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 as your husband or wife.
While most Filipino couples tie the knot with an elaborate church wedding, there are those who prefer the more practical and easier 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 own requirements and follow strict processes. Here’s a list of civil requirements in the Philippines you should prepare before saying “I do.”
- 1 Common Civil Marriage Requirements in the Philippines
- 2 Additional Civil Wedding Requirements
- 3 You and/or your partner are/is widowed
- 4 You and/or your partner are/is annulled
- 5 You and/or your partner are/is a foreigner
- 6 Other matters to take care of aside from your civil wedding requirements
- 7 Choose the venue/officiator of the civil ceremony
- 8 Gather your guests
- 9 Don’t forget your wedding vows
Common Civil Marriage Requirements in the Philippines
- At least 2 valid IDs of the Couple
Presenting valid IDs is one of the basic components in applying for a civil wedding. It proves your identities and helps authenticate the data that you will be giving. Click the link for a full list of primary and secondary IDs.
- PSA Birth Certificate
You can request for 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)
You can also get this from PSA. The CENOMAR will prove that you and your partner haven’t been married before. 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 at your local civil registrar. Take note that forms vary per town so make sure you get it at the Local Civil Registrar of your city, town, or 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 the marriage license. 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 have to go back because they found mistakes on their names or the 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 it at the 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.
- Barangay Certificate
The barangay certificate is proof that you are living in a specific part of your city or town. To ask for one, head over to your local barangay hall. Inform the barangay officer that you’re applying for a barangay certificate and state the reason for your application (e.g. civil marriage requirements).
They’ll require you to fill out an application form and submit your recent Community Tax Certificate or Cedula. You also have to pay a minimal fee (it usually doesn’t exceed Php100). Processing will be done within the day.
- 1×1 picture
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 Civil Wedding Requirements
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. 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 Parental Advice. 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 will 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 your birth certificate and CENOMAR.
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 of 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)
- Death Certificate of deceased spouse (if widowed)
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.
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 in 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.
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 your civil wedding requirements, 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 documentary 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.