Getting married in the Philippines is not as straightforward as non-citizens or residents might expect. Philippine law stresses the importance of family and parental authority, and marriage is not taken lightly. Be prepared to jump a couple of hurdles before you can get married. Some persons may need to obtain consent or approval from their parents first. In all instances, a waiting period is required before the marriage license is issued to the contracting parties.
Secure proof of legal freedom to marry. If you are a non-Filipiino citizen who wishes to marry in the Philippines, visit your local embassy. Bring evidence of termination of any previous marriages, such as a death certificate or a divorce decree. Execute a notarised affidavit of legal capacity to contract marriage. Have your Filipino partner obtain a certificate of no marriage (CENOMAR) from the National Statistics Office or the ecensus website. Your affidavit and your partner's CENOMAR serve as proof that you are both free to marry each other when you apply for a marriage license.
Obtain written parental consent if applicable. According to the Family Code of the Philippines, persons who are between 18 and 21 years old need parental consent to marry. (An exception is if the individual has been married before.) Your parents must put the consent in written form either in person at the Local Civil Registrar, or in a notarised sworn affidavit.
Get written advice from parents if applicable. If you, your partner or both of you, are at least 21 years old and below 25 years old, ask for written advice from your parents. Should the advice be not in favour of the marriage, or if your parents refuse to give advice, you will not be issued a marriage license until three months after your application is made. Make an affidavit affirming you have sought parental advice.
Secure a certificate of attendance in marriage counselling if you are required to have parental advice or consent. If you do not wish to attend premarital counselling, your marriage license should not be issued for three months after your application is completed. Sometimes an officer at the Local Civil Registrar may issue you a marriage license anyway (at his or her own risk), and this will not affect the validity of your license or subsequent marriage.
Apply in person with your partner at the Local Civil Registrar where either the bride or the groom lives. American citizens must present the affidavit of freedom to marry, birth certificate, divorce and/or death records (if married before) and a U.S. passport with photocopy. Have your Filipino partner bring his or her CENOMAR, annulment records (if married before) and birth certificate. Attach evidence of parental advice or consent and marriage counselling together with your application. Pay the application fee. Wait for 10 days after your intent to marry is published, and receive your marriage license.
The Local Civil Registrar may require additional documents such as a certificate of residence (to prove that you or your partner live habitually in that town or city) and/or Barangay (district) certificate. A Philippine marriage license is valid for 120 days from the date of issue. If you will be visiting the Philippines to marry your fiancée, she may be able to apply for the marriage license in advance before you arrive. Upon your arrival, secure the legal capacity to contract marriage from your embassy and file it at the Local Civil Registrar to complete the application.