Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Son’s Citizenship

I have spent the last four months spending all of my free time on my son. Since I went back to work two months ago, I have had my hands full with work and my family-related chores. Inspite of all the things that have kept me busy, at the back of my mind I am mentally checking-off all the requirements needed for my son’s Certificate of Recognition of Birth Abroad (CRBA). The only thing missing now is a copy of my husband’s Divorce Decree in the U.S. (to his U.S. Citizen spouse). I am just deciding now whether to request for it on-line among the many websites who does that for a fee, or ask someone over there (a friend or relative of his) to secure it for us and send it. But certainly, while I have not fully thought of the advantages of being a U.S. Citizen (for my son), I also think of some of the advantages of retaining his Filipino citizenship. As most of you very well know, I have never acquired U.S. Citizenship. Consequently, because I have retained my Filipino citizenship, my child acquires my citizenship jus sanguinis (by blood).

The following are things that I do want to ask as a lawyer: What exactly are the legal effects of a Certificate Recognition of Birth Abroad? Does that automatically vest on the child U.S. Citizenship? Does the same apply to all children (even the adopted ones) of the U.S. citizen? How about those children who are not legitimated (U.S. citizen and Filipino/Filipina are not married)? How about children that are not recognized by the U.S. citizen parent?

I will endeavor to answer some of these questions in the months to come (whenever I am free). But let us start with my circumstance. My particular circumstance is 1) we (U.S. citizen and Filipina) are legally married in the Philippines (He has no prior marriage here to a Filipina and I have never been married to anyone before, here or abroad); 2) He was divorced to his former spouse (U.S. Citizen) before we were legally married in the Philippines (consequently this means that our son is legitimate); and 3) Our son is born to us naturally (he was not adopted).

Based on the web site of the U.S. Embassy in Manila:

A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is an official record of U.S. citizenship issued to a person under age 18 who was born abroad to United States citizen parent(s) and acquired citizenship at birth. Schools, the Social Security Agency, and other institutions throughout the United States accept it and give it the same credence they give to birth certificates issued by state authorities in the United States.

Based on the above, it is clear that my child is considered a U.S. citizen BY BIRTH, if he is able to prove the following (again taken from the U.S. Embassy website):

  • Transmission - This is the ability of a U.S. citizen parent to transmit citizenship to their child.  The U.S. citizen parent(s) must have been a U.S. citizen at the time of the child's birth and must have accrued sufficient physical presence in the U.S. to transmit citizenship.  The transmission requirements depend on the date of birth of the child and the legal relationship between the parents at the time of the birth of the child.  For a child born to a U.S. citizen father and a non-U.S. citizen mother (whether married to each other or not) on or after November 14, 1986, the child may be entitled to citizenship provided the U.S. citizen parent, before the birth of the child, had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five (5) years, at least two years of which were after the U.S. citizen parent reached the age of fourteen. 
  • Legitimation - The child/applicant must meet the legal requirements pertaining to legitimation.  A child born to a female U.S. citizen (and a non-U.S. citizen father) is automatically legitimated.  Proof of legitimation is required for a child born to a male U.S. citizen.  Persons born to an in-wedlock U.S. citizen father and non-U.S. citizen mother are legitimated by virtue of the marriage.  Persons born to an out-of-wedlock U.S. citizen father and non-U.S. citizen mother, and not legitimated by the natural parents' subsequent marriage can be legitimated under the Immigration and Nationality Act by one of two methods. 
  • Filiation - A biological and legal relationship with the child/applicant and the claimed U.S. citizen parent must be established. The burden of proving a claim to U.S. citizenship, including blood relationship, is on the person making such claim.  When no substantive form of credible evidence is available in conjunction with a CRBA or Passport application, a parent may find genetic testing to be a useful tool for confirming a stated biological relationship.  Note: Do not initiate a DNA test unless it was recommended by the Embassy for your pending CRBA or Passport application.  A DNA Test that was done independently and not according to Department of State procedures will not be accepted to support a CRBA or Passport application.

For us, all of these requirements are easily met. My husband has lived in the U.S. since birth until he left the U.S. to come live with me in 2010. We are married consequently our child is legitimate by reason of our marriage. Filiation can be proven by the fact that we resided together a YEAR before he was conceived as proven by our approved application for temporary /permanent residence visa in the Philippines.

Let me back track on some of my questions:

Does the CRBA automatically vest on the child U.S. Citizenship? YES

Does the same apply to all children (even the adopted ones) of the U.S. citizen? NO . They may be able to apply Derivative Citizenship

How about those children who are not legitimated (U.S. citizen and Filipino/Filipina are not married)? They may acquire citizenship under certain conditions.

How about children that are not recognized by the U.S. citizen parent? I think this is difficult because it is the U.S. Citizen who will be the applicant. Consequently, a U.S. Citizen who does not even recognize the child will have difficulty in applying for a CRBA.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Who Takes Care of the Homeless Foreigners?

A few days ago, my husband and I (together with our four-month old son) went to Serendra to have one of our vouchers (group buying clubs) used in one of the restaurants there.  It was the last day and I didn't want a P799 voucher go to waste, and my husband wanted to see Market Market again.  So inspite that it was already late at night, we hauled our small family to that far away place.

On our way to the restaurant, we passed upon a man (which to my mind) looked like a foreigner.  He had this huge backpack and was eating what appeared to be a "humble" meal on the side of the mall (not from a stall mind you).  My husband didn't seem to notice him, but I saw him.  His legs even kind of looked swollen and he looked like he hasn't had a decent shower for awhile.

We went our way, and I didn't talk about it as we were late as it is, and were worried we wouldn't make it one time. Luckily, we had two hours to spare and we had a hearty meat meal (the restaurant was called Brazil! Brazil!).  On our way home, we passed by Starbucks, and I had the sinful Mocha Chocolate Chip Frapuccino.  I saw this foreigner guy (probably my husband's age or older) now sitting by his lonesome self on the road.  I was very tempted to call him and say if he wanted to sleep over our place for the night.

But having an infant causes one to be cautious about who one invites into the house.  As much as I pitied him, I had to look away and say I can't do anything for him.

Honestly, if there is anyone who needs help these are the foreigners who find themselves stuck here with no money.  They have no family around and no money.  I wonder if their embassies would find a way to look for their relatives in their home countries and repatriate them home.

In countries with Filipino overseas workers, at least the Philippine embassy makes an effort to repatriate.  I wonder if the embassies of these foreigners can make a similar effort?  If you have any idea, leave a message and I might just call his embassy if that helps any.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cost of Giving Birth 2

So I finally decided to go with Capitol Medical Center, because of a factor that just made it irresistible.  Our office has a tie-up with the hospital, and although the office doesn't usually reimburse expenses for pregnancies, it does where complications arise by reason of certain things such as mispresentation, e.g. breech pregnancy.  My baby has been in a breech position, but of course, everyone told me he (my baby) will eventually rotate and have his head downwards as it should be.  But into my 37th week of pregnancy, the baby hasn't rotated, the amniotic fluid had decreased already, and worse, his foot has now descended in the birth canal (footling breech).  My oby-gyn said I had to have a scheduled caesarean well before the 40th week (which is usually the full term), otherwise if I go on labor before that time, the baby's head would be in danger of getting caught in the birth canal or the cord get caught in such a way as he would have difficulty breathing (I tried to explain that as well as a non-doctor could).  At any rate, I had to have the caesarean operation early and my hopes of having the baby on the 40th week, hopefully on February 12 (the day my husband arrived in Manila to live with me permanently) was dashed.  So the date of my delivery was moved from some time in February to January 30, which was the latest I could have it.  I filed my maternity leave just a week before I was to have it. 

I wouldn't go into the details of the caesarean section, although the surgery itself was pretty painless.  It was the recovery that was difficult.  I was in the Recovery Room and really felt like half of my body was as heavy as stone.  But I felt no pain.  In that day and the day that followed, I drifted on and off sleep, and I think I was dazed because of the painkillers. 

My husband and I tried to breastfeed, but I had no idea that being in the state I was after the surgery, it was just difficult to produce breastmilk.  I do not know if it was because I was still in so much discomfort and even pain, or if my body just wasn't prepared for it.  My baby had a minor infection, but since we were insistent on breastfeeding, and I had no breastmilk to give, he did get dehydrated on the day we roomed him in.  So eventually we gave up and decided to just give him formula.  We still want to believe we can express breastmilk, but not at the risk of my boy getting dehydrated.

Now about the total cost of hospitalization:

The professional fee was the most expensive.  Luckily I had no complications apart from the fact that the baby was breech so I had only three specialists: (1) the oby-gyn; (2) the anesthesiologist and (3) the pediatrician.  The break down of their fees are as follows:

oby-gyn - P50,000
anesthesiologist - P20,000
pediatrician - P8,500

I didn't pay for my hospitalization because I was fully covered by my office up to P60,000.  But my hospital bill  (minus Philhealth which was almost P20,000) costed P40,000.  Unfortunately, I had to pay for my baby's extended stay in the nursery for his IV fluid, and the total bill minus Philhealth (P2,000), was P6,400.

So I paid out of the pocket around P84,9000.  Sounds expensive?  I guess.  I do know that some people, to avoid the high-cost of delivery, decide to have it in a hospital in the province.  Since I have been a Manilena all my life, I do not have a province, and that option is clearly not available to me. 

There are other expenses that are attendant to having a baby, like buying a crib, a stroller, a car seat, sterilizer, feeding bottles, and a few clothes (as starter).  But there are so many ways to economize on that so I won't tell you how much we spent on those.  :p  Rest assured you could do better by simply buying cheap.  Luckily our crib was a gift by officemates.  The stroller and car seat costed more than the average, but we were thinking of durability.  So did the sterilizer and feeding bottle, but I think we could have aimed for a cheaper one if we tried.