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EXPLANATORY NOTICE TO BRITISH CITIZENS CONTEMPLATING A MARRIAGE TO A CITIZEN OF THE PHILIPPINES


Disclaimer: The following information is provided for general information only and may not be accurate in a particular case. Questions involving interpretations of specific laws, both foreign and local should be addressed to local or foreign attorneys or foreign government official.

If you are a British Citizen and wish to marry in the Philippines, the local authorities require that you produce a document from this Embassy/Consulate to the effect that you are free to marry. The document produced by the Embassy/Consulate is a local Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) acceptable to the Philippine authorities.

This can be done within 24 hours of your application if you can produce a CNI issued by your Registrar of Marriages in the United Kingdom. (The Registrar in the UK will require you to appear personally before him and your Notice of Marriage will have to be posted on his notice board for 22 days before he can issue a CNI). Please note that a CNI issued in Scotland should be presented to this Embassy within 3 months of it being issued.

If one party to the marriage is a Philippine citizen, or is a British Citizen who was previously a Philippine citizen, they must produce a Certificate of No Marriage Certificate (CENOMAR) issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) in Manila (You can now apply for this online through e-Census ). The CENOMAR certifies that the Philippine citizen (or previous Philippine Citizen) has no record of marriage with the NSO. Please note that the CENOMAR issued by the NSO Manila should be presented to the Embassy/Consulate within 3 months of it being issued.

However if the Consular Section/Consulate in Cebu has any doubts relating to the CNI issued in the UK or the CENOMAR, the local CNI acceptable to the Philippine authorities will not be issued within 24 hours. We often do spot checks on CENOMARS received to ensure that they are genuine and have not been fraudulently produced.

If you have not obtained a CNI issued by a Registrar of Marriages in the United Kingdom you will have to comply with the Marriage with Foreigners Act 1906. This requires that you reside in the Philippines for 21 clear days before giving notice of your intended marriage and this period of residence must be immediately prior to acceptance of the Notice. Twenty-one clear days means that the day you arrive in the Philippines or the day you submit your Notice of Intention to Marry may not be counted. When the notice is accepted, your physical presence in the Philippines is not required.

When you give notice of your intended marriage, you will be required to swear an Affidavit before a Consular Officer/Honorary Consul to the effect that you are not aware of any impediment to the marriage (including previous marriages). Your Notice of Marriage will then be displayed in a public place in the Embassy/Consulate for a further 21 clear days (excluding the day you swear the Affidavit). The local CNI will be issued the day after the 21 clear day period has elapsed and you should collect it from the Embassy/Consulate as soon as possible thereafter. The local CNI must be used within 3 months of date of issue. This whole process therefore takes 42 DAYS.

If, however, you are resident in a foreign country (other than the Philippines, but not a Commonwealth country) you may follow the above procedure by applying to the British Embassy/Consulate in your country of residence. When the procedure is completed, the Embassy/Consulate will forward a copy of the Notice of Marriage suitably endorsed. On receipt of the Notice, this Embassy/Consulate will issue the local CNI within 24 hours, unless there are any doubts. Separate procedures apply if you are resident in a Commonwealth country and you should seek advice from your nearest British High Commission who should contact the British Embassy Manila/Consulate in Cebu for guidance.

Applicants (both British National and fiancé) who have been previously married must produce to the Embassy/Consulate and to the Philippine authorities the original death certificate or divorce decree absolute/annulment papers, as appropriate.

The local CNI issued by the Embassy in Manila/Consulate in Cebu is an indispensable requirement of Philippine law and in March 1993 the Civil Registrar General ruled that any marriage which takes place without such a Certificate having been issued will be null and void. Once the local CNI has been issued by the Embassy/Consulate you should apply for a Marriage License (to permit the marriage to take place).

The notice of application for a Marriage License will then be posted by the local Registrar for a period of 10 days at the end of which time the marriage may take place. Should a Marriage License be issued without compliance with the 10-day publication rule, the local Registrar will be liable criminally, civilly and administratively.

A fee of £63 is charged for posting of the Notice and £63 for the CNI. The fees are payable only in Philippine Pesos and in cash at the current Consular rate of Exchange.

Procedures and requirements:

If you have applied for a CNI from your registrar in UK or from other British Embassies/Consulates abroad and would want to exchange your CNI with the British Embassy Manila/Consulate in Cebu, you would need to submit the following documents: Please note that the local CNI issued by this Embassy/Consulate will be available for collection the following day.

For British Citizen born in the UK, you would need to present the following documents:

  • Original UK issued CNI or Original Notice of Marriage issued by the British Embassy abroad
  • Pay the CNI fee (Payable only in Philippine Pesos and in cash at the current Consular rate of Exchange)
  • Original UK passport
  • Original UK birth certificate
  • If widowed, present original death certificate of deceased spouse
  • If divorced/annulled, present the original divorce decree/annulment papers

For British Citizen born in the Philippines, you would need to present the following documents:

  • Original UK issued CNI or Original Notice of Marriage issued by the British Embassy/Consulate abroad
  • Pay the CNI fee (Payable only in Philippine Pesos and in cash at the current Consular rate of Exchange)
  • Original UK passport
  • Original NSO birth certificate
  • Original NSO CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage
  • If widowed, present original death certificate of deceased spouse
  • If divorced/annulled, present the original divorce decree/annulment papers
  • If annulled, present an Advisory of Marriage Record + Marriage certificate on NSO Security paper with proper annotation declaring the marriage null and void + Certificate of Finality and court decision/documents

For Philippine Citizen, you would need to present the following documents:

  • Original CENOMAR (CENOMAR should be within 3 months from the issue date)
  • If applicable, original passport
  • Original birth certificate
  • If previously married, include an Advisory of Marriage Record + Marriage certificate on NSO Security paper with proper annotation declaring the marriage null and void + Certificate of Finality and court decision/documents
  • If widowed, include an Advisory of Marriage Record + Marriage certificate on NSO Security paper with proper annotation declaring the presumptive death of husband
You can post/courier your application to the Embassy/Consulate in Cebu. However, you must enclose all original documents, one set of copies, return prepaid courier envelope and corresponding payment.

If you have not applied for a CNI abroad and would want to apply at the British Embassy Manila/Consulate in Cebu, you will need to submit the required documents as mentioned above, and must comply with the following:

  • You must have already resided in the Philippines for at least 21 days (Will only consider your very latest arrival)
  • On your 22nd day, you may submit your application, submitting your original passport showing the date you arrived
  • Fill out the following forms: Affidavit Questionnaire and Notice of Marriage (NOM, Available through the UK Embassy Site. The NOM will be posted for 21 days in the Consular waiting room. If no objections were received, we will issue the CNI. Please note that the CNI is only valid for 3 months.
  • Pay the CNI + NOM fee (Payable only in Philippine Pesos and in cash at the current Consular rate of Exchange)
NOTE:

IF EITHER APPLICANT HAS BEEN MARRIED BEFORE AND FAILS TO DECLARE THIS, THERE WILL BE SIGNIFICANT DELAYS IN THE ISSUING OF A CNI.

Separate procedures apply if you are resident in a Commonwealth country and you should seek advice from your nearest British High Commission who should contact the British Embassy Manila for guidance.

We would suggest that you advertise your notice of marriage in a leading English newspaper. Notify the British High Commission, who in turn will notify the British Embassy Manila. Below is a sample of a newspaper advertisement:

  • I, (FULL NAME), British Citizen currently residing at (FULL ADDRESS) hereby give notice of my intention to marry (FULL NAME OF FIANCEE), a (CITIZENSHIP OF FIANCEE) in (PLACE OF MARRIAGE) on (DATE OF MARRIAGE). I hereby give notice that if anyone raises legal objection to the proposed marriage on the grounds of incapacity of either party of other lawful impediment, then such objection must be communicated with the British High Commission in ….. or the British Embassy, Manila (Tel No: 00632.858.2200) within 21 days from the date of this publication.

This article has been reprinted from the British Embassy website for reference purposes only. For complete details please contact or visit the Embassy of the United Kingdom  in the Philippines.