Two foreigners (Philippine & Canadian) getting married in Taiwan (2018-04)

This is more of an FYI but I just got married in Taiwan. I’m a Canadian Citizen & my spouse is from the Philippines but is residing in Taiwan as a foreign worker. It took a lot longer than I thought, as we had difficulty finding out the steps to do this. Some misinformation on the internet didn’t help.
If anyone is looking for help, please either post here or send an email to joelrsmith@gmail.com.

A few takeaways:

You don’t get married in a courthouse. You go to the local household registration (HHR) office.

You will need a stamp with your first & last name in Chinese characters, or be able to write your name in Chinese characters!

There is no waiting period to get married in Taiwan. You just need to go to your local household registration office with the right documents and you will get married right there & then. It took us about 1.5 hours as no foreigners had been married there before & they had to figure out how to do it.

You will need to get some kind of single status document. For Canada, I needed to do a simple marriage search from my home provincial registry. FYI in Canada a “Statement in Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad” is NOT VALID TO GET MARRIED! TECO will send it back. I then got my marriage search record “authenticated” by the Taiwan Economic & Cultural Office (TECO) in Canada. I then sent my document to Taiwan to get translated & then I had the translation notarized by a Taiwan lawyer. My marriage search took about a week, and the TECO process took about 2 business days once it arrived there.

For Philippines they have a central marriage registry, and you need a Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR). The cenomar then needs to be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The authenticated document then needs to be authenticated by the Taiwan Economic & Cultural Office (TECO) in Manila. The TECO authentication process takes about 3 weeks and you need to either be there in person or have a designated agent. We hired an Agent (Doc Router on Facebook). The CENOMAR then needs to be translated into Chinese & the chinese translation notarized by a taiwanese lawyer.

Something like that anyways, I’m just writing down what I remember. Hope this helps someone! Would have saved me 2 months if I had known all this!!

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Congratulations!

How much (approximately) did all this certification, use of a broker, etc. cost?

Guy

Congratulations.

I’m not looking for a help for myself, but did you or she change your/her visa/ARC status after the marriage? If so, how was the procedure?

It was around 7500 philippino pesos for broker and fees. That was just because she used a broker, if she had had a relative in Manila or something it would have been much less. My documents didn’t cost much at all, $30 for marriage search, $20 for TECO plus the usual courier costs

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No, we never changed anything yet. I think she has a year to notify the Philippine authorities of her marriage. Canada Immigration doesn’t care what we do, they just want to see the marriage certificate.

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Did you need two witnesses when married at the household registration office? (I did.)

Technically yes, but the lady at the local HHR office told my fiancee if she just got two Taiwanese people to sign their names on the form then they didn’t have to come to the office.

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Hi,

Thanks for this!
We’re Philippine based wishing to get married in Taiwan.

Just a few questions though…

  1. I would like to know where did you have the CENOMAR translated and notarized here in the PH?
  2. Am I right you just walk-in to the registration office with complete requirements and get married right away?
  3. How many days do we need in Taiwan to process our marriage?
  4. How long did it take to process all your requirements?

Thanks! I think thats all for now!
K

  1. You can technically get it translated anywhere, but you will definitely need to get the translation notarized in Taiwan by a Taiwanese lawyer. So you will likely have to go there in advance of the wedding to get that done. Some companies do both translation & notarization, but take note it will usually take 3 business days to get done (depending on company).
  2. Yes
  3. Everything is done at the HHR office while you wait. Took us about 1.5 hours.
  4. Took us 3 months but if we knew everything in advance would have taken about a month. There was about a 3 week wait to get stuff authenticated at teco Manila

I didn’t mention in in my post but you will also need to get DFA Authentication Certificate for your PSA Certified true copy of Birth Certificate (for both of you). TECO will need to authenticate that document as well (so you need teco authentication for birth certificate & cenomar).

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That’s true, but inaccurate, because you need documents that could take weeks or months to obtain.

I think there are other places in Asia (Macau?) where you don’t need anything. Or someplace like Las Vegas in USA. Probably other countries (Palau, Tahiti???) where nothing is needed so truly no waiting period.

What does Canada need to see on its end now if you end up moving back?

So you need to have the birth certificate to be translated and notarized also together with the cenomar?

I never moved there, just got married there. I received a marriage certificate in English so I am good to go as far as anything Canadian goes.

Yes, but remember each document had to be 1. DFA Authenticated. 2. TECO Authenticated. 3. Translated. 4. Translation notarized by Taiwanese lawyer.

My fiancee also had to submit a signed affidavit that she was going to be getting married in Taiwan before TECO would authenticate the documents.

Just a clarification. I talked with my wife and she didn’t need to get her birth certificate translated or notarized. I think TECO Manila just needed to see the DFA authenticated birth certificate.

Hi jrsmith,

Are passport and ARC required for CENOMAR authentication in TECO? Did you send the original copy to your agent or just photocopies?

Thanks.

Got it. Thanks!

After you got married, did your wife report to the PH Consulate in Taiwan to register the marriage? Were there any other documents you processed after getting married?

Congratulations to the OP, but I don’t know why anyone would go through all that. The Philippines has a 10 day waiting period and a silly marriage course requirement, but it would have been easier. Most foreign couples I’ve known in Taiwan who want to marry do it in Taiwan in a couple of days. I’m sure there are some situations where getting married in Taiwan might be the best of poor choices, but I would thing through every other option first.

One thing to consider, if a change of visa is going to be required in the future, marriage in the Philippines or anywhere else might be preferable. You’d have to do a lot of the steps this couple did to get married all over again to get a visa to become a dependent spouse. Of course, if both plan to keep working, that’s not needed.

I did know of a foreign man who married a woman (coincidently, an OWF from the Philippines) and got married in Taiwan, but was unable to get her a resident visa as a dependent spouse because of various bureaucratic snags. The system just isn’t prepared for that situation. This guy tried to get around it by getting married a second time in another country, which is illegal in most places. That totally burned his chances of getting his wife a visa and I don’t know what happened to them next.

Lots of people have been emailing me and I always recommend they try getting married in Hong Kong due to the MUCH easier process. There is a website here for details about the process: https://www.hongkongcivilcelebrant.com/

There are many reasons why getting married in the Philippines isn’t a good option. Being divorced can make it difficult or impossible, depending on where you got married before.

But there is no question as to the validity of a marriage in Taiwan. They give you a copy of your marriage certificate in English (I got 3 copies). Just make sure there are no spelling errors on the certificate & you will be fine!

A foreigner can get divorced outside of the Philippines even if they were married in the Philippines. If two Filipinos get divorced abroad, it’s not recognized in the Philippines (though it will be where they got the divorce). I’m not sure how that would affect a foreigner who wanted to marry a second Filipino spouse, but they could marry anyone from anywhere else with no issues.