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). While the United States Government does not maintain records of marriage and therefore cannot produce the “certificate of legal capacity to contract marriage” required by the Philippine Family Code, Philippine authorities have accepted affidavits by the U.S. citizen to be married in lieu of that certificate.
The U.S. Embassy is aware of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) Memorandum Circular No. 2023-15 (effective July 31, 2023) requiring that these affidavits be notarized by the Embassy or the Consular Agency in Cebu. Please note that implementation of this requirement has been suspended through October 31, 2023, according to PSA Memorandum Circular No. 2023-16. Affidavits of legal capacity to marry continue to be valid if notarized by Philippine notaries during this period, and U.S. citizens may find this option significantly more convenient than notarization at the Embassy. While the Embassy will honor existing appointments for this type of notarial service, no new appointments will be offered for notarization of affidavits of legal capacity to marry.
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.