Getting married in the Philippines

A marriage conducted abroad in accordance with the laws of the country of marriage is deemed valid and legal in New Zealand.

There is no legal obligation to have your overseas marriage registered in New Zealand.

Documents required

To marry in the Philippines you will require the following:

  • Certificate of no impediment if you are a New Zealand citizen, or a
  • Certificate of search if you are a New Zealand resident, and a
  • Letter of legal capacity

Certificate of no impediment

The process is the same for applying for either a certificate of no impediment or a certificate of search. The application form (Notice of Intended Marriage of New Zealand Citizen in Another Country, form BDM189) used to apply for either of these certificates is available from the Department of Internal Affairs or from the New Zealand Embassy in Manila.

Complete the form and either courier or post it directly to the Department of Internal Affairs(external link) in New Zealand with the fee (payment options are provided on the form), or send it to the New Zealand Embassy in Manila for forwarding on.

It is important that you ask the Department of Internal Affairs to fax a copy of the certificate to the New Zealand Embassy in Manila (fax number (+63) 2 891 5357) and to include your contact details so that the Embassy can advise you once it is received.

Letter of legal capacity

Once the certificate of no impediment (or certificate of search, as appropriate) is available, the Embassy can then issue you with a letter of legal capacity. If you want the letter to be couriered to you, include the courier fee with your payment.


Once the Department of Internal Affairs has received and processed the application, a certificate of no impediment or certificate of search may be issued after a statutory period of 14 days, but as a general rule, you should allow four weeks for processing of the certificate, in addition to dispatch time.

Allow up to three days for the issue of the letter of legal capacity by the New Zealand Embassy.

The letter of legal capacity and the certificate are taken as evidence that you are not presently married in New Zealand. The older the documents are, the less certainty there can be that you have not since married, so both certificates should have been recently issued when you apply to get married, otherwise the local marriage authorities may not accept them.

If you have been living outside New Zealand you may be asked to produce a letter of legal capacity from the country you have most recently been living in.

Supporting documentation

Before you plan your marriage, you should obtain information from the Philippine marriage authorities to determine the full requirements for your marriage in the Philippines.

In addition to the letter of legal capacity, you may also be required to present other related supporting documentation, for instance:

  • If you are divorced, the divorce or annulment papers;
  • If you were married and your former spouse died, the death certificate.

The specific requirements may vary from one part of the country to the other, and also depending on your particular circumstances, so you and/or your Philippine fiancée should enquire about these from the local marriage authorities of the city hall or municipality in which your fiancée habitually resides (where he or she has lived for at least the last 6 months).

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