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Leaving The Philippines With A Filipino Spouse


Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage — according to Frank Sinatra. But the song did not mention the amount of paperwork and planning that weddings entail. In the Philippines, if you are a foreigner who plans to marry your Filipino fiancé or fiancée, there are Philippine law requirements to complete before departing with him/her to your home country.


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But before we dive into the legal part of departure in the Philippines, let us first discuss the wedding venues and type of wedding options.


Church weddings are a big thing here. Depending on the religion, each church has their own set of rules and traditions for weddings. For non-secular or non-religious weddings, the option is getting married in the city hall in a civil wedding to be officiated by a court judge.


If your pick is the church wedding, getting married in a Catholic church venue in the Philippines, for example, is something grand and frivolous. For that, it often requires a reservation of one year in advance (or even earlier) in famous churches such as at the Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church in Intramuros, or Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati. These venues are not only tourist attractions. Some of these century-old churches are national heritage and historical buildings, thus given its popularity and value, it tends to be harder to reserve a slot for a wedding. Getting married in prestigious churches like those mentioned are also quite expensive. But since getting married is a very special occasion (and for some, the most important) in a person’s life, then no venue is too expensive and waiting for more than a year just to be reserved in a grand venue is worth it, right? This is often the case for church weddings in major cities like in Metro Manila. If you both want a shorter waiting time of reservation, getting married in a church in the province is much easier. Again, it depends on which province you choose.


Now, let’s talk about the type of wedding or other options. Church wedding vs civil wedding — In both types of weddings, attendance in seminars is a major requirement for the future bride and groom. This is a prerequisite for getting a marriage contract. The seminar conducted by the church and by the local government are different and both must be completed. Take note that the local church (regardless of religious group) have different sets of requirements from the local government. Thus, choosing a church wedding demands the completion of two sets of requirements — one for the church and another for the city hall.


Moving forward, after the wedding, while planning your departure from the Philippines with your spouse, take note of this requirement: Filipinos going abroad as fiancé/fiancée, spouses or other partners of foreign nationals are required to attend the CFO’s Guidance and Counseling Program. This qualifies the Filipino to secure the Guidance and Counseling Certificate (GCC) and the CFO sticker.  This sticker is needed in order to renew or to apply for a new passport at the Department of Foreign Affairs (as per DFA Order No.11-97 Implementing Rules and Regulations for Republic Act 8239, “Philippine Passport Act” and 28-94). On the day of your departure, this certificate should be presented together with the visa of your spouse to the Immigration office at the airport.


About CFO


The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) is an agency of the Philippine Government under the Office of the President tasked to promote and uphold the interests, rights and welfare of overseas Filipinos and strengthen their ties with the Motherland. This was established on 16 June 1980 through Batas Pambansa 1979 (Philippine Constitution of 1979).


To attend the Guidance and Counseling Program of the CFO, you may proceed to CFO Manila or Cebu Office.


Citigold Center, 1345 Pres. Quirino Ave.
corner Osmena Highway (South Superhighway)
Manila, Philippines 1007
Telephone: (+632) 552-4700


4th Floor, K&J Building
#4 Don Julio Llorente St.,
Capitol Site, Cebu City 6000
Telephone: (032) 255-5253


For more information about the Guidance and Counseling Program/session by the CFO, please visit their website:


And watch this video for complete instructions and list of requirements:

This Guidance Counseling Program (GCP) video is for instructional purposes for Filipinos who are you leaving as fiancé(e) /spouse or partner of a foreigner or a former Filipino.



Best wishes!


Author: Expatch Editorial Team

Video reference:
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