Now that more and more unmarried Filipino couples go together abroad to find greener pastures, the option to get married in their new country sounds more practical than going back home. Sure, it will be more memorable to have the entire clan witness the ceremony, but it also spells more cash to spend. The reality is, most of these couples don’t really have a separate bank account for that because they have “more important” responsibilities in the Philippines. In this post, we will try to answer the common questions asked by Filipinos who want to get married in a foreign country.
How can we get married abroad?
The Family Code of the Philippines allow Filipinos abroad the opportunity to get married in the Philippine Embassy or Consulate nearest them. The consul-general, consul, or vice-consul may solemnize your marriage.
What are the requirements before we can get married abroad?
The standard requirements for getting married in the Philippines also apply when you get married abroad. The couple must be a man and a woman, both at least 18 years old, and freely consenting to the marriage. You must also submit a marriage license.
Where can we get our marriage license?
For marriages between Filipinos abroad, the consul-general, consul, or vice-consul takes on the role of a local civil registrar and solemnizing officer. You can get your marriage license from them at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate nearest you.
What are the documents needed?
First, you need to complete the Application Forms for Issuance of Marriage License & For Solemnization of Marriage. These are available at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate. Depending on the country, the forms may also be downloaded from their website.
You also need to submit the original and one photocopy of the following documents (the Embassy/Consulate will return the original copy upon examination):
1. Authenticated Certificate of “No Record of Previous Marriage”(CENOMAR) from the Philippine Statistics Authority;
2. Passports; and
3. Authenticated Certificate of Live Birth from the Philippine Statistics Authority;
If either or both of you are aged 18-21, you must also show your parent’s consent to the marriage through a verified affidavit. If aged 22-25, written parental advice is required.
My future spouse was previously married but his marriage was annulled in the Philippines. Are there additional requirements for us?
The decree of annulment or the decision annulling the marriage must be final. If the decision was appealed and the case on appeal is still pending, no re-marriage can happen yet. If already final and the decision already recorded in the Philippine Statistics Authority, you must submit to the Philippine Embassy/Consulate copies of the following:
1. Court decision declaring the annulment of the marriage; and
2. Marriage contract with the previous spouse showing registration of the annulment with the PSA. The document must be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
My future spouse is a widow. Are there additional requirements before we can get married?
You must have the deceased spouse’s Death Certificate (from PSA), have it authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs, and submit a copy of it to Philippine Embassy/Consulate.
How many days will the entire process take?
After submission of the complete documents, the application for issuance of the license will be published and posted at the Philippine Embassy/Consulate for ten days. This is a way to give people who might have a valid objection to the marriage an opportunity to speak up. The license is valid for 120 days but you may get married as soon as the license is issued, depending on the calendar of the embassy or consulate.
Is it always necessary to get a marriage license?
No. In these specific cases, a marriage license is no longer necessary:
1. When the marriage is in articulo mortis, when one or both of the parties are at the point of death; and
2. If the parties have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years, without legal impediment to marry (meaning, both are legally capable of being married).
If we get married in a country where divorce is allowed, can we also get divorced?
It depends. If one or both of you later on decide to become naturalized citizens of the country allowing divorce, yes. Otherwise, no. As long as both of you remain Filipinos, you cannot be divorced. Marriages between Filipinos abroad are covered by Philippine law which does not allow divorce. The only options are to be legally separated, have your marriage annulled, or declared null if there are grounds.