Getting Married in the Philippines

Planning a wedding in the Philippines? Find out the documents you need to prepare and how to go about getting married...

There are two ways of getting married in the Philippines: a civil wedding or a church wedding. Here are some of the basic legal requirements that bride and groom need to know:

  • The groom must be male and the bride female, and both must be at least 18 years old
  • If one or both of the couple is between 18 and 21, it is necessary to obtain written consent from the father, mother, surviving parent or guardian. If one or both of the couple is 22 to 25 years old or under, it is necessary to have a Parental Advice document – a written indication that the parents are fully aware of the intent to marry. The parents can either attend the application in person, or the bride and groom may bring a notarised letter of consent/advice
  • The bride and groom must not be related by blood and must be legally free to marry – if not currently single, their marriage must have been annulled, or they must be widowed or divorced

Regardless of the type of wedding, all engaged couples need to go through the same process.

  1. Marriage license application.
  2. Attendance at pre-wedding seminars and counseling.
  3. Release of marriage license.
  4. Marriage ceremony either in church or with the local civil registrar.
  5. Release of marriage certificate.
Legal Requirements

Any foreign national can get married in the country provided he or she complies with the legal requirements. Marriage in the Philippines is recognized in most countries. The foreign national should seek confirmation of the validity of the marriage from their consular office.

Documents required by foreigners

The Philippine government requires all foreign nationals wishing to get married in the country to obtain a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage. This is issued by the diplomatic or consular office of his or her country.

However, when the consular office is unable to issue this certificate, the Philippine government has agreed to accept as “substantial compliance” an Affidavit of Marital Status – also known as an Affidavit in Lieu of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage. It is important to note that if both the bride and groom are foreign nationals, each of them must obtain an Affidavit.

The Affidavit is a declaration of personal information, such as the absence of any legal impediment to the marriage, and is sworn before a consular official. It is therefore legally binding.

The foreign national is required to personally appear before a consular officer. They must secure an appointment and provide all the necessary documentation.  The documentation that the consular office may require can vary, so it is best to inquire from the consular office before the appointment.

Documents that may be required from the foreign national:

  1. Proof of identity, such as passport, birth certificate, or Certificate of Naturalisation.
  2. Evidence of termination of previous marriage(s), such as a certified copy of the final decree of divorce or annulment or a certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse.
  3. Parents’ Advice. (See above)
  4. Proof of address such as utility bill, bank or credit card statements, or driving license.

The foreign national must also pay a consular fee.

Once the Affidavit has been secured, the engaged couple can now apply for the marriage license. This must be obtained at least ten days before the marriage takes place.

Same-sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage and civil unions are not permitted in the Philippines.