Dual Citizen Change of Name

Dear Atty. Duran-Schulze,

Hi I am a Filipino citizen, and now living in the US. I just got my green card and I am now also a US Citizen. I am wondering if it is possible to change my name that is recorded in the Philippines if I am a Dual citizen? 


Dear Ammy, 

Under the Philippine laws, there are remedies for change of name, depending on certain scenarios. These may be found under Rule 103, Rule 108 and R.A. 9048. As a dual citizen with Philippine citizenship, you may choose to change your name under Philippine laws.

Rule 103 is a judicial proceeding. It is available for a person who will change his/her first name and/or surname, and provides for grounds the following:

  1. When the name is ridiculous, dishonorable, or extremely difficult to write or pronounce
  2. When the change results as a legal consequence, as in legitimation
  3. When the change will avoid confusion
  4. When one has continuously used and been known since childhood by a Filipino name, and was unaware of alien parentage
  5. A sincere desire to adopt a Filipino name to erase signs of former alienage, all in good faith and without prejudicing anybody
  6. When the surname causes embarrassment and there is no showing that the desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or that the change of name would prejudice public interest

Rule 108 covers substantial cancellations or corrections of entries in the civil registry may file a petition for cancellation or correction of entries. 

To know if it is not substantial: ‘Clerical or typographical error’ refers to a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous, such as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth, mistake in the entry of day and month in the date of birth or the sex of the person or the like, which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records. 

No correction must involve the change of nationality, age, or status of the petitioner. (Sec. 2(3), R.A. 9048).

RA 9048 is an administrative proceeding. It is available for a person who wants to change his/her first name, and provides for grounds the following:

    1. The first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce;
    2. The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that first name or nickname in the community; or,
    3. The change will avoid confusion.

Distinctions are elaborated further by the Supreme Court in the case of Republic v. Gallo:

Rule 103 Rule 108 R.A. 9048, as amended
Rule 103 procedurally governs judicial petitions for change of given name or surname, or both, pursuant to Article 376 of the Civil Code. This rule provides the procedure for an independent special proceeding in court to establish the status of a person involving his relations with others, that is, his legal position in, or with regard to, the rest of the community. In petitions for change of name, a person avails of a remedy to alter the “designation by which he is known and called in the community in which he lives and is best known.” Rule 108 applies when the person is seeking to correct clerical and innocuous mistakes in his or her documents with the civil register. It also governs the correction of substantial errors in the entry of the information: 

upon good and valid grounds, the following entries in the civil register may be cancelled or corrected: (a) births: (b) marriage; (c) deaths; (d) legal separations; (e) judgments of annulments of marriage; (f) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j) naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m) judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes of name.

and those affecting the civil status, citizenship, and nationality of a person. The proceedings under this rule may either be summary, if the correction pertains to clerical mistakes, or adversary, if it pertains to substantial errors.

RA 9048 now governs the change of first name. It vests the power and authority to entertain petitions for change of first name to the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general concerned. Under the law, therefore, jurisdiction over applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged with the aforementioned administrative officers. The intent and effect of the law is to exclude the change of first name from the coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court, until and unless an administrative petition for change of name is first filed and subsequently denied. It likewise lays down the corresponding venue, form and procedure. In sum, the remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first name are primarily administrative in nature, not judicial.
petition to be filed before the Regional Trial Court. The trial court then sets a hearing and directs the publication of its order in a newspaper of general circulation in the province. petition to be filed before the Regional Trial Court. The trial court then sets a hearing and directs the publication of its order in a newspaper of general circulation in the province. petition to be filed with the Local Civil Registrar Office where the record containing the clerical error to be corrected or first name to be changed is recorded and kept; exception: migrant within the PH to the City/Municipality Civil Registrar where he/she is presently residing/domiciled; migrated to another country – Philippine consulate in other country nearest to her residence


Need further information and assistance?  Talk to our Legal team at Duran & Duran-Schulze Law. Call us today at (+632) 8478 5826 or send an email to info@duranschulze.com for more information.

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