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I was born in the US but migrated to the Philippines when I was 5 years old. My documents were taken by my aunts who told us that they would take care of the documents. They told us they would take us back to the US before our 18th birthday. Both my parents are Filipino. And since then I've been living in the Philippines. The problem is we've been unable to contact my aunts, and my uncle who also has contact with them doesn't want to help us get our documents back. We haven't received anything from the US embassy (they say we should have support but I'm not sure about this). All of the documents are with my aunts except for my birth certificate. What is the best way that I can handle this. I'm 23 now. I hope someone can help me. Thank you.

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  • 17
    I don't think you "overstayed" anywhere. Your issue is proving you're a US citizen? Getting a US passport? What are you trying to do? Jun 21 at 11:52
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    @KateGregory What country is the OP a citizen of? If US, then they've (potentially) overstayed in the Philippines. If dual then not.
    – CGCampbell
    Jun 21 at 12:08
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    if only the US, yes. Jun 21 at 12:14
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    If you have your birth certificate you're already in better shape than many. Most official documents will be reissued by the US government (state, county, or federal, depending on what the document specifically is.) I've personally gotten a new birth certificate, social security card, and various other documents over the years -- you just need to figure out the appropriate government agency and follow their procedures for getting a replacement.. Jun 21 at 22:15
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    Are anybody else's alarm bells going off at "my documents were taken by my aunts", "all my documents are with them", and "they told us they will take us to the US before (my) 18th birthday... I'm 23 now". I might be grossly misinterpreting something, but to me this reads very much like "I have moved to a different country 18 years ago as a child, somebody took all my identifying and travel documents and won't return them, help me please?"
    – penelope
    Jun 22 at 13:10
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  1. If you are born to Philippine parents, you have Philippine citizenship, so there should be no problem with your current status in the Philippines.

  2. If you have a US birth certificate, you should be ok for the US to. Contact the US embassy and apply for a passport. It's going to take a while and might involve a bit of back and forth. Since you were born in the US and have a US birth certificate you already ARE a US citizen. They will eventually issue you a passport.

  3. Read up on dual citizenship in the Philippines. You may have to apply for this and since you are probably late for this already you should do it as soon as possible.

  4. Forget your Aunts and Uncles. Ignore whatever documents they have or pretend to have.

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    ...unless OP's parents were diplomats.
    – phoog
    Jun 21 at 21:27
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    @phoog In which case they'd know the procedures well enough that OP wouldn't have to ask here. Jun 22 at 6:29
  • @Sumyrda-rememberMonica what procedures? A person born in the US as the child of a diplomat, who left at the age of 5 years, who is now 23, has no particular procedural advantage for entering the US.
    – phoog
    Jun 22 at 9:43
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    Don't forget about US taxes. You will need to file US taxes. irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/…
    – PeterI
    Jun 22 at 9:46
  • I suspect the problem with her current status in the Philippines might be that, while she might be a Filipina by birth, if she tries to leave with only a US passport and no other documentation she may be subject to a huge overstay fine (hence "Overstaying" in the title). While the birth certificate might be evidence of her US citizenship it might not be evidence of her parents' Philippines citizenship, so if her birth wasn't registered and she only has her birth certificate how does she document her Philippines status? I'm not sure this question is answered.
    – Dennis
    Jun 24 at 18:50

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