DISLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IN THIS CIRCULAR RELATING TO THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A PARTICULAR CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATIONS OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO FOREIGN ATTORNEYS OR FOREIGN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.
NOTE: SPECIAL REQUIREMENT FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL AND INFORMATION REGARDING VISAS ON PAGES TWO AND THREE.
Any foreigner who wishes to marry in the Philippines is required by the Philippine Government to obtain from his/her Embassy an "Affidavit in Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry" before filing an application for a marriage license. A citizen of the United States may execute the affidavit at the American Embassy in Manila. The American Embassy in Manila is located at 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, the telephone number is (63) (2) 521-7116, and the fax number is (63) (2) 522-4361. The American needs to present his/her U.S. passport and proof of the termination of any prior marriage(s) (court certified copies of divorce degrees or registrar certified copies of death certificates), if applicable. There is a service fee of $30.00 for the affidavit.
The affidavit must be obtained from the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Philippine authorities will not accept any substitute document initiated in the United States.
RIGHT OF CONSULAR OFFICER TO REFUSE TO PERFORM SERVICE:
This affidavit is issued as a notarial act by the U.S. Consular Officer and as such the consular officer is authorized by Title 22 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 92.9b, to refuse to perform the service if the document in connection with which the notarial act is requested will be used for a purpose patently unlawful, improper, or inimical to the best interests of the United States. Entering into a marriage with an alien strictly for the purpose of gaining entry to the United States for that individual is considered as an unlawful act.
POSSIBLE PENALITIES IN CONJUNCTION WITH THIS SERVICE:
Section 4221 of Title 22 United States Code provides for punishment of individuals who commit perjury in an affidavit taken by a consular officer.
SPECIAL PROCEDURES FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER MET THE FIANCE/FIANCEE:
If you have never previously met your fiancé/fiancée, it may be advisable to take copies of your written correspondence and telephone bills to document the validity of your relationship to the consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. This may prevent refusal of the notarial service in connection with the issuance of your Affidavit in Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry.
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENT FOR U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL:
U.S. military personnel stationed or visiting in the Philippines should see their servicing military personnel office regarding DOD joint service regulation - Marriage in Oversea Command (Army Regulation 600-240, BUPERUSCIST 1752.1, Air Force Regulation 211-18, and MCO 1752.1 for U.S. Marine Corps personnel). The affidavit will be refused if proper military authorization is not presented by U.S. military personnel.
THE MARRIAGE APPLICATION PROCESS:
Once the person has the affidavit, he/she can file the application for a marriage license at the office of the local Philippine Civil Registrar of the town or city where one of the parties is a resident. The U.S. citizen applicant will need to present the affidavit, death certificate or divorce decree as mentioned above, U.S. passport, and documentation regarding parental consent or advice if applicable. Marriage applicants who are age 18 to 21 must have parental consent in writing, those age 21 to 25 must have written parental advice (a written indication that the parents are aware of the couple's intent to marry). The revised Family Code of the Philippines, which took effect on August 4, 1988, prohibits marriage for individuals below the age of 18.
Normally there is a ten-day waiting period before the marriage license is issued by the registrar's office. In some instances the fiancée may apply in advance for the marriage license with the local civil registrar. The American citizen must then obtain the affidavit of legal capacity upon arrival in the Philippines and file it immediately with the civil registrar where the fiancée applied for the marriage license. A marriage license cannot be obtained by a fiancée without presence of the prospective spouse.
The marriage can be performed by a judge, justice of the peace, priest, or minister of religion.
Marriage to a U.S. citizen confers neither citizenship nor an automatic eligibility for entry to the United States.
VISAS FOR THE SPOUSE:
The U.S. citizen must file a petition with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security for an Immigrant Visa on behalf of the foreign spouse. If you do not normally reside in the Philippines, the Petition for Immigrant Visa (I-30) must be filed for your spouse through the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security office in the United States closest to your residence.
The visa process may take from three to six months or more from the date of filing to the date of final adjudication. Any questions about filing an immigrant visa petition to bring the spouse to the United
States should be directed to the nearest office of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (check the U.S. Government listings in your phone book), the State Department's Visa Office via the How to Contact us webpage or, while in the Philippines, to the American embassy in Manila.
ALTERNATIVE TO MARRIAGE ABROAD:
In lieu of the procedures presented above, it is possible to file a petition for an alien to enter the United States as the fiancé/fiancée of an American citizen thus enabling the parties to marry in the United States. Note that this is only possible if you have previously physically met your fiancé/fiancée. Contact your nearest Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security office for further information.
Questions regarding this subject should be directed to the Department of State Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management, East Asian and Pacific Division, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20520-4818 or the U.S. Embassy in Manila (mailing Address from the U.S. - American Embassy, CONS/ASB, APO AP 96440).