Requirements to Get Married in the Philippines - Foreigner Edition

Wedding rings on a Bible

If you fell in love with a Filipino or Filipina and want to get married in the Philippines, you might want to know how to get started with the process. I'd like to warn you, though. It's nothing like getting married in your home country. In short, you'll need an affidavit of legal capacity to marry, CENOMAR, passport copies, and attend counseling. If you are going to get married in a church, you'll be required to provide additional paperwork at that parish. If you are previously divorced, you'll be asked to provide divorce records at your embassy and at the government offices along with churches of any kind.

If you are a Filipino marrying a Filipina (or the other way around), skip steps 2 and 4.
  1. If you are 25 or younger, you will have to receive permission from your parents. If your partner is 25 or younger, they'll have to do the same.
  2. You'll have to secure your affidavit of legal capacity to marry. You do this by visiting your local embassy. Don't worry, it's easy and quick. When I got mine at the US Embassy, I was required to get an appointment a month ahead of time. I got there an hour and a half early and they let me right in. I got it after about 20 minutes. It'll cost around $40. You will be sworn in and asked questions. You will also be asked to answer some questions on a piece of paper.
  1. You must get a CENOMAR from your local NSO (National Statistics Office). This can take a couple of hours at the least. Remember that both the man and the woman need it, regardless of whether they are Filipinos or not. I made the mistake of not getting the CENOMAR since I'm a foreigner. We went to the office to get the marriage contract and they told me I had to have it. Silly, since I already had to get the paper at the embassy, but whatever. The bureaucracy in the Philippines is insane, so just do it. It'll cost a few hundred pesos.
  2. You'll need your passport photocopied (arrival, Visa, passport photo page, etc). If you are female, you will need your birth certificate.
  3. Go to your local marriage license office (in Bacolod, it is in the New Government Center). You will be told you must attend marriage counselling and possibly told to fill out paperwork first. If you don't attend, you can't get married. In Bacolod, it's every Tuesday and Thursday. It's pretty generic stuff. You'll be asked to fill out a sheet of paper with a ton of questions on it. It is basic stuff that you should both think about before getting married. The counselling session is mostly about birth control.
  4. You'll have to fill out additional paperwork at the marriage license office if you didn't do it before the counceling. After the paperowrk is finished, you'll be given a date when it'll be released to you. It should be between 7 and 10 days. Come back and get it! It's important!
  5. You must get married by either a priest or a judge. You can't get married by anyone else. If you want to get married by a priest, head to the church with and find out what requirements you must get done. If it's a Catholic church, you'll most likely need Baptism and Confirmation records along with church announcements. If you aren't getting married in your local Barangay's church, you'll also be told to receive a release from the church to do so. It'll cost around 1,000 pesos to do so.
After the wedding is over, you'll have to wait around three months before you can pick up the license at the NSO.