Getting Married in the Philippines

I’ve already discussed some of the issues with the Fiancee Visa vs Spousal Visa.
Now I’ll explain what is needed if you decide to marry in the Philippines.  I’ll primarily be discussing the legal aspects.   Please note that this post does not include the requirements to get married in the Catholic Church–the church has additional requirements.

What you (the foreigner) will need to marry in the Philippines:

In order to get a marriage license you’ll need:

1. Your birth certificate–be sure to bring it with you when you come.
2.  Proof of eligibility to marry, which I’ll spend a little more time on.

US Embassy (Philippines)
US Embassy (Philippines)

For US citizens this second requirement comes in the form of an “Affidavit in lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage.”  There’s information at the US Embassy Manila website on how to go about this (there’s actually a lot of helpful information on that page).

You’ll set up an appointment online and bring the following:

*Divorce decree(s) or death certificate(s) required to verify civil status and capacity to marry (be sure to bring this with you when you come from the States).  This obviously doesn’t apply to bachelors.
* U.S. passport.
* Documentation regarding paternal consent or advice, if applicable.
*50 dollars (or peso equivalent of that amount)

You’ll be given the affidavit to fill out at the embassy.

More helpful Hints:

-Try to show up early if you are going to the embassy in Manila.  Traffic is awful in Manila and you don’t want to wait until the last minute.

-Bring your own pen.  Sounds obvious, but you’ll have to fill out and sign a few things while there.

Overall the process is fairly quick.  I believe I was in and out of the embassy within an hour.

What she (the Filipina) will need to marry in the Philippines

She’ll need the same things:

1. A birth certificate
2. Proof of eligibility to marriage.

This second requirement for her comes in the form of a CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage).  The local courthouse can order this for you, or (better yet) you can just order it online.

Getting Your Marriage License:

For civil (non-Catholic) weddings, the next step is to go to a local courthouse and file for the marriage license.

You’ll also have to attend a government-mandated marriage seminar (the courthouse will tell you where the closest one is).  You’ll have to attend a morning and afternoon session if either one of you is under 25.  Age 25 and up only have to attend the morning session.

You’ll have to wait about ten days from the day you file before you get the license (many use this time to attend the seminar).  They’ll require proof that you attended the seminar before they release the license to you.

Once you have the license you can get a judge, mayor, or pastor to solemnize the marriage.

It’s fine to have a pastor do it, but make sure he is specifically licensed to do weddings. The laws in the Philippines are a little different in that pastors have to register and maintain a license to marry (this is different than in the States, where most ordained ministers automatically have the authority to sign marriage contracts).

Once your are married the official (judge, pastor, or mayor) should file the marriage contract with the local government (you may need to follow up with him and make sure he does it promptly).   You can get the local version of the marriage certificate pretty quickly.  This local certificate, however, doesn’t do you much good as far as her spousal visa goes.

You’ll need the official NSO Marriage Certificate to file for a spousal visa.  It takes about three months before this certificate available.  Just wait until about three months after the wedding and order your NSO Certificate Online.   

You can start working on the spousal visa after you get your NSO certificate.  As I’ve said before, I’d highly recommend you get professional spousal visa help to make sure you do everything right.

See Also: The St Luke’s Medical Exam for Immigration

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Marry a Filipina

I am happily married to a woman from the Philippines. This blog was created to help others successfully navigate the world of Filipina Dating.