Get Married in Hong Kong and Make it Legal
This is part of my Blog Series about Getting married in Hong Kong for Foreigners.
And this blog post is specially dedicated to all Filipinos out there who are clueless of what to do next after getting married in Hong Kong.
So you got married in Hong Kong already? Congratulations!
But changing vows and rings and celebrating your wedding day is not your final step.
You have to make your marriage official!
Getting married in Hong Kong is like getting married in Las Vegas, it is only valid unless you register it to your home country.
I am not sure about other countries’ policies but I am going to share how I reported my marriage in the Philippines and acquired a Philippines Marriage Certificate.
Remember, if you do not register your marriage in the Philippines, your marital status will still be single, you can not change your passport to your new foreign surname and no visa for you if you want to go to your husband’s country.
See now how important it is to report your marriage? Good. So let me go ahead and walk you through the process.
REPORTING YOUR MARRIAGE
1.Prepare 2 sets of your documents; the Originals and the Photocopies
Remember that you need to prepare the Original copies of your documents for a smooth transaction.
They will look for it but do not worry because they will return it to you too.
They just need to see the Originals to make sure that the Photocopies are authentic.
So what are the documents you need to prepare?
- Report of Marriage (ROM) Form
You have to prepare 4 Copies of Report of Marriage and your signature must be original in all of them.
You can download the form from the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong Website so you can fill it out in advance or you can also get a copy from their office and fill it out there.
As for me, I like to prepare everything in advance so I downloaded the form from their websites and filled it out.
- Your Passports
You also have to submit 4 copies of your Passports.
Although it is not necessary, I suggest that you submit a colored copy of your passports so they can easily read it.
There is a photocopier service for a minimal fee in the Consulate if ever you will need one.
- Original PSA Copy of your Birth Certificate in Security Paper
Prepare your PSA Birth Certificate too. Notice that it is now called PSA not NSO.
If you still have that NSO birth Certificate, do not bother to submit it because they will not accept it.
So how do you know you have the PSA copy of your Birth Certificate?
In the lower right part of your certificate, it should say Philippines Statistics Authority and signed by the current Officer of PSA.
The Consulate will take the original copy and you have to prepare an additional 3 Photocopies.
- Marriage Certificate
This is the document from your wedding day that the Hong Kong Marriage Registry gave to you.
Make 4 copies of this too and keep the Original handy since the Consulate will look for it.
- Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR)
The Consulate will also ask for your original CENOMAR and 3 photocopies.
Just like your Birth Certificate, it should be a PSA copy already.
2. Pay the Processing Fees
The processing fee when we reported our marriage last 2017 was HK$ 200.00 and it took about 2 days to process it.
However, if you want to expedite the process, you can pay an additional HK$ 80.00 and you can get the ROM after one day.
As for us, to save the HK$ 80.00, we reported our marriage right after our Wedding Ceremony so we still have time to pick it up after 2 days.
You can download our one-week Hong Kong wedding Itinerary if you need some inspiration in planning your wedding.
3. Collect your Report of Marriage copy
Now it is time to collect your copy of ROM.
When you collect your ROM, make sure of the following things:
- Signed by the Consul
- With Seal of the Philippine Consulate General
- ROM number is indicated
Along with the ROM, the Consulate will attach a small paper containing further instructions on how to get the PSA copy of your ROM.
The ROM should look like this.
Now the next step is to wait. The Consulate will forward your ROM to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the Philippines.
According to the officer that processed our ROM, they send documents on the first week of the following month of application.
As for us, we reported in December 2017 so our document was forwarded to DFA Philippines on the first week of January 2018.
What if you can not report your Marriage?
Remember that you must report your marriage to the Philippines so that it will be valid.
But if there are circumstances that prohibit you to report it in the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong, do not worry because you can report it to the DFA office in ASEANA.
However, the processing will take longer now because the DFA will have to send it back to Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong.
If you do this process, you will have to wait between 4 to 6 months or more before getting your PSA copy of your marriage certificate.
Take note also the working days of the Philippine Consulate office in Hong Kong.
They are open from Sunday to Thursday between 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Yes, they are open during Sunday because this is the day off of most of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in Hong Kong.
Now you have the ROM, what is the next step?
Now you are done with the most important task, you can enjoy your remaining days in Hong Kong.
After a month of reporting your marriage, you can start following up on the DFA regarding the status of your ROM.
You will need to get the following Transmittal details from them:
- Despatch Number
- Reference Number
- Date of Transmittal
You may email the Philippine Hong Kong Consulate at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to follow up for the Transmittal details or you may also call the DFA Office of Consular Affairs – Consular Records Division (OCA-CRD) at (02) 834-4000 or (02) 834-7744.
Getting the Transmittal details may take a while, in my experience, it took about 2 months to get them from DFA.
Now you got your copy of your PSA Marriage certificate. Congratulations!
But it is not your final step yet.
Of course, you want to change your surname in your passport and use the surname of your foreigner husband.
This is necessary if you are planning to apply for a visa in your husband’s country.
So as a bonus, I will be sharing with you how I updated my passport.
HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PASSPORT?
1. Secure a Commission on Filipinos Overseas Certificate (CFO)
Okay, I know this might sound new to you.
You probably do not have any idea this agency exists.
Do not worry because I felt the same too before.
Back when I renewed my passport, I did not have any idea about this because it is not written on the website of DFA for the list of the Requirements.
But apparently, CFO Certificate is one of the requirements if you are to renew your passport.
This requirement is specifically needed from Filipinos who have a Foreigner spouse .
You may ask what is the CFO Certificate?
CFO is a Philippine Agency that promotes the welfare and interest of Filipinos who are emigrating to foreign countries especially those who are married to a foreign national.
Since you are married to a foreign national you need to present a certificate that you have undergone a counseling session with CFO so you can renew your passport.
So how do you get this certificate?
First, you need to book an appointment for counseling and you may do this online.
Take note that schedule is country-specific and each session can only accommodate 15 slots so make sure to book your appointment the soonest.
There are 4 offices in the Philippines and here are the links of their websites where you can book the appointment
Once you already secure your appointment, remember to save or print the confirmation form.
You will need to present this on the day of your appointment
On the day of your counseling session, remember to arrive at the venue at least 30 to 45 minutes before your scheduled time along with your complete set of documents.
Here are the documents that you need to prepare:
- 2 original valid IDs
- Guidance and Counselling Form (you can get this at the CFO office)
- PSA copy of your Report of Marriage
- Payment of Php 400.00
Additional documents may be asked from you depends on your circumstances.
I strongly advise to check their website for the additional requirements that you need to submit.
Some things to take note:
- Counseling session lasts for about 4 hours
- Sessions are country-specific. So if your husband is from Germany, then you should attend the Europe Session.
- They do not accommodate walk-in applicants. You have to secure a schedule online.
- Slots are limited per session. In Manila, 15 slots are only available while only 12 slots are available in Cebu.
- Make sure to bring your confirmation form with the Clear Barcode. The officer will look for it on the day of your appointment.
Once you have finished with the counseling session, you will receive your Guidance and Counselling Certificate and it should look like this.
You will need to present this certificate during your passport appointment renewal so make sure to keep this.
Should you have other information that you need about CFO, you may visit their website anytime.
2. Book online your passport renewal appointment
You must book an appointment in advance because the DFA does not entertain walk-in applicants anymore.
To book your appointment, you must go to the DFA website.
Once you are finished securing your appointment, you must pay the fees in ePayment Channels approved by the DFA.
Note that you can not enter the DFA anymore if you have not paid the fees yet. So make sure to do this first.
This is the new policy of the DFA that started last 2018 which I think significantly helps the efficiency of processing of passports in the Philippines.
According to the DFA, you can pay your passport fee in the following payment channels:
- Bayad Center
- Pera Hub
- Robinsons Business Center and Department Stores
- Waltermart Department Store
- USCC (Western Union)
- Villarica Pawnshop
Your appointment will only be confirmed after paying the fees within 48 hours. The passport renewal fee for regular processing (12 working days) is 950.00 and 1200.00 pesos for the Expedite processing (6 working days).
Please always check the updated passport fees in DFA website.
3. Prepare your documents
Now it is time to prepare for your documents.
So what are the documents that you need to bring?
- Accomplished Application Form
- Current passport with Photocopy of the data page
- Your Original PSA Report of Marriage
- Original CFO Guidance and Counselling Certificate
- 2 Valid IDs (Here is a list of the acceptable IDs)
Depends on your circumstances, they may ask additional requirements from you. You can visit the DFA website for more information about the additional requirements.
3. Personal Appearance
Remember that it is not easy to secure an appointment slot for passport renewal so make sure you do not waste it.
Arrive at the venue 30 minutes before your scheduled time.
Take note also that you can not bring a companion inside the DFA office. They will only allow the applicants to enter but not the companions.
You have to follow the usual dress code too to make sure that you will not be denied of your schedule.
Make yourself presentable and don’t wear sandos/tank tops/sleeveless shirts, spaghetti straps, shorts, tubes, sandals, or slippers.
Once you are in, wait until it is your turn to submit your documents.
Then you will have to proceed to the encoding section where an officer will take your photo, fingerprints, and digitized signature.
Once done all you need is to wait for your new passport.
4. Collect your new passport
There are two ways you can collect your new passport.
First, you can come back and claim it yourself, just make sure to bring your claim stub or official receipt. Or you can have it delivered to your address for additional fees.
If you have to assign someone to pick up or receive the passport make sure that you leave the person the following documents:
- Claim stub or Official Receipt for your passport.
- An authorization letter with your signature.
- Valid photo ID.
- Your old Philippine passport (if not canceled at the time of application).
If you need more information about renewing your passport, here is a great article that I think can help you more.
There you have it! My step by step guide on how to make your marriage in Hong Kong legal in the Philippines and to get your new passport with your new surname!
Remember that this article is part of my Blog Series about getting married in Hong Kong for foreigners.
If you need help with planning your Wedding in Hong Kong, here is my step-by-step guide on how to get married in Hong Kong as foreigners.
I hope that this article helped you.
If you need more assistance in planning your marriage in Hong Kong, I prepared a special travel planner to guide you through the whole process of getting married in Hong Kong. It is totally FREE so go ahead and grab it now!
If you have any more questions, you can leave me a comment below or email me anytime and I will be glad to help you with anything.
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