Marrying a Foreigner in the Philippines? Here’s What To Do!

Countries and continents may be separated by miles of land and sea, but love certainly knows no borders. It’s not uncommon to fall madly in love with someone from elsewhere on this earth and of another culture, and our globalized world is making it easier and easier to mix and mingle every year. The result is even more chances to celebrate love in countless different ways!

Wherever you meet your partner and whatever language he or she may speak, the universal language of love might just move you in the direction of choosing to get married. But, if you are a Filipino and they are not, there are some practical things to consider before getting married in the Philippines and we’re here to help you out with just that!

Here are the requirements that must be prepared, in conjunction with the usual documents submitted in application for a marriage license, to make your union legal in the Philippines.

Marrying a Foreigner in the Philippines? Here's What To Do!

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The Filipino partner establishes legal capacity by presenting documents such as their birth certificate and Certificate of No Marriage Record (CENOMAR)– both from the National Statistics Office.

The foreign prospective spouse must do this too. But in their case by obtaining a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage issued by a diplomatic or consular representative of their home country. This certification confirms that there are no impediments to the foreigner marrying and is the one major requirement that differs from what a Filipino couple would need.

The foreign prospective spouse should check with their local embassy in Manila for specifics on the process of applying for this document. A few web pages with useful information are the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, United Kingdom Government, the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, and the Australian Embassy in the Philippines.

 

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After establishing legal capacity to marry, the couple can then apply for a marriage license at the Office of the Civil Registrar in the city where the Filipino partner is a resident. The foreign prospective spouse must of course present the obtained Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry in addition to proper identification (usually a passport).

 

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To comply with Philippine law, the marriage ceremony must be solemnized by an individual with legal authority such as a priest, a judge, a city mayor, or any other person authorized by the government of the Philippines. After the ceremony, the officiant, the newly-married couple, and at least two witnesses of legal age must sign the marriage certificate. The result? You are now married in accordance with Philippine law! It is possible that you will need to take extra steps to have the marriage recognized in the foreign spouse’s home country. But in the Philippines, you’ll be legally married if you follow these simple steps.

 

Tip: Give your foreign prospective spouse’s embassy a call or a visit first. They’re likely used to getting these inquiries and are a lot less busy than civil registrars tend to be. You can find a list of foreign embassies in the Philippines here.

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  1. If mayor marries you after all documents are done is it legal he married us outside of his juryfiscation but register it in his juryfiscation

  2. Hi!What if I’m a resident in Eastern Samar but we want to get married in Metro Manila,is it okay?

  3. Hi ma’am /sir may I ask what we need to do in time of pandemic,me and my boyfriend want to get married but I’m here in Philippines and his in caliCalifo,we want to get married online,what we need to do,we can’t sign any papers,what we need to do? Hope you respond thank you

    1. Hi Jocelyn, thanks for your inquiry! Unfortunately, online weddings are no yet legal in the Philippines. However, select states in the USA have already allowed obtaining marriage licenses and conducting wedding ceremonies virtually. We recommend checking the rules and regulations specific to his state for the most updated guidelines. Thank you!

  4. Hello, I’m Filipina girl and I have Chinese boyfriend and wanted to marry me, is there any requirements before we get married? May I know if ever? Please.

  5. hi i’m originally from philippines and migrate to usa i obtain my us citizenship recently and wanted to marry my fiance in the philippines can i still get a cenomar in philippines or i need to obtain it in us?

  6. Hi, I just want to ask. My partner is technically a dual citizen(Filipino-Canadian). Upon working in canada he obtained his canadian citizenship. But do he still need to obtain a legal capacity to contract marriage or the Cenomar here in the Philippines will do? Because we’re kind a confused on what document to obtain? Thank you.

    1. Hi Abigael, thanks for your inquiry! The CENOMAR from the Philippines should suffice as long as he also provides Philippine government-issued valid IDs to prove his Filipino citizenship. Best to double check with your LGU for the latest guidelines. Thank you!

  7. Good afternoon can I ask if paano po kapag magpapakasal umuwi dito sa pinas, my step-dad is from Miami Florida and he is going to visit here just to marry my mom. Can I ask what is needed requirements for my moms fiance kasi po magpapakasal sila. Thank you.

    1. And also where to ask if kapag magpapakasal sila and magpapa citizenship po. Thank you ulit ng madami. ❤

    2. Hi Alia. You can click on the photos in this article to “flip” them and reveal the specific requirements. For your mom, she will be needing her Birth Certificate, CENOMAR, and all the requirements for a Marriage License. More details here. For your stepdad, he will be needing a Certificate for Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage and a Valid ID. Once complete and the marriage license has been granted, you may book an officiating officer and assign at least two witnesses for the ceremony. You may ask the US embassy in Manila for specifics on obtaining the legal documents as well as the other pertinent processes. Thanks!

  8. Hello,
    I have a few questions because I’ve been researching for my own marriage in the Philippines. I’ve read through at least 15-20 sites and keep getting multiple answers for certain documents and copies or that I don’t need things that another site says I do.

    To help you visualize the situation, I am a 24 year-old US Citizen living in the USA with a Filipina Fiancé living in the Philippines in the city of Parañaque and we will marry there in a few months this year 2021. Here are some of my questions:

    1. I am a US Citizen marrying in the Philippines, I’m 24 years old and my fiancé is 26 and I keep reading that 21-24yo require parental consent/advice either in person or sworn statement. I am NOT finding if that is needed for me as the foreigner or only my Filipina fiancé. Do I still need this sworn statement, or is that only for the Filipino being married?

    2. I have read in one site that I need a CNI (Certificate of No Impediment) but that it is from a local registrar (it doesn’t say the foreign person’s local registrar in their country or anything). Is that something I have to worry about as a foreigner?

    3. Do I need my Birth Certificate to be photocopied or only the original or both or only a certified true copy? Multiple sites list different variations or none at all. Some say original, some don’t even list the birth certificate as a requirement and some say both original and photocopy. What do I actually need… I plan on just bringing my original.

    4. The Community Tax Certificate or CEDULA. Is this needed from the foreigner to get married? I am guessing this is only a requirement from my Filipina fiancé, but again, these sites don’t say if both need it or just the Filipino. As a foreigner, do I need this?

    5. I also came across the need for photos. I am guessing just a couple more passport photos will do?

    Thank you so much in advance, I am losing sleep and probably hair over trying to gather this info all in one place but it’s incredibly confusing and there’s tons of differences across sites. It’s super stressful and I just don’t wanna end up getting there and missing a document I need. Again, thank you very much.

    1. Hi Halen! Thank you for the detailed inquiry. Allow me to answer them to the best of my knowledge.

      1. I’m not too familiar with international marriage laws, but since the legal age to marry is 18 in the USA, my understanding is the requirement for parental consent is a requirement for the Filipino citizen.
      2. According to the Philippine Embassy, the Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) is obtained from the Registrar’s Office in the foreign spouse’s place of residence. This is then submitted to the foreign spouse’s Embassy/Consulate in the Philippines. Once all documents have been submitted and assessed, the Embassy/Consulate in the Philippines will issue a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry.
      3. According to the Philippine Embassy, the original copy of the Birth Certificate of the foreign spouse is also required. Despite not consistently showing up in the list of requirements, it’s a good idea to bring the original and a photocopy, just in case.
      4. No, you do not need to provide a CEDULA. The CEDULA is a requirement for the Filipino citizen.
      5. The photo size requirement may vary depending on the Local Civil Registry. You can inquire with them or simply bring the passport photos you have on hand and have the photo reprinted to the appropriate size.

      As stated in our article, it would be best to give a call to your local embassy in the Philippines. They can provide the most updated list of requirements as well as any changes the pandemic may have made to the regular process. We wish you the best of luck with your wedding planning!

  9. Hi good day! What if i am a resident in Leyte but wanted to get married in Manila. Is it possible ?

    1. Hi Krisel, thank you for your inquiry! Yes, it is possible. You will just have to submit/comply with the requirements of your chosen ceremony venue.

    1. Hi Tricia, thanks for your inquiry. Yes, attendance of the pre-marriage counseling seminar is still a requirement when you apply for your Marriage License. Good luck planning!

  10. Hi, May I ask how to obtain Affidavit of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage and Certification that there’s no Embassy or Consulate here in the Phillippines by my foreign fiancé that wants to get married here? It’s one of the requirements for a foreigner applying marriage license.

    1. Hi Aiza, thanks for your inquiry! According to the Philippine Embassy, the Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) is obtained from the Registrar’s Office in the foreign spouse’s place of residence and submitted to their Embassy/Consulate in the Philippines. Unfortunately, I’m not too familiar with the process if the foreign spouse has no Embassy/Consulate in the Philippines, so it would be best to ask the Embassy of the Philippines in his country of residence for their instructions. Best of luck, Aiza!

  11. Hello Ma’am/Sir:

    May I ask few things for marriage license application:
    1.Can I file it in other place in the Philippines, say in Bulacan even I am a resident of Batangas?

    2. We are planning to have a civil wedding, do we still need attend seminars such as Family Planning, Pre-marital and Responsible Parenthood since it is pandemic and basically social gatherings are prohibited.

    3. How long does it take for the marriage license to be released?

    1. Hi Pamela, thanks for your inquiry! Let me answer your questions below.

      1. No, you have to file your application in the city or municipality where you and/or your partner are residents. Meaning, you have to have a valid government ID stating you are a resident of Bulacan should you wish to apply in Bulacan.
      2. Yes, you still need to attend your Local Civil Registry’s (LCR) pre-marriage counseling and/or family planning seminar. Depending on the LCR, there may be options available to attend virtually.
      3. It typically takes 10-14 days before release.

      For more information, you can check out our guide for planning a civil wedding here.

  12. hi, I am Muslim from asian country and want to get married with my christian Filipino gf and both for us not to decide for convert with who religion in capacity love is no border and we respect each other’s beliefs, but how is possibility for us for get married and register our married in Philippines. any advice? thanks in advance

  13. Hi sir , Im a filipina and my fiance is a filipino too but naturalized in america. Were planning to get married here in philippines. They said before filling the marriage my filipino fiance must obtain a cenomar of amerika , will that be ok if he get his cenomar of amerika in USA or here in philippines in us embassy knowing that he is a filipino? Thank you

    1. Hi Stella, thank you for your question. It will be best to inquire directly with the agency where you’ll file your marriage license just to e sure.

  14. Hi! Good Morning/Good Evening. I just want to ask if what do I need to do if we are going or planning to get married here in the Philippines? I mean can I do the process? Like getting papers for him while he is in States? Thank you so much for your soon response. God Bless y’all!

  15. Hi I have American fiance and we plan to get married he had already his divorse paper but he still need a legal capacity…can we get it online? Coz here in negros there is no us embassy here

    1. Hi Argin, thanks for the question. It will be best to inquire directly with the US Embassy on how you can process your papers just to be sure. Thanks!

  16. hello, what are the requirements? because my fiance is coming home from the UK in December and we will get married even if it’s a civil wedding, what are the requirements? he is a young man and I am a widow

  17. Hi I am a UK resident and I’m engaged to my Filipina fiancé. We are looking to get married as soon as we can but with Covid restrictions and of course the Philippines border restrictions for International visitors we need to understand what options we have available to us. We have been apart now for approaching 5 months and we need assistance and options so we know what to do next.

    1. Hello I am joy from the philippines and my fiancé is from brazil, I just asked what is the required document needed for the wedding here in the philippines, documents on his side and on my side?..
      Thank you.

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