Chapter 3 of How to marry a French national in the Philippines and get a Spouse Visa (Getting Married and The Waiting Game)170
September 16, 2016 by Crescentine
Step 5. Get Married!
I arranged for a simple civil ceremony with a company that was referred to me by my friend who also got married to a French national before. You can use your marriage license to get married anywhere within the Philippines!
Heart Focus Events Management can arrange for simple weddings to grand weddings, just let them know your budget and what you need to be done!
General requirements for a civil wedding:
- Original Marriage License issued by Taguig City Hall
- Photocopy of Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR)
- Photocopy of the Legal Capacity of Marriage
- Two witnesses over 18 years of age and not related
- Wedding rings
Their office is located at Capitol Masonic Bldg. Room 202, 2nd flr., Matalino st. Brgy. Central Diliman, Quezon City. They operate starting from 9am and you can get married at any time between a 10am – 4pm schedule.
It is a dated building with Gemmary pawnshop on the ground floor. It’s right beside Kabab Korner and across Baliwag on Matalino st.
Why get married with Heart Focus Events Management in Q.C. if we lived in Taguig?
- Affordable prices (8,000 pesos for civil ceremony at their office).
- NSO head office is right around the corner along East Ave., the waiting game is longer if you pass by an NSO satellite office instead of going directly to the head office.
- They take care of finding your solemnizing officer.
- They file your marriage certificate at the Local Civil Registry and they will also get the endorsement from the LCR.
- My family lives in Q.C. and affordable places abound in the area for a reception / hotel staycation.
The price was 8,000 pesos for a simple civil ceremony in their office with Reverend Rodolfo Gonzaga as our solemnizing officer. The price included the fee for the solemnizing officer, the use of their office, typing of the original copy of the marriage certificate, filing for the marriage certificate at the Local Civil Registry in Quezon city plus getting the endorsement papers from the LCR. This is by far the most reasonable price we have found!
Heart Focus does not process the endorsement to the NSO, which you have to do yourself.
*There is also a photographer that will take your photos if you get married at the Heart Focus office, he will charge you 50 pesos per photo and deliver the photos in a CD format.
Now for the waiting game, get married close to the 15th of the month for the optimal waiting time. I’ll explain why later!
After getting married, you will come back to their office in 4 working days to get the original copy of the marriage certificate filed at the LCR in Quezon City. This does not yet include the endorsement. However, you can request for a rushed original copy (500 pesos) of your marriage certificate on security paper (SECPA) signed by an NSO representative. This can be used when scheduling your seminar with the CFO and applying for a new passport with the DFA. Get two (2) copies!
NSO takes new marriage certificates filed at the LCR by batch every 15th of the month so count 30-31 days from the nearest 15th of the month to the date of your wedding and that’s when you’ll get the endorsement from the LCR, courtesy of Heart Focus. (ex. We got married on March 3rd, NSO took our marriage certificate on March 15th thus, the endorsement will be ready by April 15th).
Now, take the endorsement document given to you by Heart Focus and personally file it at the NSO head office which is just at East Ave., which is at the other end of Matalino St. A lot of people have to wait longer if they don’t personally file the endorsement at the NSO head office as well as NSO satellite offices take very long to transport marriage certificates to the NSO head office which delays the process of waiting for the marriage certificate. By doing this, you are shortening the wait for your marriage certificate by at least a month.
After endorsing your marriage certificate to the NSO, you will receive the original copy on security paper (SECPA) authenticated by the NSO in two weeks from the date of endorsement. This document is the one needed by the French Embassy to process your demande de transcription d’acte de mariage and the livret de famille, a requirement for your spouse visa application.
*Wedding Tips: We stayed at a hotel on the same street as well to avoid the traffic to Quezon city the next day, the hotel is The Sulo Riviera, a classy and cozy hotel that offered an excellent stay accompanied with complimentary drinks and a breakfast buffet for two! We stayed one more night during our wedding day and they even upgraded our room for us to have the most romantic wedding night as a newly married couple.
We also had our simple intimate reception at Ninyo Japanese-French Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge in Katipunan ave., an amazing and romantic place with orgasmic food and drink that guarantees to satisfy the Filipino and French palates. The plate prices ranged from reasonable (less than 500p) to expensive (1,500p+) but each and every dish was made with skill and love!
Our wedding day was simply intimate, classy, magical and memorable. We spent an estimated total of PHP 34,000 for the entire wedding (hotel, reception and marriage proper). Not bad huh?
Step 6. Demande de Transcription d’Acte de Mariage at the French Embassy!
The requirements are the original NSO authenticated certificate of marriage (on yellow paper) with Red Ribbon from the DFA, photocopy of the original certificate of marriage from the city hall or office where you were married and an accomplished form that is to be provided to you by the embassy.
Before you get your NSO authenticated marriage certificate, you need to file an endorsement to the NSO / PSA that is located at NSO Central Outlet, East Avenue, Quezon City, 1101 Metro Manila.
Go through the main entrance gate, then look for the nearest window and fill up the form given to you by the officer, proceed to the big yellow air-conditioned building at the back of the compound! Show the guard your form and he will tell you where to submit the files, there are normally less people in the afternoon around 2pm.
After filing the endorsement, there is a fee to pay (PHP 140 / document). You may opt to request for more than one original copy.
The endorsement document should ideally be provided to you by the office who married you or the local civil registrar in the city where you were married. After filing this at the NSO main office, you will have to wait two weeks to get it!
Once you have it, proceed to the DFA to get the Red Ribbon and then submit your documents at the embassy, make sure to go in the morning! Et voila, you will just have to wait 2-3 months for the livret de famille (family book) which is one of the requirements for the long stay spouse visa.
Sick of waiting? Instead of waiting 2-3 months in the Philippines, I decided to apply for a short stay tourist visa to wait in France with mon amour instead. After 90 days, which is the maximum number of days that a short stay tourist visa allows, I’ll come back to the Philippines to receive our livret de famille and file an application for the long stay spouse visa in France.
I’m back from my 3-months waiting period in France and I finally received my livret de famille and the transcription of our marriage certificate in France from the French embassy in Manila. Make sure to call the embassy and schedule an appointment before you go!
Step 7. Demande de Visa Long Sejour – Spouse
On the same day, I also filed my application for the long stay spouse visa – living in France. I now have to wait for 10 days to get the visa….
The requirements, as of September 2016, are seen here. This is subject to change so I will not list it down here to be safe!
AND…I finally got my spouse visa with multiple entry and a one year validity! It didn’t help that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with bodyguards and the Senate with bodyguards were there as I was the least of the embassy’s priority although I was first in line…All is well that ends well! I got it!
UPDATE: They also recently updated their requirements, as of Sept. 5, 2016, they added an extra requirement called the “Demande d’attestation OFII”. You can get your copy of the application form via this website. Speaking of OFII, this is the next step to this entire migration process once you arrive in France that will allow you to live permanently in the country. Nope, it does not end with the spouse visa. I’ll tell you all about that in another post.
The very last step is to go to CFO again to get a clearance sticker attached to your spouse visa, without this sticker, immigration will bar you from leaving the country so make sure you get it!
I went to the CFO at 1pm as recommended by my counsellor, there was almost no one there. I filled up the form and got a number. Waited for 5 minutes and when my number was called, gave my passport along with the guidance counselling certificate. After 15 minutes, I received my passport with the CFO sticker on it. Voila!
Merci beaucoup to everyone and to mon amour for sticking with me throughout this entire 8 and a half months of processing all my papers, I’m leaving for France on the 16th of September, 2016. Au revoir!