US Citizen’s Guide to Marrying in the Philippines and Immigrating a Philippine (Filipina) Spouse to the United States

The Philippines, a beautiful country with polite people, delicious food, and a positive culture. Marrying someone from the Philippines is wonderful! This article will discuss the two common questions:

  • How does a US Citizen marry in the Philippines?
  • How does the Philippine Spouse immigrate to the US?

If you are interested in the US K-1 Fiance Visa process, you can visit our guide here: U.S. Citizen’s Guide to the Fiancee Visa Process in Manila Philippines

What are the Philippine Marriage Requirements a US Citizen needs to know?

First, the Philippine Government requires all foreigners to provide a “Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage” from his/her embassy before filing for a marriage license. This requirement is similar to the Philippine CENOMAR document, better understood as a civil status record. The certificate affirms the US Citizen is not married to anyone in the world and is able to marry a Filipino.

Obtaining a Legal Capacity to Marry at the US Embassy in Manila or the US Consulate in Cebu are by appointment only. The appointment link is found here:

The following should be taken to the Appointment for a Legal Capacity to Marry:  

  1. Your confirmation printout
  2. All divorce decrees (Certified Copy from the US Courthouse or Vital Statistics Office) or death certificates that show the U.S. citizen is free to marry
  3. Valid, unexpired U.S. passport
  4. $50 in cash (or Philippine Peso equivalent) or credit card to pay the requisite fee

Second, the license to marry must be acquired. Philippine law requires a ten-day waiting period from the filing of the application to the issuance of the marriage license. These ten (10) days are business days, not counting weekends or holidays. The license is valid for 120 days and may be used anywhere in the Philippines.

Third, register the marriage and acquire a Philippines Statistic Authority (PSA) Marriage Certificate.

Special Note: A Virtual Marriage in Utah may be more ideal than a foreign marriage in the Philippines. More information found here:

How does the Philippine Spouse Immigrate to the United States?

The IR-1 / CR-1 Spousal Immigrant Visa is the visa that would allow a Filipino spouse to immigrate to the US. The process has 2 basic steps, but it is better to understand through the following breakdown:

  1. Part 1Petition to Recognize the Relationship – Submit the I-130 Electronically (Related Blog Post found here)
  2. Part 2Waiting Period – I-130 Pending awaiting a USCIS Officer to review the filing and supporting documents (Processing times Post found here)
  3. Part 3NVC Processing – Visa fees are paid online, DS-260 completed, and supporting documents uploaded.
  4. Part 4Consulate Interview – NVC provides Manila Interview day and time, Consulate Account Registered, Medical Performed, Documents Organized, and Interview Attended.
  5. Part 5Arrive in the US – Pay Immigrant Fee, Fly to the United States, Apply/Receive US Social Security Card, and Receive Green Card in the mail within 4 months after entry.

What documents are required?

Our office has an Immigration Checklist here:

Important things to know:

General Government Cost (Updated January 1, 2022): $1200

Average Processing Time (Updated January 1, 2022): 18 to 24 months

Are there any Consular Interview instructions?

The Manila Embassy provides the following instructions for consular interviews:

The Spouse will need three (3) Philippine Documents at the NVC and US Embassy in Manila:

What happens if a Philippine Wife is pregnant with a US Citizen’s Child?

Many believe the baby or newborn would need a visa to enter the US. However, any children of US Citizens may already be US Citizens and should use a US Passport for travel.

The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) Process (More info found here: registers the birth in Manila or in Cebu, whichever US Embassy or Consulate is available, and provides the US Citizen child a US Passport, a US Social Security Card, and a proof of US Citizenship in the form of a CRBA Certificate that will never expire.

If you require assistance with the Philippine Spousal Visa process, please consider contacting our office to set up a consultation with our Immigration Attorney.

Related Blog Posts:

Virtual Utah Marriage: Alternative to a Proxy Marriage for Immigration Purposes

Joint Bona Fide Documents: How to Start meeting the USCIS I-130 Evidence Requirement for a Marriage

J1 Waiver of 212(e) Special Skills list: Philippines and the Exceptional Hardship



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