WeddingPedia

How to Get Married in the Philippines if You are a U.S. Citizen

In WeddingPedia by wedding73 Comments

article originally appeared in filipinoweb.com

The U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, states that the requirements for getting married in the Philippines, if you are a U.S. Citizen, are as follows:

Affidavit of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage

Philippine law requires a citizen or subject of a foreign country to obtain a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage, issued by the diplomatic or consular offices of his or her country, prior to the issuance of a marriage license in the Philippines.

As American consular officers are specially prohibited from certifying that any U.S. citizen has the capacity to marry, the Philippine government has agreed to accept as substantial compliance with the Philippine law, an Affidavit in Lieu of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage (affidavit). The Affidavit attests to the absence of any legal impediment to the marriage and is sworn to before an American consular officer. Therefore, U.S. citizens wishing to marry in the Philippines must appear personally before a consular officer, either at the U.S. Embassy in Manila or the U.S. consulate in Cebu City and complete the Affidavit concerning their own capacity to marry. There is a $10.00 service fee, subject to change, for the notarial service.

At the time a U.S. citizen appears to execute the Affidavit, he or she must present the following:

1. Proof of Citizenship

Examples of sufficient evidence of U.S. citizenship are:

a. current registration as U.S. citizen at the Passport and Citizenship Office of the Embassy or at the Consulate
b. a U.S. passport
c. a birth certificate issued in the United States or a record of birth abroad issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, together with identification bearing a picture or a physical description or
d. a Certificate of Naturalization.

2. Evidence of Termination of Previous Marriage(s)

If the U.S. citizen has been previously married, evidence of termination of the previous marriage, such as a certified copy of the final decree of divorce or annulment, or a certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse must be submitted.

3. Parents’ Consent or Advice

Under Philippine law, the legal age for marriage is 18. If the contracting parties are between the ages of 18 and 21, they must present written consent to the marriage from their father, mother or legal guardian. Any contracting party between the age of 22 and 25 must present written parental advice, i.e., a written indication that the parents are aware of the couple’s intent to marry.

4. Military Approval

An active member of the United States Armed Forces wishing to execute the Affidavit must present a letter of approval of the marriage from the appropriate military authority. Military personnel NOT assigned in the Philippines are also required to obtain their authorization from their respective commanding officer. Military members are encouraged to plan well in advance of the intended wedding date and to discuss the requirements with their own command personnel office.

Marriage Procedure

The procedure to marry in the Philippines is as follows:

1. Secure the Affidavit in lieu of Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage from the American Service Branch of the U.S. Embassy in Manila or from the U.S. consulate in Cebu City. If both the bride and the groom are U.S. citizens, each one must obtain an Affidavit.

2. Apply for the marriage license at the Local Civil Registrar from the municipality where either the bride or the groom habitually resides. The documents necessary for the marriage license are:

a. the Affidavit for the U.S. citizen bride or groom
b. the death certificate or divorce decree which shows the termination of any previous marriage(s) of the bride and/or the groom
c. the birth, baptismal or residency certificate for the Filipino bride or groom, and
d. the parental consent or advice, if either party is under age.
e. Philippine law prescribes a ten-day waiting period from the filing of the Application to the issuance of the marriage license. The license is valid for 120 days and maybe used anywhere in the Philippines.
f. Present the license to a person authorized to perform marriage ceremonies, such as judge, justice of the peace, priest or minister of religion.

3. Passport Amendment – a female U.S. citizen may have her passport ammended to indicate her married name. She should bring her passport and a certified true copy of the Marriage contract to the Passport 7 Citizenship Office of the U.S. Embassy in Manila or the U.S. Consulate in Cebu City. This amendment is not obligatory and there is no fee for this service.

Entry of Alien Spouse into the United States

Marriage of a foreign national to a U.S. citizen does not automatically confer United States citizenship upon the alien spouse. He or she must be petitioned by the U.S. citizen spouse as an immigrant to the United States. An alien spouse is almost never eligible for a non-immigrant visitor vista to the United States. In almost all cases, the existence of the marital relationship between the U.S. citizen and the alien makes the alien spouse an intending immigrant to the United States and, by definition, ineligible for a temporary visa.

The procedure to obtain an immigrant visa for an alien spouse is as follows:

1. File the Immigrant Visa Petition: The Petition Form I-130 for an immigrant visa for an alien spouse should be filed at the INS office nearest the Petitioner’s place of residence. Only a U.S. citizen who is also a resident of the Philippines may file the petition at the INS office at Room 1036 of the U.S. Embassy in Manila. All others MUST file the petition at the INS office in the United States closest to his or her residence.

When filing the petition, the following documents must be submitted:

a. a certified copy of the marriage certificate
b. proof of U.S. citizenship
c. a certified copy of evidence of termination of any prior marriage(s) for either spouse, if applicable, and
d. $75.00 or its equivalent in pesos, to cover the statutory fee for filing the petition.

2. Obtain the Immigrant Visa: When the approved petition is received by the immigrant Visa Branch of the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Manila, it will notify the foreign spouse and provide guidance concerning the subsequent steps to be completed in order to obtain a visa. The applicant must obtain a passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, police certificate, affidavit of support, photographs, and medical examination according to specifications provided in the instructions. The visa is good for four months from the date issuance.

It can take anywhere from two to four months from the date the petition is approved by INS to the date of the issuance of the immigrant visa. If a field investigation is required, the time period may be even longer. Therefore, a U.S. citizen should not plan to take the alien spouse back to the United States immediately following the marriage. The non-resident US citizen spouse should be prepared to leave the alien spouse behind to complete the required documentation.

Because of the time involved in processing the petition and the application for an immigrant visa, those individuals living in the Philippines on assignment, either government or private, are advised to initiate the required documentation for their spouse’s and/or step-children’s visas as far in advance of the anticipated rotation date as possible.

Note: A separate visa petition must be filed by the U.S. citizen spouse for each child of the alien spouse under the age of 18 at the time of the marriage who wishes to immigrate to the United States. Those children 18 years of age and older at the time of the marriage must be petitioned by the alien spouse after he or she becomes legal permanent resident in the United States. Under U.S. immigration law, only step parent’schildren under the age of 18 at the time of their natural parent’s marriage to a U.S. citizen are considered a “child” of the U.S. citizen for immigration purpose.

Fiance Visa

It is possible to file a petition for an alien to enter the U.S. as the fiance of an American citizen. The procedure is similar to the procedure for filing a petition and obtaining an immigrant visa for an alien spouse although, fiance petitions must be filed in the INS office within the U.S. nearest to the petitioner’s residence. The petitioner will be asked to submit evidence of his or her U.S. citizenship and evidence that he or she has met the fiance in person within the last two (2) years. He or she may also be required to present evidence of the bona fide of the relationship with the fiance.

When approved, the petition will be forwarded to the Immigrant Visa Branch of the U.S. Embassy in Manila. The Philippine fiance will subsequently be provided by the Embassy with instructions on how to proceed with his or her fiance visa application. Again, the time period from the date the petition is approved by INS to the date the visa is issued is approximately two to four months and can be longer if a field investigation is required.

The fiance visa grants the fiance six months from the time of issuance to enter the U.S. Upon entry, the fiance has ninety days in which to marry the petitioner. Once the marriage has taken place, the alien spouse can apply to adjust status to that of legal permanent resident at the INS office nearest to his or her place of residence.

Note: U.S. immigration law concerning the children of an alien fiance is not the same as that concerning the children of the alien spouse. The U.S. citizen fiance does NOT have to file a separate petition for each of the alien fiance’s unmarried children under 21 at the time the alien fiance enters the U.S. The U.S. citizen only needs to indicate the names and date of birth of the children in the appropriate block on the petition for alien fiance. The children will automatically be included in the petition. Unmarried children over the age 21 can be separately petitioned by the alien fiance after he or she has adjusted status in the U.S. to that of legal permanent resident.

Comments

  1. Maryon Mongcal

    Hi po . Ang bf ko po is us citizen divorce and gusto po namin mag pakasal . Ng civil wedding lang po . Can he get CLCCM in us embassy ? And how long po bago lumabas or makuha yung CLCCM ? Thank you po . Your answer will be a very big help for me .

    1. jodi allen

      Ms. Maryon hello, sana mabasa mo to. may gusto lang sana ako itanong kasi yung boyfriend ko is us citizen din. hope to hear from you soon. :)

  2. jpobocan

    This is amazing, do you have links of where the affidavit & applications can be obtained? The only reason why I ask is my fiancee and I plan on visiting PI about a year before the actual ceremony, so we may not be able to visit 10-120 days before the ideal ceremony. If need be, we could always come to PI early to take care of the paperwork a couple of weeks beforehand.

    1. Ayie of Imbitado Events

      the affidavit is usually acquired from the embassy of the national, the marriage license is applied in the city hall or municipality hall of the bride/groom (filipino). both parties must be present during the application and must bring all necessary documents. the license is released after 10 working days.

  3. erik

    If a man married a woman in the Philippines and they live in florida in the united states as citizens and she cheats after 5-7 years of marriage can the husband sue the wife and the person she cheated with?

  4. prettychicc

    Ask ko lang kasi yung boyfriend ko balak namin magpakasal dito sa pilipinas niaasikaso na namin yung papers namin parehas ba kami kukuha ng certificate of legal capacity contract marriage kukuha ba sya sa bansa nila at kukuha din ba ako dito sa pilipinas? pasagot nmaan po thanks :*

  5. Milay

    Good day… I want to ask. I am married here in the Philippines and my marriage still subsisting. Can my boyfriend in the U.S. marry me when I get there?

  6. Marivic

    Can I ask questions here? My bf Married a filipina fiancée visa then they married in USA after 12yrs his wife file a divorce and they are finally divorced now,,my bf got a copy of their divorce is he can marry here in Philippines??? Please help me…thanks a lot

  7. John

    How many days will it take to marry if I have all my paper work with me I will be there for 21 days

  8. Riza Navaja

    I am married here in the Philippines, got separated for 6 years. Now I am in a relationship with a US citizen. And he is planning to marry me and petition me. Is it possible?

    1. Team WaW

      From Events by Thoffy —- Hi Riza. What is the current status of your marriage? If you are annulled already, yes you can get married in a Christian wedding. Just ask your foreigner partner to get legal capacity from his embassy here. That can be scheduled.

  9. john tedrow

    good day im us citizen wants to get married my filipina gf we have 2 kids now how can i get legal capacity without going to embassy last month i had stroke and i cant travel thanks.

    1. Team WaW

      From Events by Thoffy — Personal appearance is required to apply for legal capacity. But if you have a lawyer maybe you can ask him or her to write a letter to the embassy to represent you in your absence.

  10. Bo javier

    Ask lng po.. need ko po sana mabilisang sagot.. magpapakasal po ang pinsan kong american citizen na. Tsaka gf nya na american citizen nadin dto sa pilipinas.. posible ba na makasal sila dto sa pilipinas? Need an answer po asap sana.. TIA sa sasagot.. big big help po..

  11. Darlene

    Based on experience: One of them has to be a dual citizen (Filipino and American) in order to get married here po.

  12. Bo javier

    TNX po ms. Darlene sa sagot..
    Ahh so wala po tlgang chance kung pareho silang american citizen?medyo bad news po pla.. sana po may mga magcomment pa.. any advice po na pwdeng gawin?TIA..

  13. Irish

    hi po pag ang lalaki na american citizen nag pakasal sa pilipina automatic ba na ang babae ay magiging american citizen na o depende sa lalaki kung gusto niya gawing american citizen ang asawa niya?

  14. CEZAR VICENCIO

    Hello, paano maka kuha ng Apointment sa us embassy Manila, para sa planung pag pakasal sa girlfriend ko sa Pilipinas . Ako ay us citezen.

  15. Ma. Rudina

    This is very helpful information for me and to my fiance thank you so much. We are planning to get married here in the Phillipines next year hopefully march 2017. He was here last Oct. 03, 2016 until Oct. 11, 2016 and he will come back next year 2017… God bless us always.

  16. Roger

    I am an American planning to marry a Filipino in May of 2017. We are going to live in the Philippines. Do I need to get a visa before going there?

  17. Xhexhe

    To irish ..kahit po kasal xa sa u.s. citizens need po ng file for petition .mahabang proseso po yan. Hindi agad automatic☺ hope nkatulong

  18. Lyn

    Hi, just want to ask if the Affidavit in lieu of Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry is only issued at US embassy in Manila/ Cebu? Can you get this anywhere else (i.e. US Embassy in Canada)? My fiance has a very short vacation and we’re worried that we cannot process our license in time for our wedding. Pls help. Thanks.

  19. Dennis Earl Arnuco

    Hello, just to ask if the affidavit in lieu of Certicate of Legal Capacity to Marry is only issued at US in Manila? Can I get this anywhere else like US Embassy in Vermont, cause I live in Vermont. Im coming Home December 20, 2016 But my employer only gave two week vacation time.. Our setting date to see the Judge Jan. 2, 2017 we’re worried that we cannot process our license in time for our wedding. Please help… Thanks

  20. Ju

    Hi… I’m going to get married on March, 2017. My fiancée was divorced but he forgot the original copy of his divorce paper. What he has is only the scanned one. Is that still valid? He’s been here since June, 2016.

  21. Joy

    Ok lang po if hinde original divorce papers gamitin nag bf ko foreigner for our civil wedding here in Manila?di daw po kc nag realized nag original divorce papers and bansa nila sa Portland Oregon.Please answered me back soon as possible po.Thanks

    1. Team WaW
      Team WaW

      Hi Joy. To be sure, kindly inquire through the US Embassy. They’re the best ones to answer your specific query. Thanks!

  22. Lelis del Rosario

    Hi good day, i have bf american citizenship and wnt to marry me soon. Bcoz he has only 1 week holiday in philippines. What should i need to do first. And ano pang mga papers kailangan nyang dalahin. But he is in Japan right for some project. Please advis
    Thanks,
    Lei

    1. Team WaW
      Team WaW

      Hi Lei. We suggest you register to join our WaWie community. It is composed of fellow brides and grooms. Some of them may be in the same situation as yours and may be able to give you the info that you need. If you’re interested to register, just fill up the form found on this link: http://weddingsatwork.com/join-and-be-a-wawie/. Thanks!

  23. Ju

    Hi… I am getting married this coming March 12. We went to embassy but they said we need the original copy of the divorce paper. My fiancée went back to California to get the original one and make it notarized because Portland Oregon didn’t stamped it before the divorce. My fiancée is coming back on February,24. My worry is that if we have time enough time to process and get the certificate to marry in due time. Our scheduled Christian wedding is on March 12. Please help us with this. Is their any fast way?

  24. juliet

    or can we find a lawyer to do the processing while my fiancee is in America? my fiancee is sending me all his original coppy that needed. If,yes, where to find a lawyer?

  25. Chat

    Hi! My fiance is coming in April and we are planning to get married days after he arrives. He was divorced from his previous marriage and have his name changed thereafter. May I know what necessary papers he needs? Also, may I know how long will it take to get the Legal Capacity to Marry at the US Embassy? He will only be here for two weeks and we’re hoping to be married before he leaves. Thank you.

    Chat

  26. Josephine

    Hello.. Itatanong ko Lang po Sana Kung pwde bang ako kumuha ng legal capacity to marry ng boyfriend
    ko para po kase maprocess na naming lahat para pay dating ng boyfriend ko OK na lahat ipapadala naman po Nia ang documents na kailangan.. Pwede po kaya yun?.. Thanks!

    1. Khatz

      Hi Josephine, dito sya mag aaply satin sa US Embassy and need ng personal appearance. Try to inquire sa US Embassy natin, they have contact numbers.

  27. Alex

    Can Anyone help me, I would like to know if TWO AMERICANS CITIZENS can be married in the Philippines??
    my Fiance is Filipina, but she has been a US Citizen for many years now, we were hoping to have our wedding in the Philippines so that her family could be a part of it. however no documentation states if the requirements are the same when BOTH Bride and Groom are Americans and just want to have a wedding.

    our number one concern is simply the amount of time it takes to obtain the documentation and have the ceremony, it would simply take a long time to arrive, go through the procedures wait weeks for paperwork, then again wait weeks for the legal documents. we are concerned about the amount of time off we need from our jobs in the states to be able get this done in a realistic timeframe.

    any advise would be greatly appreciated.

  28. nenette

    good afternoon, by the way im nenette tanung ko lang po gaano ba ka tagal ma release ang Certificate of legal capacity to contract marriage? my fiance is coming this august 2017 and he has only limited time here in our country klangan nmin mlaman for his schedule to stay here…does he need an online appointment also or just walk in at the US Embassy…thanks for giving a time to answer my question

    1. Team WaW
      Team WaW

      Hi Nenette. Kindly direct your query to the US Embassy as they are in the best position to answer your question thoroughly. Thanks!

  29. mel

    Hi good evening . I have fiancé in US he arrived here in few months and we getting married here in Philippines . if he want me to go and stay in united state what form we need

    1. Team WaW
      Team WaW

      Hi Mel. Kindly direct your question to the US Embassy as they are in the best position to address your query. Thanks!

  30. mel

    Can we go fast in our fiance in US if we get married here in Philippines

  31. Newt

    This is all new to me, and I need help. I want to marry a Philippine woman with 4 children. We are going to live in the Philippines I’m a USA citizen but I want to live in the Philippines at least 10 mo out of the year. Is this possible?

    1. Team WaW
      Team WaW

      Hi. It would be best to inquire with your Embassy regarding this since this is not a purely wedding-related inquiry. They would be the best ones to answer your question. Thank you!

  32. Jovelyn

    Good morning, I just want to ask if my bf have only time limit to visit here due to his work, but we are planning to marrye when he come here. is it possible that i can request in our municipal office a marriage liscense? so that in the time that he will arrive, we already have marriage liscense, hence you said itll be release by 10 day…
    please reply…

  33. Gloria Benton

    Good afternoon, oi am a filipino citizen and our marriage with my american citizen ws done in Philipines in 1999. Since that time he come and go everyevery after 4 or 6 months every year till 2005And from those years passing i was not able to submit our marriage contract in the US Embassy Phillippines till he coming in Philippines in the Year 2005 and i dont know his where abouts, there wasba time in year 2013 that he reppliesrepplies once of my cotinues message to him that he promised to send me some support but from that time i patiently waited for his promised but till this time nothing fulfilled. Please help me to get in touch with him or ask any allotment from him since i know he is already retired from Military, i need your help please.

  34. Gloria Benton

    He promised all the time to come from the year 2006 but he never come till to present. He suddenly left me just like that. His name is Darrell Lee Benton, retired from US Army. I need your help please if i can still file or submit our marriage contract in the US embassy Philippines. Or please i need your advise what will i do. Thank you.

  35. Mylen S. Mantua

    Hello ma’am/sir,
    Pls i need your help..i have boyfriend and he want marry to me..then he teach me what i do..they said i need to communicate sa head nila yan po ang tinatawag nilang geniral..sagutin ko daw kung anu ung tatanungin nya..so sinagot ko nman po lahat..but they said if you willing to marry my staft..i give you form but you have to charge..they said i need to pay $500 then bibigyan nila ako ng form para ma sagutan ko ang nilalaman ng form. Then sabi nila dont worry i babalik sayo ung pera mo wala pang 1month..then i ask were i send the money..they said you can send in western union..then binigay sa akin ung name at address..its true??pls i need your reply soon.thanks and godbless

    1. Khatz

      hi, kakilala mo ba yung kausap mo? baka maloko ka lang ng kung sino sino dyan, better if you talk with the US Embassy staff. kasi tingin ko, niloloko kalang nyan kausap mo, bakit mo kailangan magbayad ng ganun kalaki, $500 is not a joke… just try to help you,im a filipina too.

  36. Meriam

    Hello good morning ask no lang po sana and bf ko USA citizen siya.. Plano kami mag pakasal kaso ang problema sa Taiwan nman ako nag work, Pwidi kaya yon mag file ako ng one month leave tapos pakasal kami sa pilipinas and then after one month back in Taiwan at hintayin ko nlang mag karuon ako ng visa papunta ng USA pag katapos ng kasal saka ako mag resign sa work ko. Guys help me Kong anu best na gawin.. Hind ko kasi Alam Kong anu gagawin ko
    Maraming salamat po..

  37. Jacqueline

    Hello! If my u.s. citizen boyfriend and I will get married in the Philippines, can he stays with me for a longer time. Because for the time being, I prefer to live in the Philippines even after marriage. And of course I want also my u.s citizen husband to live with me in the Philippines. In short, after getting married, I prefer to live in the Philippines for family reason. Maybe I would consider to only go to the u.s for vacation. But for now, I’m comfortable to live in the Philippines. Can he stay with me? For how long? Or can he take me to u.s. as his wife for just a couple of weeks? Thanking you in advance.

    1. Team WaW
      Team WaW

      Hi Jacqueline. It would be best to consult the US Embassy regarding your concern. Thank you.

  38. Khatz

    Hi, just wanna inquire regarding having marriage here in Philippines, me and my boyfriend are planning to get married this year and i just wanna clarify if we got married here in my country, will it be valid already in the US, will they considered it valid and recognized? or we need to get married again in US? thanks for your time answering my inquiry

  39. Ann

    Hi good day. Just like to clarify with you if the legal capacity to marry can only be issued here at the US Embassy Manila/Cebu or he can get it at his country of residence? Thanks for your help.

  40. Robert Wolfe

    I am a Retired Military Veteran What all i need to bring to get married to my filipina fiancee.

  41. Jennifer

    If my fiancee marry me here in the philippines by the way he is a U.S. citizen can he bring me with him when he leave the philippines?

    1. Team WaW
      Team WaW

      Hi Jennifer. It would be best to inquire about this to the US Embassy. Thanks!

  42. G

    Hello,

    Im a dutch citizen and my fiancee is american.
    Can we, as non filipino citizen, get legally married in the Phillipines?
    Thank!

  43. Alma

    Hello good day! Just want to ask which is better, be married here in the Philippines with a US Citizen bf or get a fiancé visa and get married in in his country?

  44. Frederick Watson

    HAs anyone here gotten married in the Philippines and can tell me how it works if I’m from the u.s and she’s from the Philippines.

  45. Frederick Watson

    I wanted to know if someone from the u.s has to take the pre- marriage counseling in order to marry in the Philippines if so how long does it take

  46. weng

    hi, i would like to ask, me and my american bf got back together in 2014, he was my bf in 1989, can we apply for a fiance visa even if we plan on getting married here in the philippines soon after i get my annulment, they say K1 visa is easier cos it only takes 6 months or so to petition me and my 16 year old daughter, after we get married here in the philippines, does it follow that he has to apply for a spousal visa,. what if we decide to apply for a fiance visa, is it possible ?

  47. Monica

    Hello po tanong ko lng po sana pareho po kming US citizen ng asawa ko kasal na po kmi dito sa abroad, gusto po sana naming mag renewal vow sa pinas tanong ko lng po my mga documents pa po ba kming mga aayusin. Salamat

  48. lilibeth fahimno

    Hi.. I am beth,marrying a US citizen soon. Just want to ask if how long the legal capacity for marriage would be released in the US Embassy? Is my fiancee can get it in the same of day of his appearance applied therein? His time in staying here is very limited and so i decided to anticipate this thing. Pls i do need your respond. Thank you and more power!

  49. Anne

    I just want to confirm if the Legal capacity to marry a filipina is just one day process? Cause my bf will just stay here for a month so im worried if we will be able to do everythinf and get married within a month

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