Foreigners and Marriage in the Philippines


There has been a lot of questions posed by foreigners on the proper procedure in marrying a citizen of the Philippines. As a result, I have gathered relevant information to guide those who wish to tie the knot.

First of all, foreigners who wish to marry in the Philippines are required to obtain a certificate of legal capacity to marry issued by diplomatic or consular representatives of their country. This is in accordance with the first paragraph of Article 21 of the Family Code of the Philippines, which states:

“When either or both of the contracting parties are citizens of a foreign country, it shall be necessary for them before a marriage license can be obtained, to submit a certificate of legal capacity to contract marriage, issued by their respective diplomatic or consular officials.”

For example, a citizen of the United States wishing to marry in the Philippines, must appear personally before a consular officer, at the U.S. Embassy in Manila and procure a certificate of legal capacity to marry. Once the certificate has been received, the application for a marriage license can be made at the office of the local Philippine Civil Registrar of the town or city where the Filipino fiancee is a resident. The foreigner will need to present the certificate, passport, and documentation regarding parental consent or advice if applicable. There is also a need to present a divorce decree if the foreigner has been previously married and a death certificate if a widow or widower.



For the Filipino applicant the following shall be needed for purposes of the marriage license application:

1. Birth Certificate or Baptismal Certificate. If widow or widower Death Certificate of late spouse (certified true copy).

2. Community Tax Certificate.

3. ID picture of both applicants.

4. Certificate of Family Planning and Marriage Counselling (the couple are required to attend a Counselling Seminar before the certificate is issued).

Marriage applicants who are aged 18 to 21 must have parental consent in writing, those aged 21 to 25 must have written parental advice (a written indication that the parents are aware of the couple’s intent to marry). There is a ten-day waiting period before the marriage license is issued by the registrar’s office. This period is prescribed by law to inform the public about the pending license application and to give the local civil registrar an opportunity to entertain any objections to the upcoming marriage.



The marriage license, once issued, is valid in any part of the Philippines for 120 days. If it has not been used during this 120-day period it will then automatically expire.

The marriage ceremony must be solemnized by an individual with the legal authority to perform such a ceremony. Among these are a priest, imam, or any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court’s jurisdiction (See Article 7 of the Family Code of the Philippines). Upon the completion of the ceremony all participants (the presiding official, the witnesses, and the husband and wife) must sign the marriage certificate.

Following the signing of the marriage certificate by all parties involved, the marriage certificate must be sent to the city hall or the municipality in which the Philippine national habitually resides. It will then be registered by the local civil register. You can get certified true copies of the marriage contract from the local civil registrar or the National Statistics Office.


  1. on my most recent trip to the Philippines, I met a man in Narita on his way to meet a woman for the first time. They had been writing, and calling on the phone for almost a year. He learned of her from a person he worked with in the US. I was not overly concerned until he pulled out a decent sized diamond ring! He had never met this woman face to face, and he was going to ask her to marry him?
    He wasn’t thinking with that thing on top of his shoulders! He may be in for a deceptively rude awakening!

    • Hi John, yes sadly loneliness can make a person do strange things, but when has a man ever thought with his head when it comes to women?

    • It saddens me why old guys like me think that they can overcome age and nature a buy themselves love,I predict it won’t or didn’t end well.

  2. My Filipina wife and I were married in the Philippines on November 28th, 2015. The first observation I will make is that your procedure will likely be different from those others experience. I read dozens of reports, and posts, and websites before we got married and our process was still different than any I read about. It may be a repeatable thing in a larger city but in the provinces the local LCR will have their own way of doing things.

    I’m from the US, which does not have any way to issue a Legal Capacity to Marry; a document like that simply doesn’t exist in the US. Instead you go to the embassy with your passport and divorce papers or death certificate (for all previous marriages) if applicable (and no papers if you’ve never been married) and they’ll issue an Affidavit in Lieu of Legal Capacity to Marry, which most, but not all, LCR (Local Civil Registrars) will accept.

    Once I had that we went to our LCR where they wanted my passport (copies), certified birth certificate (funny to me since I couldn’t have my passport without having presented it to the US government), and any/all divorce papers or death certificate from previous marriages. From my wife (fiancee then) they got her NSO birth certificate, her NSO CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage), and her Cedula (community tax record). We paid the some amount of money (I don’t remember how much but it was just under P1,000) and then went away. About three days later we stopped by to see how things were going, glad we did since she had a couple of questions for me. She told us the Marriage License would be ready the following week then told us she needed to know who was marrying us, that she would send the license to them (not at all what I anticipated based on the website information).

    They say you can get married anywhere in the Philippines with your Marriage License, and I’d say that’s true in legal terms but we found that the mayor of Polangui (where we live) would not marry us with a license from Libon (about 10 kms away where we got our license since that’s where my wife is from). Since the mayor of LIbon was not available we found he had appointed a local attorney to act in his stead. We contacted him and got things set up; this took a few visits to catch him and then convince him we really did want to get married on a Saturday (they originally told us it would have to be Mon thru Fri during business hours).

    The attorney, my finacee and I, our two witnesses (who theoretically could be anyone who meets the criteria but in reality are supposed to be people you (or really your wife) have known for years and are your “godparents” for the marriage) showed up at the town hall offices on Saturday morning and went through a civil ceremony that lasted about 30 minutes. We also had about 15 or 20 people that just wanted to be there before we headed to the reception.

    The attorney had the license and everyone necessary singed after the ceremony, and off we went to the reception.

    The following week we checked on getting a copy of our marriage license but were told they had to wait for the mayor to return because he had to sign it. He would be back the following week. We checked then but still no signature so we went to city hall and then they finally got the paperwork to the mayor. After he signed the paperwork we were required to take the sealed papers to LBC courier service in Polangui and send it to NSO in Legazpi (about 40 kms away). We said we’d hand carry it but that was forbidden.

    We checked the following week about getting a certified copy of our marriage certificate but then were told it would take one month before it would be available at NSO in Legazpi.

    If we hadn’t followed up with the LCR because we wanted a copy I don’t know how long it would have sat on desks. For one thing, we had to pay for the LBC Express service (about P100 as I recall), so our paperwork would have sat there until someone figured out they needed to have us pay for the delivery.

    My advice it to follow up, follow up, follow up. The city hall was able to provide us with a certified copy of our marriage license/certificate, which helped us get some things done, but not all since some places (like Social Security) will only accept the NSO copy (which did take a month to get).

    One last thing. If your (now wife) has a Philippine passport, she will be required to go to Manila or Cebu for a CFO seminar (a three to four hour affair) the first time she travels out of the country with you or renews her passport. This is something, in spite of all my in-depth research, I didn’t pick up on. I knew she’d have to go to the CFO seminar if I took her to the US but I didn’t understand that she’d have to do the seminar in order to renew her passport (which she’ll have to do if she changes her surname), or even if we just wanted to fly to Hong Kong or Malaysia, etc, and never go to the US. She has to go to the seminar for the country that her spouse is from, for the US the seminar is booked out about three weeks (at this time in Feb 2016). Getting to Manila from southern Bicol is a pain in the tail and incurs some expense but it’s got to be done or she can’t travel out of the Philippines.

    I hope this contains some helpful information. We didn’t find the process difficult but it wasn’t what we thought it would be based on official Philippine websites. For instance, no one ever mentioned going to a marriage counseling seminar even though it’s mentioned on the website. And even then I think it’s only for folks under 25 though some couples our age have been required to attend. Basically, what I’m saying is that what process you have to go through is really up to the LCR, they can pretty much insist on, or eliminate, anything they want (as long as the paperwork ends up completed and at NSO). I’m sure this is completely different in a large busy city with lots of marriages compared to our experience in a small provincial town.

    • Les, I really enjoyed reading your experience of getting married in the Philippines. I, too, will be marrying this year the month of November. She lives in Naga City and I live in Nebraska. We are both very excited and think we have a good handle on all the hoops we have to jump through. I don’t recall you mentioning anything about the ten day waiting period for your marriage license, was that the case Les? It is very likely that I will have additional questions between now and then and wonder if we can correspond by email or FaceBook? That would be a huge help for me especially if you are living there now. My email is I am 60 and my fiancé is 43 and we very anxious to begin our life together. Thank you! Mark Whitaker

    • Huh we had similar things happen to us in Naga City the DFA website isn’t clear on who needs to bring what for whatever type of Philippine passport you have and the things they have listed to bring constantly changes. Same with the CFO the requirements are not clear what you should bring with you and it’s very confusing to understand who needs what as to if the husband is from Japan, Korea, Australia, Canada, every country has a different required document to have better check multiple websites about this before you show up for the class.

  3. By dealing together, both of you can address problems of self-esteem and mutual trust. Thus, when the muscles inside the penile area are relaxed, more blood will enter the penis and an erection will occur.

  4. I’ve got married in Naga and there’s a few things you should be aware of there with the LCR .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *