Foreigners can own property in the Philippines . . . in certain cases. 

By Atty. Jun Bautista

While ownership of land in the Philippines is as a rule reserved only to Filipino citizens, there is a way –in fact many ways –for Non-Filipinos to legally purchase and own land in the Philippines.  One is in the case of former natural-born Filipino citizens who became citizens of other countries.  They can purchase and own up to 5,000 square meters of urban land or three hectares of rural land, to be used for business or other purposes.

Another way is in case of hereditary succession.  By way of example, if a Filipino who owns land in the Philippines is married to a non-Filipino, the non-Filipino can inherit that land in the event the Filipino land owner dies. Another example is when a non-Filipino has Filipino parents who own land in the Philippines.  Upon the death of the Filipino parents, the non-Filipino child can inherit that land and become the owner.

A non-Filipino can also put up a corporation in the Philippines to run and operate a business there.  If only 40% of the corporation is owned by non-Filipinos and the remaining 60% is owned by Filipino citizens, this corporation can acquire and own land in the Philippines under its name.

(Atty. Bautista is a licensed attorney in the Philippines with over 15 years of legal experience.)