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Foreign Ownership of Land in the Philippines

Posted by Dave on Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Real Estate Ownership in the Philippines

Philippines real estate law does not allow outright ownership of real property by foreign nationals. Filipinos and former Filipino citizens and Philippine majority owned corporations (Take note of the Anti Dummy Law) are permitted to own land, buildings, condominiums and townhouses.

Foreign nationals may buy condominiums units in Philippine condos (shares in condominium corporations) as long as not more than 40% of the units in a project are acquired by foreigners (Republic Act No. 4726, otherwise known as the Condominium Act).

Exceptions to the 40% Foreign Ownership of Philippine Real Property

  • Land Aquired before the 1935 constitution
  • Acquisition through hereditary succession if the foreigner is a legal or natural heir
  • Foreigners who acquired Philippine property when they used to be Filipino citizens, will maintain ownership of those properties even after their change of citizenship.
  • Former natural-born Filipino citizen subject to the limitations prescribed by Law (Batas Pambansa 185 and R.A. 8179)
  • 1 – For residential purpose – 1,000 square meters of urban land or one (1) hectare of rural land (BP 185)
    2 – Cannot own both urban and rural land. Choose one type only.
    3 – Previous ownership (when still a Filipino citizen) of residential urban or rural land will lower the 1,000 sq meter and 1 hectare limits above.
    4 – Can own a maximum of two (2) lots only.
    5 – Those lots must be in different cities or municipalities in the Philippines.
    6 – A transferee of residential land acquired under Batas Pambansa Blg. 185 may still avail of the privileges granted under R.A. 7042 as amended by R.A. 8179.
    For business or other commercial purpose – 5,000 square meters of urban land or three hectares of rural land. Section 5 of Rule XII states: “the land should be primarily, directly and actually used in the performance or conduct of the owner's business or commercial activities in the broad areas of agriculture, industry and services including the lease of land but excluding the buying or selling thereof.”
    - Ownership (when still a Filipino citizen) of urban or rural land used for business purposes will lower the 5,000 square meter and 3 hectare limits.
    - Ownership of only one type of land is allowed either urban or rural not both.
    - Ownership is restricted to 2 lots. Each lot must be in a different municipality.


Ownership Of Houses or Buildings by Foreigners in the Philippines

Foreigners my own buildings or houses in the Philippines legally; as long as they do not own the land on which it is built.

Foreign individuals, corporations or associations may lease land for a period of 25 years renewable for another 25 years. (P. D. No 471, Fixing a Maximum Period for the Duration of Leases or Private Lands to Aliens)

Companies or individuals investing in the Philippines may receive government permission to lease land for up to 50 years renewable for another 25 years. (Republic Act No. 7652, otherwise know as the Investors’ Lease Act)

Comments

It is strange that foreigners here in Philippines cannot own land or houses yet Philippines coming to my country are afforded the same courtesy as the nationals ie:can buy and own land

Pete, The Philippines is not the only country in Asia that prohibits the purchase of land by foreigners, others are Thailand, Indonesia in Singapore only certain properties are allowed to be bought by foreigners. The governments think that it protects the local population.

i was asked to sign “articles of incorporation”that says i’m one of the major stock holders of a company which is owned by an american..and some other papers came along with thatw/c i did not read and i suspect that is an agreement or affidavit that implies that truth is i have no share for the company…is there somet5hing wrong with it?
is the foreign national in trouble if caught?
pls reply

Mel, you do not give enough details so I am guessing that you may have been asked to be a dummy incorporator. There is a law known as the Anti-Dummy Law which punishes Filipinos and Foreigners for circumvention of the laws on the nationalization of certain rights, franchises or privileges. In simple terms a Filipino citizen who fronts for a Foreigner as the owner of land or a corporation which may not be foreign owned is considered a Dummy Shareholder and is open to the penalties of the law.

Is it possible for a foreign national to acquire a residential house for their own use? They claim that they have a legitimate business here for 3 years now and they wanted to buy the property am selling which is a 108 square meter house and lot.

Bing, a corporation may purchase a residential house in the Philippines as long as the foreign ownership of the corporation is 40% maximum.

I have a friend abroad who wants to buy a condominium here in the Philippines. He wants to own it, titles, etc…to his name, is it possible?

Tony, a foreigner can buy a condominium in the Philippines and have the title in his name as long as the total foreign ownership in the condo project is not more than 40%.

I am a natural-born Filipino who is now an Australian Citizen. What is the limit if any, to the amount of properties (land) I can own. Someone was telling me that I am not allowed to purchase a single piece of land that is more than 1000sq. Is this true? Thanks in advance.

John, as a former Filipino you may purchase for residential purposes – 1,000 square meters of urban land or one (1) hectare of rural land. You may also reacquiring Filipino citizenship now that dual citizenship is allowed in the Philippines.

Hi,

Thanks for providing us with the information.

What is the safest way for a foregner to invest in say a potential resort on a piece of beachfront land with out the fear of having to sell the resort years down the track for money.
Is there any way to protect the asset for future generations?
My wife is filo and our some is have filo born in Australia, simple terms here we buy a property and put in our som name, there are other agreements that are binding, what safety pre cautions do the philippines offer foregn investors on the safety of their investment, knoinw that the business/company will employ filo workers, pay taxes, and contribute to the local community helping the area prosper.

Please reply any answers to my email at

Thanking You

Thank you for your prompt reply.
Am I limited to a grand total of 1000 square meters or can I buy a number of 1000 square meter lots?

hi..

i just want to inquire if this applies to a domestic corporation owning a parcel of land and the domesctic corporation was subsequently acquired by a foreign company.

if yes, what is the relevant section in the corporation code which I can refer?

Thank you very much!

Rijah, the company must be 60% Filipino owned. If corporate ownership is more than 40% foreign owned the company must sell the land.

im a filipino but im a british citizen now i want to bought a house and lot for 350 square meters can my boyfriend a british citizen is allowed to own a 40 percent of my house and lot

Theresa, no your boyfriend can not be co-owner of your house and lot. Foreigners may not own land in the Philippines.

i am a former natural-born filipino citizen.i bought an agricultural land about 5600sqm in the phils.i got my new citizenship just recently but the titling process on court is still ongoing.do i still have the privilege to own a title on my name?my attorney said that no foreigner can own any land in the phils and not even a former natural-born filipino.is it true?

Cheryl, former natural-born Filipino citizens may own For residential purpose – 1,000 square meters of urban land or one (1) hectare of rural land maximum.

If a former natural-born filipino citizen may own land (with restrictions by law) for residential purpose,then I am not allowed to own (with title) an agricultural land (of course for business purpose)? Is that what you mean? I just want to have a direct answer. Thank you.

I want to aske you about a 500 sq.meters land my fatehrs wants to give me.Can I own it with titles though I got Saudi nationality? I am afraid i might not have it>I have two children born in the Phil too can they own lands i mean with titles?I am just in d safe side.Thank you for enlightening us.

Rosemae, if you were a Filipino citizen before obtaining Saudi citizenship you may own:
1 – For residential purpose – 1,000 square meters of urban land or one (1) hectare of rural land (BP 185)
2 – For business or other purpose – 5,000 square meters of urban land or three hectares of rural land.

By Cecille Caraulia on April 29th, 2009 at 5:15 am

I have a friend, a german national who married a Filipina 20.yrs ago. Now their divorce is going on because his wife bought a land here in Philippines last 1994.
The german wants to claim for his right of the land. Is it possible for him to do that?

I am a American married to a philipino. We want to buy a coco nut farm. How does the taxes work and how is ownership transfered into my wife am my name?

Stephen, foreigners can not own land in the Philippines. The only way for you to own land is to setup a corporation where your wife would own 60% and you 40% of the shares. Of course a corporation entails extra costs.

By Stephen on May 2nd, 2009 at 3:51 pm

What are the steps I need to take to setup a corporation? How much would this cost? How much land could my wife atain or how many hectares could she own?

Stephen, to setup a corporation there is a minimum paid up capital of Php 100,000.00. You will need 5 directors and shareholders. You can read more here Business Registration

Your wife can purchase as many hectares as she can afford to buy.

Hi, good morning! I have an English fiance, a British citizen planning to buy a rice field about two hectares. Is he can put or transfer to his name the title of it? And please give us an advice what things to consider before buying that field.
Thanks, hope to hear your reply soon!!!

April, foreigners can not buy land in the Philippines. He can set up a company but a foreigner may only own 40% of company that owns land.

By Jeff Waldroop on May 15th, 2009 at 8:30 pm

I was married to a philippino for three years. We were married and divorced in the US but we obtained numberous PI properties. One of which is a CONDO which I know I an legally own as a US citizen. I paid for allot of the other ptoperties and my names is co-owned on some of the deeds. I know property alone I cannot own but can I place a lien on all properties acquired while were were married and what is the PI Law on properties in the PI after divorce. Is it split 50/50 etc… Thanks-you for your time

Jeff, as divorce is not recognized in the Philippines the first thing will be to file a petition of recognition of foreign judgment in the Philippines and go on from there.

My wife, born in the Philippines but now a Canadian Citizen (give up her Philippine citizenship), and I are considering buying a ~1.5 hectares in the Philippines.

Now understand I can not be a owner but could my wife be a sole owner ?

Mark, it is all clearly explained above.

What are the requirements needed for a former natural born filipino citizen to own a residential lot located in the Philippines?

Bernice, you will have to show proof that you are a former Filipino (birth certificate, passport).

By fortunato santos on May 29th, 2009 at 6:17 am

l was a former natural born filipino citizen and now an Australian citizen. Am
I allow to own a condo in the philippines?
Thanks & regards.

Yes, may purchase a condo in your name as long as not more than 40% of the condo building is owned by foreigners.

hi,i am a filipino and my partner is french men the we ahve a partnership and planning to buy a lot…as my partner read the deed of sale..his name is not appear on it…is it possible to put his name on deed of sale..i understand 60% mine and for him is 40%..we just want to know if possible to put his name also in deed of sale..ty

Maria, foreigners can not directly own land in the Philippines. Foreigners can own land indirectly by owning up to 40% of a corporation that owns land. If you incorporate or register a corporation now and want to transfer the title to the corporation you will have to pay the land transfer tax and dcoumentary stamp fees.

My soon to be wife is a landowner in the Philippines. She has about 50 hectares as I understand it. Will she have to give up her rights to the property if she becomes a US citizen? If she has to give up her rights to the property is there a way for us to keep control of the property until we return from the US in about 6 years? Would not having her become a citizen but live in the US with a marriage Visa be a legal option?

Keith, Filipino citizens are now allowed dual citizenship.

my sister, brother and I are planning to acquire a rural property in the Phils.
at issue is the limitation imposed on ex-pats (1 hectare).

dual citizenship, I think will resolve this.
will forming a corporation be an option?
aren’t we as a group (w/incorporation)only allowed 40% ownership of land?
how will our situation change if another (Filipino citizen) sibling come in the picture (w/4 equal shares/ownership title)?

does the 1 hectare limitation for each person (so, 3 hectare limit)?
thank you in advance.

Lily, if the land is for residential purposes it is 1 hectare per person for former Filipinos. Which means 3 separate titles of 1 hectare each. For the corporation 1 Filipino sibling is only is only 25%; the corporation must be 60% Filipino owned. Another possibility reacquire Filipino citizenship. Dual citizenship is now allowed in the Philippines.

thank you for the valuable information provided, your law firm is definitely on top of our list.
tax implications for dual citizens, are you able to give overview?
thanks again

Lily, there are too many details to give a general answer. The tax laws and tax treaties vary from country to country and each case needs to be studied separately.

If you have specific questions, please contact us for a consultation.

By Terry Cruz on June 17th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

This year I will be purchasing a vacation property with my brother who is a Filipino Citizen. This will be on a 50 – 50% split on the title. My question is will my beneficiary who is a Canadian Citizen be entitled to my 50% of the property? I too is a Canadian Citzen.
Thank you

Terry, as foreigner you can only own 40% of the property and it must be through a corporation. Your share can go to your beneficiary who is Canadian as long as its 40%.

By Richard Christy on July 2nd, 2009 at 6:40 am

I would like some clarificatio on foreigner owning property, and have some questions.

1. The easiest way for a foreigner to acquire real estate properties is to have a Filipino spouse purchase the property.Either both share the property with equal rights, or the partner owns 51% or more and the remainder is owned by the foreigner. The foreign spouse’s name cannot be on the Title but can be on the contract to buy the property. In the event of death of the Filipino spouse, the foreign spouse is allowed a reasonable amount of time to dispose of the property and collect the proceeds
******This is 49% ownership of property and land?

2. Owning of houses or buildings is possible as long as the foreigner does not own the land on which the house is build. Land can be leased by the foreigner on a long term contract, and the house can be legally his. A foreign national and or corporation may enter into a lease agreement with Filipino landowners for an initial period of up to 50 years, and renewable for another 25 years.
******This is 100% ownership of property on land, but no land ownership.

3. Special Visas for Foreigners Allowing 100% Condo and Townhouse Ownership. The processing fee and the amount of the deposit/investment needed depends on whether or not you are married to a Filipino or former Filipino. This allows you ALMOST all of the investment privileges of a Filipino citizen.
*******What does “ALMOST” mean here, specifically?

4. New Dual Citizenship Laws Affecting Property Ownership. Dual citizenship means having two citizenships and passports from two different countries. Dual citizenship is now available for a foreign spouse married to a Filipino citizen. Dual citizenship allows the citizenship holder full rights of possession of Philippine real property.
*******100% of house and land?

Richard, I don’t know where you found the above information, but it is not from this website.

1 – The law is very clear foreigners can not own land in the Philippines in their name 0%.

2 – Initial lease period is 25 years from private landowners renewable for another 25 years.

3 – There is no special visa to own a condominium in the Philippines. A foreigner may buy a condo in his name as long as 40% or less of the condo is owned by foreigners.

4 – If a foreigner becomes a Filipino citizen he has the rights of a citizen of the Philippines and may buy land. There is no law that allows a foreign spouse married to a Filipino to have dual nationality.

hi,

I am a Fil married to american guy and just recently bought a property in PI. My question is does he have to sign a waiver saying that he has no right to own the land since he is an american citizen? or is there any waiver that you have to sign if your US citi (married to fil) when you buy a land in PI?

Julia, there is no waiver to sign.

Hi!

I am a Filipino married to Australian, and we have purchase 3 property in the philippines, 2 apartment and 1 residential. I would like to know the legal ownership is it ganna be under my name or a conjugal propery? If something happen with me is my husband be able to control the philippine property we purchase.

Thanks

Julie, condominiums are conjugal property. Residential (if this means house and lot) can not be in the name of a foreigner. If something should happen to you, your husband can keep the condos but he would have to sell the residential to a Filipino within a reasonable time.

Hi!

I just want to inquire about owning another residential lot for my family in the Philippines. I am a natural born Filipino but now a US Citizen and currently own a 540 sq mtr residential house and lot. I wanted to renovate and extend my existing house. With this, I am planning to buy the adjacent lot which by subdivision default lot measurement consist of another 540 sq mtr. Now, I’ll have a total of 1,080 sq mtrs. I know that by law, this is more than what is prescribed. Is there a waiver for this? Can you please advice me of what are my possible options. I’m single and have a minor child (currently residing in the Philippines).

Thank you and God bless.

Chris, apply for dual citizenship this way you can buy as much land as you want.

Foreigners may legally own real estate in the Philippines, if the land was acquired through inheritance. (i.e. Filipina wife passed away, and the properties were passed on to the foreign husband.

Tim, inheritance laws in the Philippines are quite complicated as the spouse is not the primary person who will inherit. Children and parents have more rights than the legal spouse. The foreign spouse may inherit property but if there are other heirs he may end up with only a small portion of the estate.

Hello,

An American citizen client was recently divorced. His two sons hold dual citizenship (US and Philippines) but are still 16 and 11 years old.

The American wants to buy a house and lot.

He proposes to buy the property under the names of his sons. Can he legally sign a contract to sell and deed of absolute sale but ownership will be in his two sons’ names?

Ody, a foreigner may buy a house and lot for his children who are Filipino citizens. He may not sell it though without a court order. As the property is held in trust for the children who will have full rights to the rpoperty when they turn 18.

hi, kluver,
my friend is filipino, has a foreign lover they bougth a condo, title name both of them. my question if the foreigner,has its legal wife back way from there country(austria). if foreign died, would be the legal wife has its rigth to claimed to own the half of her husband?and what will my friend will do about it, as she just a mistress, but name the title with her and his lover…

Kluver, under Philippine law the spouse, children and parents inherit from a person. So your friend may have many people to contend with.

my friend is a son of a filipino married to a U.S. Citizen which eventually became a U.S. citizen. my friend applied for a dual citizenship (American & Filipino). Does he already has the right to own a land as Filipino?

Mariel, your friend may only buy land in the Philippines once his dual citizenship has been approved.

Greetings!

I am separated-in-fact using my maiden name in all my transactions. I bought several lots for my legitimate 9 year-old daughter under her name represented by me. When I applied those for title, the applications were rejected by the DENR personnel in our locality with the reason that the surname of my child is that of her father and the surname I am using is my maiden name. They adviced me to declare my child as illegitimate to justify the use of my maiden name to which I disagreed.

Is my minor child not allowed to apply for the titles of the land under her name?

Ellen, you may register land under your child’s name. But, you must use her real name, last name of father as found on her birth certificate.

Good day to you,being a foreigner,I am aware that I can not own land here in the Philippines but I’ve been told that it is possible to own 40% of a house and lot. I would not have thought you could being I can’t own land!Please advise,thank you

Bryan, a foreigner may own 40% of a corporation which owns land but can not own land directly.

my friend is a natural born filipino but now a foreign national. she owns a property together w/ her 2 filipino siblings as co-owners. now they are selling the property to a filipino, is there no problem in the sale?

Chit, no problem at all.

HI,
I am retired military, born in the US and my father a natural born filipino who became a US citizen. Can I purchase land to build my house on it?

Chris, you do not qualify to purchase land in your name in the Philippines.

Hello,

I’m planning to buy a land with a Filipino partner. To that intent we would like to setup a partnership with 40% foreign equity. Can you confirm if the partnership has the right to own land like regular corporations ?
Also I read that we should ask permission from the Board of Investments, is it right also ?

Thanks in advance

Guillermo, a foreigner can not be a partner in a partnership which will own land. A foreigner may own up to 40% equity in a corporation owning land.

Hi. I was a filipino born in phils, and now australian citizen. My ex husband bought a land in the province under my name,our son and his. Now, we are divorced and unsure if the land was being transfered on his name only. Is that a possibility even though it was under our name on deed of sale?

Jane, yes there is the possibility. The possibility depends on any court decision your ex-husband may have obtained in a judicial settlement of property which could be part of an annulment or legal separation.

Hi My daughter is 4 years old and holds dual citizenship. (Australia & Philippines) I am Australian Citizen. My wife was Dual Citizen like my daughter. Unfortunately she has passed away. Can my daughter buy and own land in Philippines as a minor?

Jay, this is not a simple situation, there would have to be a trust set up and other considerations. Email us through the contact form if you wish to engage our firm to assist you.

I am also retired military, born in the US. Both of my parents, natural born filipinos became US citizens. My filipino cousin, who is now an Immigrant in US, wants to sell his house/lot to me. Can my father purchase the house/lot and then, can I acquire the property through inheritance?

James, your father may as former Filipino purchase a house and lot up to the size permitted by law. You may also inherit the property. Always have a lawyer check the title before buying any real property, to make sure there are no encumbrances.

Hi! Im working abroad. My boss who is an Indian National bought land/property in Philippines under my name. I just want to ask if there any way wherein he can put his name on the title deed or is there an agreement form saying that the property whos on my name is belong to him. {besides doing the corporation
Thank you. I’l wait for your reply.

Keeth, foreigners are not allowed to own land or put the title in their name. No agreement can be done saying he owns the property. It is actually illegal to buy on behalf of a foreigner under the anti-dummy law.

By David Smith on October 5th, 2009 at 3:14 am

Tax declared land, Public land or what ever you call it, is approximately 80% of philippines. I would like to know if it is possible for philippine landowner to lease it to foreigner legally.

David, yes a Filipino landowner may lease land to a foreigner.

By David Smith on October 6th, 2009 at 11:37 pm

My question was could Philippine land owner LEGALLY lease land to foreigner. TWO government acts Marco’s lease act & the investment act both state clearly private land only. Also the DENR tell me also only Private land.

David, what exactly do you want to use the land for? If you do not want to mention the land use publicly use the contact form to email us.

By David Smith on October 7th, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Just simple house.

David, the DENR will only let foreigners use for forestry or other agricultural projects.

my boyfriend is of dual citizenship (filipino/american). he was married to a filipina in the Phil. but obtained divorce in the US. they have 1 child. He married a U.S. national but divorced again. they have 2 children. Now, his ex-American wife is claiming rights to the house they built in the Philippines on the land owned by my boyfriend’s parents.Can the ex-american wife claim conjugal on the house? It was her loan money which was used to build the house.

Ana, this is a complicated situation as he is a dual national. Under Philippine law he is still married to his first Filipino wife. Under American law the house is part of the conjugal property with his second wife. He may be forced to pay his second wife her share of the house to comply with American since he is a US citizen and lives there.

I am purchasing a house and lot from a filipina who is married to a german fellow. They now live in Germany. The lady is flying back to complete the sale. Do I need the German husband to come to the Philippines as well and sign on the deed of sale?

The TCT indicates that the lady is married to the german national.

Thanks,

Jec, the lady needs her husband’s consent to complete the sale.

is it possible that a filipina married to a german sell a condominium to a foreigners who are not a resident in philippines? this filipina and his german husban have properties.(buildings- condominiums). they are selling a condo units to foriegners without informing the legality.. they already had few unit owners. one of them is my boyfriend. i saw the contract and i found out some discrepancy. also i had discovered that the land was not yet transfered on the sellers name.

EK, foreigners may not own land in the Philippines but they may upto 40% of a corporation which owns land or 40% of a condominium project.

I am a British citizen married to a Filipina. If I became a naturalised Filipino cititzen could I own land in the Philippines, or can only natural-born Filipinos own land?

Andy, naturalized Filipinos have the same rights as natural born Filipinos except for running in elections for certain public offices. Even though you can not own land in the Philippines as a foreigner, any land whose title has your wife’s name on it is conjugal property.

HI there!

if the foreigners can only get 40% ownership where would be the 60% goes?

By kealoha lei on November 8th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Hi,

I am natural born-pinay became US citizen, however, I just bought a residential lot (350 sq met) as I am planning to build a house on it to use when I visit Philippines, as well as my retirement home when I get older. I sure do understand the 1000sq met that I can own. My question is as follows:

1) I am planning to buy another lot next to the one that I currently own. It’s (250 sq met). As the 350 is not big enough for the house that I’m planning to built. Can I still buy this 2nd lot?

2) Due of economy (recession), I won’t be able to built the house that I had plan to built to this lot. My prediction is probably not in another 5 years, depending on how the recession go. Am I still allowed to own these 2 residential lots? As per my understanding, that owning a residential lot needs to be live in within 2 years or a permanent resident in Pinas.

Please kindly clarify?

Thank you,
Kea

Kea, you may not own 2 lots in the same municipality. You could combine the two lots. There is no law that says you have to live within 2 years on a residential lot. Though there could be some kind of restriction on the land titles in a particular sub-division.

Thank you for the response. I really appreciated it very much. Your website really helps.

More power,
Kea

I am a US citizen and I just completed the purchase of a 900 sq meter lot. Throughout the entire legal process no one told me that I could not own the land. Should I add my friend that is a Philippine citizen to the title to make it legal? Would there be a problem for me if I built a house on this land?

Bud, foreigners can only own land through a corporation of which the foreigner can own a maximum of 40%. Adding a Filipino citizen to the title will not make it legal. You should get all the documents, title, deed of assignment, etc.. together and show them to a lawyer. There are a lot of problems with land titles in the Philippines.

As consulting and advising other expats, I am under the impression (confirmed by a Filipino attorney) that there is no restriction on non-Filipino citizens being the beneficiary(ies) to a trust which holds real estate. Are you aware of any stated law- or case law confirming or rejecting this idea?

Thanks!

Randy, it is a circumvention of the law and completely illegal.

I have a boyfriend who wanted to buy a beachfront resort house and lot. I know he wanted to protect what is for his children that’s why it is hard for him to marry me. I do understand the situation. So what if we make a prenuptial agreement if we get married that I can’t own his properties… will it be legal or valid?

Need your reply. Thanks.

Helaena, Foreigners may not own in their name a house and lot. Minor children may not have land title in their name either.

Hi
If i give my philipino wife the money to buy a house for us in the philippines can the goverment trace were she got the mony from and take house away from her.

as this is the case in thailand.

Thanks
Daryl

Daryl, your wife may purchase land with money given by you and the government will not confiscate it. You should however have a lawyer check the title of the land your wife intends to purchase to make sure the seller really owns it and that there are no encumbrances (dispute of ownership, mortgages, etc..).

Am a filipina married to a US ciizen. We bought only a 51 sqm lot in a subdivision to build our first home. We went thru the process of trasfering the title. We finished the process in BIR and they even assigned the TIN under my foreign husband. the last step is with the registration of deeds. but they said a foreigner cannot have the title of the land. with that mistake, how would we correct it and continue the proceedure to transfer the title. thanks.

Amy, there is nothing to do. The constitution does not allow foreigners to own land in the Philippines. You may register the title under your name alone.

My whole family are natural born Filipinos. We moved to USA and became US citizens. My parents owned/inherited lands and a house prior to the USA move. They also became dual citizens later on to buy more land. My dad transferred all in his name after my mom passed away. Can my dad deed/transfer the lands and house so his children (my siblings and I), who are only US citizens, may inherit and own them? Can his grandchildren (US born) inherit and own these lands and home (from Dad’s children)? The lands are multiple separate parcels, the total exceeding 1 hectare.

Sandy, non Filipino citizens may own land in the Philippines if they inherit it. The deed can not be transferred to a non Filipino.

What additonal contract could be made so that a Filipina wife could guarantee she will never do anything with the properties without the consent of her foreign husband???

There are 6 siblings that were born in the Philippines, moved to the US, and became US citizens (no longer Philippine citizens). The mother and father of the siblings have dual citizenships with Philippines and USA.

a)Do the siblings need to have dual citizenship to have their parents’ lands and home transferred to their names while the father is still alive (mother has already passed away)?

b)Do the siblings need to have dual citizenship to inherit the lands and home (thus becoming owners) after the father passes away and then transferring the properties in their names afterward?

c)One of the siblings has a non-Filipino husband. Can the non-Filipino husband inherit the lands and home from her, thus becoming the owner of the lands and home after the Filipino (just a US citizen) wife passes away?

d)If the child of one of the siblings is part-Filipino and part-American, can he inherit and own the lands and home from his Filipino (but only a US citizen) mother?

e)Can US-born children of Filipinos (but US citizens only) inherit and own the lands and home of their parents?

f)How are transfer fees and VIR tax calculated for lands and home? I’m wondering how much it would cost to do all the name transfers to the lands and home.

hi i have an auntie who happen to be a us cetizen she bought 3 house and lot without title in same municipalities what problem should she might encounter.

Faye, unless your Auntie is a dual citizen she may no legally own land. Also it is very risky to buy land without title as you can be sure who the real owner is.

I really apprieciate your advise. I(Canadian) and my partner who is Filipino living in the Philippines are talking about owing a business together in Davao. It will be a local business in the hospitality industry. It might include ownership of a building. After reading your commments on this website I see that we have to be careful how this is put together. Your comments please.

The second is related to the first, If I stay in the Philippines to help with this business what must be my legal status?

And third my partner and I (we are a same gender couple) if we own property together for the business can the same business identity own a house or residential property?

Thank you

Ken, a company which owns property may have a maximum of 40% foreign ownership. It would be better to have a second corporation own the residential property, in case the business fails you could lose the residential property also.
You should become a permanent resident or obtain a retirement visa. Make sure the hospitality business you want to operate can have foreign ownership, restaurants for example may not have any percentage of foreign ownership.

I am Austrian but a naturalised born Filipino, married to an Austrian and we have a 12yr old son who has an Austrian nationality only. I bought a lot in Marikina and I’m now buying a condominium in Makati. Should anything happen to me, can my husband and son inherit the lot in Marikina? Or can my son inherit it without needing to sell it? Is the condominium a conjugal property even if it’s on my name only? I would be grateful for a reply. Thank you.

Cynthia, yes your property can be inherited and it is conjugal property unless you have a pre-nuptial contract.

Dear ladies and gentlemen!
Any comments to this setup for a resort business:
1. 50 hectar farm& beach land is owned by a domestic coroporation. 60% of the shares belong to Filipino citizen and 40% belong to a corporation registered in Hongkong.
2. The land is leased to the HKcorp. and the HKcorp. builds hotel and cottages (and owns them)
3. The HKcorp. also runs the Resort business with a 100% subsidiary company.

Is that possible?
thanks

Wolfgang, yes it seems that you have the correct setup. Take note the resort company to be 100% foreign owned it must have a minimum paid-in capital of USD 200,000.00.

Magandang umaga po,
I am American citizen married to an awesome Filipine lady for the last 17 years and residing in the US. We are looking to purchasing both urban,(<= 1000 sq meters), and rural, (20 – 30 hectars) properties on the island of Palawan, Peurto Pricessa and Aborlan respectively. My wife and I decided to NOT seek her American citizenship as a result of Bata Pambasa Bilang 185 and the fact that we desire to relocate at some point in the near future; thus she is currently residing in the USA as a Permenant Resident alien – Green Card holder. Q1, We assume that she would not be subject to the property ownership regulations stipulated by the 185 ruling when we relocate. – T/F. Pakumusta at maraming salamat po.

Terrance, your wife is a Filipino citizen and therefore has all the rights of a citizen which include the right to purchase any amount of land in the Philippines. But, before buying land you should triple check that the seller is really the owner and that there are no encumbrances on the title.

I am a Swiss citizen married to a Filipina and we have 3 wonderful children. We desire to build and own our dream family home. We already acquired a lot, title which is in the name of my spouse. Recently I have been acquainted with the Anti Dummy laws and wonder if my spouse being a house wife, hence without income, would not be construed by the law as a dummy since all the funds for the acquisition came from me. Especially in the view of The Supreme Court in the August 2006 case of Elena Buenaventura Muller vs. Helmut Muller, G.R. No. 149615, clarified the issue of ownership of houses and lands by foreigners married to Filipino citizens. How does the law consider our situation? How could we or more precisely my spouse legally justify the acquisition?

Dan, your wife does not have to justify the source of funds she will use to purchase property and the above Supreme Court does not mention anything about the Anti-dummy. It would be better though to have a corporation own the land, this way you could own 40% of the corporation or place the land directly in a trust for your children.

Hi,
Can a foreigner lease a residential lot from a Filipino? Therefore, a lot suitable to build a house on it.
Regards

Warren, yes a foreigner may lease a lot from a Filipino and build a house on it.

I am a Filipina and i have a korean friend who wants to buy a residential lot here in the philippines. Is it possible for him to own the lot and build his own house? He don’t have any businesses here. He just want to have a place where he can stay if he is in vacation here.
Hope you can help. thanks

Girlie, foreigners may not own land in the Philippines.

My husband and I owned a townhouse and we have a buyer which are (couple) Korean nationals and they mentioned that they are doing missionary work here in the Philippines. My questions are can we sell the house and lot to them, they said they have this SEC document that allows them to buy property in the Philippines. If ever this transaction will prosper, what are the documents should I require them to submit since I myself will be the one to handle the transfer of documents.
Thanks for your great help.

Benee, I have never heard of such a document. Foreigners may not buy a house and lot in the Philippines. A corporation which owns land can only have up to 40% foreign ownership.

By colin melby on March 2nd, 2010 at 12:21 am

I am US citizen and presently visiting the PHilippines. I want to know how is the buyer protected in the case of construction of a condominium delays or the builder running into financial problems?

Colin: Unfortunately, there is no protection.

I am considering retiring to the Philippines. I am single. I know that I can buy a condo (as long as 40% of the complex is not foreigned owned), my questions are: Does the condo purchase entitle me to a residency visa? If, not, what process would I have to go through to gain permanent residency? Thnaks in advance.

Chris, purchasing a condo does not entitle you to residency. You may apply for a retirement visa or a quota visa.

I am a UK citizen with a Filipina girlfreind of 2 years. I plan to buy a lot in her name on which to build a house on. For my security, I would want to lease, for a nominal sum, the lot from her for the max period (25 yrs) as part of the buying process. Although I do trust this girl, I have been turned over before and would like to at least ensure my security of tenure during my lifetime. My questions are:-

1. She can at any point over the 25 yrs renegade on this lease. Is there a legal way she would be able to do this and have the lease terminated ? In this case would she be legal owner of the house that I have built with my money.
2. Can the re-leasing of the plot for a further 25 yrs be set in stone, or would it also be possible for her to refuse renewal ?

Thanks in advance

Mark, the contract can have an automatic renewal.

Hi

A foreigner gave his Fil girlfriend money to buy a house and lot in the Phils under her name,but with an agreement that it should be leased to him for 25 years for security reason as the foreigner is not allowed to own land here in the Phils. Later, they got married. My question is, is the existing lease contract valid? thank you.

Liza, yes the contract is valid.

I just returned from the Philippines, and have a lot of concerns about going into a business in that country I wrote to you on January 23 before I visited the philippines, I am assuming your comments about partial foreign ownership not being allowed for restaurants is also true for bars and lodging such as hotels or apartments. You comments please.

Ken, foreigners may not own bars but apartments and hotels are allowed to be owned. Up to 40% of a condominium project may be foreign owned.

My husband and I are US citizens (I was born in the PI and I have a TIN but my husband was born in the US) and considering to purchase a condo in the Phils. Our agent said she will get us a TIN to apply the VAT that we are going to pay when we purchase the unit. She said it will be a temporary TIN. Is this okay? I am confused – we are paying the VAT but we need to provide a TIN?

Ail, all taxpayers need a TIN number. So for you to pay the VAT you need a TIN number.

My foreign national friends would like to acquire land by corporation, as it should be 40% foreign national and 60% filipino national, if we are 5 in a corporation, 3 must be filipino national and 2 foreign nationals, right?

Jay, that is correct.

Hi,
If land has to be in a Fillipino’s name, is there any risk to an investor if they purchase a hotel and land and use a Fillipino friend’s name. For example, would the investor have any legal right to the property if the Fillipino reneges and claims it is their property and land. A letter has been signed to say that the investor is the true owner. Apparently this is common practice for foreign ownership of property, is this legally recognized?

Lisa, yes there is high risk as this practice is completely illegal. Read the Philippines Anti Dummy Law

By Stephen on May 4th, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Hi,

I have not read all your answers, so forgive me if this has already been covered.

I plan to establish a corporation owned with my filipina wife (60% owner) to acquire a house and lot in Davao city. I will finance my wife’s purchase of shares in the corporation with a legally documented interest free loan. On sale of the property at some future time I the loan principal would be recoverable from her and she would be entitled to keep any profit. Does that sort of approach comply with the law in respect of foreign ownership?

Stephen, unless you have a prenuptial contract the loan won’t be helpful as the money you are lending your wife is already 50% hers.

Hi! I’m a real estate investor.
There is a condo in Manila that we want to acquire.The owner is a Saudi national who died 6 years ago. The title has not been transferred yet to the heir and the SPA (special power of attorney) is questionable since it has no signature of the lawyer and has not been notarized. ( The girlfriend , the one who has SPA, claims that all the documents were presented to the Saudi Embassy and Philippine Embassy so they are all legal and above board.
The buyer will shoulder all the taxes like capital gains tax, estate tax and even association dues.
Is there a way where we can verify or ask online from both the Saudi and Philippine embassies about the documents?What can we do here ?
Thank you!

Jane, be very cautious with this transaction as it will be very difficult to verify the authenticity of the documents. The first thing to do is to check the existing title directly at the land title office get an original to make sure that their are no encumbrances (you must obtain this directly or through a trusted person not from the seller). If property taxes have not been paid the property may have been auctioned by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Question to ask:

I am a US citizen born in the Philippines and was married but separated from spouse for 20 years. neither legally separated nor divorced. just drifted apart with no contact.

if i purchase a property(a condo which a foreign national can following the 40% rule)is this purchase going to considered conjugal property and that spouse can come after the property?

thank you.

Mary, yes the condo would be conjugal property.

By Mariz Ein on May 12th, 2010 at 4:25 am

My auntie married an australian she bought her parents a land and put the land on thier name. When her mother died she do some paper works saying that her father sold the land to her. The father signed the paper[deed of sale]and her siblings too. But that time she’s already an australian citizen and now she’s going to sell the land, can she do that?

Mariz, former Filipino citizens may own land a certain quantity of land.

By John Levitt on June 26th, 2010 at 10:24 am

Hello, I live as an immigrant in the Philippines and was told by an attorney/notary that I would be allowed to own 1 residential lot of max. 1 ha.
Is that true?

Thanks.

John, foreigners may not own land in the Philippines in their name. Foreigners may own up to 40% of a corporation which owns land.

Hello thank you for all the answers you gave already.
I’m a french citizen, and i have now a natural filipino baby who is just born, living with her mother in Philippines.

I would like to know if i could buy a house and lot, through a corporation of which i will own 40 % share and the baby 60 % ?
Thanks and best regards.

Michel, property can be placed in a trust for your child, who can take full title when he turns 18.

Can a domestic corporation offer a long term lease-to-own to foreigners (excluding repatriates)? Does this cover land or building only?

Thanks!

Trev, yes a domestic corporation may sign a 25 year lease renewable for another 25 years for land and/or buildings.

Good day,
I am a Canadaian and have leased farm land on Palawan Island on a term of two twenty-five year periods. The land is titled. The terms have been annotated and registered at the Provincial Building and in the process of being registered at the Land Bank. The lease is under my one son and nephew names in the event I pass away over the time period of the lease. It is ocean front coconut farm land and my reasons of acquiring the land under the lease basis is to sub-lease to other foreigners. My intention behind this arrangement is to first, re-coup my hard cost of the lease, cost of the development and cover operational costs of employees etc. who care for the land in my absence. My objective behind this over all effort is to establish an economic engine through developing tourism to the area. My hope is to create employment opportunities in the Buranguy where the land is situated and devote profits, after all costs are recouped, to help serve the community in an effort to overcome medical and educational inadequacies and improve the communities ability to better sustain. Sub-leasing and renting out accommodations to traveler’s is the only concept I could see being of help to the community. What would you suggest to me to be certain I am protected and able to protect the sub-lessees in this venture? It is the only concept I could think of to possibly help the community as a whole. I want to attract foreign help establishing a co-operative type community where the foreigner interested, must also be willing to teach their gathered skills and experience to locals. I see huge potential for organic farming and teaching locals how to protect the natural environment of the area that they greatly depend on to survive. Any guidance you can offer would be deeply appreciated. My deepest gratitude to you.
Lawrence Gadbois
larrygadbois@projectpalawacana.org

I am a foreigner. My girl friend (and mother of my child) is Filipina. Can we buy an existing house and land, and separate the land (in her name and to be leased by me) and I buy the house? Can I will my house to my child?
Thanks,

Tony, the house can not be separated from the land. But what you may like to explore is buying the house and land and place it in a trust in favor of your daughter

By Robert Clark on November 6th, 2010 at 1:17 am

Hi,I am married to a filli woman and she owns a house and lot.I know i cant have co owner of the lot/land but i can be co owner of the house(%40)Can you tell me how i can do this? do i just get my name on the deed with my partner? who do i see to do this?Thankyou for ue reply.

Robert, the house can not be separated form the land.

hello , i am from New Zealand and i have purchased a condo in Cebu. i would now like to purchase another one preferably in Cebu. can i as a foreigner own 2 or more condos ? both in the same city ?is there any catch ? thank you very much

Chris, foreigners may purchase as many condo units as they like as long as the foreign ownership in particular condo project is 40% or less.

Couple of quick questions:

1) My wife is a dual citizen (Filipino/U.S.); is there a limitation on the amount of land she can own (rural versus urban)?
2) If I become a non-quota permanent resident, am I still considered a foreigner (may I own land)?
3) Is it possible to set up a corporation that would be 40% my wife, 20% my sons (dual citizen–Minors), and 40% myself? Or must one be 18 in the Philippines to be part of the corporation.

Carl,

1) Filipino citizen even if they are dual nationals have the right to purchase any amount of land.
2) Only Filipino citizens may purchase land a non-quota visa does not give the right to purchase land
3) Minors can not be shareholders in a corporation but you could setup a trust which would the shares for them

By Martin Lange on June 3rd, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Greetings!
I’m a Slovene national, planning to have a sister company here in the Philippines. Is my company allowed to own a land without Filipino partner?

Thank you!

Martin, foreign companies may not own land in the Philippines. A foreign company may own up to 40% of a corporation which owns land in the Philippines.

Hello,
I wonder if you could help shed light on my situation. I’m a Swiss citizen and am thinking of moving to another country (preferably Philippines, Cebu) and live off my savings for a few years. I would remain unemployed. Also, I am 27 years old. I’ve been thinking of buying a condo unit but was recently told by someone that a foreigner must have retirement status to buy, and as I understand the minimum age for a retirement visa is 35. Can you see anything in my situation I listed that would cause a problem with buying a condo unit?
Thanks.

Michael, foreigners are allowed to buy condominimums.

Hi,

Re AFFIDAVIT OF WAIVER…
If a foreigner and his filipino spouse buy a house & lot in the Philippines, the foreigner must sign the “Affidavit of Waver”, I understand this means the foreigner is “waiving” his right to any ownership of the property and the title will be 100% in the name of his filipino spouse and only her name will appear there. Correct?

John, whether the foreign spouse signs a waiver or not he has no right to ownership on land in the Philippines.

Hi,

I’m a foreigner who is under 35 years old. I heard that a foreigner must get a certain type of visa in order to purchase a condo and to get that visa he must be at least 35 years old. Would it be possible for me to purchase a condo?

TYIA

John, never heard of that. Foreigners may purchase up to 40% of a condo project. The buyer must be at least 18 years old no visa required.

I’m a foreigner married to a filipina. Do I have the right to buy a house with lot in the philippines? If not 100% can I be the owner of 50% of it with the other 50% belonging to my wife?

Giorgio, foreigners married to Filipinos do not have the right to purchase any real property in their name.

hello,
could a foreigner, under the $200k minimum investment strategy, own and retain a local company (100%)? If so, could this company be a small scale development company whereby land (<1000m2) would be acquired and developed into a condominium project? the land is under tax declaration and currently owned by a 40/60 foreign/local structure.
thanks in advance for your insight

No, ownership of land is restricted to 40% foreign ownership for land owned by a corporation no matter how much paid-in capital the company has.

 

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