Family Reunion Visa / VISA

Getting Married in the Philippines

Of course, what else can be more romantic, but vows exchanged in front of your family and friends. It is tedious, unlike marriage in Hongkong or Denmark, yet it is definitely all worth it. We personally got married in the Philippines last May 2011 in front of family friends and relatives and the judge of Lipa City. It was stressful, yet the best day of my life so far. Hence, to help you out a bit, and lessen the stress on preparing for the wedding, here are the things you need to know:

  • You have to apply for marriage license, which expires after 120 days. Hence, you should be married within 120 days. Marriage license requirements are the following:
    • From the Filipino:
      • Birth certificate on NSO paper
      • CENOMAR on NSO paper
      • Cedula
      • Passport ID picture
      • Affidavit of parental consent, if you are 18-21 years of age
      • Affidavit of parental advice, if you are 22-25 years of age
      • For widower: Death certificate of spouse on NSO paper
      • For annulled marriages: certificate of finality of annulment issued by the court.
      • For divorcee: Please read the following quote from the Philippines Embassy:
        • “Note: Divorce is not allowed in the Philippines and divorce secured anywhere by a Filipino is not recognized in the Philippines except in the case of a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse. 

          Before the Filipino spouse can remarry under Philippine law, the following guidelines shall be followed in the annotation of the foreign-issued divorce decree with the Office of the Civil Registrar General, Philippines: 
          1. The foreign divorce decree must be judicially enforced in the Philippines by filing the proper civil action at the Philippine Regional Trial Court.
          2. The divorce decree must be proven in court. Proof of its authenticity and due execution must be presented.
          3. The court decision shall be registered in the Local Civil Registry Office.
          4. The registered document shall be submitted to the Local Civil Registrar where the affected civil registry documents (birth, marriages, etc.) are registered.


          The decision of the Philippine Court is the basis for the annotation of the divorce decree issued by the Foreign Court.”

    • From the German:
      • Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage (Ehefähigkeitszeugnis) (will discuss in next post)
      • Passport ID picture
      • Date of arrival (latest) as stated in passport
      • Identification card or passport
      • CENOMAR on NSO paper
      • For widower: death certificate of spouse
      • For divorcee: divorce paper
    • From both parties:
      • Pre-marriage counselling Certificate of Attendance (we were not able to see our certificate personally, because we opted not to finish the seminar and took necessary leaflets only and then signed the attendance sheet, we were just asked to go back after 10 working days to get our marriage license. Others who opted not to take this seminar said they paid certain fees, but in our case, I paid Php 0.00!)
      • Payment for the processing of marriage license. I forgot exactly how much it is, but it is only between Php100-200.00. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • Have at least 2 photocopies of each documents.
  • Decide whether you wanted a civil or church wedding. The requirements are as follows:
    • For civil wedding:
      • Marriage license (which gets available 10 days after you have completed all the requirements stated on above bullet)
      • Civil wedding officiate (a judge or mayor) and legitimate venue. Usually it is done in court, but if the officiating person would allow it, you can do that in other venue, which was our case, we rented an events center and left the set up to the venue manager.
      • At least 2 witnesses to sign the contract.
    • For church wedding:
      • Marriage license from the LCR.
      • Passport ID pictures for the marriage banns
      • Marriage banns (which will be posted for at least 3 weeks, hence you must prepare everything at least a month before the planned wedding date)
      • Birth certificates of both parties (in NSO paper for Filipino)
      • Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage of the German
      • Baptismal and Confirmation certificates (and these should be freshly printed from the parish church! At least 3 months old and with stamp: for marriage purposes only).
      • Pre-Cana seminar
      • Canonical interview
      • List of entourage/ copy of wedding invitations
      • Church reservation
      • Additional church clearance from the foreigner 
        • “If you will be married in a church, you need to go to the Archdiocesan Chancery Office at the Archdiocesan Chancery Office at the Arzobispado de Manila (121 Arzobispo St., Intramuros, Manila–near Manila Cathedral) to secure clearance. Again, getting this document entails a list of requirements–which may vary depending on the foreigner’s nationality. The clearance can then be submitted to the parish office of your chosen church upon filing of application for the wedding. Also, each parish may have a different set of additional prerequisites (aside from the clearance). For example, Japanese nationals require a separate clearance from CSSR (Traveler’s Life Bldg., T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila). Chinese citizens can get clearance from St. Jude Parish (J.P. Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila). Give your chosen parish church a visit or a call to inquire about additional clearances or documents needed according to your partner’s citizenship. Also, supplementary clearance papers are needed according to specificity of your fiance’s status (i.e. military personnel, widower, divorcees, non-Catholics, etc.) before your chosen church gives the go-signal to your wedding ceremony.” – http://www.bridalbook.ph 
  • Germans are private people, as much as possible, have only a solemn wedding, i.e. invite only close friends and relatives. It also makes the ceremony personal and romantic (one failure I made, I let my mom do the invitation list, we ended up with most guests we barely know personally and those we know was only 5% of the whole guests list). But if it is okay with your fiance to have big wedding, then, scratch off this part.
Sample of application for marriage license form. (photo from http://www.pinoyingermany.blogspot.com)
  • Right after marriage, please take note of this: PROCESS YOUR MARRIAGE CONTRACT YOURSELF! Here are the steps:
    • When you report the marriage at the Local Civil Registry Office, request for your marriage certificate to be processed using the PIECEMEAL PROCESS.
    • They will provide you an envelope with endorsement letter sealed inside, and is addressed to the National Statistics Office. At the same time, they will give you stapled documents (contains copy of endorsement letter, marriage contract, and contact details of NSO), these documents serves as your received copy and to be used to follow up for your marriage contract in NSO.
    • Go to the nearest LBC store and send this envelope to NSO.
    • Wait for 2-3 weeks and then you may follow up the NSO for your marriage certificate.
    • Failure to do this means waiting for 3-4 months before your marriage certificate will be available for you.

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35 thoughts on “Getting Married in the Philippines

  1. Hi Miss Anne,

    Thanks for the detailed info. I just need to clarify, the Cenomar needed for the German national, we can get this in our NSO (Philippines) or in Germany? This is one of the requirements applying for marriage license.

    Thanks 🙂

    • In my case, I also applied for cenomar from nso for my then bf, it’s to be sure that he is not married to other Filipina. And he also need this Ehefähigkeitszeugnis from Germany (the German equivalent of cenomar), so in Prinzip, 2.

      Anne

  2. Hi, I find your blog really helpful.

    Based on what you have researched, would you know which of the 2 is easier to obtain: family reunification visa (getting married in PH) or marriage visa (getting married in Germany)? And can you also share why?

    Thank you in anticipation!

    • Hi Nina! It’s difficult to judge which one is easier based on stories from various Pinays I met online and in Person. The cities in Germany does not follow common rules when it Comes to granting of visa. Some cities will wait for Background Investigation results, some cities would not ask for it, and that one determines the length of waiting period, be it marriage visa or Family reunification.

      To better explain it: (1) Family reunification visa: to get married, you Need the German’s legal capacity to contract marriage (Ehefähigkeitszeugnis) and some cities would conduct Investigation Prior to releasing this (will then take 5-6months before the said document reaches your fiance). Some cities will not require Investigation and this document can be available within a week to one month (this document can then be sent to German Embassy Manila to get the right doc for application of marriage license). BUT after marriage (i.e. visa application), the City decided to investigate on you, it will then take waiting period of 3-5months (depending how fast the Embassy sends the documents to Germany and vice versa). If lucky, the City will not investigate, so the visa can be released in a month or two.

      (2) marriage visa: same issues with Investigation, 3-5months depending how fast the documents travel to and from Germany (some may even take a year esp.for late registered birth certificate, they Need lots of documents). If lucky, there will be no Investigation, so 1 month to 3 months will be the longest.

      To make it short, sorry, I cannot give an accurate answer (lol!). 🙂

      • Hello! I saw your reply just now. Thank you for being very helpful still. 🙂

        We decided to get married in the Philippines because family. It looks to be about the same work whichever way so it’s alright.

        My heartfelt gratitude to the patience and detailed work done by people behind this site. A blissful and prosperous 2016 to you!

        • Hi Nina!

          Thank you for your positive feedback on our blog. We are very much happy to help other Filipinos in small ways we know and despite the busy schedule. 🙂

          Best regards,
          Anne, Reeena, Jann & Jo

  3. I’m so glad that i came across your blog. My fiance and I are getting married in the Philippines in May, and we are quite confused with the process still. And we are both overseas too. My fiance would like to know if he has to get his baptism, confirmation, birth and legal capacity to marriage certificates be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy in Berlin before we process with our application in the Philippines? And how much time did you both allot in the Philippines before the wedding?

    Thank you so much in advance for your response. Really appreciate any input from people who went through the same experiences we are going through now. 🙂

    • Hi! First of all, our marriage was just a civil one, so I cannot give ample information about baptism, confirmation, etc. As for BC, the one that he can get from the Standesamt is good enough (provided it is in two languages, else, he needs it to be translated). As for legal capacity or Ehefähigkeitszeugnis, this one should be brought to German Embassy in Manila pa (can be processed by mail), the one that German Embassy will provide is the one necessary for the marriage license. I will try to tap Janine today if she has more to add, since as far as I know, their marriage was with a Pastor…

      For documents (Ehefähigkeitszeugnis, BC, divorce certificate if applicable) from Germany, we needed 5months for processing, but take note this is a case to case basis, my husband had a previous marriage and he moved to different cities in the past 5 years, so the processing took a while, Janine’s husband on the other hand needed only a day for this. Application of marriage license is fast as long as the documents are complete. Marriage license is valid only for 120 days.

    • Hello! For church & christian weddings, it is best that you contact the church or the pastor who you wishes to solemnize your wedding for the ‘list of requirements’ (these are all additional documents). Incase both of you do not have the same religion, you need to mention this too. The same way incase you plan to have it solemnize outside the church (beach wedding, pool wedding, garden wedding, etc.). It’s case-to-case basis in a way. They will have an interview with the both of you & will give you a pre-marriage counseling certificate which you will also need to submit when applying for your marriage contract. Hope this helps! Good luck and happy planning!!!

  4. My German boyfriend and I are planning to get married in May. But he is still in Germany because of his apprenticeship and only have 3weeks free for May. I just want to ask if it is possible to get married in May (Civil Wedding) even he only have 3 weeks vacation. Thank you for answering.

    • Hi Dianne!

      Personally, we were able to get married in 21 days, but that includes luck (such as available venue for short period of notice) and a little “connection” (for the processing of marriage license and who will conduct the marriage). First thing to do is bring the Ehefähigkeitszeugnis in German Embassy as soon as he arrives and as early as possible and ask if it is possible to have it the same day or next day. Marriage license has 2 weeks posting period before you can get married hence, you really need to maximize the use of each day from day one.

      Good luck!

  5. Hi, has anyone experience having civil wedding in Germany & then later on a catholic church wedding in the Philippines? How did you do it, given that German does not always have for example a one whole month to go to Philippines to fix all documents in person

      • Noch nicht. Ikaw ba, have you had any info gathered? When are you planning to get marry in the Phil?

      • No Mam.. So, we decided to have civil wedding here in Phils. and after that when we have much time to do all paperworks then we will have Church wedding.

  6. Hello Ms. Anne,

    You said that the Certificate to Contract Marriage from Germany can be sent to German embassy in Manila through mail. My question is how many days will it take to process the certificate in the German embassy? Can I be the one to pick it up? What do I need to pick the certificate on behalf of my fiance?

  7. Hello po.

    May plano po sana kaming magpakasal sa civil wedding ng live in partner kong german. Pero kasal po sya dati sa pilipina sa civil din po..and divorce po sila sa germany.
    They are already separated for almost 15 years. And the lady is german citizen now.
    Please advice.

    Thank you

    • Sorry, I have no idea how it would be. I fear mag-ppositive sa index of marriages pa din, if the ex did not report pa sa NSO yung divorce nila. But if nareport naman sa NSO, I think ok naman, just proceed with completion ng mga needed documents such as Ehefähigkeitszeugnis, etc.

  8. Hello po miss anne its me again.tanong ku lng po ung CENOMAR na nasa list requirements ng bf ko saan po yun makukuha? If dito po sa NSO phil. Kailangan po ba ng I.D nya para ma release po CENOMAR nya po? And pwede po ba ung copy lng ng passport nya kasi gusto ko po i release before sya dumating.at copy lng po nasa akin.

  9. Hello Ms. Anne. my german fiance and i are planning to get married here in the Philippines. I am worried about the family reunion visa, do you have any idea if all the family reunion visa application are 100% approve by the embassy? That is the question bothering me. Is there a chance that it would be disapprove? Thank you very much.

    • Hi! Don’t worry about it, there is a law governing families here, na hangga’t maaari ay magkasama ang mag-asawa. The only time na magkakaproblema lang naman ay kung Hindi kumpleto ang documents mo or may nakitang pamemeke sa documents. Ang FRV ay maaaring matagal lang maprocess (may narinig akong kwento noon na 6months sya naghintay, Yung kasabay ko yun sa pagsubmit ng passport sa embassy), but it will be approved kung walang problema sa documents mo. Kaya relax lang. Para mapabilis din, ay I suggest na mag-exam ka na ng A1, kasi yun din ang nagpapatagal, Hindi nila irerelease the visa unless may A1 certificate na. Exempted sa language lang ang mga may anak sa German.

      • Thank you Ms. Anne. And 1 thing din, na background check na kasi ang mga document ko because first plan talaga namin sa germany magpakasal kaso he can’t get an obligation because there is a new law about the income. Ok ang result sa lahat ng documents ko. Pwede ko ba yun gamitin by the time i’m going to apply the FRV? Kasi my reference Number na ako nun.

        • I think yes, kasi nung interview sa akin, tinanong ako nung interviewer kung nabackground check na ko, sabi ko hindi or hindi ko alam. So I think pwede mo gamitin yan lalo may reference number ka kasi hindi din mura un ha.

          • Mahal talaga, nagbayad siya duon ng 250 euro. Thank you so much Ms. Anne, gumaan yung pakiramdam ko. Pati ang fiance ko worried din na baka hindi ma approve ang visa ko. I let you know whatever the development kasi i want also to help others who had same problem with me through here. Laking tulong talaga ang reply mo sa akin.Thank you again.

          • Welcome! And yes, very much appreciated your feedback para makatulong sa iba who might have same case like yours in the future. Good luck! 🙂

  10. Hello po, may tanong lang po ako kong kailangan paba namin mag pa pre-canar seminar sa pare? Kasal napo kame dito sa Germany in Civil gusto po namin magpa kasal sa pinas sa Church. Thanks

    • Hi, have the same case…we just got married here in the Philippines few weeks ago, and in our case, we were still required to have this Pre-cana seminar…we also had an interview with the priest…we had a short examination (but nothing to worry about, just have to write the prayers and 10 commandments, as you know it, im not sure if it is applicable to all parishes)..we visited chancery office (this is required for (1) with foreign spouse and (2) with one/both is/are working abroad)…just make sure to have the required documents ready so that your Church secretariat can get your appointment to your Chancery.

      If you have a representative or if you are coordinating with Church Secretariat by yourself, just make sure to ask your questions or clarifications so that you will not have problems.

      Note: (1) did you report your German wedding to Philippine embassy in Germany? If yes, just be ready to have the NSO copy of your reported document (clarify to Church secretariat if you need this, in our case, it was required)… because, if not, you will have to apply for marriage license first which will take some time.

      (2) if you’re Catholic, you have to pass your baptismal certificate & confirmation certificate with note on it that it is for marriage purpose, I’m not sure though, if the note was required for both document, in my case, I had my confirmation (kumpil) on the same church where we were married, so i am not sure if they printed it with “for marriage purpose” annotations. The baptismal certificate has a validity of i think 3months, so make sure to get yours within the these period.

  11. Hello. I appreciate your blog so much. But I want to askask if that is all we need when we will decide to marry here in Philippines? Thank you for reply in advance.

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