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Getting Married in the Philippines

Discussion in 'Life in the Philippines' started by Howerd, May 5, 2011.

  1. Howerd

    Howerd Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    We are now thinking of getting married in the Philippines, for various reasons...

    1. One less obstacle in proving a relationship does exist (having read a few stories on here and elsewhere)
    2. A chance to meet ALL of my loved one's family and friends.
    3. My loved one will be able to work as soon as she arrives in UK (the company I work for will take her on a self-employed basis if she passes a test)
    4. She can bring her son at the same time.
    5. One less visa to buy.

    But the questions is: How do we go about getting married in the Philippines? It is just not an option I have considered until 2-3 days ago so I know nothing of the requirements.

    I have never been married before and have no children. My loved one is still awaiting her annulment and has one child.
  2. Bigtombowski

    Bigtombowski Pinaka Gwapo

    You will need to prepare a fair amount of money to grease palms with.

    --Decide if it'll be a civil or religious wedding. If religious, talk to the pastor/priest/whatever, if not, talk to the mayor or judge who will officiate.

    --You will need to do some compulsory pre-marriage counselling. For me, the session lasted a full 8 hour day in an un-air-conditioned room

    --You will need to get a certificate of no imediment to contract marriage (CENOMAR). That's from the embassy.

    --You will need to go to the local government office to ask if there are any other requirements (as it may have changed since i got married 2 years ago)

    --If she is under the age of 25, you will need to get her parents/guardian to sign their consent to the marriage.

    That's all I can think of for now :D
  3. Howerd

    Howerd Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Many thanks, Tom. Just slightly confused about the CENOMAR. The CENOMAR is a Philippines document from the NSO that my fiancée will need to obtain. I think I have to obtain a CNI from the Embassy in Manila or the Consul in Cebu (where she lives).

    So, a seminar/counselling for marriage? I guess that is in addition to the seminar she will need to take before coming to the UK?

    Unsure yet if we will have a catholic wedding or a civil wedding. If it was in the UK we would certainly have just a registry office wedding but her family/friends may expect a proper wedding in the Philippines!

    I just hope all this can be done in a single 59 day visit?
  4. Bigtombowski

    Bigtombowski Pinaka Gwapo

    It can certainly be done on a single 59 day visit, but it takes a month for some documents to come through, so make sure you move fast, as if you make a mistake, you want to have time to rectify before it's too late....

    The cenomar is easy to get. Go to the UK embassy and pay through the nose, and get it in 10 minutes (as was my experience ... I flew all the way to bloody manila, stayed overnight, payed a fortune on taxis, and payed like 5000PHP for the damn thing).

    Be aware that you can get a "legal capacity" thing here in the UK for about £10 or £15 ... but it's no use in the Philippines ... I wasted money and time on that.

    Yes, the seminar pre-marriage is in addition to the scam ... oops, I mean seminar that she will have to endure ... ahem ... sorry, undertake before coming here.

    It's all seminars, and they ALL cost a pretty penny (hence justifying their existence).
  5. subseastu

    subseastu I'm Bruce Wayne Lifetime Member

    things may have changed from when I got married in olongapo in 2004 but as I remember it I did the notice of no impediment in the uk at my local registary office, I think this needs to be up for 21 days. Take this with you to the Uk embassy in manila and get it changed for a philippines one. this is simply and only took an hour or so. (a slight side story to this is as Liza and me are waiting I get talking to a brit bloke who declared me mad for getting married in the phils due to there being no divorce! you should get in the uk so you can bin her if it all goes south! Nice all said in front of my missus!!) then go to the local council offices to organise the correct paperwork. You need to be in the phils for atleast 52 days I think it was to qualify for this paper work, but we found a quiet chat by the side door of the offices with a nice young lady and a couple of thousand peso helped speed it all up to just over a week!!

    You then go to the church to see the priest so he can organise your service and seminar. Also to see if he can convert you if your not already catholic. I told him I'm aethest and it was ok after a raised eyebrow. The seminar ius all about how to produce kids as fast as possible from what I gathered, all they did was wheel out old couples and they told the young couples there about knocking out as many kids as possible otherwise their catholic god would be very cross and they wouldn't get into heavan!!! Obviously a good way of maintaining your high number of followers!!!. As Tom said it was an all dayer and was done in tagalog. I since found out later that another quiet word in the ear of the tutor and a few hundred pesos (500 I wa told) and you can get your cert given to you.

    Then it a matter of sorting the date out at your venue and reception. Things may have changed since then plus I've had a fair amount to drink over the last few years so some of it maybe made up for which I apologise.
  6. Bigtombowski

    Bigtombowski Pinaka Gwapo

    Ya, to add to what subs said above, to add my own experience

    --The "No Impediment" from the UK was worthless. I forgot to bring it, and they said it doesn't matter.

    --In my case, it only took about 10 minutes to get it all done when I got into the embassy in Taguig. I was the only one there though ;)

    --The seminar is done in local language (so I understood about 50% of the Bisaya at the time), but they will do more english for your sake.

    --The seminar was not religious in nature at all, but quite biological, but it's condescending, and teaches you all about sex, and how to make babies and things like that ... in case you didn't know. My wife never learned those things from her studies in Midwifery :)::snarky::)
  7. Micawber

    Micawber Renowned Lifetime Member

    On the issues of getting married in Pinas.

    KeithAngel has just done all this so hopefully Keith will provide plenty of hints and tips based on his recent experiences.

    In general terms though here's my input on how it goes something like this:-

    When you travel to the Philippines from UK you get a free 21 day visa stamp from immigration upon at arrival.
    When you arrive you must also have an ongoing ticket to either your orgininating country or another country.

    If you want to stay longer than 21 days you can get a 38 day extension (21days + 38days = 59days) at an immigration office in the Phils.
    Better to do this at least one week before your visa expiration. Remember everything takes time in the Phils.
    I have often heard that it's possible to purchase the extension upon arrival at the airport. But I have no personal experience of this. Nor how much it would cost.

    If it was me, I would seriuosly consider getting the 59 day visa from the Phils Embassy/Consulate in UK before you leave.
    This could be useful as both a money saver and time saver. The cost is only about £22 (I think the 38 day extension is about £50 in Phils)

    If you have all your 'ducks lined up' with all your paperwork etc, you should have no problems getting married within the 59 days visa limit.
    You may need to check the latest info for paperwork needed etc a couple weeks before flying out, but in principle:-

    Your Birth certificate

    Certificate of No Impediment to Marry from local registry office. Then present these documents to the Embassy/Consulate in the Philippines to be issued a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry. This certificate is needed for the application of a marriage license.
    Now, here again I know of a great many people who have reported back that they were also required to obtain a CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage) from NSO (National Statistics Office) so you need to seriously think about doing this as well.

    Apply for the marriage license in your fiancée's home town at the registry office. (or the locality of where marriage will take place)
    After you apply for the license there is a mandatory 10 day waiting period while the marriage banns are published

    Usually (sometimes depending on your ages or background etc) you might also be required to attend the CFO's guidance and counseling program counseling sessions.After attending the guidance and counseling requirements, the CFO issues the guidance and counseling certificate.
    After receipt of the passport and visa, Filipino spouses have to register with CFO prior to their departure.
    An emigrant registration sticker (CFO sticker) is fixed to the passport as proof of registration.

    Anyway, all in all there's no reason why you can't accomplish all this in less than 30 days, which means you still get time for a honeymoon.

    If for whatever reason you need to stay on beyond the 59 days you will need to extend your visa in two month increments at any immigration office up to 16 months. Beyond that, further extensions require approval by the main office in Manila. This can continue up to a total of another 8 months (4X two month extensions). Eventually you will have reached 24 months in Phils.
    At that point you must then leave the country. Although you can return immediately to start another 24 month process.

    After 59 days extension you need the Alien Certificate of Registration.
    This is now the ACR I-Card and is a microchip-based credit card-sized identification card issued to registered aliens replacing the paper-based ACR.
    It has an embedded computer chip with biometric security features capable of data management and can be updated electronically.
    It is fraud and tamper-proof/resistant with the following data:

    1.Personal information such as name, age, date of birth, place of birth, etc.
    3.Date and status of admission
    4.Visa type granted/date granted/date issued/expiry date
    5.Biometric information (2 digitalized fingerprint templates)
    7.ACR and ICR/NBCR/CRTV/CRTT/CRTS and CRPE numbers
    8.Travel details
    9.Payment of immigration fees details

    The ACR I-Card serves as the Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC),
    Re-entry Permit (RP) and Special Return Certificate (SRC) of the holder upon payment of the required fees.

    I would be most suprised if you needed more than 59 days though
  8. Micawber

    Micawber Renowned Lifetime Member

    Off-topic I know.
    And I'm sure you have checked and double-checked the HMRC definition of Employed and Self-employed, hope it helps, but if not helpful to you it may
    be helpful to others.

    Your future wife will be under FLR conditions and will need to carefully comply with employment regulations and provide supporting evidence. Better safe than sorry.

    Look here:-

    No offence Howerd, just be carefull
  9. Howerd

    Howerd Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Thanks Micawber. I assume that I need the CNI for myself for the embassy/consul and that my loved one will get a CENOMAR for herself. I cannot see how I could get a CENOMAR for myself from the NOS.

    I did know about the 38 day extension to a 21 day Visa but have no experience of applying as my only stay in the Philippines to date has been 15 days; I think you are right - it is better to get a full 59 day visa before I leave the UK, but I don't know if there is a special Visa for getting married in the Philippines?

    It seems there may be a requirement to attend two seminars? One before getting married in the Philippines and one before my then wife leaves the country? Is that correct?
  10. Bigtombowski

    Bigtombowski Pinaka Gwapo

    mate you do need a CENOMAR for you too, I got mine from the same place as the missus got hers. It's meaningless paperwork that can't be proven that what you declare is true or not. It's just a money spinner, so in short, you DO need to get one (unless the regulations have changed).

    There is NO special visa for getting married in the Philippines, just go as usual.

    You and your Fiancee need to go to the Pre-Marriage counselling seminar.
    Your Fiancee alone needs to go to the CFO seminar, as it's about Filipinos living overseas, and how to be careful and avoid abuse etc. etc.
  11. Kuya

    Kuya The Geeky One Staff Member

    My mahal is over 25, do we still need counselling at one of those seminars?
  12. Howerd

    Howerd Well-Known Member Lifetime Member


    Good to know that I don't have to convert to Catholicism if we want to get married in the Catholic church. I would class myself as 'agnostic'.

    I am not so young, so not sure how many kids might be produced from our union but if they are telling me all this in Tagalog I won't understand a word so I won't know if it is condescending or not; I am sure their heart will be in the right place though.

    From what I read about KeithAngel, he did attend the CFO seminar for Filipinos emigrating overseas, though I think that was not strictly necessary. If I am in the Philippines at the time I will certainly be willing to go. Anyone know if the CFO seminar is also in Tagalog with the nuns in Cebu?
  13. Howerd

    Howerd Well-Known Member Lifetime Member


    Thanks for the info on self-employment. I am self employed and my future wife will do exactly the same work as me; so she will get registered as self-employed, pay her NI contributions. That way she will qualify for a state pension any any benefits linked to NI contributions. She will also be included in my claim for Working Tax Credit and will get Child Tax Credit once her son arrives in the UK.

    I don't think she will want to do the work I do long-term (I do market research by phone from home) but it is an excellent way to start working in the UK as the companies I work for take people on based on an internet test; she could take this test whilst still in the Philippines and, if successful, that should help with her Spouse Visa application.
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
  14. Howerd

    Howerd Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    I have been looking into this and it seems she will not have to attend the marriage and counselling seminar...

    Pre-Marital Counseling and Family Planning Seminar:

    If either of you are between the ages of 18 and 25, you will need to show proof to the local civil registrar that you have received marriage counseling. If you do not receive marriage counseling, your marriage license will not be issued for three months.
  15. Bigtombowski

    Bigtombowski Pinaka Gwapo

    Howerd said:

    That is an exception, rather than the rule. I wouldn't have been allowed in, as there is a lot of rather proprietary material taught which isn't supposed to be known by the husband.

    Which means that you need to be about for 3 months prior to your wedding. Best to do the seminar, waste 8 hours of your life and not go through the bother of having to hang about the Philippines waiting for your doc to come though (esp if you have work to go to back in UK). My missus was 21 when we married, so it had to be done, but I also had to attend (as is my understanding).
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
  16. Howerd

    Howerd Well-Known Member Lifetime Member


    So, I will probably not attend any seminar then! My wife-to-be is 30 and I am older than her!
  17. Howerd

    Howerd Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Seems it is best to get a CNI from the UK, otherwise there will be a delay of 42 days in getting the CNI from the British Embassy in the Philippines. Arrive in the Philippines with a UK CNI (and other required documentation) and the British Embassy in Manila or the Consul in Cebu will issue the CNI within 24 hours!
  18. Bigtombowski

    Bigtombowski Pinaka Gwapo


    you will waste your money getting one from the UK. I paid for one and left it here by accident. Went to the Embassy in Manila (no appointment, nothing) ... got the CNI within 10 minutes.

    It's always best not to underestimate the amount of bother and bullcrap you will encounter when trying to do things in the Philippines, thus, if things are optional, but save you bother in the long run (such as the pre-marriage seminar) it's best to do those things.

    that's just my dos centavo!
  19. Howerd

    Howerd Well-Known Member Lifetime Member


    This is the information from the embassy...

    If you have not obtained a CNI issued by a Registrar of Marriages in the United Kingdom you will have to comply with the Marriage with Foreigners Act 1906. This requires that you reside in the Philippines for 21 clear days before giving notice of your intended marriage and this period of residence must be immediately prior to acceptance of the Notice. Twenty-one clear days means that the day you arrive in the Philippines or the day you submit your Notice of Intention to Marry may not be counted. When the notice is accepted, your physical presence in the Philippines is not required.

    When you give notice of your intended marriage, you will be required to swear an Affidavit before a Consular Officer/Honorary Consul to the effect that you are not aware of any impediment to the marriage (including previous marriages). Your Notice of Marriage will then be displayed in a public place in the Embassy/Consulate for a further 21 clear days (excluding the day you swear the Affidavit). The local CNI will be issued the day after the 21 clear day period has elapsed and you should collect it from the Embassy/Consulate as soon as possible thereafter. The local CNI must be used within 3 months of date of issue. This whole process therefore takes 42 DAYS.

    I certainly don't want to delay by 42 days just because I failed to get a CNI from a UK registrar! A UK CNI is £30, but a wasted 42 days in the Philippines is a lot more than £30.
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
  20. Bigtombowski

    Bigtombowski Pinaka Gwapo

    okies ... I guess my marriage is just lucky, but hey, I got married in Bayawan City, Philippines, December 2008 ... and they weren't stricto to the law. You're right, you had better do it by the book, because depending on where you're getting married, they may have a more rigid interpretation of the law. Just wanted to throw in my 2pence worth, and my experience, but certainly, I do agree that the letter of the law trumps anecdotal evidence any-day! :) :like::grouphug:

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