The following is my understanding of the process after several phone calls with the staff at the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo. Their own website does not state the requirements in their entirety, and so I’m posting them here to help others who need to go through the process of obtaining a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage (LCCM) from the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo. The general process for getting married in Japan is explained in a separate post.

The below list of requirements is from the official website. The text is red is where further explanation is required.

  1. Duly accomplished application form – may be downloaded from the Embassy website. As stated.
  2. Valid Passport: Original and one (1) photocopy of the data page.Note: If Expired Passport / Lost Passport / Mutilated Passport / Tampered Passport / Passport with Discrepancy, the applicant must apply for a new passport before applying for LCCM. As stated.
  3. NSO Birth Certificate: Original and one (1) photocopy. This is correct, but the NSO Birth Certificate must be authenticated (“red ribboned”) by the DFA. I have been told that if the document has been issued within six months then the DFA authentication is not required, but it seems that you should have this done regardless to avoid any issues. See note below on the authentication process.
  4. Residence Card: Original and one (1) photocopy. Not required (important since those travelling on a tourist visa will not be able to obtain a residence card from the municipal offices in Japan). Another form of ID will suffice.
  5. Three (3) passport size photos. As stated.
  6. NSO Certificate of No Record (CENOMAR). Validity is six (6) months from the date of issue and the purpose should be “for marriage”. Original and one (1) photocopy. This is correct, but the CENOMAR must be authenticated (“red ribboned”) by the DFA. See note below on the authentication process.

There are additional requirements for Filipinos aged 18 to 25 years old.

  • Between 18 to 20 years old – Affidavit of Parental Consent (with passport copy of parents).
  • Between 21 to 25 years old – Affidavit of Parental Advice (with passport copy of parents) or Sworn Statement that parental advice was sought.

Note: Affidavits coming from the Philippines must be notarized by a notary public in the Philippines and authenticated by the DFA. If parents are residing in Japan, the parents may apply for affidavit of consent or parental advice at the Embassy. If the parents are deceased, please submit NSO death certificate. As stated but consent or advice from ONE parent should be acceptable (to be safe you might as well have both parents sign it unless they live apart and it is difficult to do so).

The DFA Authentication Process

This is an immensely frustrating and nonsensical process whereby the DFA authenticate the documents that they themselves issued. It is more commonly referred to as “red ribboning” because that’s exactly what is attached to an authenticated document along with an official seal.

Only the DFA office in Manila can authenticate documents. The 90% of the population not within travelling distance of the DFA office in Manila must have a courier like DHL (now called Wide-Wide World Express Corporation) go through the process on their behalf. This gets complicated because since the Filipino wanting to marry is presumably in Japan they cannot do this themselves. There are two ways to get around this:

  1. Use a DFA authentication service for Filipinos abroad
  2. Ask a relative to do this for you in the Philippines

In BOTH cases you will need to grant a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) to enable this to be done on your behalf. This is available from the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and takes 4-5 days and costs ¥3,250 to process (I think there’s an express service available). In the case of using a DFA authentication service, you will need to give SPA to the company. In the case of asking a relative, it depends whether or not the relative will go to the DFA office Manila in person to get the documents authenticated. If they live far from Manila and cannot travel they will need to use a courier service, in which case the SPA should be granted to that courier service company, not the relative. The relative should confirm to whom the SPA needs to be made out before any application is made at the embassy in Tokyo. In either case, you should allow at least 4 weeks for the sending of documents and booking of appointments.

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