1.      In May 1990 the Government of the Philippines enacted a law making it illegal to run a mail order or personal introduction business for matching Filipino women for marriage to foreign nationals. This was done to protect Filipino women from being exploited in their desire for economic improvement and in the interest of human dignity. Any British citizen contemplating marriage to a Filipino national should be aware that all such agencies are now prohibited by law in the Philippines.


2.      If you wish to marry in the Philippines you must produce, to the authorities, a Certificate of No Impediment stating that you are free to marry. This can be obtained from your local Registrar of Marriages in the United Kingdom, or from the British Embassy of the Philippines. In the latter case, in order to satisfy the provision of both Philippine and British law, it will require a minimum of 55 days for the Certificate to be issued at the marriage to take place during which time you must be resident in the Philippines.


3.      British immigration law requires a person seeking entry to the United Kingdom for settlement as the spouse a British subject to hold a current entry clearance (visa) granted for that purpose. The wife of a British citizen does not automatically acquire British citizenship on marriage nor does she have the automatic right to settle in the United Kingdom.




1.      The Foreign Marriage order, 1970 makes provision for the transmission of foreign marriage certificates of British Citizens (together with certified translations into English, if necessary) to the Registrar-General in the England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, according to the part of the United Kingdom to which the British party concerned belongs.


2.      Two points should be noted:


(a)      The marriage will not be 'registered' I the United Kingdom; the foreign marriage certificate will simply be deposited for record purposes only. This means that the original copy of the marriage certificate, if sent, would not be returned to the applicant (see paragraph 3 below).


(b)     There is no legal obligation to have a foreign marriage recorded in the United Kingdom, but if you may take advantage o the facility to do so if you consider that it would serve some useful purpose to have the marriage recorded there. The validity (or otherwise) in English (or Scottish) law marriage contracted in a foreign country is in no way affected by its having been (or not having been) thus recorded.


3.      If you wish to have your local marriage certificate deposited with a Registrar-General in the United Kingdom, you should obtain a certified true copy of the certificate in addition to the original at the time of the marriage ceremony (see Paragraph 2 (a) above) and present the certified copy to the Consular Section of the Embassy for transmission to the United Kingdom.




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 to the effect that you are free to marry. This is known as a 'Certificate of No Impediment' (CNI).


If your marriage is to be performed in the Philippines, the Consular Section of the British Embassy can issue a CNI acceptable by the Philippine authorities. This can be done on the day you apply if you can produce a CNI issued by your local Registrar of Marriages in the United Kingdom. (The registrar 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 the United Kingdom should be presented to this Embassy within 3 months of it being issued.


If you are unable to produce such certificate 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 ay not me counted.


When you give notice to your intended marriage, you will be required to swear an Affidavit before a Consular Officer to the effect that you are not aware of any impediment to the marriage. Your Notice of Marriage will then be displayed in public place in the Embassy as soon as possible thereafter. The local authorities will not accept a CNI which was issued by the Embassy more than three months before its presentation to them.


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 in your country of residence. When the procedure is completed, the Embassy will forward a copy of the Notice of Marriage suitably endorsed. On receipt of the Notice, this Embassy will issue the CNI right away. 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.


Applicants who have been previously married will have to produce to the Embassy and to the Philippine authorities the original death certificate or divorce decree absolute, as appropriate.

The CNI issued by the Embassy in Manila is an indispensable requirement of the 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 CNI has been issued by the Embassy you should apply for a Marriage License (to permit the marriage to take place).


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




Following the repeal of Section 1(5) of the Immigration Act on 1 august 1988 a valid marriage no longer automatically entitles a foreign spouse to settle in the United Kingdom; the requirements of the Immigration Rules have to be met fully. Marriage to a British Citizen does not of itself bestow any immediate benefits of privileges with regard to the United Kingdom Immigration Rules or British nationality. There can be no certainty that a visa will be granted.


A passenger seeing admission to the United Kingdom as the spouse of a person who is present and settled in the United Kingdom, or who is on the same occasion being admitted for settlement, must hold a current entry clearance (visa) granted for that purpose. An entry clearance will be refused unless the Entry Clearance Officer is satisfied:


(a) that the marriage is valid and the procedures (explained above on CNIs) have been followed in their entirely; and


(b) that each of the parties has met and has the intention of living permanently with the other as his or her spouse; and


(c) that there will be adequate accommodation for the parties and their dependants without recourse to public funds in accommodation of their own or which they occupy themselves; and


(d) that the parties will be able to maintain themselves and their dependants adequately without recourse to public funds.


It will be necessary for the spouse of the British Citizen to be interviewed by an Entry Clearance Officer top establish if a visa may be issued.


Please see our warning (above) about legislation passed by the Philippine Government outlawing the practice of matching Filipino women for marriage to a foreign nationals on a 'mail order' basis and other similar practices, including the advertisement, publication, printing or distribution of brochures, fliers and other propaganda materials in furtherance thereof. British citizens are advised to have no dealings with unlawful agencies in Manila such as pen friend clubs or 'friendship club' whose aim directly or indirectly may be to introduce Filipino women for the purpose of Marriage



British Citizens (BC) / British National Overseas Citizens (BNO) will need a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI), otherwise known as the Legal Capacity to Marry, issued by the British Embassy in Manila to get married in the Philippines. BCs / BNOs can either apply for a CNI from his / her Registrar in UK (or from other British Embassies abroad) then have it exchanged for the local CNI, or, apply for a CNI from the Embassy of Manila. The CNI issued in Manila should then be presented to the local Registrar to enable him / her to apply for the marriage license (10 days processing). Please have your fiancée / fiancé ask the local Registrar for other documents needed for your marriage.


If your CNI was issued from your registrar in UK 9or from other British Embassies abroad), please present the documents below to the Consular Section of the British Embassy in Manila:

(Same day processing)


  • Present the original CNI (3 months validity only from date of issue)
  • Present your passport
  • If there is a discrepancy with regards to the name of your fiancée / fiancé, present his / her passport or birth certificate
  • Pay the CNI fee (please refer to the attached Consular fees)


If you want to apply for a CNI from the British Embassy in Manila, please see requirements below:

  • You must reside in the Philippines for 21 days (counting your latest arrival)
  • Once you have completed your 21days residency, you have to present yourself to the Consular section of the Embassy
  • Present your passport (showing the date of entry)
  • Fill in the following forms: Affidavit and Notice of Marriage (NOM)
  • If widowed, present the original death certificate of the decreased spouse; if divorced, present the original divorce decree papers
  • Pay the fees for CNI and NOM (please refer to the Consular fees)


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.


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 MARIAGE). 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 within 21 days from the date of this publication.

Note: please include the address and the telephone number of the British High Commission here.