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.
Applicants Under 16 Years of Age
If either applicant is under sixteen years of age, applicants must have their parent or guardian appear with them to petition the Orphans’ Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, for Authorization of Issuance of a marriage license.
Applicants Under 18 Years of Age
If either applicant is under eighteen years of age, consent of a parent or guardian of that person must be obtained at the time the Application for Marriage License is completed. A parent or guardian must be present with the applicant and must be prepared to present appropriate identification. Guardians must be prepared to present documents proving guardianship appointment of a said child.
The Orphans Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, may upon a petition, direct the extraordinary circumstances.
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 not before Thursday
- Tuesday: License issued not before Friday
- Wednesday: License issued not before Monday
- Thursday: License issued not before Monday
- Friday: License issued not before Monday
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 days, an issued marriage license is void and should be returned to the Marriage License Bureau for cancellation.
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.
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.
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. 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
First Step – Completing the Application
- There are 2 different ways to complete a marriage license application:
- Complete the Online Marriage License Application. An email address is required. Once the online application is completed, a verification email will be sent and the application is placed on file with the Department of Court Records Marriage License Bureau. The process will be quicker if you complete the online application.
- Complete the Application in our office.
- Both applicants must appear in person at the Department of Court Records Marriage License Bureau to complete the process even if the online application is completed.
Second Step - Appearing in Person at Our Office
- Both applicants appear together in person at the Marriage License Bureau to complete the process. Photo identification is required.
- Receiving the License
- Once the couple has appeared in person in the Marriage License Bureau, the application submitted and the 3 day waiting period required by Pennsylvania law has passed, the marriage license is mailed at no extra cost to an address provided by the couple, or it can be picked up in the Marriage License Bureau.