Many foreigners, but not all, coming to the Philippines are looking for a Filipino partner. The reasons why may vary, it is a personal thing and I am not in a position to discuss this.
Once they have found a ‘future’ partner, they have several options:
- Start living together, and enjoy each other
- Getting married abroad
- Getting married in the Philippines
Every option has its pro’s and contra’s. It’s up to the couple to decide which is the best option.
Aside of that, the Philippines has many wonderful wedding locations throughout the country to hold one’s wedding, be it on a beach or in a luxurious resort or old Spanish church.
Many foreigners, who wish to marry their Filipino fiancées, do like to have the marriage finalized in the Philippines because the procedure is not always that expensive, and the bride often likes her family to be a witness.
Foreigners should realize that sometimes it is a bit complicated to get married here. The marriage is recognized worldwide and only needs to be registered in the country of the foreigner.
If you are one of those foreigners who wish to marry your Filipina fiancée in the Philippines, you need to get familiar with the marriage requirements of the Philippine law, so you will have a hassle free and smooth marriage and the local registration of it.
You also should realize that the Philippines is known as one of the biggest Christian countries in the world and Filipinos consider marriage as a very important sacrament and a major milestone in their lives. See my previous post about the History of Marriage and divorce in the Philippines.
So if you have decided to get a Filipino wedding, this is what you should prepare for:
Required Documents and Procedure of a Marriage in the Philippines
- Foreign Fiancée
All foreigners who would like to marry in the Philippines need to have the following documents for the marriage registration proceedings.
- 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.
- 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.
- Parent’s Consent or Advice – If the foreigner is between the ages of 18 and 21, he needs to obtain a written consent from his parents or guardians in accordance with Philippine law on age requirements for Marriage. If the parents or guardians are present at the wedding this consent can be given orally.
NOTE: Individuals under the age of 18 are not allowed to marry in the Philippines. Couples who are between 18 and 21 must present written parental consent, and applicants ages 22 to 24 must prove they have received parental advice
- 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. Military members who are not stationed in the Philippines need to produce authorization letter from their officers as well.
NOTE: Foreigners are advised to contact their respective embassies in the Philippines (before travelling here) and ask them the requirements in issuing the affidavit as the requirements vary from embassy to embassy. It might also be wise to ask your local Civil Registrar or Town Hall for a birth certificate, a civil status document and the like. Take care that they are stated in English (for non-English countries).
- Filipino Fiancée
The Filipino fiancée needs to present the following documents for the marriage registration:
- A true NSO Issued Birth Certificate
- Certificate of No Marriage from the NSO (CeNoMar)
- A notarized declaration statement from two people stating that the Philippine national is not married
- A notarized letter of consent from parents if he or she is below 25 years of age. However, if the parents can appear in person and give the permission on the spot then the letter of consent is not necessary
- Marriage Procedure
Below are the steps involved in getting married in the Philippines:
- The foreigner has to secure the required affidavit from his respective embassy in the Philippines. Most of the embassies are in Manila.
- Proceed in applying the marriage license at the civil registrar from the municipality where your Filipino fiancée resides. You need to have the following documents with you:
- Copies of your passport and the passport itself
- The Affidavit from your embassy
- Original divorce decree or spousal death certificate if any
- The birth, baptismal or residency certificate for your Filipino fiancée
- The parental consent or advice, if either party is under age
- 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. Like make arrangements for the wedding location(s).
NOTE: The marriage license has 120-day validity period and may be used anywhere in the Philippines.
- 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 a religion to make your marriage valid.
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. You may want to consider drafting a Prenuptial Agreement. And not completely less important: You like to be informed of all the available options for you to be able to bring back your Filipino bride to your home country and the application for a Visa for your soon-to-be spouse to your home country.
These, and maybe more, could be reasons for you to consult a lawyer.
Note: According to Philippine Law, two foreigners cannot get married in the Philippines. Some foreigners might think that the Philippines is a nice location to get married. If you still like to see what possibilities there are, consult your Embassy in the Philippines and ask what they can do for you to make your plans come true.
Feel free to comment below and give your thoughts about it.
See also my previous post about the History of Marriage and Divorce in the Philippines.
New posts about other aspects of marriage and divorce coming soon.