If you’ve ever had to file a document, secure a license or register anything with the government, chances are you’re under the impression that applying for a marriage license in the Philippines will leave you feeling more exhausted than necessary. And that’s understandable, what with the long queues and the dreaded red tape that our government offices are famous for.
But thankfully, registering an application for a marriage license — your ticket to marriage, so to speak — isn’t really an exercise in bureaucratic futility. It’s quite easy — that is, if you and your soon-to-be-spouse meet all the requirements and have your documents ready when you come knocking at the civil registrar’s door.
When my wife and I applied for a marriage license, at the Quezon City Hall four years ago, she was well into her pregnancy with our daughter (yep, such things do happen!) and the heat of the early days of summer was already punishing, so the legwork had to be done by me alone. We were not gonna take any chances, were we? So, given that I did it by myself with relative ease, I’m sure you’ll breeze through the process with the help of your SO.
What you need for a marriage license in the Philippines
Documentary to Submit
Now, as for the requirements for getting a marriage license in the Philippines, first, you must prepare a number of documents proving your identity, age and that your parents or guardians approve of the marriage, among other claims. Having each and everyone of these when you file your application will ensure that no time and energy is wasted. The documents are as follows:
1. Certified true copy of your and your SO’s NSO birth certificates
You need to submit the original documents as well as two photocopies of each.
2. Affidavit of parental consent or advice
You and your SO must be at least 18 years of age to get married in the Philippines. If either or both of you are between 18 and 21 years old, you must secure a consent from your father, mother or guardian in order to secure a marriage license. If either or both of you are between 22 and 25, written parental advice stating your parent’s awareness of your intention to marry is required. A notarized letter mentioning this will do.
3. Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR)
Are you sure you’re not currently married to someone else? Prove it by submitting a CENOMAR, which you can get from the NSO.
4. Certificate of attendance in pre-marriage counselling and family planning and responsible parenthood seminar
The civil registrar wants to know that you know what you’re getting yourself into (a lifetime of bliss and then some, of course!), so you and your SO need to attend a pre-marriage counselling and family planning and responsible parenthood seminar. The pre-marriage counselling can be provided by your church or the DSWD. The family planning and responsible parenthood seminar, meanwhile, is conducted by your city or municipal hall’s health department. After attending these, you will be given certificates saying that indeed you and your SO were there.
5. Community tax certificate (cedula)
You obtain a cedula from your city or municipal hall. Submit the original document along with two photocopies.
6. Barangay clearance
You can get this from your, well, barangay hall. Like the cedula, the original document and two photocopies must be submitted.
7. Two valid IDs
Present these when submitting the other requirements.
Submit a recent 1×1 photo which may be colored or black and white.
9. Marriage license application form
This is described below; see Marriage License Application Form.
If you’ve been in a previous marriage and it has been annulled, you need to submit a Certificate of Finality of Annulment, which the court can provide. You will hand over the original document and two photocopies of it. If you have been widowed, you must present a Death Certificate of your deceased spouse.
Marriage License in the Philippines — Application Form
Along with the documents, you and your spouse-to-be will need to file a sworn application for your marriage license. This is available at the civil registrar’s office. The application will specify the following, as per the website of the Philippine Statistics Authority:
- Your full name
- Age and birthday
- Civil status
- If married previously, how, when and where the marriage was annulled or dissolved
- Current residence and citizenship
- Degree of relationship of the applicants
- Full name, residence and citizenship of your father
- Full name, residence and citizenship of your mother
- In the absence of your mother and father and if you are younger than 21, the full name, residence and citizenship of your guardian
When you have submitted all these and there are no kinks to iron out, the marriage license will be in your hands after 10 days. The marriage license in the Philippines has a validity of 120 days after its release, which means you can get married legally within the next four months. If that sounded easy, that’s because it is easy! Good luck!