In order to obtain a marriage license in Washington County, applicants must appear together at the Marriage License Bureau of the Washington County Register of Wills Office and complete an application for marriage license. Photo identification is required.
Duration of License
A marriage license issued in this county is valid for sixty days from the date of issue and is valid anywhere in Pennsylvania. After sixty (60) days, an issued marriage license is void and should be returned to the Marriage License Bureau for cancellation.
Applicants who have been previously married and divorced must furnish a certified copy of the decree in divorce dissolving the marriage. The certified copy of the decree in divorce must be furnished at the time the application for Marriage License is completed. A widow or widower must provide the date of death of their former spouse.
Provided all the above-mentioned requirements have been complied with, a marriage license will be issued as follows:
- Monday: License issued on Thursday
- Tuesday: License issued on Friday
- Wednesday: License issued on Monday
- Thursday: License issued on Monday
- Friday: License issued on Monday
Waiver of 3-Day Waiting Period
The Orphans Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, may upon a petition, direct the extraordinary circumstances.
Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The fee for a Marriage License is:
- Filing application and issuance of license: $40 - cash only
- Consent of parent or guardian: $10 - cash only
- Petition for minor under 16 years of age: $10 - cash only
- Petition for waiving waiting period: (active military only) to be approved by a judge.
Officiant Must File Marriage Return
An official public record of the marriage will not exist if the officiant performing the marriage ceremony fails to return the duplicate Certificate of Marriage within ten days after the solemnization of the marriage, as required by law. The law requires all marriage records are available for public inspection.
Disclaimer of Liability
To be recognized as legal by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, marriages must be performed under a valid marriage license duly issued by a Clerk of Orphans’ Court must be officiated by one of the following individuals specifically recognized under Pennsylvania law as authorized to officiate, to wit.
Section 1503 - Persons Qualified to Solemnize Marriages
General rule - The following are authorized to solemnize marriages between persons that produce a marriage license issued under this part:
- An active or senior judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit who is a resident of this Commonwealth.
- An active or senior judge or full-time magistrate of the District Courts of the United States for the Eastern, Middle or Western District of Pennsylvania.
- A former or retired justice, judge or district justice of this Commonwealth who is serving as a senior judge or a senior district justice as provided or prescribed by law.
- A justice, judge or district justice of this Commonwealth.
- A mayor of any city or borough of this Commonwealth.
- A minister, priest or rabbi of any regularly established church or congregation.
- Religious organizations - Every religious society, religious institution or religious organization in this Commonwealth may join persons together in marriage when at least one of the persons is a member of the society, institution or organization, according to the rules and customs of the society, institution or organization. (Amish and Quakers if you are a member).
- Marriage license needed to officiate - No person or religious organization qualified to perform marriages shall officiate at a marriage ceremony without the parties having obtained a marriage license issued under this part. This office will not determine what is/is not a church and/or congregation.
Please be advised: If you choose to be married by someone other than officiants specifically listed and authorized by Pennsylvania law, the burden of proof regarding the legality (or lack thereof) of your marriage will be upon you – should future issues arise that require a determination of the marriage’s validity.
Completing a marriage license application in Washington County is a two-step process. The license is issued after a mandatory 3-day waiting period. Note: An application for a marriage license is NOT a marriage license. The marriage license is valid for 60 days from the date it is issued. You should apply for a marriage license from 2 to 3 weeks before the scheduled date of your marriage ceremony.
A marriage license issued in any Pennsylvania county can be used in any other Pennsylvania county.
Types of Marriage Licenses. There are 2 types of marriage licenses issued in Pennsylvania:
- A self-uniting marriage license.
- A traditional marriage license.
A self-uniting marriage license does not require an officiant to solemnize the marriage.
A traditional marriage license requires an officiant to solemnize the marriage as defined under Pennsylvania law Title 23, Section 1503 (see above). The Department of Court Records, Wills/Orphans’ Court Division is the Clerk of the Orphans’ Court for Washington County and will not determine what is or is not a church or a congregation. Please be advised: If you choose to be married by someone other than the officiants authorized by Pennsylvania law Title 23, Section 1503, the burden of proof regarding the legality of your marriage will be on you should future issues arise regarding the validity of the marriage.
The Application Process
Completing the Application
- There are 2 different ways to complete a marriage license application:
- Option 1: Both people getting married complete the Application in our office. Valid ID Required. Valid ID required and both people must be present at same time.
- Option 2: Both people getting married complete the application via web conference (Zoom) meeting. Valid ID required and both people must be present at same time.
- Once the couple has appeared in person either in our office or via web conference to submit their application and the 3-day waiting period required by Pennsylvania law has passed, the marriage license will be available to be picked up at the Register of Wills office.
- Applicants then have 60-days from the issue date to get married anywhere in Pennsylvania.
Return of “Duplicate”
You are not “officially” married until the Register of Wills office receives and files the “Duplicate” section of your marriage license. It is your responsibility to ensure this portion of your marriage license is returned and processed within 10-days. Failure to do so will