General Information, subject to change, so call the clerk of court / register of deeds at the local county office to make sure. Note, more county offices allow you to complete an application for a marriage license online, to save time. Both parties still have to appear to purchase the license, WITH proper ID. If at all possible, arrive at the offices BEFORE 4:00 pm and avoiding Friday afternoons entirely, if you can. Arriving later than 4:00 pm may cause a delay in obtaining your license. I also recommend obtaining your license at least 10 business days before the wedding.
You may acquire a license at the Register of Deeds Office in any North Carolina County.
- The license, once issued is "live" (no waiting period) and the ceremony may be performed in any of the 100 counties in NC, not just the county that issued the license. You may obtain your license in Raleigh (Wake County) and marry in Beaufort (Carteret County), or vice versa.
- With one exception, both parties must be present to purchase the license. Depending on the county where you apply, you might be able to fill out forms online-call the county office to find out. Many counties offer this. You fill out the application online and both of you appear in person with correct ID, etc to sign the application.
- Your License is 'hot' upon being issued with no waiting period. License expires 60 days after date of issue.
- SS# in the form of documentation: W-2 forms, pay stubs, social security card (preferred)
- 21 and over may use a valid driver's license, passport, certified copy of birth certificate.
- 20 and under must have a certified copy of birth certificate.
- 16 or 17 must provide notarized written parental permission and a certified copy of birth certificate.
- With one exception, related to obtaining a license, there is no requirement for premarital counseling.
- No blood test or waiting period required.
- Divorced parties must provide a copy of divorce decree only if the divorce was finalized within 30 days of applying for a new license.
- License returned to issuing office NLT 10 days after ceremony. (My track record is about 98% within 2 days)
- Licenses are recorded the day received, and available for certified copies ($ 10.00 per certified copy, as of 3-1-12, subject to change without notice)
- Certified copy of marriage licenses available, and recommended, especially for military families needing to establish benefits, ID cards, name change with Social Security, DMV, etc. (Note that some RoD's give the first copy to military couples for free. It's worth asking about.)
- Note that I have 10 days after the ceremony to return the license to the county office from where it was issued. I usually have it back to the RoD within three business days, post ceremony. Once the county receives the license, they record it as an official document. Once recorded, certified copies may be requested.
- I recommend 2 certified copies of your marriage license, in order to make necessary name changes with Social Security, Driver's License, passport, etc. Most places will not accept a photocopy. Note that marriage is considered by most insurance companies as the "qualifying event" for changes in insurance coverage. Most companies require that you apply for coverage based on this change within 30 days. It's worth your consideration.
Note: For informational purposes only, not legal advice or to be construed as such. Information changes - check with the register of deeds.