Jump to content

Weddings via Video Conference


Recommended Posts

In seeking ways to legally return to the Philippines this year I came across some info that some board members or readers who are engaged to be married might find useful, but it also raises some questions with regards to Filipinos marrying foreigners.

In response to the pandemic beginning in January of 2020 Utah County (Provo, UT) in the State of Utah (USA) began allowing online weddings. They are done via video conference between the couple and an official from the Utah County Clerk's Office or anyone who is legally permitted to perform weddings in the State of Utah. There are no residency requirements and the process is fairly straightforward, simple and relatively inexpensive. 

The bride and groom don’t even have to be together in the same state or, in many cases, even in the same country. The marriages are fully legal in the USA and also recognized as being legal in most foreign countries as well. Apostilled marriage certificates, which are required by many countries, are available for an extra fee for international weddings.  

https://www.utahcounty.gov/Dept/ClerkAud/Marriage.html
https://www.utahcounty.gov/Dept/ClerkAud/WebCeremonyFAQ.html

The thought intrigued me so I looked into it more with regards to marriages between Filipino nationals and foreigners. Under the “Philippine Family Code” for a couple to get married they must be physically together at the time of the ceremony. Not being sure if the marriages would be recognized as legal in the Philippines and for entry into the Philippines, I sent an email to the Bureau of Immigration; they directed my question to the Port Operations Division (aka POD). Here was their reply:

Good day Sir.

Kindly be advised that under existing IATF guidelines, online marriage involving  Filipinos/former Filipinos  under RA6768  and an alien shall be allowed, subject to primary inspection and compliance with the requirements enumerated hereunder, to wit:

1. Authenticated and/or apostilled Marriage Contract;
2.Proof of citizenship of the Filipino/former Filipino spouse;
3.Pay a visa waiver fee at the airport; and
4. Surrender the alien's passport to the POD to be turned over to the Office of the Commissioner

Please take note that the assessment of the sufficiency of travel documents in relation to the purpose of travel is conducted at the airport, upon primary inspection by the immigration officer. Thus, the final determination on whether or not a certain passenger is allowed to travel, rests entirely upon the Immigration Officer who will be conducting the immigration inspection.

Thank you.
VMCF

Their reply raised a question about #4. The purpose of surrendering the alien’s passport and how long it would be held as well as how to get it back. I’m awaiting their reply and will update with their response.

In addition, if a Filipino leaves the country and travels to a visa free, or visa on arrival country (like Costa Rica or Thailand), to meet and marry their prospective spouse, then when they both return together can the foreigner get a Balikbayan visa. I have not found a clear answer to this. 

According to  RA6768:

Section 2. Definition of Terms. - For purposes of this Act:
(a) The term "balikbayan" shall mean a Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year, a Filipino overseas worker, or a former Filipino citizen and his family, as this term is defined hereunder, who had been naturalized in a foreign country and comes or returns to the Philippines; and
(b) The term "family" shall mean the spouse and the children of the balikbayan who are not balikbayan in their own right traveling with the latter to the Philippines.


https://lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1989/ra_6768_1989.html


Does anyone on the board know if a Filipino national only leaves the country for say 2 weeks, then when they return with their foreign spouse, would the spouse get a Balikbayan visa? Has anyone here done this?

  • Like 1
  • Hmm thinking 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It'll probably not work here as she'll have no load, be in a poor signal area, no charge on her phone, phone on silent. :whistling:

  • Haha 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/3/2021 at 5:45 AM, Gator said:

In seeking ways to legally return to the Philippines this year I came across some info that some board members or readers who are engaged to be married might find useful, but it also raises some questions with regards to Filipinos marrying foreigners.

In response to the pandemic beginning in January of 2020 Utah County (Provo, UT) in the State of Utah (USA) began allowing online weddings. They are done via video conference between the couple and an official from the Utah County Clerk's Office or anyone who is legally permitted to perform weddings in the State of Utah. There are no residency requirements and the process is fairly straightforward, simple and relatively inexpensive. 

The bride and groom don’t even have to be together in the same state or, in many cases, even in the same country. The marriages are fully legal in the USA and also recognized as being legal in most foreign countries as well. Apostilled marriage certificates, which are required by many countries, are available for an extra fee for international weddings.  

https://www.utahcounty.gov/Dept/ClerkAud/Marriage.html
https://www.utahcounty.gov/Dept/ClerkAud/WebCeremonyFAQ.html

The thought intrigued me so I looked into it more with regards to marriages between Filipino nationals and foreigners. Under the “Philippine Family Code” for a couple to get married they must be physically together at the time of the ceremony. Not being sure if the marriages would be recognized as legal in the Philippines and for entry into the Philippines, I sent an email to the Bureau of Immigration; they directed my question to the Port Operations Division (aka POD). Here was their reply:

Good day Sir.

Kindly be advised that under existing IATF guidelines, online marriage involving  Filipinos/former Filipinos  under RA6768  and an alien shall be allowed, subject to primary inspection and compliance with the requirements enumerated hereunder, to wit:

1. Authenticated and/or apostilled Marriage Contract;
2.Proof of citizenship of the Filipino/former Filipino spouse;
3.Pay a visa waiver fee at the airport; and
4. Surrender the alien's passport to the POD to be turned over to the Office of the Commissioner

Please take note that the assessment of the sufficiency of travel documents in relation to the purpose of travel is conducted at the airport, upon primary inspection by the immigration officer. Thus, the final determination on whether or not a certain passenger is allowed to travel, rests entirely upon the Immigration Officer who will be conducting the immigration inspection.

Thank you.
VMCF

Their reply raised a question about #4. The purpose of surrendering the alien’s passport and how long it would be held as well as how to get it back. I’m awaiting their reply and will update with their response.

In addition, if a Filipino leaves the country and travels to a visa free, or visa on arrival country (like Costa Rica or Thailand), to meet and marry their prospective spouse, then when they both return together can the foreigner get a Balikbayan visa. I have not found a clear answer to this. 

According to  RA6768:

Section 2. Definition of Terms. - For purposes of this Act:
(a) The term "balikbayan" shall mean a Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year, a Filipino overseas worker, or a former Filipino citizen and his family, as this term is defined hereunder, who had been naturalized in a foreign country and comes or returns to the Philippines; and
(b) The term "family" shall mean the spouse and the children of the balikbayan who are not balikbayan in their own right traveling with the latter to the Philippines.


https://lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1989/ra_6768_1989.html


Does anyone on the board know if a Filipino national only leaves the country for say 2 weeks, then when they return with their foreign spouse, would the spouse get a Balikbayan visa? Has anyone here done this?

The US Visa forum I follow has a lot of discussion about online marriage and a section devoted to the Philippines too.  PM me if you want the name.

There are several who have used the Utah online marriage.  I can't recall if any Filipinas used it.  There are a several who married in 3rd countries, including at least one Filipina.

The bigger issue may be with getting the Filipina out of the Philippines to meetup or get married.  They are very strict now and if the Filipina does not have travel experience, it is tough.  The younger the Filipina, the harder it is.  They have been requesting CFO even though the traveler does not meet the traditional rules for needing CFO.  Also, finding countries to travel to is hard and changes frequently.  I don't think Thailand is an option now.

If you are able to accomplish the meetup, I don't think coming in as a Balikbayan is an issue, as long as you have the marriage license.  

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a friend in this situation now.  Filipina, here in the Philippines met an American online.  They married using the Utah online wedding and are trying to meet.  Right now she could legally travel to Israel or Maldives.  Both countries are accepting vaccinated tourists and no visa is needed. Many people don't know that Filipinos can travel to Israel with no visa.  There is no Balikbayan visas now from what I understand.  As with everything here, the rules mean nothing and the foreigner who comes here trying to get in is at the mercy of the immigration officer they hand their passport to.

As we all know, the other issue is the Filipina being offloaded when they try to leave.  It is ILLEGAL but rules mean nothing when a jealous official tells a citizen if I can't go you can't go.  This REALLY pisses me off.

I told her to get a copy of the marriage certificate and register it here with the PSA.  Then get a copy of the PSA marriage certificate and send it to the husband where he can apply at the consulate for a visa to enter the Philippines since he is married to a Filipina.

 

We are trying to get a 7 day Christian tour in Israel set up and paid for and a letter from her church that this is a pilgrimage.  Maybe she won't get offloaded.  This covid crap is a lot of B.S.  It is all about control now but thats for another thread.

 

  • Hmm thinking 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems as straightforward as everything else in PI... :unsure:

https://newyorkpcg.org/pcgny/civil-registration/report-of-marriage-of-a-filipino-abroad/

I would very much like to see an account of somebody (foreigner) who has successfully gained entry to the Philippines in the way the O.P. has described. 

The old Balikbayan system IS back in full swing, incidentally... well, certainly this week anyway.  :rolleyes:  

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, HappyJack said:

I have a friend in this situation now.  Filipina, here in the Philippines met an American online.  They married using the Utah online wedding and are trying to meet.

I think you are saying that they have never met physically but got married online?

8 hours ago, HappyJack said:

I told her to get a copy of the marriage certificate and register it here with the PSA.  Then get a copy of the PSA marriage certificate and send it to the husband where he can apply at the consulate for a visa to enter the Philippines since he is married to a Filipina.

This is interesting.  I have not heard of anybody doing this on the US Visa forum.  I will ask.  Seems like the best way to meet because it is almost certain she will not be allowed to travel.  Maybe if she is older and has travel experience.

8 hours ago, HappyJack said:

As we all know, the other issue is the Filipina being offloaded when they try to leave.  It is ILLEGAL but rules mean nothing when a jealous official tells a citizen if I can't go you can't go.  This REALLY pisses me off.

It might be illegal in some cases, but a requiring a CFO certificate is required by law when a Filipino is travelling overseas for purposes other than tourism.  I know it is a hassle but after some time I believe in the concept.  It is not about a "jealous official".  It is is about protecting Filipinos from being trafficked or be made slave labor, etc.  It has happened, a lot.

If your Filipina friend met an American online, never met him physically, and married him online, my opinion is that that circumstance should not be allowed.  Two people should meet and spend time together before marriage commitment.  If that is allowed, they might as well go back to mail order brides.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/3/2021 at 5:45 AM, Gator said:

In addition, if a Filipino leaves the country and travels to a visa free, or visa on arrival country (like Costa Rica or Thailand), to meet and marry their prospective spouse, then when they both return together can the foreigner get a Balikbayan visa.

Thailand is back on the allowed list effective September 6.

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will lift the restrictions imposed on travelers coming from 10 countries starting September 6, Malacañang announced on Saturday.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the pandemic task force to lift the ban on travelers coming from the following countries:

India

Pakistan

Bangladesh

Sri Lanka

Nepal

United Arab Emirates

Oman

Thailand

Malaysia

Indonesia

The travel ban was implemented in a bid to ward off the hyper contagious Delta variant, which is now driving a surge in COVID-19 infections in the country.

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/09/04/2124849/philippines-lift-travel-ban-10-countries-september-6?fbclid=IwAR0b6KpxoBpOZJsWbTq6fJlLZxrO-V8jFDrXv_EPylL6RkaNVRpfROyzcvc

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, OnMyWay said:

If that is allowed, they might as well go back to mail order brides.

Even in the days of (legal then) 'Mail Order Brides', it was a requirement... certainly by the British government, that you had met one another face to face, should you ever want to apply for a Fiancee or Spouse visa for the lady. (As is still the case). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, graham59 said:

Even in the days of (legal then) 'Mail Order Brides', it was a requirement... certainly by the British government, that you had met one another face to face, should you ever want to apply for a Fiancee or Spouse visa for the lady. (As is still the case). 

Yes, for US Visas, the same.  Seems strange that the Utah online marriage would allow not meeting, but I suppose there is some other legal documents required.

Most of the people using the online Utah marriage on the Visa forum were planning on Fiancé visa, but those are dead in the water for now.  So they get married and then apply for spouse visa.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know much about it (online marriage, leading to bringing 'home' your bride, or using your new status to enter the Phils), but it all sounds a bit optimistic to me. :89:

Who has done it ? :whatever:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...