Foreigners and Marriage in the Philippines
(content provided by Atty. Ryan L. Tanjutco and tanjutcolaw.com)
NOTE: Please refer to the Family Code of the
Philippines for references to any of its article as mentioned in some
There has been a lot of questions posed by foreigners on the proper procedure in marrying a citizen of the Philippines. As a result, we have gathered relevant information to guide those who wish to tie the knot in our country.
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'sjurisdiction (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.
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About the Author: Atty. Ryan L. Tanjutco specializes in the practice of family and marital law. For
more information, please visit www.tanjutcolaw.com.