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How to Acquire the Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage for the Citizens of Australia Marrying in the Philippines

Disclaimer: The following information is provided for general information only and may not be accurate in a particular case. Questions involving interpretations of specific laws, both foreign and local should be addressed to local or foreign attorneys or foreign government official.

This information is provided to assist you to complete the necessary formalities to ensure that your marriage is legally recognised under both Philippine and Australian law.

For a foreigner to legally marry under Philippine law, two documents are required:

NOTE: Philippine law requires the CNI to be issued by the Embassy of the applicant's country of nationality in the Philippines. Documents issued in Australia or other countries are not acceptable to the Philippine authorities.

The Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) to Marriage, is not a requirement of Australian law. This is issued at the request of overseas countries seeking to ensure that a marriage involving Australian citizens, celebrated in that country, will also be recognised as a valid marriage by the Australian authorities.

A WORD OF WARNING: There have been cases where people have offered to be of assistance in arranging a marriage without completing all the necessary formalities. These marriages may not be recognised for purpose of migration to Australia. If you are encouraged or advised to go through marriage procedures which differ from the following process you should check with the Immigration Section of the Australian Embassy in Manila to ensure your marriage will be recognised as legitimate for migration purposes.

For Australian citizens the quickest and easiest way to obtain a CNI is by mail of from Consular Section of the Australian Embassy.

Australian citizens must complete an application for a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage and lodge the completed form with the Consular section of the Australian Embassy in Manila.

This application form may be obtained from:

  • the Australian Embassy in Manila,
  • or from any other Australian Embassy
  • or Consulate overseas,
  • or any office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia.

Full details of your intended spouse must be included in the application for the CNI. Evidence of the applicant's nationality and date of birth must be sighted before a CNI can be issued, normally an Australian passport or birth certificate. A certified copy of these documents may be accepted if you do not wish to send the original documents in the mail.

If you choose to send the forms to the Embassy by mail, please allow sufficient time for delivery bearing in mind that there are often delays (and losses) in domestic and overseas mail.

PLEASE NOTE THAT the Embassy does not have the resources to acknowledge receipt of these forms.

We suggest you contact the Consular Section of the Embassy about three weeks after posting, to confirm receipt of forms.

There is no waiting period for the issue of a CNI. A CNI can be issued by the Embassy immediately if all requirements are met.

The applicant must declare that the information contained in the application is true. The declaration must be witnessed by a person who holds the office or professional qualification listed at the bottom of the application. Where the application is declared overseas, it may be witnessed by a person, who holds under foreign law, an equivalent office or equivalent professional qualifications to those listed at the bottom of the application.

An authorisation letter is required for a fiancÉ(e) to collect the Certificate. Identification must be produced to confirm the identity of the fiancÉ(e) named on the Certificate.

The processing fee for the CNI, payable on or before collection. The current fee payable can be ascertained by visiting the the Current Consular Fees page.Payment should be made by cash or bank cheque (not Australian $). If you would like the Embassy to post the CNI to you, please provide your mailing address. You should allow sufficient time for any postal delays.


To comply with both Philippine and Australian law, permanent residents of Australia who do not hold Australian citizenship must obtain a CNI from the Embassy or Consulate of their nationality.

To obtain this certificate, you should contact the Consular or Diplomatic representative in Manila of the country of which you are a citizen.

For example: an Italian citizen resident in Australia should contact the Italian Embassy in Manila; similarly, an U.K. citizen resident in Australia should contact the British Embassy in Manila and so on. If you encounter difficulties, you should discuss the matter with a Consular officer at the Australian Embassy, Manila.

The Australian Embassy has been advised by the Local Civil Registrar that persons who have no Embassy or Diplomatic representative in the Philippines may not be required to produce a CNI to obtain a marriage licence. These people MUST contact the Local Civil Registrar at the City Hall. The registrar may be able to assist them in obtaining a legal marriage licence.

NOTE: It is strongly recommended that you also contact your Embassy or Consulate in Australia before you leave for the Philippines to find out your country's rules concerning the issue of the certificates.


If you have been divorced overseas, you should contact your solicitor, before leaving Australia, to confirm whether your divorce is recognised under Australian law. Your marriage in the Philippines will not be recognised in Australia unless your divorce is recognised under Australian law.


Foreign divorce decrees are not automatically recognized in the Philippines. Australian nationals who were previously married in the Philippines intending to remarry in the Philippines after obtaining a divorce in Australia should check with National Statistics Office in the Philippines whether their divorce decree will be acknowledged by the local government.


Marriages entered overseas are generally recognised as valid in Australia if the marriage was recognised as valid under the law of the country in which it was entered into, at the time when it was entered into. Some foreign diplomatic and consular marriages are also recognised as valid as are some foreign marriages, which although initially invalid under local law, subsequently become valid under that law.

The basic rule of recognising foreign marriages is subject to a number of exceptions:

  • where one of the parties was already married to someone else;
  • where one of the parties was under marriageable age;
  • where the parties are too closely related under Australian law (including relationships traced through an adoption) - that is either as ancestor or descendant, or as brother and sister (including half-brother and half-sister);
  • where the consent of one of the parties was not a real consent due to duress or fraud, mistake or mental capacity.

Note: This article has been reprinted from the Australian Embassy website for reference purposes only. For complete details please contact or visit the Embassy of Australia  in the Philippines.