Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Complete Step-By-Step Guide To Getting Your Marriage License/Certificate in the Philippines (As Of 2013, For Catholics and Filipino Citizens)

So I’ve been getting a lot of questions from brides-to-be on how to get the ever-elusive marriage license.

Before I got married, I had no idea where to even begin getting the necessary documents to make our union legal and binding. There were just too many requirements and nobody to ask, being one of the first of my friends to get hitched. My hubby and I ended up going to different city halls, church offices, and even notary public centers for affidavits of our marital status. I tried to Google these things to no avail, and it always irked me that nobody ever posted stuff like this when this is actually one of the most important things to do in a wedding.

Why? Why had nobody ever thought about making a step-by-step guide for this?

And because I don’t want soon-to-be-brides to ever feel lost and confused again (you have enough on your plate to worry about; I know), here’s a comprehensive how-to for those pesky papers you just want to get out of the way (kidding).

The Complete Step-By-Step Guide To Getting Your Marriage License/Certificate in the Philippines (As Of 2013, For Catholics and Filipino Citizens)

           1. The Marriage License.

Let me just start by clarifying a common misconception about these documents. The MARRIAGE LICENSE is DIFFERENT from the MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE / CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE. Shocker, right? I was totally lost, too. The Marriage License is secured from the City Hall where you or your spouse currently resides, while the Marriage Certificate is given to you by the church you got married in and the city hall of that church.
If you’re still confused, that’s okay. The first thing we have to worry about right now is the Marriage License, because this is a prerequisite to getting your Marriage Certificate from your church.

So. Depending on where either you or your partner-to-be is living, you have to get a list of requirements from the civil registry office of your city hall. I’m assuming the requirements are pretty standard in different cities in the metro, but for those residing in Quezon City, the requirements for the application of a marriage license are as follows:

a.       Certified True Copy of Birth Certificate or Baptismal Certificate of both applicants.

-          You can get your Birth Certificate from any NSO office. I personally got mine from an NSO satellite office at SM Megamall. All you have to do is fill up a short form, fall in line (a short line, if you’re lucky), and submit. You’ll get the results delivered to you (for an additional fee) or you can pick them up after one week.

-          As for the Baptismal Certificate, you can get that from your church (more on this later).

b.      Community Tax Certificate / Cedula of both applicants

-          Simply head on over to your City Hall and fill up a form. You can get this instantly. In Mandaluyong, it took me 5 minutes and cost me about Php100.

c.       One photo ID (colored or black and white) of each applicant

d.      CENOMAR or Certificate of No Marriage for both applicants from NSO

-          It’s a piece of paper certifying that neither of you are currently married. Again, this can easily be acquired at any NSO satellite office (SM Business Centers). Fill up a CENOMAR form and pick up your results after two weeks.

e.      Applicants’ ages:

-          If either of you is 24 years old and below, you have to attend a seminar on Family Planning plus Counseling at the Health Department Office, Social Services and Development Department (SSDD) as of 2013 at the QC City Hall.

-          If either of you is 25 years old and above, you have to attend a seminar on Family Planning at the Health Department Office of the City Hall. Personally, we had to attend a two-day seminar on this at the church where we were married, so once we got that certificate, we were excused from attending the same seminar again at the City Hall. Check to see if you can do the same at your church.

-          For applicants 18-20 years old, you are required to secure your Parents’ Consent (witnessed affidavit).

-          For applicants 21-24 years old, you are required to secure your Parents’ Advice (witnessed affidavit).

f.        Fees and timeline:

-          The application form costs Php50; the filing fee costs Php100; the marriage license costs Php100; all these for a total of Php250.00.
-          The marriage license will be issued on the 11th day after the 10-day posting period upon submission of your application.
-          REMEMBER! Your license expires 120 days from the date the license was issued. In short, it’s only valid for 4 months, so make sure you get married within that period of time.

Once you have your Marriage License, don’t be alarmed. Ours was just a scribbly piece of paper that didn't look the least bit formal or official. That’s because it’s just a prerequisite to the Marriage Certificate you’ll get later on. But hang on to your license, though, and make sure you photocopy it a few times just to keep it secure. You never know when you’ll need copies of it.

    2.  Baptismal Certificate of both parties

-        After acquiring the Marriage License, you need your Baptismal Certificate. Think you’ve got this covered? Don’t get too cocky yet. You have to get a NEW COPY that says “FOR MARRIAGE PURPOSES”, so rummaging around in your old files for your baby Baptism papers won’t work. Track down the church where you got baptized and ask for a copy from the church office. In my church, I simply had to fill up a small form and pay about Php50. I got it right after; they just had to print it out with the new “FOR MARRIAGE PURPOSES” notation.

-          REMEMBER! The new Baptismal Certificate for marriage purposes should be valid at least 6 months before the wedding, so make sure you have your timeline straight.

    3.  Confirmation Certificate of both parties

-          As with the Baptismal Certificate, you have to get a new form that says “FOR MARRIAGE PURPOSES” valid at least 6 months before the wedding.

-          If you haven’t been Confirmed yet (slapped by a bishop on your cheek!), some churches do batch Confirmations such as the National Shrine of Saint Michael and the Archangels in Manila.

    4. Marriage Banns

-          This one turned out to be such a bother for me and hubby. The marriage banns are forms provided by the church that you have to submit to both your parishes (both the bride and the groom). The parish must be in the places where you have stayed for at least 6 months after your 14th year (for the bride) and your 16th year (for the groom). Once you’ve found your parish where you belong, the banns and the permission from the parish priest must be with the original signature of the priest and seal of the parish.

-          Finding my hubby’s parish was easy, but mine had to take a bit more digging. We ended up going to four different parishes just to find which territory of the “parokya” I belonged to.

-          You need to pay a certain fee (depending on your parish), submit an ID photo, then leave the banns forms with them for 3 weeks. They will basically post your name and picture and address on their bulletin board, announcing to EVERYONE that you’ll be marrying so and so and stuff. Talk about invasion of privacy and a completely dangerous thing to do. I will never understand this.

-          After 3 weeks, you can get your banns forms back with the signature and seal of the parish. You can now return these to the church where you’ll be getting married. Take note that you have to do this for BOTH your parishes, so mind your timeline.

      5. Other church requirements like ID pictures and sponsor lists, depending on your church

      6. The Marriage Certificate / Certificate of Marriage

            Once you finally have all those requirements submitted to your church (woohoo!), you can get married like a boss. After the ceremony, you and your new spouse will sign the marriage certificate along with all your sponsors. Now here’s an official-looking piece of paper. You can get this any day after your wedding at the church office, upon a notification from them. Congratulations!

       7. Certified True Copy of the Marriage Certificate

           To make everything completely official, you have to bring your Marriage Certificate to the city hall of your church. In San Juan, head on over to the civil registrar and they’ll give you your instructions. Just present the Marriage Certificate from the church, and you can get a Certified True Copy of your marriage certificate for Php250 instantly, with the dry seal and everything.

        8. NSO-provided Marriage Certificate

      Something even more official is the Certificate from the NSO. Again, this can easily be acquired at any SM NSO satellite office, but only about a year (sometimes more) after your wedding date. This is because it takes them THAT LONG before your records are reflected in their system.

Now that you have everything you need, just remember to photocopy all your documents and keep them in a safe place. Mind your timelines, and make sure you accomplish them all before the wedding date! Timing is everything. These requirements are the most crucial—after all, these are the proof that you married the love of your life, right?

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