Marriage Licenses in the Philippines: How to Apply

Thinking of tying the knot in the Philippines? You’ll need a marriage license first, and here’s the scoop on what it involves. A marriage license is a legal document required for any couple planning to marry in the Philippines. Without it, your marriage won’t be recognized by the law, making this license an absolute necessity. The process to obtain one is governed by the Family Code of the Philippines and is designed to ensure that both individuals are legally free to marry. 

This license is crucial for legal recognition, ensuring security for both partners, and is the initial step towards legally forming a family. To be eligible, both parties must be at least 18 years old, not currently married, and not closely related by blood or marriage. The requirements are straightforward but essential, including valid IDs, birth and no-marriage certificates (CENOMAR), and pre-marriage counseling, among others. So, if you’re ready to take the plunge, make sure you’re prepared for a bit of paperwork and some essential steps to ensure your big day is not just special but also legally sound.

Credits: QC government

What is a Marriage License?

This is a document that legally allows a couple to marry in the Philippines. Without this license, any marriage ceremony performed is considered invalid. The process of obtaining this license involves several requirements and steps, which are set by Philippine law to ensure that both parties are legally free to marry.

Legal Basis

The requirement for a this document is mandated by the Family Code of the Philippines. It ensures that all marriages comply with the legal standards set by the country, intended to protect the rights of both individuals entering the union.

Benefits of Having a Marriage License

Obtaining this document is essential for a legally recognized marriage, which comes with several benefits including:

  • Legal recognition: Your marriage is recognized by the state, which is important for various civil, social, and legal purposes.
  • Security: Legal marriage provides security for both partners, especially when it comes to property and inheritance rights.
  • Family formation: A legal marriage is the first step towards forming a family under the eyes of the law, which includes the right to make decisions concerning children and family assets.

Eligibility / Qualifications

To be eligible for a marriage license in the Philippines, both parties must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Not be currently married to someone else.
  • Not be closely related by blood or marriage.


The following documents are typically required to apply for this document:

  1. Valid IDs during Personal Appearance
  2. PSA Birth Certificate
  3. Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR)
  4. Community Tax Certificate (Cedula)
  5. Certificate of Attendance in Pre-Marriage Counseling
  6. Recent 1×1 or 2×2 photos
  7. Marriage License Application Form
  8. Parental Consent (for those aged 18-21) or Parental Advice (for those aged 22-25)
  9. Additional documents for previously married individuals or foreigners (such as a death certificate of a previous spouse or a legal capacity to marry from a consular office)

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Obtain a Marriage License

Step 1: Valid IDs during Personal Appearance

Both parties must present a valid ID when they apply at the Local Civil Registrar.

Step 2: Submit Required Documents

Gather and submit all required documents to the Local Civil Registrar where one of you resides.

Step 3: Attend a Seminar

Attend a mandatory pre-marriage counseling seminar, which covers topics like family planning and responsible parenthood.

Step 4: Wait for the Release of the License

After submitting all documents and attending the seminar, there will be a 10-day waiting period (or 3 months if parental advice is not granted) during which the marriage license application is publicly posted to allow for any objections.

Step 5: Claim Your Document

Once the waiting period is over, and no objections are made, you can claim your document, which is valid for 120 days anywhere in the Philippines.

Tips and Reminders when Requesting a Marriage License in the Philippines

  1. Know the Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements for obtaining this document in your area. These may include valid IDs, birth certificates, and other supporting documents. Contact your local Civil Registrar’s Office for accurate and up-to-date information.
  2. Submit Documents in Advance: Gather all the necessary documents and submit them to the Civil Registrar’s Office ahead of time. This will give you ample time to address any issues or deficiencies and avoid last-minute stress.
  3. Attend the Pre-Marriage Counseling: Many areas require couples to attend pre-marriage counseling or seminars. Be sure to schedule and complete this requirement before applying for this document. It’s a valuable opportunity to learn about marriage laws, responsibilities, and potential challenges.
  4. Check for Waiting Period: Some regions have a waiting period between the application and the issuance of the marriage license. Confirm the duration with your local Civil Registrar’s Office to avoid any surprises.
  5. Respect the Validity Period: Marriage licenses have a validity period, typically ranging from 120 to 180 days. Plan your wedding accordingly to ensure the license remains valid on your chosen date.
  6. Bring Witnesses: Most jurisdictions require the presence of at least two witnesses during the application process. Inform your chosen witnesses in advance and ensure they have valid IDs on hand.
  7. Be Prepared for Fees: Marriage licenses involve certain fees, such as application fees and documentary stamp taxes. Have the necessary funds ready to avoid any delays.
  8. Keep Multiple Copies: After receiving your marriage license, make multiple copies and store them in secure locations. You may need these copies for various legal and administrative purposes in the future.
  9. Consult a Lawyer if Needed: If you have any legal concerns or unique circumstances, it’s advisable to consult a lawyer specializing in family law. They can provide personalized guidance and ensure a smooth process.


While obtaining a marriage license in the Philippines may seem daunting due to its many requirements and steps, it is an essential part of ensuring your marriage is legally recognized. By following this guide, couples can navigate the process with confidence, focusing more on the joys of their upcoming wedding and less on the bureaucratic procedures. Always double-check with your local registry as requirements may vary by location. Good luck, and may your marriage be filled with joy and love!

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