Getting married: Philippines or Korea? Part 1
I wrote about this topic four years ago in another blog but I lost that post and I don’t have a copy of it. Anyway, this has been a popular question in this blog specifically by Pinays who are engaged to their Korean boyfriends. I will just post from my experience since I got married in 2003 and rules may be different now.
My husband and I got married in the Philippines. I first applied for a tourist visa in May 2003 to meet his parents. Though my documents were complete, which includes an invitation letter, I was still denied the C-3 visa by the Korean Embassy. My then fiance called the Embassy to ask why and they only said that a lot of Pinays use the same reason to work illegally in Korea. I just told my husband that we would just wait until I could apply for a visa again since I also have other plans (like finishing my Masters). He surprised me the month after by coming to the Philippines.Getting married in the Philippines requires getting a marriage license. On the same day that he arrived in Manila, he went straight to the Korean Embassy and applied for the “Certificate of Singleness” which is a requirement of the Philippine government for foreigners who are getting married in the country. He had to wait for three business days before he received the document from the Embassy. At that time, he only submitted his family register and an application form.
When we received the “Certificate of Singleness”, we headed straight to Angeles City Hall. I was a resident of Angeles City for more than 24 years. To get a Philippine marriage license, I provided the local registrar with my birth certificate and cedula. We were also required to attend a Family Planning Seminar.
We had to wait ten days before we could actually get the license and get married before the mayor. We got married on a Friday in a simple ceremony conducted in English. We had two witnesses who also signed on the marriage certificate. After the wedding, we applied for the NSO certificate.
On the following Monday, we immediately went to the Korean Embassy. The only documents we submitted were:
– Application form
– Invitation letter (this was handwritten)
– Copy of my husband’s passport
In the application form, I answered “59 days” on how long will I be staying in Korea so we won’t have to pay the 1,500 fee. In Korea, I would have to apply for extension and pay 30,000 won. Choosing “59 days” saved us from paying double.
The lady at Window 3 told us to come back next day as we need to be interviewed by the Consul and interviews at that time were conducted only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since my husband was flying that day at 2PM and he was starting a new job the following day, the Consul gave us consideration and he interviewed us a few minutes after we submitted our application. We were ushered to the Consul’s office, where the four walls were plastered with documents. One wall has passport copies of blacklisted individuals!
The interview went well. We were just asked how we met each other and how we kept our relationship and what we knew of each other’s background. It took about 20 minutes as my husband and the Consul also talked in Korean. When we came out from his office, I was told to come back when I receive my husband’s family register with my name on it.
We went to the airport after the visit to the Korean Embassy. I went back to work and completed my contract. When I receive the NSO copy of our marriage certificate, I sent it to my husband in Korea. He translated it in Korean and registered my name as his wife in his family register. He sent me the family register and brought that to the Korean Embassy. I got my visa after three days. I headed to the CFO, where they stuck an “Emigrant” sticker on my passport.
CFO stands for Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Spouses of foreign nationals are required to attend a seminar conducted by the said organization before they could leave the country.
Just a recap. I applied for a tourist visa in May and got denied. My husband flew to the Philippines three weeks later. He quit his job but he luckily got hired by another company the following month. To get married, my husband applied for a “Certificate of Singleness” at the Korean Embassy. We applied for a marriage license:
Requirements for my foreign husband:
– Certificate of Singleness / Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage
Requirements for me:
– Birth Certificate
– Residence Certificate
We both had to attend a Family Planning Seminar. We waited for ten days before we could get married. With our marriage certificate, we applied for a visa at the Korean Embassy and were interviewed by the Consul. I had to wait until the NSO copy of marriage certificate came out. I sent it to Korea and my husband registered my name in their family register. He sent me the family register and I brought it to the Korean Embassy. I got my visa three days later and took my passport to the CFO where they stuck an Emigrant sticker.
While waiting for the NSO and the family register from my husband, I attended the seminar required by the Philippine government for spouses of foreign nationals at the CFO.
Next… getting married in Korea.