US Citizens Getting Married in the Philippines

There are a number of US citizens finding their potential spouse in the Philippines. Out of love, they travel thousands of miles across the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean to be with their fiancé. Many of these couples opt to marry in their spouse’s home country for cultural, religious and other personal reasons. US citizens getting married in the Philippines have a few guidelines to learn on how to go about with their wedding plans.

First of all, before the couple can file for a marriage license, the US citizen has to obtain a “Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage” in the Philippines. In the case that the US has no central registry of marriages, it cannot authenticate this information. In its place, the Philippine government accepts an “Affidavit in Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage.” This is applied for at the US Embassy in Manila or at the US Consular Agency in Cebu. Current fee for this affidavit is at $30 or its peso equivalent.

Upon gaining this affidavit, the US citizen may now prepare the other documents that will be required from him when applying for a marriage license. This includes a valid US passport, any of the following which is applicable to the US citizen’s status: divorce decree or death certificate for verification of civil status and legal capacity to marry; and documentation regarding paternal consent or advice, if applicable.

The couple may now plan their preferred type of wedding ceremony, either through civil or church wedding. Both of these methods are considered valid if officiated by any authorized judge, minister or other persons given these special powers to perform the marriage by the Philippine Government. The US citizen must know the estimated time of license and other documents processing in the Philippines for the length of stay he/she needs to be in the country.

In addition, couples should know that marriage of a Filipino to a US citizen does not entitle the foreign spouse to an approved entry to the US. The US citizen must file for an immigrant petition for his/her spouse and receipt of a valid immigrant visa is the way the spouse may be able to join his/her US citizen spouse in the US. Further information about this is available through the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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