How to marry in the Philippines

Strong advice spend time with your new found love of your life since marriage is a life long commitment. Should never be taken lightly.. im not religious but it was a discussion that was well discussed with my now wife April because I will never divorce. You should look at things that way too if you look at the woman you want to grow old with in front of you so you can make sure you are 100% with each other. Get to know her family and stop a while. Your not giving up a few weeks your giving your life of commitment. The woman in front of you could be the one piece of you that you didnt know was missing until you found her. But could also be the woman who just gets on your nerves constantly in 2 months time. Point being the wrong marriage could ruin both of your lives.. the prospect of security and a husband who is likely to be content with his wife and no wondering eyes could be the reason the woman loves you. But you look at your wife and see a heart of gold and a beautiful woman. This can be true but also you shouldnt be blind to some things that are very obvious. Just be careful!

Many a love starts with good intentions and ends in divorce and 50% of your assets.

Marriage Process

So youve decided to get married your both looking forward to setting the big day. So what do you need to do?

There are several things you are better off prepping up in the U.K. it can be done in the Philippines but will take several weeks and the Philippines government process are slow, often corrupt and quite simply you dont need to be there most of the time its just delays on paperwork. Much faster and easier to deal with this in the UK where communication is easier and it just takes due course.

Certificate Of No Impediment to marry

Basically this document says you are free to marry and a marriage isnt going to happen without it so the first thing you need to do on a week day is call your local birth and marriages office and arrange an appointment. Explain on the phone that you are marrying a foreign citizen outside the UK and that you need the certificate (this is law under the Marriage to foreigners act 1906). You will be asked to bring certain documents to see the Registrar please be aware that there is a fee to pay and ask the current amount while on the phone and any documents you must bring. The list below is what is presently required :-

  • 1. Original Birth Certificate.
  • 2. Passport
  • 3. 2nd form of ID such as a driving license or current utility bill showing your address.
  • 4. Divorce decree absolute (if previously married).
  • 5. Fee payment
  • 6. Location of the wedding (such as Cebu not full address).
  • 7. Your fiancees full details :- name,age,marital status, Occupation and full home address.

The meeting itself is very formal and nothing to worry about. The registrar will look over the documents and fill out a computerised form. That will then be printed and posted on a visable board (this is to give people the opportunity to contest) It will stay there for 21days+1 you will then be issued with a letter telling you that the CNI is available for collection on the 22nd day (and if you ask they will also give you a time of its availability). This document is very important so keep it with your passport once you have it because you cant marry without it. This can be done in the Philippines via the British Embassy in Manila but the delay in processing just isnt worth the hassle unless you have a lot of time to kill (Your looking at 44 days due to the legal aspects involved). OK you have your CNI now you need this changing to a Local Legal Capacity To Marry Certificate. Which basically means going to the British Embassy in Manila handing over a fee (currently around £20.00 but please check with the British Embassy in Manila from their website for current price (Email:- uk@info.com.ph) , giving your CNI to the clerk I advise taking any documents such as birth certificate,passport etc. Just incase required. This will be done within 30mins generally. When you arrive at the Embassy you will go up in the Lift to the "Consular section" open the department door and a queue of people will be waiting. Look to your left and you will see a door, just go through it and generally you will find this department is empty and you will be in and out within 30mins with your Local Legal Capacity To Marry letter. Also be aware this is a BRITISH OFFICE working on British Bank Holiday time tables and standard UK working times.Please be aware this MUST BE DONE if you dont follow these rules thinking you can bribe your way through the Philippines system think again because quite simply your wedding will be null in void. If your planning on bringing your bribe back to the UK you can guess how much damage this can do to your application.

As soon as you have your Embassy stamped Local Legal Capacity to Marry Letter you can apply for your marriage License at the Registrar this will take 10 days as a notice will be posted on a noticeboard for the similar reasons as the CNI to offer people the opportunity to contest the wedding. The Marriage license will cost fees also. Ask your Fiancee to call the local Registrar in advance of your visit for this cost.

What your Fiancee can do before your arrival is to obtain the following information :-

  • 1. Original Birth Certificate Issued by the National Statistics office.
  • 2. A Filipino Passport issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • 3. CENOMAR (1 for your wife and yourself this can now be done online at www.e-census.com.ph. )

I strongly Advise getting your fiancee to do this before your arrival to save a lot of time. It can involve a lot of chasing up with the right offices and they may not be anywhere near where she lives.

Sexual Education

Yet another Certificate is required before your wedding can take place and this is the Marriage guidance and sexual education course which is a full day held in a local Rural Health office. Be aware that it may only run on certain days maybe once a week. But the possibility of "express fee" options are available most of the time and the cost is very little in comparison to losing a day at a course I doubt you will not already know the information covered.

Application for Marriage License

First you need to check you have all the following :-

  • 1. Pre-marriage Counciling Certificate (sexual Education).
  • 2. Birth Certificates for both of you.
  • 3. Legal Capacity to Marry Certificate (from embassy).
  • 4. CENOMAR (this is something that we had to do in Cebu but may not be nationwide).
  • 5. If your Fiancee is under 21 a letter of conscent from the living parent(s) to the marriage.
  • 6. If under 25 Possibly a letter of conscent and awareness from your fiancees family they are aware of the marriage.
  • Finally your ready to approach the local Town/City hall to get your Marriage License which yet again holds another small fee that you will need to contact the Town/City hall to find out its current fee, take all the above documents relivant to your marriage (which you will need a set of photocopies, a photocopier will be nearby buy much easier to copy in advance)and your application will then be approved and a noti
    ce posted for 10 days (not including Sundays). After the 10 Days you are free to collect your Marriage License and get married. The only person that can do this for you are generally the local Judge unless you are going to go via the Church which involves a Certificate of Baptism and a few more hoops to go through. Which I will add later.

When you speak to the Judges secretary she will book you an appointment in the Judges Diary depending how busy the diary is depends how soon you can marry. After you have both signed and been witnessed by the judge signing the Contract of Marriage, this will need to be sent to the National Statistics Office which can take as long as 10 days to process. Which basically means if your on a 2 week trip you are going to be back in the UK before it arrives your wife will have to deal with collecting it. There is a temporary Secpa paper that can be issued if required for the British Embassy etc. Which basically says the NSO is aware of the wedding that has taken place and is currently registering it.

For me and April this process took 2 visits. Thing is there is no rush! take your time. We got to completion of the document from the Embassy before I had to head back to the UK. But on the second visit on the second day of arrival we got the rest of the paperwork processed. We did try to get into the sexual education on the first trip but we arrived slightly late and couldnt be seen and it only ran once a week (the following Wednesday I was back in the UK so be warned be prompt!).
Organising a reception is a lot easier than you would expect. Virtually all hotels offer a "Package Service". Which generally includes the following :-

1. Invitations
2. Photographer
3. Camera man (video)
4. Reception room for 60+ people including catering
5. Vehicles to the Reception from the wedding
6. Hotel suite for newly weds
7. Wedding cake
8. Music Entertainment

Price wise expect to pay around £400 upwards but well worth the cost as it takes pressure off you and your fiancee and also saves money due to it being a package deal. A few photos from mine and Aprils wedding to give you an idea of what to expect.