Marriage in the Philippines
Marriage in the Philippines is often preferred by foreigners who wish to marry their Filipino fiancés because the marriage process though a bit complicated is not very costly. The Philippines also offers a lot of wonderful wedding locations to hold one’s wedding. Above all, marriage in the Philippines is recognized world wide.
If you are a foreigner contemplating on marrying your Filipina fiancé in the Philippines, it’s good to be familiar with the marriage requirements according the laws of the country to ensure a smooth and hassle free marriage registration.
A. Foreign Fiancé/ Fiancée
Foreigners who would like to get married in the Philippines need to present the following documents to be able to proceed with the marriage registration.
1. Affidavit of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage – Philippine law requires the foreigner to obtain this document from his/her embassy or mission in the Philippines. Embassies require their citizens to appear personally at the embassy to procure this document. Each embassy has also sets of requirements before they issue this document. These requirements can range from birth certificate, passport, and certificate of naturalization among others.
NOTE: Foreigners are advised to contact their respective embassies in the Philippines and ask them the requirements in issuing the affidavit as the requirements vary from embassy to embassy.
2. Divorce certificate or Spousal Death Certificate – If the foreigner had been married before he has to show proof that his previous marriage had been terminated either by divorce or death of his spouse. Original copies are required.
3. Parent’s Consent or Advice – If the foreigner is between the ages of 18 and 21, he/she needs to obtain a written consent from his/her parents or guardians in accordance with Philippine law on age requirements for Marriage.
4. Military Approval – A US citizen who is an active member of the military needs to present a letter of approval of the marriage from their commanding officer or the proper authorities. Those military members who are not stationed in the Philippines need to produce authorization letter from their officers as well.
B. Filipino Fiancé/ Fiancée
The Filipino fiancé/fiancée needs to present the following documents for the marriage registration:
1. An NSO Issued Birth Certificate
2. Certificate of No Marriage from the NSO
3. A notarized declaration statement from two people stating that the Philippine national is not married.
4. A notarized letter of consent from parents he or she is below 25 years. However, if the parents can appear in person and give the permission on the spot then the letter of consent is not necessary.
II. Marriage Procedure
Below are the steps involved in getting married in the Philippines:
A. The foreigner has to secure the required affidavit from his/her respective embassy in the Philippines. Most of the embassies are in Manila.
B. Proceed in applying the marriage license at the civil registrar from the municipality where your Filipino fiancé resides. You need to have the following documents with you:
(1) the Affidavit from your embassy, (2) divorce decree or spousal death certificate if any (3) the birth, baptismal or residency certificate for your Filipino fiancé, and (4) the parental consent or advice, if either party is under age.
C. There is a 10-day waiting period from the filing of the Application to the issuance of the marriage license so you have to anticipate this period of time and make use of it for other things.
NOTE: The marriage license has 120-day validity period and maybe used anywhere in the Philippines.
D. During the marriage ceremony, you have to present the license to a person authorized to solemnize your marriage, such as judge, justice of the peace, priest or minister of religion to consummate your marriage.
Getting Married in the Philippines: A Primer for US Citizens
If you are fortunate enough to have come across the love of your life in Asia’s Pearl of the Orient, the Philippines, saying “I Do” is not a very complicated process. However, known as one of the biggest Christian countries in the world, Filipinos consider marriage as a very important sacrament and a major milestone in their lives.
Marriages between Filipino and American citizens are not very uncommon, as the ties between these two countries refer back to the days when the Philippines was still a colony of the United States. Healthy ties between the two countries still prevail to this day. If you are an American citizen intending to get married to a Filipino citizen, there are some requirements that you will have to meet in order to process the legal marriage registration in the Philippines.
What are the documents that I need to obtain so that I can legally register my marriage in the Philippines?
Philippine law requires all foreign citizens to obtain a Certificate of legal Capacity to Contract Marriage, issued by the diplomatic or consular offices of his or her country located in the Philippines. In this regard, US Citizens would need to request an Affidavit in Lieu of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage from the US Embassy in Manila or at the US Consulate in Cebu City. This certifies that you are a citizen of the United States of America and that you are free to marry with no legal impediment to your forthcoming marriage.
In order to obtain the Affidavit, you must be able to submit the following requirements:
A. Proof of Citizenship. This can be evidenced by the submission of either your US passport, your birth certificate, or a certificate of naturalization
B. Evidence of Termination of Previous Marriage (s). If you have had a prior marriafe the ended in divorce or through the death of your spouse, you will need to submit a certified true copy of the divorce decree or your former spouse’s death certificate, whichever is applicable.
C. Parent’s Consent or Advice. Under Philippine law, the legal age for marriage is 18. If you are both are between the ages of 18 and 21, you must present written consent to the marriage from their father, mother or legal guardian. Any parties party between the age of 21 and 25 must present written parental advice, i.e., a written indication that the parents are aware of the upcoming marriage.
In cases of US Citizens actively serving the United States Armed Forces, they must present a letter of approval of the marriage from the appropriate military authority prior to obtaining the Affidavit from the US Embassy. Military personnel NOT assigned in the Philippines are also required to obtain their authorization from their respective commanding officer, and must be able to plan in advance of the intended wedding date and be able to discuss the requirements with their own command personnel office.
What is the process of getting married in the Philippines?
Once you have obtained the Afffidavit from the US Embassy in Manila or the US Consulate in Cebu, you are ready to process the legal marriage registration. If both of you are US Citizens, then you need to secure individual Affidavits.
You may then apply for the marriage license at the Local Civil Registrar of the district where the Filipino bride or groom habitually resides. The documents necessary for securing the marriage license would be the following:
1) The Affidavit for the U.S. citizen bride or groom;
(2) The death certificate or divorce decree which shows the termination of any previous marriage(s) of the bride and/or the groom (if any);
(3) The birth, baptismal or residency certificate for the Filipino bride or groom; and
(4) The written parental consent or advice, if either party is under age.
There will be a ten-day waiting period from the filing of the Application to the issuance of the marriage license. The license will be rendered valid for 120 days and maybe used anywhere in the Philippines. You may present this license to any person authorized to perform marriage services. In the Philippines, officials who are considered authorized to do this would be a judge, justice of the peace, priest or minister of any religion.
Why would it be better to consult with a lawyer before getting married in the Philippines?
Processing your marriage registration may involve a considerable amount of time and effort put into the paperwork. Apart from this, you may have some related questions pertaining to the legal aspect of your marriage, such as the protection of your assets or applying for a US Visa for your soon-to-be spouse. You may want to consider drafting a Prenuptial Agreement and be informed of all the available options for you to be able to bring back your Filipino bride or groom back to the United States.
Therefore, it is recommended that you engage the services of a competent Filipino legal firm who may be able to assist you with all the legal concerns you may have apart from ensuring a hassle-free marriage registration in the Philippines.
At Manila Visa, our team of expert foreign and local lawyers are always ready to assist you with various legal matters as you enjoy your stay in the Philippines. Located right in the heart of the Philippine capital, contact us today for a free consultation.