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Marriage in the Philippines:

FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES
Read complete text of the Executive Order No. 209
The Family Code of the Philippines

APPLICATION FOR A PHILIPPINE MARRIAGE LICENSE

Marriage License: a requirement for either a Civil or Church wedding to be held in the Philippines. The Application Form for a marriage license must be secured at the Local Civil Registrar from the city, town or municipality where either the bride or the groom habitually resides. The personal appearance of those getting married is required in applying for a marriage license.

Each of the contracting parties shall file separately a sworn application for each license with the proper local civil registrar. Philippine law prescribes a ten-day waiting period from the filing of the Application to the issuance of the marriage license. The license is valid for 120 days from date of issuance and may be used anywhere in the Philippines.

At the time the contracting parties appear to file their application for a Marriage License to the local civil registrar, he or she must also submit the following supporting documents:

    Birth Certificate: Certified True Copy required of each the contracting parties with the respective registry number. This document is issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO).

    NOTE: NSO now provides a web service which accepts online application for copies of birth and marriage certificates. It is called the e-Census, a web facility aimed to provide Filipinos within and outside the country an alternative means in applying for copies of their civil registry documents. It also has a 24-7 hotline called the NSO Helpline Plus with telephone no. (632)737.1111. You could also reach them via email through: e-census. L.Hufana@mail.census.gov.phThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Parents' Consent (for 18-21 years old) or Parent's Advice (for 21-25 years old): Under Philippine law, the legal age for marriage is 18. If the contracting parties are between the ages of 18 and 21, they must present written consent to the marriage from their father, mother or legal guardian. While any contracting party between the age of 22 and 25 must present written parental advice, i.e., a written indication that the parents are aware of the couple's intent to marry.

Certificate of Attendance in a pre-marital counseling and family planning seminar conducted by the Division of Maternal and Child Health at the Municipal/City Hall in the same municipality or city where the contracting parties applied for the marriage license.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE MARRIAGE LICENSE REQUIREMENT

The marriage license is one of the vital documents to couples-to-be. However, the 1987 Family Code waives this requirement when:

  • Either or both of the contracting parties are at the point of death. The marriage remains valid even if the ailing party subsequently survives.
  • If the residence of either party is located that there is no means of transportation to enable such party to appear personally before the local civil registrar
  • In the cases provided for in the two preceding articles, the solemnizing officer shall state in an affidavit executed before the local civil registrar or any other person legally authorized to administer oaths that the marriage was performed in articulo mortis (when the party at the point of death is unable to sign the marriage certificate); or that the residence of either party, specifying the barrio or barangay, is so located that there is no means of transportation to enable such party to appear personally before the local civil registrar and that the officer took the necessary steps to ascertain the ages and relationship of the contracting parties and the absence of legal impediment to the marriage.
  • The original of the affidavit required in the last preceding article, together with the legible copy of the marriage contract, shall be sent by the person solemnizing the marriage to the local civil registrar of the municipality where it was performed within the period of thirty days after the performance of the marriage.
  • Marriages among Muslims or among members of the ethnic cultural communities may be performed validly without the necessity of marriage license, provided they are solemnized in accordance with their customs, rites or practices.
  • No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man and a woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each other. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths. The solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he ascertained the qualifications of the contracting parties are found no legal impediment to the marriage.

AUTHORIZED TO SOLEMNIZE MARRIAGES

The 1987 Family Code of the Philippines' Chapter 1, Article 7 recognizes the authority of the following to solemnize marriages:

  • Any incumbent member of the judiciary is authorized to solemnize marriages within his court's jurisdiction (i.e. a Supreme Court justice could solemnize marriages anywhere in the Philippines while a Municipal Trial Court judge of Dagupan City cannot solemnize a marriage in Quezon City);
  • Any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious sect duly authorized by his church or religious sect. He should be registered with the civil registrar general and act within the limits of the written authority granted him by his church or religious sect. Likewise, at least one of the contracting parties should belong to the solemnizing officer's church or religious sect;
  • Any ship captain or airplane chief only in the case of marriages in articulo mortis between passengers or crew members, not only while the ship is at sea or the plane is in flight, but also during stopovers at ports of call;
  • Any military commander of a unit to which a chaplain is assigned. The commander could solemnize marriages in the absence of the chaplain or during military operation. Likewise, in the case of marriages in articulo mortis between persons within the zone of military operation, whether members of the armed forces or civilians;
  • Any consul-general, consul or vice-consul in the case of marriages between Filipino citizens abroad. The issuance of the marriage license and the duties of the local civil registrar and of the solemnizing officer with regard to the celebration of marriage shall be performed by the said consular official.

GENERAL CHURCH WEDDING REQUIREMENTS

NOTE: other Churches/Parishes may require some other documents and/or seminars not specified below. To be sure, inquire at the parish office of the church you wish to be married in.

Baptismal and Confirmation Certificates: these are for both the bride and the groom. These must be new copies and must have an annotation: "FOR MARRIAGE PURPOSES ONLY" and must have been secured not more than three (3) months before the date of marriage.

FOR MIXED MARRIAGE (different religions or Disparitas Cultas): a dispensation must be secured from the Archdiocesan Chancery Office at the Arzobispado de Manila, 121 Arzobispo St., Intramuros, Manila (near Manila Cathedral). The forms will be provided at the Parish Office which will be released after the canonical interview with the Parish Priest or his assistant. These have to be submitted one week before the wedding.

Marriage License: Can be secured from the city or municipality hall of either the bride or the groom.

For those who are civilly married, a certified true photocopy of the Marriage Contract with the register number of the city or town where the marriage was performed must be submitted one week before the wedding date.

Canonical Interview: This interview with the bride and the groom will be done one month before the wedding date and this will be done by the parish priest or his assistant. The schedule of the interview will be given upon the signing of the application form. Failure to report on the interview date or failure to notify the office of any change in the schedule will mean cancellation of the application and reservation.

Pre-Marriage Seminar: Both the bride and the groom have to attend this. The schedule for the seminar will be given during the canonical interview or you may inquire at the parish office. Some churches will allow you to attend other pre-wedding seminars such as the Catholic Engaged Encounter or Discovery Weekend. (Note: if you have already attended either one of these, inquire at the parish office if they recognize these weekend seminars in lieu of the parish's seminar.)

Permission: Permit from the parish of the bride must be secured and presented to the parish office of the chosen ceremony venue (form will be provided for by the parish office of your selected church.)

Wedding Banns: These will be provided during the canonical interview and have to be immediately brought to the respective parishes of the bride and the groom for posting. These have to be returned to the office after three Sundays. (Note: the respective parishes may ask some requirements for the posting of the banns [i.e. a picture each from the bride and the groom])

List of names and addresses of principal sponsors (Ninongs & Ninangs): This has to be submitted to the parish office one week before the wedding date. Church policy requires at least a pair of sponsors and, ideally, a maximum of six sponsors.

FOR WIDOW OR WIDOWER: A copy of the death certificate of the former spouse must be presented to the parish office.

FOR RENEWAL OF VOWS: remember to bring a copy of the Catholic Marriage Contract.

MARRIAGE OF FILIPINO AND FOREIGN NATIONAL IN THE PHILIPPINES

1. Philippine law requires a citizen or subject of a foreign country to obtain a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage. It is issued by the diplomatic or consular offices of his or her country, prior to the issuance of a marriage license in the Philippines. This serves as a clearance or permit from the consul as an actual proof of the subjectís civil status and his/her eligibility for marriage.

    Websites of Foreign Embassies in the Philippines:

2. After receiving the certificate of legal capacity to contract marriage both parties must proceed to the city hall or the municipality in which the Philippine national habitually resides. (where he or she has lived for at least the last 6 months). You must then both present the certificate of legal capacity to contract marriage to the local civil registrar and apply for your marriage license. (Family Code of the Philippines, Article 9). Please refer all questions regarding the procedures and requirements necessary to apply for your marriage license directly to the local civil registrar issuing the marriage license.

3. After applying your marriage license, the information given in the application will be posted for 10 consecutive days inside the city hall or the municipality in which the Philippine national habitually resides. The marriage license will be issued after the completion of this 10-day period (Family Code of the Philippines, Article 17). 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 (Family Code of the Philippines, Article 20)

4. The marriage ceremony must be solemnized by an individual with the legal authority to perform such a ceremony. Upon the completion of the ceremony all participants (the presiding official, the witnesses, and the husband and wife) must sign the marriage certificate (Family Code of the Philippines, Articles 2-7).

5. 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. (Family Code of the Philippines, Article 23). Please remember to get certified true copies of the marriage contract from the local civil registrar.

CHURCH REQUIREMENTS FOR MARRIAGE WITH FOREIGNERS

Clearance: Foreigners who wish to apply for marriage with a Filipino citizen must first secure clearance from the Archdiocesan Chancery Office at the Arzobispado de Manila, 121 Arzobispo St., Intramuros, Manila (near Manila Cathedral). This clearance must be submitted to the Parish Office upon filing of application for the wedding.

Baptismal Certificate: This must the original and obtained not more than three months from the wedding date. It must have the annotation: "FOR MARRIAGE PURPOSE ONLY." This is a requirement for BOTH bride and groom whether they are Catholic or not.

Certification of freedom to marry: This can be obtained from the Catholic Pastor, Protestant Minister or the Embassy of the foreigner.

Marriage license: this can be obtained from the civil authorities; or a Marriage Contract if already married with the civil registry number.

Permission and certification of singularity: This can be obtained from the parish of the bride if she is Catholic.

Military clearance: This has to be secured from the base military authorities specifically from the immediate Commanding Offices ONLY if any of the parties belong to the military.

For Non-Catholic: A certification of his/her legal capacity to marry. Has to be obtained from his/her embassy or from the country of origin.

Marriage banns: These have to be posted for three consecutive Sundays.

Dispensation: A dispensation from the impediment of mixed marriage/religion (Disparitas Cultas) has to be obtained if necessary.

Widow and Widower: The death certificate of the former spouse has to be presented to the office.

Divorced parties: A document of the Declaration of Nullity promulgated by the Catholic Memorial Tribunal or a certification from the Bishop of the party that he/she is free to marry has to be presented to the Archdiocesan Chancery Office for authentication and clearance.