North Carolina Marriage License

If you're getting married in North Carolina, you must first apply for a marriage license.
It'll cost you $60.00, and you'll have to use it within 60 days.

See FAQ Offices

Where to Apply

Where do I go to get a marriage license?

You can apply for a North Carolina marriage license at any Register of Deeds office. They're usually located in the county courthouse, 8–5pm, Monday–Friday.

Note: Federally recognized Indian nations and tribes may lawfully issue marriage licenses.

Costs

How much does a marriage license cost?

A North Carolina marriage license costs $60 throughout the state.

Residency

Does where I live make a difference?

There are no residency requirements for getting a marriage license.

Usage

Where can my marriage license be used?

Your North Carolina marriage license can be used anywhere in the state.

Application

What information will I have to fill out?

The marriage license application will ask your name, date and place of birth, gender, race, residence, social security number, marital history, education history, as well as your parents' names, birthplaces, and residences.

Attendance

What if I can't apply in person?

Absentee affidavit applications are freely available for pick up at the Register of Deeds. You must be at least 18 years old to complete it. Your fiancé can submit your notarized affidavit when he or she applies in person.

What if neither of us can apply in person?

Only one of you is allowed to submit an absentee affidavit application.

Age Requirements

How old must I be to marry?

Aged 18 and over?

If you're at least 18 years old, you merely need your partner's consent to marry.

Aged 16 and 17?

If you're 16 or 17 years old, you can marry if you're emancipated or obtain written consent from a custodial parent or legal guardian.

Aged 14 and 15?

If you're 14 or 15 years old and either pregnant or a parent, a district court judge will schedule a hearing to decide if marriage is in your best interest.

Aged 13 and under?

If you're at or under the age of 13, you cannot marry.

Waiting Period

When will I receive my marriage license?

Your marriage license will be issued immediately. Afterward, you can marry at any time.

Expiration

How long will my marriage license last?

Your marriage license will expire 60 days after your receive it.

Identification

What form of ID must I show?

Bring unexpired photo identification, such as a:

  • Driver's license
  • State-issued ID card
  • Military ID card
  • Passport

Must I verify my date of birth?

If you're under 21 years old, you may be asked to show a certified copy of your birth certificate. For minors, it's mandatory.

Must I verify my social security number?

If you have a social security number, you may be asked to present a document containing it, such as a social security card, W-2, or paystub. If you can't produce such a document, you'll be asked to sign an affidavit attesting to that fact.

Blood Test

Do I have to get a blood test?

You're not required to get a blood test before marriage.

Divorced

What if I'm a divorcée?

Some, but not all, Register of Deeds will ask to see a certified copy of the divorce decree from your last marriage, especially if it ended within the past year.

Widowed

What if I'm a widow or widower?

If your last marriage left you as a widow or widower, the Register of Deeds doesn't typically request a certified copy of your late spouse's death certificate. However, they do maintain the authority to demand its presentation.

Witnesses

Must witnesses attend my ceremony?

At least two witnesses with photo ID must attend your marriage ceremony and sign your marriage license afterward.

Name Change

Changing your name using your marriage certificate requires notifying various federal, state, and nongovernment organizations. You can use a marriage name change kit to prepare the necessary forms, before or after you marry.

License Return

When must my license be returned?

Your marriage license must be returned to the Register of Deeds to be recorded no later than 10 days after your marriage ceremony.

Marriage Certificate

How can I get a copy of my marriage certificate?

Certified copies of your marriage certificate can be purchased for $10–24 from either the Register of Deeds that issued and recorded your marriage license or the state's vital records office in Raleigh, NC.

Common-law Marriage

Can I enter into a common-law marriage?

North Carolina does not recognize common-law marriage, even if legally established in another state.

Cousin Marriage

Am I allowed to marry my cousin?

You can marry your first cousin or double-first cousin, but no family relation closer than that.

Proxy Marriage

Can I get married by proxy?

North Carolina law does not permit marriage-by-proxy.

Civil Ceremony

Can I get married through a civil ceremony?

After you obtain a marriage license, you can schedule a civil ceremony with the magistrate's office. The solemnization fee is roughly $20.

Office Locations

Where will you apply?

Comments

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56 Comments

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  1. If someone got divorced in May 20, 2019, is allowed to get marry in May 25, 2019?

    1. Hi Michelle. North Carolina doesn't have a divorce to remarriage waiting period. Someone who's divorced on May 20 can remarry that same day.

  2. Do i need to make an appointment to get married same day

    1. Hi Angie. You'll get your marriage license the same day you apply for it. If you need to get married by a magistrate, you should book your appointment in advance. If there are no available slots, you may not be able to get married the same day.

    1. Hi Rose. That's up to the magistrate's office. You'll have to get in touch with them to determine if they're able and willing to supply witnesses.

  3. I am wondering if both parties are required to purchase and pick up the marriage license?

    1. Hi Shaun. One of you may apply absentee. Since the license is issued immediately, whoever applies in person will pick it up.

  4. I have been asked to officiate a friend's wedding. I have obtained my officiant certification from Universal Life Church. They will get their marriage license about 2 weeks prior to the ceremony. Once that is signed (after the ceremony) is it my responsibility to take it to the Register of Deeds or can any one do that?

  5. Hi! Is the marriage license office open on Memorial Day Monday, 5/31/2021? We are getting married on Sunday, 5/30/2021 and want to make sure our officiant can return our marriage license to be processed (we live in NYC). Thanks!

    1. Is the marriage license office open on Memorial Day

      The Register of Deeds isn't open on Memorial Day, as they're located in a courthouse, which closes on federal holidays.

  6. I want to my girlfriend and I want to get married. I’m from Michigan she’s from North Carolina but I’m moving to North Carolina if I can find an easy way down there. Any suggestions

    1. Hi Bradley. Your girlfriend can submit an absentee application on your behalf if you can't make it to NC to apply together. The marriage would still have to be solemnized in the state though.

  7. My fiance and I already know what day we would like to be married. How far in advance can you book an appointment with the magistrate to be married? Do you have to have the marriage license before you make the appointment?

    1. How far in advance can you book an appointment with the magistrate to be married?

      There is not set limit.

      Do you have to have the marriage license before you make the appointment?

      You don't have to, but it's possible the magistrate you schedule with may insist upon it. If you can get it done the same day, so be it.

  8. Can both of my fiancé’s family (mom and dad) serve as witnesses for our wedding? Did not know if witnesses were able to be family or not? Thanks! Lisa Toler.

    1. Did not know if witnesses were able to be family or not?

      Anyone can serve as a witness as long as they can present photo ID.

  9. i am from a different country but my husband passed away 3 years ago while I was in the US but I have his death certificate. can I still marry in NC

    1. Hi Vanessa. You can still marry. Although the Register of Deeds doesn't typically ask to see death certificates for marriage license applications, it's worth bringing anyway since you already have it. They are allowed to ask for it.

  10. Quick Question I jut want to get married quickly where do I go for that?

    1. Hi Atreall. Option 1: Hire a professional officiant to perform your ceremony at a designated time and place. Option 2: Make an appointment with a magistrate. Any magistrate from any county.

  11. I am getting married in a different state than I reside. Am I allowed to get my marriage license in Arizona but have the ceremony in NC or do I have to have the ceremony and license in the same state (NC)?

    1. Hi Victoria. Your marriage license must come from the state your marriage takes place. Only a NC marriage license will work in NC.

  12. If my husband and I got married in 2009 what would we have to do to get remarried, but the thing is we don't even have our first marriage license.

    1. Hi Nicole. There's no marriage license reissue for vow renewals. You'd have to do so informally. If you're not seeking a vow renewal, please clarify.

  13. Can a licensed minister in Maryland marry a couple in North Carolina.

    1. Hi Kenny. Yes, that's fine. Ministers don't have to come from North Carolina to perform marriages in the state.

  14. My grandson wants to marry a girl 18 from Canada. He is 16. Can he? I am his guardian and have to give written permission.

    1. Hi George. Yes, your grandson may marry with your written consent.

  15. How much does the Magistrates Office charge to perform marriages? Do they give the completed marriage license after the ceremony? What time does the Magistrates Office close?

    1. Hi Jennifer. The ceremony fee is $20, give or take. Prices aren't standardized across NC. You'll have to contact their office for specific pricing, availability, and appointments.

  16. My fiancé is in jail when we get married do we need two witnesses?

    1. Hi Dee. You can contact the jail about witness arrangements. They may be able to supply you the witnesses.

  17. How do I get started?! Can you please list out the steps?

    1. Hi Valereen. This page lists most (if not all) the steps. Could you clarify what else you need to know?

  18. Must the marriage license be returned to the same office location that it was received? Can I apply for the marriage license in one county and then submit it for the marriage certificate at a different county office location?

    1. Hi Mark. You must return your completed marriage license to the office that issued it.

      1. Does the marriage license have to be returned in person or can it be mailed? We are getting married on a Friday evening and then returning home to Wisconsin the following day. Also, can we receive a certified copy of the marriage certificate via mail?

        1. Hi Mark. You can mail your license. And certified copies can be sent by mail.

  19. After I return the license can I get the marriage certification the same day? I need it ASAP.

    1. After I return the licence can I get the marriage certification the same day?

      That's up to the register of deeds. Some will process licenses in batches, so same-day certificates may not be possible. You'll have to phone them to inquire and notify them that you'll return your license and pick up the certificate the same day. Ask about the most optimal time to drop off and return.

  20. Can we set up an appointment with the magistrate online to get married? Is there a fee for the magistrate? Thank you

    1. Hi LeAnn. Which county do you plan to marry in?

  21. If we returned the marriage license by mail 20 days after our wedding, can we still get our marriage license?

    1. Hi Jill. The register of deeds should still record your marriage license, even though it's late. You'll want to contact them anyway to make sure it's been recorded. Afterward, you can order certified copies.

  22. I am a minister and preformed a marriage at a wedding venue outside of Durham. The marriage certificate was lost before I was able to send it in, and the couple is leaving on their honeymoon. What can I do?

    1. Hi George. Contact the register of deeds to get the marriage license reissued and recorded.

  23. we live in South Carolina, but wanting to marry in the mountains. Do we get licenses in north or south Carolina?

    1. Hi Janet. You must get a North Carolina marriage license to marry in NC.

  24. is the marriage license valid enough to show my jobs health insurance to add my woman to my health insurance?

    1. Hi Rahshad. It would have to be the marriage certificate instead of the marriage license.

  25. Hi,

    What do we need in order to get married we are from Australia, coming to stay at Moravian Falls. Do you also need prove of previous marriage /divorce details. Thanks CarJor

    1. Hi CarJor. The marriage requirements are the same for U.S. citizens and noncitizens. If you're under 21 years of age, bring a certified copy of your birth certificate. Bring certified proof of the dissolution of your previous marriage. Not all register of deeds will ask for these documents, but you should bring them if you have them as a precatuion.

  26. My fiance is in prison do I need to call the prison to find out what I need to do to get married while he is in there?

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