Foreigners can buy and legally purchase a property such as a house, but it does not include the land of which it’s constructed upon. However, there is an option of buying properties such as condominiums, given that 40% is owned by you as a foreign individual and 60% of the shares are owned by Filipino nationals under the Philippine Condominium Act. The same rule and restriction also apply in owning villas, apartments and commercial or industrial buildings for foreign investors, as long as it is owned via a corporation following the 60/40 business ownership rule.
If you are a foreigner and you found out that your ancestors who are deceased were able to acquire a land before the year 1935, then you have the right to claim the property. Both legitimate and illegitimate children have the right to have the title in their name, as long as there is no other heir aside from you. The said property will be your inheritance, according to 1935 Philippine Constitution and this is one exemption in acquiring real property in the Philippines through hereditary succession even if you are a foreigner.
FORMER NATURAL BORN FILIPINO INVESTOR/OWNER
Can a former natural born Filipino who lost their Filipino citizenship own a land or property in the Philippines?
The answer is a BIG YES!
If you are an OFW, balikbayan who are now naturalized citizens of another country (former natural-born Filipino), you can still own and acquire a land or a property here in the Philippines. However, the area that’s allowed for foreigners to have for their residential land is up to 1,000 square meters and 2.5 acres when it is agricultural land in rural areas, as stated in Batas Pambansa Bilang 185. For business or commercial use, you may acquire up to 5,000 sqm of property in urban areas and up to 3 hectares of rural land under RA 8179 – otherwise known as the Foreign Investment Act of 1991. If you are married to a former natural born Filipino as well, one or both of you may own land as long as the total area of your combined land should not go beyond the limit or restriction in accordance to the law. You can purchase the land and have the title under your name.
HOW DUAL CITIZEN FILIPINO OWN PROPERTY AND BECOME AN INVESTOR
Can a Filipino who has Dual Citizenship own a land in the Philippines?
For those having Dual Citizenship, they may enjoy the freedom to own and buy properties as much as Filipino citizens can in owning their properties or lands in the Philippines.
This is under the Dual Citizenship Law of 2003 that states, once a former natural born Filipino who lost their Filipino citizenship has sworn their allegiance back to the Philippines and regain their Philippines citizenship by being a dual citizen, they are are now allowed to have properties without any given restrictions and limitations according to the law by then.
FILIPINO MARRIED TO A FOREIGNER CAN STILL OWN A PROPERTY IN PHILIPPINES
Can a Filipino who is married to a foreigner own a land in the Philippines?
The answer to the question above is yes. Filipinos who retain their Filipino citizenship even if they are married to a foreigner
is still recognized as a natural born Filipino and still has a right to own property without any restriction, given that they will not renounce their citizenship as a Filipino. The citizenship of a Filipino is not automatically given up even if a Filipino is now married to a foreigner. (This is Under Article IV Section 4 of the Philippine Constitution)
If and if, they will choose to renounce the Filipino citizenship and choose to have an allegiance to their spouse’s country, being a former-natural born Filipino could give them the chance to acquire a property but is subjected to some restriction in accordance with the law.
An act of renouncing one’s citizenship is by having sworn their allegiance to another foreign country and becoming a citizen of the spouse’s country.
WHAT FOREIGNERS CAN DO TO USE LANDS LEGALLY IN PHILIPPINES
What is the legal process for a foreigner to have land or residential lots in the Philippines?
Since foreigners are not allowed to purchase lands here in the Philippines, others may prefer another option such as leasing. Based on the Investor’s Lease act (Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7652), as a foreign investor, you are allowed to have a long term contract to lease a land. The longest years for the first agreement is 50 then it can be renewed in every 25 years, You may also buy a house erected on the land and at the same time have a long term lease on land where the house has been erected so you can also have the right to use the said property.
For example, there’s a house and lot that’s for sale and its selling price or SP is P 8,000,000.00. You can pay for the selling price but the title is not transferred under your name for it is not legal as a foreigner. Instead, you as the one who paid the selling price will have an agreement with the owner of the property that you will hold the title and should request for a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) from them. This will give you the authority to sell the land anytime you decide to sell it and/or transfer the title to somebody else. A memorandum of agreement (MOA) and a contract of lease should also be signed between you and the owner for a long term agreement to lease the land and must be notarized by a lawyer. With the following documents, the MOA, SPA, original title and Contract of Lease, you will have all the rights to do whatever you like for the property such as making it as your residence and/ or doing some improvements on the land. You also even have the power to sell the property if you want to. Just have the responsibility to pay the yearly Real Estate Taxes for all the Land and Buildings on the property for the Tax Declarations will be registered under your name.
LEGAL EXEMPTION FOR A FOREIGNER THAT IS MARRIED TO A FILIPINO CITIZEN TO OWN A LAND IN PHILIPPINES
Can a foreigner who married a Filipino own a land in the Philippines?
The answer is no but there is an exemption.
As a foreigner, you are prohibited from acquiring lands in the Philippines, but you are allowed to own a residence such as a condo unit or a house on the land where it is built upon. Having the land entitled under your name, even if you are married to a Filipino, is not legal. The property will have to be registered to your spouse who is a Filipno citizen. You must just have to be aware that if ever your marriage will not last, the property will certainly be owned by the Filipino spouse.
Not unless it is owned through “hereditary succession”. This means that you have the land registered under your name through intestate inheritance. This is a default law in inheriting a property that can’t be done through last will and testament. That is to say, if you are the next in line in succession (which means that he or she has no living parents and children whether legitimate or illegitimate) and your Filipino wife or husband does not leave a will and testament that is mainly concerned with the property, you as the spouse, will inherit the entire estate.
Below are the articles where decisions are based regarding the surviving spouse’s inheritance and how it should be shared to whoever is next to succession:
Articles 995, 997 and 1001 of the Civil Code for the surviving spouse:
Subsection 4. – Surviving Spouse
Art. 995. In the absence of legitimate descendants and ascendants, and illegitimate children and their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, the surviving spouse shall inherit the entire estate, without prejudice to the rights of brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, should there be any, under article 1001. (946a)
Art. 996. If a widow or widower and legitimate children or descendants are left, the surviving spouse has in the succession the same share as that of each of the children. (834a)
Art. 997. When the widow or widower survives with legitimate parents or ascendants, the surviving spouse shall be entitled to one-half of the estate, and the legitimate parents or ascendants to the other half. (836a)
Art. 998. If a widow or widower survives with illegitimate children, such widow or widower shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance, and the illegitimate children or their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, to the other half. (n)
Art. 999. When the widow or widower survives with legitimate children or their descendants and illegitimate children or their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, such widow or widower shall be entitled to the same share as that of a legitimate child. (n)
Art. 1000. If legitimate ascendants, the surviving spouse, and illegitimate children are left, the ascendants shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance, and the other half shall be divided between the surviving spouse and the illegitimate children so that such widow or widower shall have one-fourth of the estate, and the illegitimate children the other fourth. (841a)
Art. 1001. Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or widower, the latter shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other half. (953, 837a)
Art. 1002. In case of a legal separation, if the surviving spouse gave cause for the separation, he or she shall not have any of the rights granted in the preceding articles. (n)
These articles should be read in relation to Article 985 of the same Code.
Article 985. In default of legitimate children and descendants of the deceased, his parents and ascendants shall inherit from him, to the exclusion of collateral relatives. (935a)