Congratulations on your engagement! Now that you are engaged, it is time to start planning the wedding. The first step is to take care of the legalities and paperwork. Cake tasting and trying on wedding outfits is far more exciting, but the legalization is important and has to be done right. We’ve put together a guide covering all the ins and outs of what is required to marry a Filipino.
The process of getting married in the Philippines is quite complicated, with quite strict and lengthy laws to follow. Please note requirements may differ for certain nationalities and the rules and regulations are constantly changing. The information was correct at the time of publication.
Prepare your original birth certificates or copies certified by a lawyer or justice of the peace if you don’t have originals. You also need to show your full names, residence and citizenship of your parents or caregivers.
If you are a foreign national, bring your passport and a certificate of legal capacity to contract marriage.
If you have been married before, you will need to show a death certificate of your deceased spouse or divorce papers showing you can marry again.
If you are under the age of 18, you cannot get married in the Philippines even if your parents are OK with the marriage. You must be 18 years old or older to get married in the Philippines legally.
If you are under 21 years old, you need written permission from your parents or caregivers. It is best if your parents can be with you at the local civil registrar to complete the paperwork. If it isn’t possible, a legal affidavit signed by two witnesses may be accepted.
If you are aged 21 to 25 years old, you need to ask your parents or caregivers for advice regarding the marriage. If you don’t ask for the advice or the advice is not favorable, you have to wait for three months for the publication of the application.
A sworn statement by the bride and groom confirming advice has been sought, together with the written advice given, if any, should be included in the application for the marriage license. If the parents or caregivers didn’t give any advice, it should be noted in the sworn statement.
The marriage application will be displayed on a bulletin board outside the local civil registrar’s office for ten days.
Fees should be confirmed with the local civil registrar at the time of applying for the marriage license. Fees for a marriage license may be waived if the couple applying has financial issues that make payment difficult.
If the bride or groom is aged between 18 and 25 years old, you need to show the confirmation to the local civil registrar that you have completed marriage counseling. If you don’t partake in marriage counseling, your marriage license won’t be issued for three months.
Two witnesses who are of legal age are required to accompany you both to the local civil registrar.
Accepted officiants include priests, rabbis, imams, ministers of registered churches or religious groups, consul generals, consuls and vice-consuls. Military commanders in the absence of a chaplain and ship captains and airplane chiefs can solemnize a marriage in articulo mortis.
If you use a religious officiant, one of you must belong to the officiant’s church or religious sect.
Marriages must be solemnized publicly in a church, chapel, temple, judicial chambers, or consul offices. The only time a wedding can take place elsewhere is if the wedding is articulo mortis, in a remote location, or in special cases that are approved.
The Family Code of The Republic of The Philippines states: “No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man and a woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each other. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths. The solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he ascertained the qualifications of the contracting parties are found no legal impediment to the marriage.”
We recommend investing in the services of a professional company that specializes in assisting couples in marrying in the Philippines or marrying a Filipino in another country. It can be expensive but can save you a lot of time in the end. Or if you make a mistake with the paperwork, you might end up paying extra fees anyway. Professional help can give you peace of mind and save you time and money so you can get married as quickly as possible and get to your honeymoon.
We wish you the best as you embark on the exciting chapter of life full of blessings, that is, marriage.
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