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Just in case you find a “keeper” during your many experiences with “ladies of the night” or you meet a local salesgirl at a shopping mall etc here’s what you need to get her back to the States.

Marrying in the Philippines

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

* Birth certificate
* Registration certificate
* Extract of the Family history
* Certificate: “Legal capacity to marry”
* Certified “divorce certificate” (when divorced)

The first two documents have to be translated into English and be certified.The first two documents you will get from the registration office of your birth town and your current home address. The third one is available in the marriage office. With this document you have to go to the USA Embassy in Manila, they will issue the English document: “Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage”. This procedure will cost you the equivalent of U$10 in Pesos and is valid for 6 months. In addition you will need two copies of your passport.

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

* Baptism certificate
* Confirmation certificate
* Single certificate (from the City Hall)
* Certificate “Free for Marriage”

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. 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 months to stay valid.

The bride needs:

* Birth certificate (certified)
* Single certificate (certified)
* Copy of passport
* Parental Affidavit (if less than 25 years old), (certified)

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 announcement 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 festival. To help there are some companies and organizations which offer some services like making a video and taking pictures.

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!). These certificates have to be legalized by the USA Embassy in Manila (will cost around U$25).


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