getting married in the Philippines

Getting married in the Philippines: British – Filipina

Getting married in the Philippines

Please take extreme care when getting married in the Philippines, a lot of marriages are not legal because people take short cuts or unknowingly miss parts of the process.

Our advice if you are getting married in the Philippines is to do your own research, do not take the advice of your intended’s family or friends, you might think they would know all the requirements as it is their country, the truth is very few do know what is needed to get married. 

When getting married in the Philippines the locals will tell you they have a friend that can make it easier and quicker for you, do not be tempted you could later find out your marriage is not legal.

Also check, double-check and check again names, spelling, dates etc, mistakes are common in documents and can be difficult and expensive to get corrected afterwards. 

Step 1: Get Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage. This document, issued by the British Embassy see below.

Step 2: Marriage license application.

Step 3: Attendance of required pre-wedding seminars and counselling (Depending on your area, this may come before or after applying for a marriage license).

What To Do:

Step 1: Get an application form (Form 90) from the local registry office.

Step 2: Fill out the form. The left portion of the sheet should be filled out by the groom while the other half is for the bride.

Step 3: Attach the necessary documents and submit the accomplished form to your partner’s municipal office. 

Step 4: Get the claim slip. If you haven’t attended the required seminars yet, the slip that will be given to you is the one that asks you to attend the pre-marriage counselling, family planning, and responsible parenthood seminar. You will then present the certificate of attendance to claim your marriage license.

Step 5: Wait for 10 days before the marriage license is released. Once issued, the license will only be valid within 120 days.

How to Get a Marriage License in the Philippines

To apply for the license, both parties must go to the local civil registrar of the city, town or municipality where either the groom or the bride habitually resides. A marriage license is usually released 2 weeks (10 days) after you apply for it.

Once issued, the marriage license can be used wherever you want to get married in the Philippines. However, it is only valid within 120 days of issuance and “shall be deemed automatically cancelled at the expiration of said period if the contracting parties have not made use of it.”

What You Need:

  • A certified true copy of you and your partner’s NSO birth certificates (1 original and 2 photocopies).You can get this from the NSO office or apply online through e-Census. For more information, you can contact NSO Helpline Plus with telephone no. (632) 737.1111 or email them at [email protected]
  • Affidavit of parental consent or advice. The legal age for marriage in the Philippines is 18. If either of you is between the ages of 18 and 21, a consent from the father, mother, surviving parent or guardian should be obtained. On the other hand, if either of you is between the age of 22 and 25, a written parental advice indicating that your parents are aware of your intent to marry will be required. You can come with your parents during the application or just bring a notarized letter of consent/advice.
  • Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) or Certificate of Singleness (1 original and 1 photocopy). This document is proof that you haven’t been married before and is issued by the NSO.
  • Certificate of Attendance in a pre-marriage counselling, family planning, and responsible parenthood seminar. Pre-Marriage counselling is usually conducted by the Church or the DSWD for civil marriages. The family planning and responsible parenthood seminar, on the other hand, is held at the health department (specifically the Division of Maternal and Child Health) of your municipal/city hall. Be sure to check the schedules as some are conducted daily while others have a specific schedule within the week. If you failed to secure the certificates before applying for a marriage license, you will be asked to attend the required seminars before your wedding date.
  • Community Tax Certificate or Cedula (1 original and 2 photocopies).
  • Barangay Clearance (1 original and 1 photocopy).
  • At least 2 valid IDs.
  • Recent 1 x 1 photo (coloured or black and white).
  • Marriage license application form (issued by the LCR office).
  • A photocopy of passport. 
  • Certificate of No Impediment

Civil Wedding in the Philippines

What You Need for a Civil Wedding in the Philippines:

  • Marriage license.
  • Certified True Copy of Baptismal Certificate or Birth Certificate of both parties.
  • Community tax certificates (CEDULA) of wife/husband.
  • 1 ID photo (coloured background or black and white) of each applicant.
  • Certificate of Attendance to a wedding seminar. Couples are required to attend pre-marriage counselling and family planning seminar. These are usually given in the city hall and are required before you can claim your marriage license. Check your municipality for the complete list of schedules.
  • Letter of Intent to Marry. As the name suggests, this letter should express your intent to marry and also includes your name and your fiancee’s name, your signatures, and your suggested wedding dates.

Other requirements for a Civil Wedding in the Philippines :

  • If widowed, Certified True Copy of Death Certificate of the deceased spouse.
  • If divorced or annulled, a copy of Final Decree of Absolute Divorce or Court Decision and Absolute Decree of Finality from the court.
  • Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry this is a Certificate of No Impediment for British applicants, issued by the British Embassy 
  • Photocopy of passport (showing the Date of Arrival and Data).

What To Do for a Civil Wedding in the Philippines:

Step 1: Go to your civil registrar’s office to apply and pay the required fees for a marriage license. Do not use fixers Make sure you only deal with the staff of the Civil Registrar’s office.

Step 2: Proceed to the Mayor’s office and submit the Letter of Intent to Marry together with the marriage license to the secretary.

Step 3: Wait for the confirmation that your suggested wedding dates are available. Civil weddings are usually officiated by a judge or the Mayor in a city hall court. If you have a preferred venue, seek the approval of your chosen officiate first.

Step 4: Find at least two people within the legal age who will serve as your witnesses. 

Step 5: During your wedding day, you need to pay a filing fee. This is to enable them to forward their own facsimile of the marriage contract to the local civil registrar. You will then get the facsimile of the marriage certificate from NSO after 1 to 2 months.

Get a Marriage Certificate

To process and issue a marriage certificate, the NSO needs the following data from you:

  • Complete name of the husband
  • Complete name of the wife
  • Date of marriage
  • Place of marriage
  • Complete name and address of the requesting party
  • Number of copies needed
  • Purpose of the certification

For more information about how to get a marriage certificate in the Philippines, please visit the nearest NSO office.


 Advice from the British Embassy 

Marriage in the Philippines

Contact the relevant local authorities in the Philippines to find out about local marriage laws, including what documents you’ll need.

You should get legal advice before making any plans.

What you need to do if you are getting married in the Philippines

Make an appointment at the British embassy or consulate in the Philippines to swear an affirmation or affidavit (written statement of facts) that you’re free to marry.

Make an appointment at the embassy in Manila.

You’ll need to complete an affirmation for marriage (non-religious) form or an affidavit for marriage (religious) form.

You must download and fill in (but not sign) the forms in advance. It must be typed on a computer and printed.

Your partner will probably need to get an affirmation or affidavit as well.

You’ll need to provide supporting documents, including:

  • your affirmation or affidavit
  • your passport

Legalisation and translation

You’ll need to get your affirmation or affidavit translated into the local language and ‘legalised’ (certified as genuine) by the local authorities – the embassy or consulate should be able to give you advice.

If you’ve been divorced or widowed, you’ll also need:

  • a decree absolute or final order or death certificate – you’ll need to get the document translated if it’s not in English (bring the original and English translation with you)
  • the original marriage certificate, Advisory of Marriage and court documents (if the previous marriage was annulled in the Philippines)
  • evidence if you’ve changed your name by deed poll

What happens next

You can usually get your affirmation or affidavit on the day of your appointment if you have all your supporting documents.

Once you have your affirmation or affidavit, you can apply for a marriage licence from the local civil registrar.

Your partner will probably need to get an equivalent document from their national authorities.

The naturalisation of your partner if they move to the UK

Your partner can apply to become a British citizen once they’ve lived in the UK for 3 years.

Final Reminder when getting married in the Philippines

Brits in the Philippines wish you all the best and hope you have a very happy marriage like many of us have here, but please remember when getting married in the Philippines do not take shortcuts, it might seem like a hell of a lot of work compared to getting married in the UK, however getting married in the Philippines is not as difficult as it sounds. 

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