How to get a Marriage License in North Carolina
Due to Covid 19 we recommend calling the Register of Deeds office you plan to use to find out what changes to their business practices are currently in place. Otherwise, the following information is accurate for the forms needed and the general process.
How to Apply
Both parties should appear at the Register of Deeds, if possible (NCGS 51.8.2). If an applicant for a marriage license is over 18 years of age and is unable to appear in person, the other party to the planned marriage must appear in person on behalf of the applicant and submit a sworn and notarized affidavit in lieu of the absent applicant’s personal appearance. Forms are available online or in our office. No blood test or physical is required.
When to Apply
Office hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, except legal holidays; however, applications will not be accepted after 4:30 pm to allow for processing. There is no waiting period in North Carolina. The license is good immediately and up to sixty (60) days from date of issue.
Cost of License
The license is $60.00. (Check with the county to determine payment methods)
An optional certificate of marriage keepsake is available for $1.00, only at the time the marriage license is issued.
What to do with the License
You are responsible for delivering the license to the person who solemnizes your marriage. The officiant must complete the bottom portion of both copies then return both copies to the Register of Deeds office. An envelope is provided to
return the license. The license must be returned within ten (10) days after the ceremony (NCGS 51.7). One copy is retained in the Register of Deeds office, and the other copy is sent to the NC Vital Records Division in Raleigh. The license may be used in any county in North Carolina. The license must be returned to the County in which it was issued.
Magistrates are the only judicial officials allowed to perform marriage ceremonies. Magistrates are on duty 24 hours a day. Check with your county to determine their times and requirements for marriage ceremonies. New laws have recently been passed that allow them to restrict the number of ceremonies they perform each week and the hours they do them.
At other times, you may go to a warrant issuing Magistrate to be married. These Magistrates have other duties and have been instructed to marry people based on the order in which people arrive at the Magistrate’s office.
Social Security Number
Per North Carolina law, all applicants must provide their Social Security number. If ineligible for a Social Security Number, an affidavit must be completed.
Identification and proof-of-age is required of ALL persons. The following documents will be accepted:
Age 18 to 21
*Certified copy of birth certificate and picture identification with name.
Age 21 and over
Picture identification with name and date of birth.
Under 18 years of age
Contact the office for Special License requirements and information regarding consenting parents.
Blood relatives, no closer kin than first cousins, can marry under the laws of the State of North Carolina. State law forbids the marriage of double first cousins. Applicants, male and female, must be at least 18-years-old to marry without parental consent. ALL applications under 18 should contact this office for additional information.
Previously married individuals must know the month and year their last marriage ended. If you are divorced or marriage is annulled on the same day you apply for a marriage license, you must produce a certified copy of the divorce or annulment decree.
Checklist for Obtaining a Marriage License
- Social security number
- Proper identification (example: driver’s license, state identification, passport)
- * Certified copy of birth certificate.
- If under 18, contact this office
- Cost: $60.00 – contact the local Register of Deeds to determine acceptable payment options
- Keepsake certificate — $1.00, optional
* A certified birth certificate in English or a notarized translation must be provided. Please bring both the native and notarized translated copy.
Proof of your marriage is available upon request in person or by mail once the officiant returns your license. The officiant is required by law to return both copies of the license to the Register of Deeds within ten days after the ceremony (NCGS 51.7).
If you wish to obtain a copy of your marriage license, please complete the copy request form found in your marriage packet. If the form is misplaced, you may mail a request including the names of the bride and groom, date of marriage, along with a photo copy of your picture ID, to the county in which the marriage license was issued.
Include $10.00 for each certified full copy, and $10.00 for each wallet-size copy. Check with the county to learn payment types accepted. Please also enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return copies.
Locations of offices and how to get a marriage license in: