Getting married is one of the most exciting events that will happen in your life. It’s the day that you can officially call your longtime partner your husband or wife.
While most Filipino couples tie the knot with an elaborate church wedding, some prefer the more practical and more straightforward method – heading straight to the city hall.
However, even if a civil wedding is faster and easier to accomplish than a traditional church affair, civil marriages still have their specific requirements and follow strict processes. Here’s a list of civil wedding requirements in the Philippines you should prepare before saying, “I do.”
Standard Civil Marriage Requirements in the Philippines
Before you can schedule your civil wedding at your local courthouse or municipal hall, you first need to get your hands on a few documents and identification requirements for a civil marriage in the Philippines. Not only are these legally required for all brides and grooms, but they also serve as proof that both parties are willing to proceed with the marriage and that there will be no conflicts after the marriage is finalized. To help you, here’s a complete list of civil wedding requirements in the Philippines you will need to secure and submit.
At least 2 valid I.D.s of the Couple
Presenting valid I.D.s is one of the basic requirements of applying for a civil wedding in the Philippines. It proves your identity and helps authenticate the data that you will give. Click the link for a full list of primary and secondary IDs.
PSA Birth Certificate
A PSA Birth Certificate is a document needed for civil weddings in the Philippines that includes all the pertinent details regarding your basic identity – from your full name, parents, and date and place of birth. This will help your local government screen your identity and verify your age for your upcoming marriage. You can request a PSA Birth Certificate online or through walk-in applications at any Serbilis Service Center. The certificate is usually issued after 1-6 working days for online applications and 3-13 working days for online applications.
A certified copy of your birth certificate costs Php140 if you personally apply at a Census Serbilis Center. For birth certificates ordered online, it will cost you Php365 per copy.
If you can’t find a Serbilis Service Center nearby and the online fees are too expensive, you can also apply for a birth certificate at SM Business Centers. You just need to pay an additional service fee of Php25 per copy and wait for 3-9 business days to claim.
Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR)
A Certificate of No Marriage is a document required for civil weddings in the Philippines to ensure that both parties have not been married previously and are not part of the marriage database of the PSA. You can also get this civil wedding requirement from the Philippine Statistics Authority. You can order it together with your birth certificate. It costs Php195 per copy for walk-in applications and Php430 for online applications.
Marriage License Application Form
This will be provided by your local civil registrar. Take note that forms differ per town, so make sure you get them at the Local Civil Registrar of your local municipality.
You will need to accomplish four (4) copies for registration. The four copies will be distributed to the registrant, the Office of the Civil Registrar-General, the solemnizing office, and the fourth copy will be retained for your file.
Either one of you can claim this Philippine civil wedding requirement. If you need someone else to claim on your behalf, they will need an authorization letter. Once you receive your marriage license, make sure that all details are correct. Some couples must go back because they found mistakes in their names or dates. While they’re correcting it, make sure they countersign the errors committed.
Community Tax Certificate
Your CTC or Cedula will be issued after you pay community tax either to your barangay or the city. You can typically get this civil wedding requirement at a local Philippine Treasurer’s Office. Prepare a valid ID and payment. Your payment will be based on your income. For instance: Php5.00 (basic) + Php 1.00 for every Php1,000 gross income. So, if you declare that your income for last year was Php250,000, you will pay a fee of Php255.
A barangay certificate is a civil wedding requirement in the Philippines that serves as proof that you are living in a specific part of your city or town. You can request for a barangay certificate by visiting your local barangay hall. Inquire about applying for a certificate with a barangay hall officer and state your reasons for the request.
You will then be asked to accomplish an application form, as well as submit your recent Cedula. You also must pay a minimal fee (it usually doesn’t exceed Php100). Processing will be done within the day.
Bring a recent 1X1 picture for identification purposes.
Certificate of Attendance in Pre-Marriage Counseling
Marriage license applicants who are 25 years old and below may be required by their local civil registrar to attend a marriage counseling, responsible parenthood, and family planning seminar. The seminar is typically half a day long and held within the vicinity of the civil registry department. Be sure to check the schedules, as some are conducted daily while others have a specific schedule within the week.
Additional Marriage Requirements for Civil Weddings in the Philippines
Aside from the common documents, you will also need to secure additional requirements for your civil marriage if you and/or your partner fall under these specific conditions:
You and/or your partner are/is 18-21
- Parental Consent
If you and your partner are aged 21 and below, both of you need separate parental consent as part of your marriage requirements for civil weddings in the Philippines. If your partner is 26 years old and you’re only 21, then only you need consent from your parents.
- Parents’ Personal Appearance
Both of your parents need to have an appearance and valid IDs. If your parents are no longer with you, you can get consent from a legal guardian. If you don’t have anyone to give you consent, you’ll need to have an Affidavit of Consent signed in front of two witnesses.
Why are these part of the civil wedding requirements in the Philippines? Sometimes, when young people are in love, they instantly want to get married without considering the consequences. Parents can provide you with great advice and guidance on your decisions.
There are also those who are forced into marriages against their will (e.g. an 18-year-old female to a 30-year old male). Parents have the right to protect their child by not giving consent.
You and/or your partner are/is 22-25
- Parental Advice
If you are 22 to 24 years old, you will need to submit Parental Advice as part of your civil wedding requirements in the Philippines. You can have your parents write that they know you’re marrying along with their advice to your marriage. They can also appear at the local registrar to prove that they consent to your upcoming wedding.
If your parents don’t approve of the marriage, you need a sworn statement that states you informed them, but they refused. If your parents agreed, you would only have to wait for 10 days before getting your Marriage License. If they refused, waiting time can take up to 3 months.
You and/or your partner are/is widowed
If you are currently widowed, retrieve the Death Certificate of your deceased spouse from any Serbilis Service Center. You can include it in your application for other civil wedding requirements in the Philippines that will need to secure from the PSA.
You and/or your partner are/is annulled
Get a Certificate of Registration from the Local Civil Registrar to register for your Annulment Papers. You will be issued a Certificate of Finality of Annulment by the Court. The certificate should have the name of the judge or the court that issued the decree. It also needs to include the case number and the date it was issued.
You and/or your partner are/is a foreigner
- For U.S. citizens: Affidavit in Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry. You can secure this from the US Embassy in Manila on an appointment-only basis. For more information about the procedure and corresponding fees, head over to the US Embassy website.
If you’re based in Cebu, the US Consular Agency offers walk-in notarial services every day from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. They operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
- For other foreign citizens: Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry/Sworn Declaration from your country’s Consular Office or Embassy in the Philippines. It also needs an authentication certification from the DFA.
- Clear photocopy of the immigration stamp in the foreigner’s passport: The photocopy should show the arrival date of the foreigner in the Philippines.
- Passport (bio-page)
- Divorce Decree (if divorced): Divorced foreign individuals will need to secure a divorce decree as part of the civil marriage documents needed to be wed in the Philippines. They can source this from their respective embassy or consular office, which will then be processed and screened by the DFA for authenticity. For Filipinos who have been divorced abroad, however, they will need to file a Petition for Recognition of Foreign Divorce at a regional trial court, which will require the services of a lawyer.
- Death Certificate of deceased spouse (if widowed): Death certificates are required to be furnished by the foreign citizens’ embassy and duly authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In addition, foreign passport holders might need to contact their respective embassies for any additional civil wedding requirements that they will need for a wedding in the Philippines. These may include translated documents and certifications – especially for foreigners who belong to countries that don’t use English as their primary language. For a clearer look at the additional civil wedding requirements you need to process and submit, you can check out our complete and comprehensive guide to marriage requirements for foreigners in the Philippines.
Other matters to take care of aside from your civil wedding requirements
Once you receive issued your marriage license, you can now get married anywhere in the Philippines within 120 days from the issued date. If you’re the planning type, check out our ultimate wedding guide to help you schedule things for your big day.
Consider getting a prenuptial agreement
After your engagement, there’s another thing that you need to consider before you start planning your wedding – a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement, or commonly known as a “prenup,” is a legally binding document that details properties, finances, and assets that the couple wishes to protect in the event of a future separation. While prenuptial agreements in the Philippines are traditionally seen as a taboo concept for a lot of couples, securing and protecting one’s assets is a logical move, especially for individuals who want a clear line of succession for their existing family members and offspring, and protection against shared responsibility for individual debts.
Choose the venue/officiator of the civil ceremony
Civil weddings in the Philippines are usually held at the city hall’s courtrooms or the Mayor’s office. After you receive your marriage license, the local civil registrar may assign you to someone – either your city judge or mayor – who will be your wedding’s officiator. You can also find a registered minister, pastor, or other solemnizing officer to officiate the wedding on your chosen date.
If you want to hold your wedding on a weekend or a more picturesque venue, the officiator will likely charge more. Fees vary but judges who officiate weddings outside their office hours usually charge Php8,000.
Gather your guests
While you can invite as many people as you want to your wedding reception program, civil weddings only require you to bring at least two witnesses and two pairs of ninong/ninang. The witnesses will sign your marriage certificate so inform them ahead of time so they can free up their schedules. You can also invite your immediate family members and closest friends to the ceremony.
However, if you’re planning a secret marriage wherein just a few of your family and closest friends are in the know, you may also plan an elopement wedding. While eloping in the Philippines isn’t a popular choice for couples, it is still a solid option – especially for couples who wish to keep their marriage private. This means that you will need to further narrow down your guest list, so choose well!
Don’t forget your wedding vows
Before the civil wedding ceremony, you will be asked to write your personal wedding vows. This is one of the benefits of having a civil wedding as you’re not bound to the vows imposed by your religion. The officiator can provide you with a template or you can search for inspiration from samples online.
You can write your wedding vows in the language you’re most comfortable with. It’s your chance to express your love and commitment to your partner. Whatever you write, just make sure that it’s straight from the heart.
After you gather all of the civil wedding requirements needed in the Philippines, decide on a venue, and book an officiator, you’re one step closer to living the life you’ve dreamed of with your partner. Yes, it might be overwhelming to think about all the things you need to prepare but at the end, it’s all going to be worth it – especially if you’re the practical, budget-conscious type.
If you sum up all the Philippine documentary civil wedding requirements, they’re only going to cost as much as Php3,000 to Php5,000 collectively for both parties. That’s a fraction of the cost that it will take to decorate a traditional church wedding (churches alone charge fees ranging from Php7,000 to Php25,000).
Remember, spending a lot of time, money, and effort into a traditional church wedding doesn’t guarantee a successful marriage. If you’re committed to your partner, it doesn’t matter that you’re saying “I do” at the courthouse. Your promises to each other are the same, no matter where you say them.