Marrying a Filipina

Marrying in the Philippines

When you want to marry in the Philippines the groom needs the following papers:

The first two documents have to be translated into English and be certified. (A translation of the "Abstammungsurkunde" might not be necessary when you ordered the international form! Then a certification is not required either). A list of certified translators can be obtained by the German Embassy in Manila. The first two documents you will get from the registration office of your birth town and your current home address. The third one (Ehefähigkeitszeugnis) is available in the "Standesamt", the marriage office. Unfortunately to get this paper all papers of the bride which would be needed for a wedding in Germany have to be presented to the marriage office as well, as certified originals. These papers will be send to the respective  High Court as well (OLG), which will analyze these papers as if the wedding would take place in Germany. Typically these will take 2 weeks, but can take up to 6 month when a legalization is required (Standard in Baden Württemberg). With this document you have to go to the German Embassy in Manila, they will issue the English document: "Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage". This procedure will cost you the equivalent of 20Euro in Pesos and is valid for 120 days.  In addition you will need two copies of your passport.

In case that you plan to marry in the church, you need in addition:

All these documents are available form your local church with the exception of the single certificate. In case your are protestant and your bride is catholic, you will need the "Dissmissoria", a paper which allows you to marry in the catholic church. Again you will get this in your church, but usually the Bishop is involved too and has to give his OK. In case you are catholic and your wife is protestant (unlikely, but possible), you will have to confirm with the priest that your kids will be raised as Roman Catholic. The "Free for Marriage" certificate does not exist in Germany, so a plain letter is sufficient, but it should be titled in large letter with the string: "Free for marriage". Not all priests in the Philippines will ask for that, so you should better check with him before you go to the Philippines. 

All these papers should not be older than three month to stay valid.

The bride needs:

The procedure:

You need the "Marriage License". This you will get either from the major or the priest. In case of a wedding in the church you need to participate in a two day wedding seminar where the priest teaches you how to produce many little mixed Filipinos and Filipinas :-). Furthermore the announcement of your wedding will be published 4 weeks before the intended wedding date, so take your time. If you only marry in the city hall you have to be registered 10 days before the ceremony. As the process to do that takes 2 days, this means you should be in the Philippines at least 12 days before the ceremony. Even more, as they do not work ton the weekends but the wedding typically takes place on the weekend, you have to calculate that as well.  For the wedding ceremony itself study the the respective chapter in the book "Culture Shock Philippines", this describes the details quite accurate. 

Some more information: In case that you do not want to marry in the local church where the bride is living (registered), you can check with any other church of your liking. Still the anouncement of your wedding has to be published in the original church as well, and you will get the "Marriage Bands" in both churches. But again, this procedure has to be approved by the Bishop. In case this results in a problem, just move the residence of your bride to the new church.

Philippine weddings, especially when done in the church, are a big fest. To help there are some companies and organizations  which offer some services. Those how are present in the internet I have put together on this page.

Legal Consideration:

Marriage in the Philippines follows the Philippine law. This means the <Absolute Community> which means, the property of both partners belongs to both immediately after the marriage. If another regulation is required we strongly recommend to sign a marriage contract in front of an experienced Philippine lawyer or attorney. When the validity of the contract is required for Germany, the contract has to be made in the German Embassy. Important is that the contract has to be documented in the civil registry and the property registry. Furthermore the existence of such a contract has to be documented in the marriage certificate.


After the wedding:

With the marriage certificate you will have to go to the city hall for a certification. A further certification is required from the marriage registrar of the NSO in Manila. These again have to be legalized by the Ombudsman (Malacanang Office) and the DFA (Red Ribbon!).

For further information of the next steps, see the next web page.....