Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving Birth In The Land Of Paradise, Consular Report of Birth Abroad

You’re in the Philippines and your significant other, girlfriend, fiancee, or wife gets pregnant from you and you want to give your child U.S. citizenship. How do you go about it?

Under current Philippines law, a child born to a Filipino/Filipina parent upon filing for and taking an oath of allegiance, establishes or regains Philippines citizenship, irrespective of where they were born.

When you’re child is born in the Philippines of a American Citizen and Filipina/Filipino, you will have to get from the National Statistics Office (NSO), a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate.

National Statistics Office, Manila

You will need to obtain from the U.S. Embassy either in Manila or the U.S. Consulate’s Office in Cebu, an Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Form DS-2029. There are additional requirements that you can read at the Embassy Site.

For example, if you are not married and living in the Philippines and you have a baby with your girlfriend or fiancee, you have the additional requirement of having to produce proof of legitimation. Legitimation is essentially providing proof that a relationship existed during the time of pregnancy and afterwards. The standard of proof is similar to that of apply for a Fiancee Visa where you have to prove your relationship with correspondence letters, e-mails, photos of the two of you together, hotel receipts and any accounts that you hold jointly, etc.

You will need to file for your child’s passport (Form DS-11) and social security number at the same time you do the Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad. You can apply for your child’s social security number at the time of their registration for a passport only if they are under 5 years of age.

You will need to gather your forms for Consular Report of Birth, DS-2029, and Form DS-11 for Application for U.S. Passport and the Application for a Social Security Card (SS-5-FS) and State Department Regulation passport photos of the child and baby pictures.

You will need the NSO certified birth certificate, your U.S. passport, a marriage certificate or proof of your relationship with the mother (or father). You will need any issued government ID’s for you and your significant other or wife. You will need proof of your U.S. residency and your proof of legitimation.

Once you got all your documents and evidence together you will need to mail everything or send by courier, to the U.S. Embassy at this address:

Citizenship and Passport Unit, American Embassy, 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, 1000 Manila.
If, you need assistant you can contact the Embassy at: (63) 2-879-4747 between 0730 and 1630 hours, Monday through Friday. The U.S. Embassy is closed on U.S. and Philippines holidays.

The Embassy Citizenship and Passport Unit will schedule a personal interview appointment in which time you and your significant other and the baby will show up. The Consular Report of Birth Abroad fees are about $65.00, but check with the Embassy to make sure there hasn’t been a fee change.

The benefit for the child is U.S. Citizenship and Philippines Citizenship. Dual citizenship is something that may appeal to most who have an intent on doing business in the Philippines and the United States in the future.

U.S. Passport (DS-11) fees are $80.00 for the passport and $25.00 service fee (execution fee). If, you get the Passport card along with your child’s passport, that is $15.00 more, or $95.00 for the passport and card, and of course the $25.00 service or execution fee. Check with the Embassy for the most current pricing, as they sometimes change without notice.

U.S. Embassy, Manila

Saturday, November 6, 2010

In Philippines, an Awkward Triangle of Pain

The Philippines, beautiful seas and the infamous urchin.  If, you’ve been in the Philippines for any length of time, at some point during your stay or visit, you may have encountered the beautiful coastal resorts, whether by 5-star accommodations or by Nipa hut.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re paying P12,600.00 ($300.00) per night for your seaside retreat or P924.00 ($22.00) per night, if, you spend any time any the Philippines actually in the water as opposed to just admiring the water, you are bound to have encountered the Philippines sea urchin.

The Philippines sea urchin isn’t the type of sea creature that you would forget easily, because the encounter is generally up close and personal.  Sure you may have taken in the native seafoods while living or visiting the Philippines, such as gambas (shrimp), pusit (squid), alimango (mud crabs), talangka (small crab), lapu-lapu (Cebuano fish), bangus (milkfish), and sea urchins.

Many people encounter the Philippines black sea urchin when they eat local foods and not know it. You may not have realized you’ve eaten sea urchins, but if you’ve eaten a fair amount of sushi during your stay or visit in the Philippines, there is a good chance that you have eaten the insides of a sea urchin.  In sushi, it is called, Uni and in Italy, it is called, Ricci di Mare.

Sea urchins are spiny and their spikes are poisonous and can cause a tremendous amount of pain when you step on them while wading around close to shore or in water that isn’t too deep.  If, you’re swimming horizontally in deep water, sea urchins are less of a concern for most, but walking to your boat, or deep water, is generally when most people encounter the sea urchin.

If, and when you do step on a sea urchin you have a number of choices to go about alleviating your pain and getting on the road to recovery quickly.  How you go about resolving your dilemma with the sea urchin, depends on how close you are to a town, city or sari-sari store.  If, you’re in the remote areas of the Philippines like Jolo, Sulu, Basilan or off the beaten path in Mindanao or Babuyan, then your treatment will seem unorthodox but effective.

If, you’re in the remote areas of the Philippines, where I find myself most of the time, you would simply get something such as tweezers or fingernail clippers and grab each spine, one-by-one and pull them out.  If, you favor something for pain before you start, the specialty in the “real” Philippines is the young coconut water drink, Tuba.  It will give you a relaxing composure before you start.  Be careful not to break the spine while its still in your skin, so take your time.

If, you’re in the jungle of the Philippines, you may find Tuba readily accessible, but the likes of vinegar or hydrogen peroxide or another antiseptic, probably impossible to find, so in that case, just use some fresh urine, preferably your own to wash down your foot or hand, after you’ve gotten out all of the spines.  Don’t worry it won’t kill you.  This was our method of antiseptic in Cambodia and Vietnam also.  Remember that when you are far away from the modern world, indigenous medicine works best.  You don’t have time for hesitation or fear, just do it.  Enjoy the lovely people and places of the Philippines and don’t forget, that a smile goes a long ways here and in all of Asia.