How to Apply for a Marriage Licence in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania requires all engaged couples to meet certain requirements. If you plan to get married in Pennsylvania, you and your significant other will have to file a joint application for a marriage license prior to the wedding ceremony in order to have the union legally recognized by the state. Keep reading to learn how to apply for a marriage licensein Pennsylvania.

Part 1: Preparing to Apply for a Marriage License

Gather all required documents before you apply for your marriage license. In addition to a government issued photo ID, there are several other documents that you may need depending on your situation.[2]

  • Both parties must possess a valid Social Security number.
  • Both parties must also provide evidence that any prior marriages have been legally ended through divorce, annulment or death. The bride and groom may not be legally married to any other individual at the time of application.
  • If you and/or your significant other were married before, you will need to bring appropriate documentation to prove that you are no longer married. This documentation could be an official divorce decree, annulment decree or death certificate.

Beaware of special rules that may apply to your situation. There are some special rules that you should be aware of in case one ofthem applies to your situation.

  • Same sex marriage is legal in Pennsylvania as of May 20, 2014.[3]
  • If you or your significant other is a foreign national, you must present a valid and unexpired passport at the time you apply for the license.
  • If one of the applicants does not speak English, a 3rd party translator who is at least 18 years old must be present at the time of the application. Applicants are not allowed to translate for each other.[4]
  • First cousins who are blood relatives are not eligible to get married under the laws of Pennsylvania.

Plan to submit your marriage license application at least three days before your wedding. Most Pennsylvania counties require a 72-hour waiting period following the date of the most recent application. Check with your local office of vital statistics for specific application deadlines and estimated processing time.

Part 2: Applying for a Marriage License

Visit your county courthouse or district justice office to complete and submit the marriage license application. Both you and your significant other are required to be present at the time of signing the marriage license. Remember to bring all of the documents and people that you have determined you will need in order to apply for a marriage license.

Complete the application. You must use blue or black ink and print clearly. Make sure that all of the information that you write while filling out the application is true and accurate. Read through the application after you have finished it to make sure there are no mistakes.

Pay the license application fee. The typical fee is $80, however you should confirm payment requirements with the specific county office to which you are submitting your application.

Pick up your marriage license when it is ready. Since PA requires a 72 hour waiting period, it will take at least three days to get your license. It may take four or five days depending on when you apply for a license. For example, if you apply for your license on a Wednesday, you may not get your license until Monday because the office will be closed for the weekend.

Get married within 60 days of receiving the marriage license.

Pennsylvania marriage licenses are valid for 60 days, during which time the marriage must be solemnized and the completed marriage license returned to the county register of wills.

Frequently Asked Questions:

If one person is from PA and the other is from NY, can they both apply in PA?

You do not have to be from PA to get a license. But it is only valid if you are being married in the state.

Can I apply for a marriage license in a county different from the one I am getting married in?

Yes, you can apply for the license in any county in the state, as long asyou get married in the state of PA.

Does the completed license need to be returned to the county after a marriage?

The completed license needs to be submitted within ten days of the marriage ceremony.

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