When the Monsieur Marries Maria


(Legal Requirements for Foreign Citizens)
By Gladys Pinky D. Tolete

You know you’ve found Mr. Right because you always swoon when you gaze into his ever-smiling chinky eyes. Or you met Ms. Right amidst the romantic twinkling lights of Paris on your recent vacation. But before making up your vows in French or designing your Chinese cheongsam wedding dress, you and your mate should pay a visit to your respective embassies because there are additional documents required when a local citizen marries a foreign citizen. These requirements are also applicable when both parties come from a foreign country and have decided to start their new life together here in the Philippines.

Visit your respective embassies to know the additional documents needed when a local citizen marries a foreign citizen.

The 1987 Family Code (Ch. 1, Art. 21) states that when either or both parties are citizens of a foreign country and have opted to marry in the Philippines, they should procure a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage from their respective diplomatic or consular officials before they can obtain their marriage license. An “Affidavit in Lieu of A Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage” is also accepted.

With the Certificate of Legal Capacity (a.k.a. Certificate of No Impediment), make sure the following documents are on hand before applying for the Marriage License:

  • passport
  • birth certificate — to certify his/her nationality and date of birth
  • written parental consent or advice if he/she is below the age of 24 years old
  • divorce decree(s)
  • if the foreign party is widowed, a copy of the death certificate of the spouse

It is best to consult with the respective embassy here in the country for additional documents. Japanese citizens, for example, are required to submit certified true copies of their Japanese Family Register and Removed Japanese Family Register to obtain their Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marriage. Likewise, after getting married, Japanese nationals are required to submit a Report of Marriage form to their city hall in Japan.

Couples of different cultures are likely to lead a “colorful” life because varying customs and beliefs add spice to the relationship and provide venues for learning something new everyday about your partner or his/her culture. These may also lead to times of difficulty but always remember that open communication lines are perfect highways to understanding and reconciliation. Now, with the legal requirements all accomplished, you and your betrothed are well on the way to that exciting life together.

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Nolledo, Jose N. “The Family Code of the Philippines.” The Civil Code of the Philippines. 2000 Revised Edition.

Australian Embassy-Manila website:

Embassy of The United States in Manila website: http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/rp1/wwwhmain.html

Official Website of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines: