Wedding Legal Requirements in the Philippines

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Marriage is a legal union between a man and woman under the eyes of the law and church (for those who also considers this). When doing wedding preps, both couple needs to make sure that all their legal documents are ready. But where should you start? Filipinos who are both based in the Philippines will find these easy but for those who are based overseas like us, we were told by the very helpful wedding suppliers that we need to be keen on the validity of our certificates. Yes, validity. All certificates have expiration dates, just like the food that you’re eating now. But there are categories, depending if the couple is both Filipino or one is a foreigner and if the wedding ceremony is Catholic.

Generally, the legal requirements and procedures are as follows for both Filipinos who plan to marry:

UPDATED AS OF MARCH 2018 with NEW E-CENSUS RATE

FOR CIVIL PURPOSE (compulsory for all who have not been married before and whether you will have a Catholic or non-Catholic wedding rite)

  1. Marriage License – for non-civilly married couples only, personal appearance needed with valid and proof of residence (Cedula) when filed at your local municipality, 120 days/4 months validity
  2. PSA (former NSO) Original Birth Certificate ** – 6 months validity upon issuance, a requirement for Marriage License Application
  3. PSA (former NSO) Original Certificate of No Marriage/CENOMAR ** – 6 months validity upon issuance, a requirement for Marriage License Application
  4. Family Planning Seminar – for 25 years old and above; held at the Health Dept. of the City Hall where you applied for the marriage license; will be scheduled after you filed your Marriage License application and submitted the necessary requirements; need a personal appearance
  5. Parental Consent and Family Planning Seminar with Counselling – for 24 years old and below, a requirement for Marriage License Application; need a personal appearance
  6. Cedula – for both bride and groom, from where you permanently reside in the Philippines, requirement for Marriage License Application
  7. Barangay Clearance ** – some City Hall will require this
  8. Photos ** – some City Hall will require this
  9. Processing fee
  10. Annulment clearance paper (if previously married) – this is an annulment process for a previous Civil wedding
  11. Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage – required for the foreign spouse only, this will state whether the foreign party has never been married, widowed or was previously divorced; this will come from their own Embassy located in the Philippines which should be signed by the duly Consul; requirements vary depending on the country

 

FOR CATHOLIC RITES PURPOSE

All these docs should be submitted to your church 2 months before the wedding. If you have issues with time, contact your local church for more info.

  1. Baptismal Certificate with annotation for Marriage Purpose – 6 months validity,
  2. Confirmation Certificate with annotation for Marriage Purpose – 6 months validity
  3. Certificate of Freedom to Marry +only for based overseas, secure it from your local parish, 6-12 months validity (refer to your parish for more info)
  4. Pre-Cana or Wedding Seminar Certificate of Attendance – can be done at your parish overseas but check with your church first if they will allow it/4 months; need a personal appearance
  5. Marriage Banns Permit – done for 3 consecutive Sundays from you and your fiance’s local churches in the Philippines if no one objects you may secure a No Objective Marriage Permit to be submitted to the church where you will wed
  6. Canonical Interview – will be scheduled if all documents are submitted already
  7. Marriage License Permit from City Hall (120 days validity, see above requirements) if not yet civilly married, but if civilly married you can just submit your PSA/NSO Marriage Contract
  8. List of Principal Sponsors (with address and contact info)
  9. Name of Priest (with License and order) – if you’re getting your own
  10. PSA (former NSO) Birth Certificate ** (some church may ask for this)
  11. PSA (former NSO) CENOMAR ** (some church may ask for this)
  12. Processing fee
  13. Confession – this is something personal
  14. Annulment clearance paper – for people who have been previously married in the Catholic Church; that is acquired from your Archdiocese or contact your church for more info  (if previously married) – this is an annulment process for a previous Church wedding and is different from the Civil rites annulment process
  15. Clearance from the Archdiocesan Chancery Office (Archbishop’s Office, 121 Arzobispo St., Intramuros, Manila) – for “mixed marriages” where the other party is a non-Catholic; prior to securing this, additional requirements aside from those listed above will be Letter of Approval  from the Pastor of the Non-Catholic sect that they allow you to be married and that you have never been married, Dispensation Approval from the Parish Priest where the foreigner resides (in PH or abroad), Legal Capacity to be Married from the embassy if foreigner etc. Better to check with the Archbishop’s Office for more info.

 

FOR NON-CATHOLIC RITES PURPOSE

Check with your local church, sect and/or Pastor for specific requirements

 

Note: 
(*) can be applied online and delivered to your Philippine address. Just make sure that you will personally order it online and address one of your family members who’s in the Philippines as the recipient
(**) additional requirement that is specific to your Church or City Hall for submission especially with the validity of the documents 
(+) check with your local parish. If based in Middle East (Kuwait, KSA, Qatar, and Bahrain check AVONA website)

TIPS:

  1. For those who are based overseas, it is way easier to acquire your NSO Birth Certificate and NSO CENOMAR through the E-Census website. We used this to get our NSO docs and it was delivered around 7 working days (max) in our house in SJDM City. It’s Php 315 per Birth Certificate copy and Php 415 per CENOMAR copy. Delivery charge is already included. We paid online using our BDO Kabayan ATM/debit card. For inquiries about your PSA Civil Registration record, call +63 2 926 7333 and for inquiries regarding your E Census order and delivery, call +63 2 981 7702image
  2. You can opt to have a representative with valid SPA to obtain your approved Marriage license from the City Hall. But inquire directly with your City Hall first since different rules apply for different localities.

Confused on what to do first? Don’t fret! For a quick timeline on what you’re supposed to start with here’s our Step-by-Step Wedding Legal Requirements Process, click HERE.

What to have an idea how to obtain a Certificate of Freedom to Marry from your church overseas? Please click HERE.

To get an idea of how we did it. Please see this post Wedding Legal Requirements Timeline HERE.

You haven’t done your Confirmation ceremony yet? Don’t worry, you can check Express Kumpil in Manila HERE.

Some reference credit to SAC, to our Coordinator and HERE  🙂 

Happy preps!

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37 thoughts on “Wedding Legal Requirements in the Philippines

  1. Hi Miss Aiki, can i ask where did you get your pre-cana? Is it overseas or did you get it in your local parish before the wedding?Can you give me a timeline on how did you do your pre-cana, marriage banns and canonical interview. My Fiance and i are planning to get married on April 2018 and she is residing now in Germany and I’m in Leyte Province right now but were planning to do our wedding in Isabela Province. Your help will be most welcome. Thank you in advance and have a great day ahead.

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  2. Hi Maam.
    Thank you for posting this. I am confuse with dates of validity of CENOMAR. Our wedding will be on May 28, 2018. When should we get our NSO CENOMAR?

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    1. Hi Mikkay. All legal docs both from NSO and churches have expiration dates. To make sure that yours will be accepted, like CENOMAR in this case, the validity should cover your wedding date. Since your wedding is set on May 28 2018, make sure to get your CENOMAR whose validity is 6 months only after Nov 29 2017 so its expiration date will be on May 29 2018 for example. Better if you’ll get your docs with an expiration date at least a month’s allowance after your wedding date. Happy preps!

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  3. Goodevening miss Aiki,
    Is it okey if i apply my cenomar online now and pay it after 2 months? Will my application expire?

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  4. Thank you for a very detailed guide. I just have a problem with the time because we are based abroad right now. Is there any way to apply a marriage license even if we are here abroad? We have our CENOMAR and NSO Birth Cert. already. please help

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    1. Hi Leo. We are also both based abroad but we still managed to find time to process them when we went home since that’s our only way if we wanted to have 1 wedding rite on the same day altogether (civil and church). As per the law, personal appearance is needed when you apply for it.

      The other option would be to get married in the Philippine Embassy where you are both based for your civil rites, then use your PSA/NSO marriage certificate for your “revalida” church wedding later on.

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  5. Hi Ms. Aiki, can we apply for marriage license in the hometown of my fiance who’s already a Canadian citizen? Their family’s house is still there and they regularly come home for a vacation. Kindly advise. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Chinky. You can’t file on your fiance’s hometown since he’s not a Filipino citizen nor a Filipino permanent resident anymore since he won’t be able to acquire barangay clearance, cedula etc which is necessary for marriage license application. For his requirements as a Canadian citizen to be able to get married with a Filipino in the Philippines he needs to sought his own legal docs from the Canadian Embassy. Your only choice is to file in your hometown since you can present docs that you have permanent residence there.

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  6. Hi Miss Aiki, your site is very informative and helpful. THanks much.
    But I’m wondering, Pre-cana really needs both our personal appearance?
    I’m currently working and based in Singapore and she is in Cebu City.
    Do you think I can do Pre-cana in Singapore while she do it in Cebu City?.

    My schedule is really tight knowing that even booking for Pre-Marriage Seminar date needs our personal appearance (Hopefully our government will do something about this one, It is not a national security threat just for booking!)

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    1. Hi Uly. Thanks for appreciating the blog. Anyway as per your question, don’t be confused between the two pre-marriage seminars. Pre-cana is a seminar required by the church. Now, it actually depends on the church where you are currently based if they will allow you to have your pre-cana seminar without your fiancee since it’s a “couple seminar” and it defeats the purpose of going to one if you’re alone. To be sure better inquire with your Parish in SG. Also, since you’re an OFW, you need to also get a Certificate of Freedom to Marry from your parish in SG so just directly inquire with them for the details.

      When applying for a marriage license, all the requirements are as per the law. Personal appearance is strictly needed when you apply for it and for the pre-marriage seminar because the registry in the city hall needed to be sure that the person who is applying is the same person who is really going to be married. It’s the same as applying for a passport. Yes it is not a national security threat but the idea of ensuring that the same person who is undergoing this law-binding contract is the same person and not anybody else. It may be a hassle for everyone, especially for OFWs, but if you think about it it’s still the law. Besides, as an OFW, you are strictly following rules and regulations in SG right? So why would it be difficult to follow the simple rules that we have in PH? Just my opinion.

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  7. Hi. To avoid further confusion specially to our beloved kababayan’s specially the OFW’s I’d like to share this link with you, its a Press statement from Phil. Statistics authority regarding the validity of birth, death and marriage certificates issued from PSA (former NSO) this is in contrast to what you stated above. In which you mentioned 6 mos validity upon issuance regarding birth, death and marriage certificates.
    https://psa.gov.ph/content/press-statement-issue-civil-registry-documents-such-birth-death-and-marriage-certificates

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    1. Hi Ongz. Thanks for the link but as I have stated in my post above the validity is about the ISSUANCE as per submission to the City Hall when filing for Marriage License Application. It is but common sense that legal documents such as Birth Certificate, Marriage Contracts and the likes as issued by the NSO/PSA have NO EXPIRATION date but the issuance validity was AS PER PREFERENCE of the City Hall for the Marriage License Application. That’s why in my statements, I would always RECOMMEND for people to DIRECTLY INQUIRE with their City Hall since rules and regulations vary. Also, I did not mention anything about death and marriage contracts but only about birth certificates and CENOMAR which is a requirement for marriage license applications.

      And as stated by Ms Bersales of NSO/PSA, “Furthermore, we would like to emphasize that the decisions of the end-users (i.e. DFA, Embassies/Consulates, GSIS/SSS, etc.) to require its clients/applicants to submit birth documents in the most recent SECPA from the PSA for purposes of passport issuance, visa application, benefits claim, as a school requirement, among others, is beyond our control.#” –> This is clearly what I was intentionally referring to. Ito ay DEPENDE sa kung sino ang may kailangan, and in this scenario, ang City Hall na may sariling rules and regulations.

      By the way, as an FYI, all legal information stated in this blog has been carefully researched and were based from proper authorities. 🙂

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  8. Hi. I am actually a Born-Again Christian while my fiance is a Catholic. We’ll be doing this wedding/marriage in accordance to Catholic Rites purpose. Now, I’m a bit confused on which requirements should I follow, can you give me an advise? I am really got pressured on where should I start.

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    1. I’m hoping that you could reply as early as possible, because currently, I cannot understand which government sector should I ask for this and now I saw your website being most informative. Your site and your answers are betters than the registrars.

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      1. Hi James. Thanks for your kind words about our blog! First, don’t feel pressured. Wedding preps can be stressful but trust me you still a have a long way to go so save that energy and worry for later.

        So with regards to your question, whether you’re a Catholic or not you and your fiancé need to file a Marriage License application which would be a requirement to get married in the PH. All the requirements are already posted above.

        Now, since you’re a Non-Catholic and wanted to do a Catholic rites wedding, either you’d convert to become a Catholic which would entail you to get baptized in the Catholic rites and have your Confirmation as well to start. But if you don’t want that option, you need to inquire with the Catholic church where you will get married since they will be the one to inform you additional requirements like getting an Approval from the Archdiocese where the Church is based (example would be Archdiocese of Manila) unless stated otherwise. After that, the church will require you and your fiancé to attend Pre-Cana seminar and submit all the other necessary documents. The list is already posted above, only unless your church will require more.

        Also there are instances that you will need to get permission from your sect about this marriage rite preference so inquire with that as well. I would always strongly advise to inquire directly. If you can’t come, just give them a call. That’s what we did since we’re both based overseas.

        I hope that helps!

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  9. Wow.. that gives me a relieve to have that information. You really help us a lot.
    So from those words that you mentioned, all I have to do is to get all of those Basic Updated requirements of 2018 before I get worried about the catholic wedding rites? Is that right?.

    If I’m not mistaken the proper procedure I follow must be:
    1st – Basic Requirements
    2nd – Baptismal Certificate with annotation for Marriage Purpose (I dont know if I was nabinyagan in Non-Catholic church, therefore this is another issue I have to check and done.)
    3rd – Confirmation Certificate with annotation for Marriage Purpose (I really dont know where should I get this.)
    4th – then Pre Cana and below right ?..

    and everything must be done within 4-6 months due to issuance validity

    My goodness., I have only 3 Months preparation left before the precious wedding day. I have to run my brain into Octa-core system ^^. If I’m correct then worrying comes later on. Thank you for the guidance.

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    1. Hi James. You’re welcome!

      That’s correct. No one is exempted with the civil rights docs for marriage license application only stated otherwise.

      Please take note that the required baptismal and confirmation certificates with marriage purpose annotation should come from a Catholic church and not from your Christian sect if you wish to push through with a Catholic rites wedding.

      The issuance validity will vary depending on the city hall where you will apply your marriage license and catholic church where you intend to get married.

      Confirmation certificate can be acquired from the Catholic church where you had your confirmation or kumpil. You can only have it after being baptized under a Catholic rite. If you don’t intend to convert, inquire directly with the Catholic church where you wish to get married for the additional requirements for you to be married there with a Catholic bride aside from the permission from the Catholic Archbishop.

      You can check our other posts — Steps by Steps Wedding Legal Process and Our Wedding Legal Timeline so you can have an idea how we did it. Just plan it out accordingly. All of the posts in our blog is summarized and categorized here –> https://ourbudgetdreamwedding.com/quick-links

      Happy to help!

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  10. Hi Ms. Aiki! I’am truly grateful to see your blog! 🙂 Like you I’am an overseas bride here in Kuwait na sobrang stressed out na para sa wedding preps. (dito din po kayo based right?) 😀 We are aiming to get married by March 2019 and up to this very moment zero pa kami sa lahat ng preps kasi nga di ko alam where to start and nahihirapan ako sa mga requirements and timeline na binibigay ng Church. Hindi na kasi kami makaka-uwi sa Pinas ni Husband-to-be until mga Feb of next yr. Do you think possible na matapos namin lahat ng requirements without going back sa Pinas before the wedding? I would really appreciate your opinion.

    Thank you again for all the information na na-share mo dito. 🙂
    God bless!

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    1. Hi Anne Marie. Thanks for appreciating the blog and you’re welcome 🙂 We’re glad the info here has helped you so far in your wedding preps.

      As per you question, yes we are both based here in Kuwait. It’s nice to know another Kayaban here 🙂 Yes it is possible to do majority of the Church requirements. You can check our wedding timeline here https://ourbudgetdreamwedding.com/quick-links/ naka summarized lahat ng posts namin diyan including yung Step by Step Wedding Legal Process post. Under sa wedding timeline namin, monthly naka note yung mga ginawa namin for 15 months ng preps namin, especially yung mga kinaya namin magawa habang andito kami. Though may mga docs talaga na need mo ipakisuyo sa kapatid or relative mo nasa pinas, but before doing so be sure na ok lang yun sa church niyo. So first thing you need to do is to contact your church to know ano yung ok sa kanila or hindi. Better call them directly so you’ll get first hand information. That’s actually what we did kaya it was easier for us to plan everything. If you’ll also notice sa post ko diyan, 1 month nakauwi ako ng Manila, but to just double check things. In your case if hindi kaya, make sure na you’ll have enough time, advisable at least 1 month before your wedding date para maayos niyo lahat especially yung application for Marriage License and family planning seminar. But if married na kayo dito sa Embassy, kahit 2 weeks before the wedding ok na since no need for that dahil original PSA Marriage Contract na lang ipasa niyo sa church. Check niyo na lang sa list above yung timeframe for the needed requirements sa church and yung validities, but again depende yan sa Church ha since magkakaiba rules nila minsan.

      God bless din 🙂

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  11. Hi ms akie ! Ask ko lang po we are both based here in abu dhabi , luckily allowed kami na ayusin lahat ng church requirements dito including marriage bann , iindicate lang po namin na ang church namin ay dito. Okay lang po ba yun ? Then un marriage license namin is iaapply sa pinas ? Salamat po 🙂

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    1. Hi Angelyn. Please take note that the processing of the catholic church documents and civil documents are separate. Madami kasi na confuse dito.
      When it comes to your church docs, if allowed ng church where you will be married to have your marriage banns in Abu Dhabi (assume ko sa St. Marys ito right?), double check niyo uli kasi baka you need to have the Marriage Banns permit to be authenticated pa sa Philippine Embassy. Kung ganun kasi, mas expensive yun. You can have it processed naman sa Pinas through your relatives, just be sure you’ll be able to submit the pre-requisite docs like baptismal, confirmation, and other requirements as per your church. Just inform them na OFW kayo.

      When it comes sa civil docs, yes you have to personally apply it kung saan kayo nakatira ng fiance mo if hindi pa kayo civilly married diyan. But if you are, you only need to present your PSA marriage contract.

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  12. Hi ms. Aki ! So thankful tlaga sa blog mo daming makukuhang idea . Ask ko lang po kc we are based here in abu dhabi , and inallow po kami ng church na iprocess ang church requirements dito , including marriage bann lahat lahat na daw po at iindicate lang namin eto un church kung san kami nakatira . Sila na daw po bahala mag communicate sa church na napili namin for wedding sa pinas , Okay lang po ba yun ? D po ba magkakaproblem? Pero sa pinas pa din ang application ng marriage license tama ? Salamat

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    1. Hi again Angelyn. You’re welcome! We’re happy that our blog has been a big help to your wedding preps. 🙂

      As per your question uli the marriage bann is posted for 3 consecutive Sundays after mass where you and your hubby resides. If you’ll both indicate na taga Abu Dhabi kayo and the church where you will get married will really allow it, then okay yun. But after getting the permit, be sure na you don’t need to have it authenticated by the Philippine embassy pa kasi it will be expensive talaga.

      I cannot assure na hindi mag ka problem since hindi yan yun process na ginawa namin. As you can see here https://ourbudgetdreamwedding.com/2017/05/22/our-wedding-legal-requirements-timeline/ and here https://ourbudgetdreamwedding.com/2017/10/09/step-by-step-wedding-legal-requirements-process/ sa Pinas namin ginawa yung Marriage Banns through the help of our relatives.

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  13. Hi Ms. Aiki. I would like to ask if is it ok to get the marriage license and use it anywhere in the Philippines as long as it is within the validity period of 120 days? Like if I’m going to get it in Manila & I’ll use it in Muntinlupa? Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

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  14. hi ma’am aiki, pano po pag hindi pa nag kompil pano po gagawin? at regarding po sa wedding bans? pano po gagawin yun? o simbahan napo ang magbibigay samin tapos ibibigay namin sa kanya kanyang parish church namin?

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