Apply For A Rhode Island Marriage License

How do we get a marriage license in Rhode Island?

Marriage licenses are issued at the town or city level in Rhode Island. You and your fiance will need to appear together at the appropriate Town Clerk’s office to sign and file your application. The license application must be signed by both parties in front of the Town Clerk. After filing the application and paying the license fee, your license will be issued to you, usually on the same day.

Does it matter which city or town we file our application in?

Yes. If both the bride and groom are residents of Rhode Island, you should apply for the license in the town where the bride resides. If only the groom is a resident of the state, you should apply in the town where he resides. For Rhode Island residents, the license is good for weddings performed throughout the state. So even if you receive the license from the bride’s town of Cranston, you can use the license to get married in Providence. However, if neither the bride nor the groom is a resident of Rhode Island, you must apply for the license in the town or city where you are planning on holding the wedding. The license in this situation is only good in the municipality that issues it. Using the license outside of that municipality may call into questions the legality of the marriage.

When should we apply for the marriage license?

Rhode Island does not have a waiting period, so the license can be used immediately after it is issued. The license remains valid for three months after issuance, so you should apply for the license no more than three months before the date of your wedding. If you do not use the marriage license within three months, it will need to be returned to the Town Clerk’s office that issued it and you will need to reapply for a new license if it is still needed.

Do we need to bring any documentation with us to receive a Rhode Island marriage license?

Yes, both the bride and groom must provide documentation proving name and age. The preferred documentation for this in Rhode Island is a certified birth certificate issued by your birth state with a raised seal. For foreign nationals who cannot get a certified copy of their birth certificate, a passport or alien resident card will usually suffice. Some municipalities may accept other forms of documentation. If you do not think you will be able to meet the criteria above, contact the Town Clerk’s office to see if there are other options for proving your birth facts. In addition to proving identity, if you have previously been married you will also need to prove that your previous marriage has been legally dissolved. In the case of divorce, you will need to bring a certified copy of the final divorce decree with you to file your marriage license application. If you are a widow or widower, you will need to provide a certified copy of your previous spouse’s death certificate.  


Cranston Pawtucket Providence

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