Wedding Legal Requirements in the Philippines


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 our very helpful 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:


FOR CIVIL PURPOSE (compulsory for all, catholics or non-catholics alike)

  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. NSO Original Birth Certificate * – 6 months validity, requirement for Marriage License Application
  3. NSO Original Certificate of No Marriage/CENOMAR * – 6 months validity, 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 personal appearance
  5. Parental Consent and Family Planning Seminar with Counselling – for 24 years old and below, requirement for Marriage License Application; need 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 come from their own Embassy located in the Philippines as signed by the duly Consul; requirements vary depending on the country



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 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 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. NSO Birth Certificate ** (some church may ask for this)
  11. NSO CENOMAR ** (some church may ask for this)
  12. Processing fee
  13. Confession – this is something personal
  14. Annulment clearance paper 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


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

(*) 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
(+) check with your local parish. If based in Middle East (Kuwait, KSA, Qatar and Bahrain check AVONA website)

**Tip!** 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.

**Tip!** 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.

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

Happy preps!


16 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.


  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?


    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!


  3. 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


    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.


  4. 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!


    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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