a foreigner to acquire real estate properties is to have a Filipino spouse purchase a property in his/her name.
Corporations or partnerships that is at least 60% Filipino owned are entitled to acquire land in the Philippines. An exception to this rule, is foreign acquisition of a Philippine real estate in the following cases:
* Acquisition before the 1935 constitution.
* Acquisition thru hereditary succession if the foreign acquire is a legal or natural heir. This means that when you are married to a Filipino citizen and your husband/wife dies, you as the natural heir will become the legal owner of his/her property. The same is true for the children. Every natural child (legitimate or illegitimate) can inherit the property of his/her Filipino father/mother even if he/she is not a Filipino citizen.
* Purchase of not more than 40% interest in a condominium project.
* Purchase by a former natural-born Filipino citizen subject to the limitations prescribed by law. (natural born Filipinos who acquired foreign citizenship is entitled to own up to 1,000 square meter of residential land, and 1 hectare of agricultural or farm land)
* Filipinos who are married to aliens who retain their Filipino citizenship, unless by their act or omission they have renounced their Filipino citizenship.
Owning of houses or buildings is legal as long as the foreigner does not own the land on which the house is build.
Setting up a corporation with 40% of the stocks in the foreigner’s name and 60% to Filipinos is a good alternative. There must be a minimum of 5 stockholders, and foreigner can have the Filipino stockholders sign blank transfer of the stocks for security.
The land can be leased by the foreigner or a foreign corporation on a long term contract for an initial 50 year period and renewable every 25 years. A foreigner can rent a lot and at the same time legally own the house on the rented land.
The Condominium Act of the Philippines, R.A. 4726, expressly allows foreigners to acquire condominium units and shares in condominium corporations up to 40 % of the total and outstanding capital stock of a Filipino owned or controlled condominium corporation.
Those who claim that foreigners can own a house & lot in the Philippines have a condominium title to their property. There are a very few single-detached homes or Townhouses in the Philippines with condominium titles. Most condominiums are mid to high rise buildings.
Please see our condominiums for sale in the Philippines.
If you wish to stay permanently in the Philippines or if you frequent the Philippines and stay for long periods. Avail of the government’s Special Resident Retirement Visa (SRRV).