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May 11, 2022

Marriage in the Philippines

Legal and valid marriages contracted abroad generally are valid in the United States. If you get married abroad and need to know if your marriage will be recognized in the United States and what documentation may be required, contact the office of the Attorney General of your state of residence in the United States.

U.S. diplomats cannot perform marriages. Marriage is a function reserved solely to local governments and is beyond the authority of U.S. diplomats, who are federal officials. There is no requirement to register your marriage in the Philippines with the U.S. Embassy or Consular Agency in the Philippines.

Philippine law requires all foreigners to provide a “Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage” before filing for a marriage license.  This certification affirms that there are no legal impediments to the foreigner marrying a Filipino (i.e., that the foreigner is not currently married to someone else).  This document does not require notarization at the U.S. Embassy or Consular Agency in the Philippines.  The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), pursuant to Memorandum Circular No. 2021-004 , accepts local notarization in the Philippines of the “Affidavit of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage.”  As a result, U.S. citizens who wish to marry in the Philippines are not required to have their affidavits notarized at the Embassy or Consular Agency.  We encourage U.S. citizens to have these affidavits notarized locally.  Please visit the PSA website or inquire with the Local Civil Registry Office where you plan to be married for more information.

Remember to ask the Local Civil Registry Office to specify what information must be included in your affidavit.  Generally, an “Affidavit in Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry” must contain:  a sworn statement in which the U.S. citizen attests they are free to marry; information regarding any prior marriage(s); and a copy of the evidence of U.S. citizenship presented to the notarizing agent.  Click here for a sample blank affidavit. For specific questions on marriage in the Philippines, please check with the appropriate Local Civil Registry Office or consult an attorney.

Please contact the appropriate Philippine government authorities for questions about marriage requirements in the Philippines. For interpretation of Philippine family and marriage laws, please contact an attorney or a party who specializes in these matters. U.S. consular officers cannot serve as legal counsel or provide legal advice. Information about marriage registration requirements and procedures, as well as a nationwide list of Local Civil Registrars, is available on the PSA website.