Marriage to a Filipino Citizen

Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a Filipino citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps. 

Pilipino/Tagalog Get Help Now

You must demonstrate to Filipino officials that they are not currently married to anyone else - either you have never been married or all divorces are finalized - that your identity is proven, and that you have never committed any crimes in Filipino. This is done by providing various documents including an Affidavit of Single Status to the Filipino government either in Philippines or via a Filipino embassy.

If you want to bring your Filipino spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for a visitor visa. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our visitor visa page.


Filipino Marriage Basic Requirements

When marrying a Filipina or Filipino be aware that you must take special care with the paperwork and that marriage to a foreigner is a sensitive issue in the Philippines. Legislators in the Philippines have introduced legislation that would require a foreigner intent on marrying a citizen of the Philippines to prove both “moral” and financial capabilities. In 1990, the Anti-Mail Order Bride Law was passed in the Philippines to outlaw so called marriage catalogues in print form, where Filipino women would offer themselves for marriage proposals, similar to those used for Eastern European brides-to-be. The practice continued online, however, and in 2013 a proposed amendment to this law would have punished online violations of the law with minimum jail terms of 12 years and fines of 50,000 to 100,000 Philippine Pesos (CAD$1,000 to CAD$2,000 roughly). So far, it is not clear if the law is in effect – it seems to remain merely as a legislative bill. But the point is: it’s a sensitive issue, so be careful when marrying a Filipina, or a Filipino.

The process is as follows:


Proof of Single Status

Canada has no central statistical registry of marriages. This means that in order to prove to the Philippine authorities that you are not married, you must provide a Statutory Declaration of your civil status, notarized at the Canadian embassy in Manila, or consulate in Cebu, both in the Philippines. 

To obtain a Statutory Declaration:

At the Canadian Embassy located at:

Levels 6-8, Tower 2
RCBC Plaza
6819 Ayala Avenue
Makati City 1200

You do not need an appointment but you must appear during consular services hours which are:

  • Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM for consular services
  • Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM for notary services

At the Canadian Consulate in Cebu, appointments must be made by contacting them at [email protected].  Please note that as of June 22, 2015 they are only offer notary services 1 day per month

Appear in person at the embassy or consulate and normally you can obtain your Statutory Declaration that same day. You must provide:

  1. Your valid Canadian Passport or Citizenship Certificate;
  2. Your future spouse’s full legal name, citizenship, and residential address;
  3. An original or certified true copy of the final divorce decree or the death certificate, if you are divorced or widowed. It must be in English or French or be accompanied by an official translated copy.
  4. You must pay the non-refundable processing fee of CAD$50 or PHP1,730. Please consult beforehand with the embassy or consulate on the current fee for Declarations. Payment methods are:
    • Cash in person in Canadian dollars for the exact amount. No coins will be accepted.
    • By Credit Card with a processing fee included and to be charged to your card in Canadian dollars.
    • By Postal Money Order or Manager’s Cheque payable to “Embassy of Canada” in Philippine Pesos or Canadian dollars.
    • Philippine Pesos in Cash will NOT be accepted.
    • The above payment methods are valid for the Canadian Embassy only. If paying at the Consulate in Cebu: you must pay only by Postal Money Order or Manager’s Cheque in Canadian dollars or Philippine Pesos.

If you are a Permanent Resident of Canada but do not have Canadian Citizenship then you must obtain your Statutory Declaration from the embassy or consulate of your nationality instead. 

Philippine authorities may not accept a Statutory Declaration (rather than a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage which is normally required of foreigners) that is more than 6 months old at the time you apply for a Marriage Certificate, so be sure you apply for one within 6 months or less of your planned wedding date. 

You will need to obtain a Statutory Declaration in lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage when applying for your marriage license. As stated above, because Canada does not have a centralized civil registrar that tracks marriages, your Statutory Declaration will have to be accepted by the Philippine authorities instead.


Getting a Marriage License

Your next step is to obtain your Marriage License. To apply for a marriage license both parties must go to the Local Civil Registry Office, or LCRO, of the city, town, or the municipality where the Filipino party is from or is normally resident of. There is at least a 10 day waiting period after you apply before the marriage license is released. Once issued, the Marriage License is valid for 120 days from the date of issuance, so be sure to plan your visit to the Local Civil Registrar within 4 months or less of the planned wedding date. You will need the following documents when applying for a Marriage License:


Birth Certificate

Certified copy of you or your partner’s NSO Birth Certificate or a Baptismal Certificate: to obtain an NSO birth certificate online go to and fill out the electronic form and pay online. In the case of lost or destroyed birth certificates, one can present a current residence certificate or an instrument drawn up and sworn before the civil registrar, at least 15 days prior to the date of application for the marriage license. Foreigners can produce a civil or baptismal certificate of birth or a certified copy.


Affidavit of Parental Consent or Advice

If either party is between the ages of 18 and 21, a Parental Letter of Consent from the father, the mother, the surviving parent, or the legal guardian, is required. If either party is between the ages of 22 and 25, then a Letter of Advice from that party’s parents indicating they are aware of your intention to marry is required.


CENOMAR or Certificate of No Marriage Record

Some LCROs are now requiring a CENOMAR which is issued by the NSO from foreign parties in a marriage. These are also called No Record of Marriage or Certificate of Singleness. In the Philippines if you are divorced or widowed you are not considered single, but rather “unmarried.” If your marriage in the Philippines was annulled than you are considered single. When requesting a CENOMAR from the NSO you must provide:

  1. Your complete name
  2. Your father’s complete name
  3. Your mother’s complete maiden name
  4. Your date and place of birth
  5. The complete name and address of the requesting party
  6. Number of copies needed
  7. Purpose of the Certification.

If you have a previous marriage in the Philippines that was annulled, you will need a copy of the original marriage certificate with an annotation stating that the annulment has been made final.


Certificate of Attendance in a Pre-Marital Counselling and Family Planning Seminar

These are conducted by the Division of Maternal and Child Health, or DMCH, at the municipal centre or town hall of the local where the marriage license has been applied for. Some LCROs require this be obtained before issuing the Marriage License. Other LCROs allow the marriage parties to attend the seminars after obtaining the marriage license, but before the wedding date.


Other Documentation

  • Community Tax Clearance or ‘Cedula’ (1 original & 2 photocopies);
  • At least 2 valid IDs;
  • A Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage – normally required of foreigners getting married in the Philippines - will have to be substituted by a Statutory Declaration because Canada does not keep a central statistical registry of marriages.
  • A Moral Character Reference: given the sensitivity of marriage and mail-order brides as issues in the Philippines, you are now required to obtain this document which is a letter attesting to your character and background by someone who possesses direct personal knowledge of you, your character and your background. The letter must be from:
    • A person of authority
    • A social worker
    • A Health or Education Officer
    • A Church Minister.
  • A photocopy of your passport if you are the foreign marriage party.


Applying for a Marriage License

Once you have the necessary documents for the Marriage License: 

You should obtain a copy of the Marriage License application form from your Local Civil Registry Office, LCRO, and fill it out. The left side of the form should be filled out by the groom. The right side of the form should be filled out by the bride.

Present the completed form in person at the Local Civil Registry Office either earlier in the morning or right after lunch hour to avoid long line ups.

Obtain your claim slip which, if you have not attended pre-marital counselling and parental planning seminar, will contain a reminder to do so. Use your certificate of attendance and your claim slip to claim your marriage license. You will have to wait at least 10 days before being able to do so.

Once issued, the marriage license is valid for 120 days.

If you and your partner have lived together for at least 5 years, no marriage license is required, as long as there were no legal impediments to marriage to each other during the period of co-habitation. This is in accordance with Article 34 of the Philippine Family Code.

You will have to pay a fee as well. Ensure that you are dealing with the appropriate official at the Local Registry Office, when you pay the fee.


Church Wedding in the Philippines

Additional requirements: aside from the official documents you need, for a church wedding you must:

  1. Have a valid marriage license issued within the past 120 days.
  2. Obtain baptismal and confirmation certificates in accordance with the sacraments of the Church. The copies of the certificates must be new and obtained 3 months or less before the wedding date. Some parishes cannot produce digital copies and take a while to produce baptismal and confirmation certificates. Start as soon as possible with your requests for these certificates if you are planning a church wedding.
  3. Present Birth Certificates and a CENOMAR issued by the NSO.
  4. Show you attended Marriage preparation seminars conducted monthly by a parish church. Alternatively you can attend those given by groups like:

Be sure to obtain certificates of attendance for these seminars.

You must also do the following:

  • Canonical Interview: you must meet with the parish priest or his assistant in the church you will be married in. Schedule it at least 1 to 2 months before the interview and you may be given a list of questions that you will be asked so you can prepare.
  • Marriage Banns: you must request your marriage banns from your parish and they will be posted for 3 consecutive weeks, after which you can retrieve your letter from the parish office indicating that no impediments to the marriage were presented.
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  • Submit a list of entourage members and sponsors attending your wedding to the church.
  • Confession: some churches require the bride and groom to attend a confession a few days before the wedding.
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Civil Wedding in the Philippines

Civil weddings are usually conducted by a judge of a Regional Trial Court, or RTC, or the mayor of a city or town. They are faster and cheaper than church weddings. You will need:

  1. Marriage License;
  2. Baptismal or Birth Certificates for both bride and groom;
  3. Community Tax Certificates or CEDULAS for both bride and groom;
  4. Certificate of attendance in a pre-marital seminar;
  5. Letter of Intent to Marry with names and signatures of both parties as well as the planned date of the wedding;
  6. If widowed you will need a Certified True Copy of Death Certificate of your deceased spouse;
  7.  If divorced you will need a Final Decree of Absolute Divorce. For foreigners your foreign divorce decree must be filed for recognition in the applicable Regional Trial Court, or RTC. This is a lengthy process of up to 6 months and requires legal help and the associated cost. Plan ahead if you are divorced. Also ensure that your Filipino spouse does not have any previous marriage registered at the NSO, unless the marriage was annulled.
  8. Statutory Declaration (for Canadian Citizens) in lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry (for other foreigners whose home countries have Civil Registrars that keep statistical records of marriages).
  9. Passport photocopy.

Submit your Letter of Intent to Marry along with your Marriage License at the Mayor’s office. You can seek the approval of your chosen officiate – an RTC judge or the Mayor. 

You will need 2 witnesses of legal age.

You will need to pay a filing fee in order to obtain a copy of your Marriage Certificate.


Obtaining a Marriage Certificate

Your marriage certificate must be signed by your witnesses as well as the parties to the marriage and is usually obtained 1 to 2 months after the wedding. When requesting a marriage certificate you must provide:

  1. Complete name of husband;
  2. Complete name of wife;
  3. Date of marriage;
  4. Place of marriage;
  5. Compete name and address of requesting party;
  6. Number of copies needed;
  7. Purpose of the certification.


List of Filipino Consulates in Canada

Embassy in Ottawa


Filipino Currency

The official currency of Philippines is the Peso PHP. It is also spelled piso in Filipino, divided into 100 centavos (c).

The Central Bank of Philippines distributes banknotes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 pesos. Coins are distributed in 10c and 25c pieces, and P1, P5 and P10.



Credit, debit and cash cards are accepted throughout Philippines because there are thousands of ATMs throughout the country. The most widely accepted credit card for cash advances is MasterCard, followed by Visa.

ATMs dispense local currency, and there may be a daily withdrawal limit. Metrobank and Equitable PCI ATMs have cash withdrawal limits of P4000 and P5000, respectively. HSBC bank ATMs do not have limits.


Traveller's Cheques

Traveller’s cheques in USD are the most secure and reliable way to carry funds in Philippines. American Express (AmEx) is the most widely recognized.

Cashing traveller’s cheques is best transacted in a bank and most places charge a small fee to cash them.


Calling the Philippines from Canada

  • The exit code for Canada is 011
  • The country code 63
  • Dial 011 – 63 – area code – local number

Area Codes for Major Centres in the Philippines

Angeles 45 Dumaguete 35 Navotas 2
Antipolo 2 General Santos 83 Olongapo 47
Bacolod 34 General Trias 46 Paranaque 2
Bacoor 46 Iligan 63 Pasay 2
Baguio 74 Iloilo 33 Pasig 2
Baliuag 44 Imus 46 Quezon 2
Batangas 43 Las Pinas 2 Roxas ** 78
Binan 49 Lapu-Lapu 32 San Fernando ** 72
Binangonan 2 Lipa 43 San Jose del Monte 44
Butuan 85 Lucena 42 San Pablo 93
Cabanatuan 44 Mabalacat 45 San Pedro 2
Cabuyao 49 Makati 2 Santa Maria ** 44
Cagayan de Oro 88 Malabon 2 Santa Rosa ** 49
Cainta 2 Malolos 44 Tacloban 53
Calamba ** 49 Mandaluyong 2 Taguig 2
Calbayog 55 Mandaue 32 Talisay ** 32
Caloocan 2 Manila 2 Tanza 46
Cebu 32 Marawi 63 Tarlac 45
Cotabato 64 Marikina 2 Taytay 2
Dagupan 75 Meycauayan 44 Toledo 32
Dasmarinas 46 Muntinlupa 2 Valenzuela 2
Davao 82 Naga 54 Zamboanga 62


Calling Canada from the Philippines

  • The international code is 00
  • The country code for Canada is 1
  • Dial 00 – 1 – are code – local number

Area Codes of Canada

Province Code Province  Code

403 / 587 (southern Alberta)

587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)

Nunavut 867

236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)

236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)


226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)

249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)

289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)

343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)

416 / 647 (Toronto)

807 (northwestern Ontario)

Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New  Brunswick 506 Quebec

418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)

438 / 514 (Montreal)

450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)

819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)

Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902    


Time Difference

Canadian Time Zone # of Hours Philippines is Ahead # of Hours during DST
Pacific (BC, Yukon) 16 hours 15 hours
Mountain (Alberta, western Nunvaut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan) 15 hours 14 hours
Saskatchewan 14 hours 14 hours
Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario) 14 hours 13 hours
Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec) 13 hours 12 hours
Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec) 12 hours 11 hours
Newfoundland 11.5 hours 10.5 hours


Emergency Information for Canadians in the Philippines

Canadian Government's Travel Alerts for the Philippines


Canadian Consulates in the Philippines

Embassy of Canada in Manila

6th, 7th, and 8th Floors, RCBC Plaza Tower 2
6819 Ayala Avenue
Makati City, Manila

Postal Address
P.O. Box 2168, Makati City 1220, 1261 MakatiPhilippines

Telephone: 63 (2) 857-9000 or 857-9001
Fax: 63 (2) 843-1082 E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]


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Consulate of Canada in Cebu

45-L Andres Abellana Street
Cebu City 6000

Telephone: 63 (32) 256-3320
Fax: 63 (32) 255-3068 E-mail: [email protected]


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Religion in the Philippines

  • Roman Catholic: 80%
  • Aglipayan: 2%
  • Muslim: 5%
  • Evangelical: 2.8%
  • Iglesia ni Cristo: 2.3%
  • Other Christians: 4.5%
  • Other Religions: 1.8%
  • Unspecified: 0.6%

Roman Catholic

At 80% the Catholic Church is the largest denomination in Philippines, this is attributed to the colonization by Spain who introduced Christianity.

On November 1st of every year, Filipinos celebrate the Day of the Dead by spending much of the day and evening visiting ancestral graves, showing respect and honor to departed relatives through feasting and prayers.

November 2nd is All Soul's Day in Philippines.

Philippines is also world renowned for its flagellation ritual which involves devoted Catholic Christians inflicting pain and bruises to their bodies as a symbolic act of re-enactment of the suffering of Jesus Christ.

These acts involve bruising their backs with sharp objects, and the ultimate way of demonstrating faith is being crucified.

This ritual is deeply entrenched in the Filipino culture and is done on Good Friday during the Easter season of every year.



The Baha’i Faith in Philippines sprung up in 1921 when the first Baha’i follower visited Philippines. In the early 1960s, the community grew from 200 in 1960 to 1000 by 1962 and 2000 by 1963. This growth was accelerated by stable economic growth.

By 1980 there were 64,000 Bahá'ís and 45 local assemblies after the local spiritual assembly was established.



Buddhism is largely followed by the Filipino Chinese, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese communities.



Hinduism is practised by the Indian Filipinos and Indians living in Philippines. Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhism religions are very closely related to Hinduism, and mainly practised by Tibetans, Sri Lankans, Burmese and Thais.

A big part of Filipino mythology is heavily derived from Hindu mythology. Hinduism arrived when the Hindu religion and culture was introduced into India by southern Indians in the 4th centuries - 14th century.


Iglesia ni Cristo

This is an indigenous religious organization founded by Felix Manalo. Felix Manalo claims that he is restoring the church of Christ that was lost for 2,000 years. The Iglesia ni Cristo is estimated to have a population of about 3 million followers.



Islam reached the Philippines in the 14th century when Muslim merchants from Malaysia and Indonesia trading in the regions of the Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia.

There are about 5 to 10 million Muslims in Philippines, which is approximately 5-10% of the total population.


Jehovah's Witness

Jehovah’s Witnesses was founded in the Philippines in 1912, when the then president of Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Charles T. Russell visited Philippines and gave a talk at the Manila Grand Opera House.



As of 2005, Filipino Jews were at most 500 people according to surveys. As of 2011, Metropolitan area of Manila has the largest Jewish community in the Philippines.

Jews fleeing from persecution found refuge in Philippines settling there permanently.


Latter Day Saints (Mormons)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) was brought to the Philippines during the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Missionary work was the way in which this Church spread throughout Philippines World War II, the Church was officially registered in the Philippines in 1961.


Paganism (Animism)

Indigenous spiritual traditions practised in the Philippines during pre-colonial times are described as Animism.

These traditions are a collection of beliefs and cultural practices rooted in the idea that the world is inhabited by spirits and supernatural entities, both good and bad.

These spirits all around nature are known as "diwatas", and they should be revered. The main characteristics that define these traditions are worshipping certain deities, chants, and prayers.


Atheism and Agnosticism

This group consists of less than 1% of the population. There are institutions that however in a way practice atheism such as University of Philippines and University of the Philippines Atheist Circle.

Filipino Freethinkers was formed in 2009 with the organization composed mostly of atheists, agnostics, and humanists.

They have their own daily discussions through online channels, and a membership of more than 200 members spread across Philippines, forums, and social networking groups.


Bringing Gifts to the Philippines

Duty-Free Items

For all passengers over 18 years old

  • 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams tobacco
  • 2 bottles of alcohol not more than 1 litre each
  • Duty free allowance for special passengers, Filipino residents who have stayed abroad more than 6 months may bring used electronic or electrical appliances and personal effects up to the value of PHP 10,000
  • For contract workers, used personal effects with a value of PHP 10,000 and used home appliances, limited to 1 of each kind, value up to PHP 10,000
  • Free export of up to USD 10,000 or equivalent amount of foreign currency. Any a mounts exceeding that amount must be declared.

Restricted Items

  • All plants, planting materials, fruits and vegetables, regardless of quantity, should have import permit to import and needs to be declared upon arrival
  • All animals must be accompanied by certified by a professional vet and have a good health certificate issued at the point of origin stating that animals have not been exposed to communicable disease. Import permit obtained from Bureau of Animal Industry
  • Cats and dogs must also have a certificate of inoculation against rabies (issued at point of origin). The Station Manager of the airline at the point of arrival must notify the Quarantine Inspector in Manila at least 24 hours before arrival of the animals. Pets may be transported in a hand baggage or as a cargo.
  • Free import of up to PHP 10,000 in local currency. Any exceeding amounts require authorization from the Central Bank of the Philippines.

Prohibited Items

  • Firearms and weapons parts, explosives and ammunition.
  • Pornographic materials
  • Drugs or substances for abortion
  • Gambling machines and articles of such items (jackpot or pinball machines, lottery sweepstakes)
  • Tickets, coin operated video machines
  • Any precious metals without indication fineness of quality
  • Misbranded drugs or foodstuffs
  • Prohibited drugs and plants/ seeds that are used to make prohibited drugs (coca leaves, poppy, and marijuana) as well as smoking pipes and accessories


Bringing Goods Out of the Philippines

Restricted Items

  • Local currency of amounts exceeding 10,000 Pesos requires authorization from the Central Bank of Philippines. The source and purpose of transport of such amounts must be declared and documented.
  • Foreign currency of amounts exceeding USD 10,000 or equivalent amount of other foreign currency must be declared. The source and purpose of transport of such amounts must be stated and documented.

Prohibited Items

  • Weapons (including toy guns) and ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Pornographic material
  • Gambling machines and such items
  • Raw precious metals or jewellery without markings
  • Drugs
  • Smoking pipe


Sponsoring Your Filipino Spouse to Canada

To learn more about the sponsorship process click below.

Learn More