Spousal Visa Philippine Government Requirements
Spousal Visa Philippine Government Requirements
This article is specifically about Spousal Visa Philippine Government Requirements for:
- A U.S. Citizen to marry a Filipino or Filipina in the Philippines
- The Philippine citizen to leave the Philippines on a U.S. IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa
You are a U.S. Citizen and have decided to get married overseas in your partner’s country. Accordingly, you should look up any requirements that his or her country has with regard to marriage to a foreigner. In similar fashion, you need to look up any requirements that his or her country has with regard to leaving the country on an IR-1 or CR-1 Spousal Visa.
For this purpose, the best way is to first consult with the U.S. Embassy or consulate in his or her country to find out the requirements. For example, check the embassy website or call the embassy by phone.
Lea and I married in the Philippines, therefore, we know the Philippine government requirements to marry and leave the country on a CR-1 Visa. As a result, we are sharing the Philippine IR-1/CR-1 government requirements with you.
The Philippine IR-1/CR-1 government requirements to marry in the Philippines are found on the U.S. Philippines Embassy website HERE.
In Contrast, there are fewer requirements for those engaged to a U.S. Citizen and leave for the U.S. on a K-1 Fiance(e) Visa. These requirements are found HERE.
For this purpose, this post is only on the Philippine IR-1/CR-1 government requirements to marry in the Philippines and leave the country on an IR-1 or CR-1 Spousal Visa.
Here is a summary of the Philippine IR-1/CR-1 government requirements to marry in the Philippines. Also included are the requirements for your future spouse to leave the Philippines to the U.S. on an IR-1 or CR-1 Spousal Visa:
#1 Legal Capacity to Marry
About Legal Capacity to Marry
Firstly, the Philippine government requires U.S. Citizens, who wish to marry in the Philippines, obtain a “Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage”. Hence, this is required to be obtained from the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Also, this is required before filing an application for a marriage license.
Why does the Philippine government require this document? In order to affirm that there is no legal impediment to marry, is the main reason.
Obtain Legal Capacity to Marry
The legal capacity to marry is obtained from the U.S. Embassy or consulate.
Because the U.S. does not keep track of births, deaths and marriages in a central system, the U.S. Embassy cannot confirm and provide a “Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage”.
Instead, the U.S. Embassy provides U.S. citizens the opportunity to sign an “Affidavit In Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage”. This is a self-certification that the U.S. citizen is free to marry in the Philippines. Almost always, the Philippine government entities have accepted this affidavit as satisfying the requirement to certify the U.S. citizen’s eligibility to marry in the Philippines. However, a few Philippine municipalities do not accepted the affidavit.
The Affidavit is obtained using U.S. Citizen Notarial Services at either the U.S. Embassy in Manila or at the Consular Agency in Cebu. Obtaining this document at the Embassy is done by appointment only.
Schedule U.S. Embassy Appointment
In order to make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, do the following:
- Click HERE to make a notarial services appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
- Then, click “Make An Appointment”.
- Followed by, select country “Philippines” and City “Manila”.
- Then, select “Request Notarial and Other Services Not Listed Here” and the reviewed check box.
- Consequently, you see a calendar with available dates.
- Finally, pick the date that you want for your appointment.
Click HERE to see our blog post on the “Top 3 Hotels near the U.S Embassy in Manila”.
Alternatively, the U.S. Embassy Consulate in Cebu offers notarial services on a walk-in, first-come/first-served basis each day from 9:00 – 11:00 AM.
You need to bring the following documents:
- Print out and bring your appointment confirmation,
- a valid U.S. Passport,
- If you were married before, bring certified copies of:
- your divorce decree, if applicable
- annulment, if applicable
- death certificate of your former spouse, if applicable
- Fee of $50 in U.S. Cash, credit card or Philippine Peso equivalent
For U.S. military personnel, contact your personnel office regarding Department of Defense joint service regulations.
#2 Obtain Marriage License
Once you obtain your “Affidavit In Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage”, you and your partner file an application for a marriage license. This application is filed at the office of the Philippine Civil Registrar in the town or city where your partner is a resident. The license is a requirement for either a civil or church wedding in the Philippines. The U.S. citizen applicant will need to present:
- The Affidavit in Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry;
- Divorce decree(s) or death certificate(s) required to verify civil status and capacity to marry, if applicable;
- U.S. passport;
- documentation regarding paternal consent or advice, if applicable.
- Birth certificate
Your Philippine partner will need to present:
- A valid ID
- Birth Certificate
- A Certificate of No Marriage (Cenomar)
Wedding Official and Age Requirements
However. marriage applicants aged 18 to 21 must have written parental consent. Also, applicants aged 22 to 24 must have received parental advice.
Specifically, Philippine law prohibits the marriage of individuals under the age of 18.
Philippine law requires a ten-day waiting period from the filing of the application to the issuance of the marriage license. Then, the license is valid for 120 days and may be used anywhere in the Philippines.
Because there are many requirements to get the licence, give yourself plenty of time. Here are the requirements that we needed:
- Fill out the application and get it approved
- Family planning seminar
- Pay the fee
Click HERE for a list of requirements for a church wedding as developed by the U.S. Embassy.
If you chose to be married in a civil ceremony, you will need to apply for a marriage license. Once the license is obtained, you can go to a judge or a mayor to perform the wedding. For example, we invited the Mayor of Ibaan to our wedding at a Villa. There is a ten-day waiting period from the date of the civil wedding before the issuance of the marriage contract. Therefore, we used this time period to go on our honeymoon.
Once you are married and receive your marriage contract back, you can submit your petition for a CR-1 Spousal Visa to USCIS, if you have all the other documents ready that you need for USCIS. See our web pages on IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa and the IR-1/CR-1 USCIS Stage for help.
#3 Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) Seminar and Stamp
Thirdly, the Spousal Visa Philippine Government Requirements include a CFO seminar and stamp.
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) is an agency of the Philippine government. Primarily, the CFO is responsible for promoting and upholding the interest of Filipino emigrants. Also, the CFO is responsible for Filipino permanent residents in other countries. In addition, it is responsible for preserving and strengthening ties with Filipino communities outside the Philippines.
The Philippine government requires all Filipino’s that are emigrating to other countries to attend a Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) or Peer Counseling Session. For example, this includes those on a U.S. IR-1/CR-1 Sousal Visa. In short, the seminar or session is a Philippine IR-1/CR-1 Visa government requirement.
The seminary or counselling sessions are held at a CFO office in the Philippines. In order to obtain the stamp, a 4 hour seminar is required either in the morning or afternoon.
Alternatively, there are two (2) locations in the Philippines to schedule and attend a CFO PDOS including:
1345 Pres. Quirino Avenue
corner Osmeña Highway
Manila, Philippines 1007
Tel. No.: (02) 552-4700
Fax No.: (02) 561-8332
Click HERE to see our blog post on “Hotels near Manila CFO- Recommendations”.
4th floor, K&J Building,
#4 Don Julio Llorente St.,
Capitol Site, Cebu City 6000
Click HERE to see our blog post on “Hotels near Cebu CFO- Recommendations”.
Here find topics discussed in the seminar:
- travel regulations,
- immigration procedures,
- cultural differences,
- settlement concerns,
- employment and social security concerns, and
- rights and obligations of Filipino migrants.
The PDOS is for emigrants petitioning by their parents, siblings, or immediate relatives. This is including independent applicants who are 20-59 years old. The Peer Counseling Program is for emigrants ages 13-19 years old. However, children under 12 are not required to attend. Also, there are certain requirements for children under 12 listed on the CFO web site shown below.
In order to attend the Pre-Departure Orientation/Peer Counseling Program at CFO Manila, clients are required to use the RESERVATION and REGISTRATION (R&R) Online System.
In contrast, attendance in the Pre-Departure Orientation/Peer Counseling Program at CFO Cebu is on a first-come, first-serve, walk-in basis. Also, the Commission only accept emigrants with complete registration requirements.
Click HERE for a flyer from the CFO on making an appointment and other information on the PDOS or peer counseling.
Click HERE for information from the CFO website on making an appointment. For example, the web site provides information on who is exempt, requirements for minor children, documents, schedules and locations.
After your fiance(e) attends the seminar, he or she receives a certificate that certifies that he or she attended the PDOS or peer counseling seminar. Afterward, make sure that your fiance(e) keeps the certificate safe as he or she needs it after getting their visa.
Finally, go to the CFO office to affix the CFO stamp in his or her Filipino passport. Most importantly, Philippine law prohibited them leaving the country without the CFO stamp affixed in their passport. Remember, give yourself time to do this before leaving. Check when the CFO offices are open. Don’t cut it too short between getting the Visa and leaving for the U.S. without time to get the CFO stamp.
#4 Pay Travel Tax
Lastly, paying the Philippine travel tax is one of the four Spousal Visa Philippine Government Requirements.
The Philippines levies a travel tax on the following persons who leave the country:
- Filipino citizens,
- Foreigners permanently residing or immigrants in the Philippines, and
- Foreigners staying in the Philippines for more than one year.
Before they leave their country, Filipino’s pay the travel tax. Pay the fee to the Philippine Tourist Authority. Remember, this includes those traveling to the U.S. on Ir-1/CR-1 Spousal Visas
Inside the airport, there is a counter where you pay this fee before you leave. Typically, this is in the departure terminal area. Remember, you cannot leave without paying this fee.
As of this post, the travel tax is:
- 2,700 PHP for first class passengers
- 1,620 PHP for economy class passengers
In contrast, the standard reduced rate for minors is:
- 1,350 for first class passengers
- 810 PHP for economy class passengers
On the other hand, the privileged reduced rate for dependents of overseas Filipino contract workers is:
- 400 PHP for first class passengers
- 300 PHP for economy class passengers.
The following are exempt from the fee:
- Filipino citizens permanent residents living abroad,
- Balikbayan visitors, staying in the Philippines for less than one year, and
- Overseas Filipino Contract Workers.