Listed below are the facts foreigners should know about owning properties in the Philippines.
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Foreigners can own condominium properties in the Philippines.
According to the Condominium Act of the Philippines (RA 4726), foreigners are allowed to acquire condominium units. Proof of ownership is evidenced by the Condominium Certificate Title (CCT).
As a condo unit owner, you are a shareholder of the condominium corporation, which owns the land where the condominium is built.
Your shares depend on the number of condo units you own. Meaning, as a shareholder, you and your heirs can get a profit from the sale of the land should the condominium corporation decides to do so.
A condominium corporation must only be 40% foreign-owned. Similar to other corporations, Filipinos must own 60%.
A foreigner may only lease and not own Philippine land unless married to a Filipino citizen.
Foreigners may own houses or building but not the land where the structures are built. A long-term leasing contract can be as long as 50 years and renewable every 25 years.
If married to a Filipino citizen, the ownership of the land must be registered under the Filipino’s name. Filipino married to a foreigner can buy and own land in the Philippines for as long as they have not renounced their citizenship. They may acquire and own land without restrictions since they are considered to have retained their citizenship.
A foreigner can own land through inheritance.
According to Sections 7 of Article XII of the Constitution, foreigners can own land by way of legal inheritance, even without a last will.
Meaning, if a foreigner is married to a Filipino citizen, and the Filipino citizen died, the surviving foreigner spouse may inherit the property including the land.
However, the subject of shares depends on the surviving relatives of the Filipino citizen.
1) If the Filipino citizen passed away with none of her parents or siblings still living, the foreign widower would be entitled to his/her entire estate.
2) If the Filipino citizen passed away with her parents and siblings still living, the foreign widower would be entitled to half of his/her estate. The other half goes to his/her parents.
3) If the Filipino passed away with deceased parents, but his/her siblings are still living, the foreign widower would be entitled to half of his/her estate. The other half goes to his/her siblings.
A foreigner can own land through a corporation.
To take ownership of land, residential house and lot, and commercial building and lot, foreigners may set up a domestic corporation in the Philippines.
As mentioned earlier, a corporation must be 40% foreign-owned and 60% Filipino-owned.
Foreigners who wish to retire in the Philippines must secure an SSRV to own residential land.
Foreigners who wish to retire in the Philippines must secure a Special Resident Retirees Visa (SSRV) issued by the Bureau of Immigration of the Republic of the Philippines. It is a particular type of visa that grants the holder the right to stay in the country permanently or indefinitely. An SSRV does give the foreign retiree the benefit of owning residential land in the Philippines.
Former Filipinos may regain their citizenship to own properties without any limitations.
According to the Dual Citizenship Law of 2003, natural-born Filipinos who lost their Philippine citizenship to another country may regain their Filipino citizenship after swearing allegiance to the Philippines. After reacquiring the Philippine citizenship, they are considered again as citizens and may own property without any limitations.