The U.S. Embassy in Manila and the U.S. Consular Agency in Cebu are unable to provide notary services at this time as a result of restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Several other options are available to individuals who require notarization of documents for use in the United States:
Remote Online Notarization (United States): This method of notarization currently is permitted in some form in 28 of the 50 states. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have issued guidance to lenders and other firms to consider accepting Remote Online Notarizations during the COVID-19 crisis. Some states currently notarize documents electronically such as Virginia, Florida, and Texas. Refer to your specific State Notary Handbook for more information. State Department Forms such as DS-3053 (Statement of Consent for the Issuance of a Passport to a Child under the Age of 16) which have been notarized electronically is acceptable provided the notarization was completed in accordance with the policies of the state that commissioned the notary public.
Remote Online Notarization (Philippines): The Philippine Supreme Court also is allowing the notarization of documents via videoconference in cases where the notary public holds office in an area under community quarantine. Please visit the Philippine Supreme Court website or contact the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for more information and for a list of local lawyers who are providing this service.
An apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document. Philippine authentications are accepted and recognized for use in the United States in compliance with the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Hague Apostille Convention). Documents that carry a Hague apostille* are entitled to recognition in any other convention country without further authentication. The United States and the Philippines are both parties to this convention. U.S. federal courts and state authorities should accept documents with the Hague apostille. For private transactions, please confirm with the other party first to make sure they will accept foreign authentications.
*An apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document.
Philippine public documents, such as National Bureau of Investigation clearances, birth certificates, and marriage certificates, among others, can be used abroad once authenticated with an apostille from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Notarization under the Philippine system is a three-step process:
Step 1: Sign the document in front of a notary public.
Step 2: Obtain a Certificate of Authority for a Notarial Act (CANA) signed by an Executive Judge/Vice-Executive Judge/or any other office authorized as signatories for notary services; this designation is issued by the Regional Trial Court. Contact the Office of the Court Administrator to determine who may sign a CANA in your region.
Step 3: Next, visit the Philippine DFA website and follow the instructions to have a Hague apostille affixed to your document.
Keep in mind that if your document is written in a language other than English, you may need to have it translated by a certified/sworn translator.
Affidavit of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage: 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, will allow 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 no longer required to have their affidavits notarized at the Embassy or Consular Agency. Instead, you may have the affidavit notarized locally in the Philippines. We encourage U.S. citizens to have these affidavits notarized locally, as we are not providing notary services at this time due to the ongoing pandemic. Please visit the PSA website or inquire with the Local Civil Registry Office where you plan to be married for more information.
If you wish to complete an affidavit that you are free to marry, ask the Local Civil Registry Office in the area where you intend to marry 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. We cannot provide this form to you or print a copy for you. For specific questions on marriage in the Philippines, please check with the Local Civil Registry Office or you may consult an attorney.