How to Get a Marriage or Civil Union License
Individuals marrying or forming a civil union in Rhode Island must apply for a license at a city or town clerk's office. State law restricts the ability of cities and towns to issue these licenses statewide. The license is valid for three months after the issuance date. The ceremony must take place in the presence of the officiant (the person performing the marriage or civil union) and two witnesses age 18 or older.
What You Should Do
Go to the correct city or town clerk office
Both partners must apply for the license in person and sign the application in the presence of a city or town clerk or assistant. Please be sure to contact the city or town office where you will apply for the license to verify their requirements and hours open to the public.
- Rhode Island residents:
- For marriages, if the bride lives in Rhode Island, the couple should apply for the license at the clerk office in the city or town of the bride's residence. If only the groom lives in Rhode Island, the couple should apply for the license at the clerk office in the city or town of the groom's residence.
- For civil unions, if either partner lives in Rhode Island, the couple should apply for the license at the clerk office in the city or town of residence of either of the individual(s).
- If at least one partner lives in Rhode Island, the marriage or civil union license is valid in any city or town and the ceremony may take place anywhere in Rhode Island.
- Non-residents: If neither partner lives in Rhode Island, the license must be obtained at the clerk office in the city/town where the ceremony will take place. If the ceremony is performed in a city or town other than where it was issued, the validity of the marriage or civil union may be in question.
Provide required identification and legal documents
Both partners are responsible for presenting:
- Proof of birth facts and a valid form of identification (Check with the city or town clerk office for their requirements.)
- If previously married or in a civil union, a certified copy of the final decree of divorce or dissolution of the civil union (with the raised or original stamped court seal), or a certified copy of the death certificate of the previous spouse/partner.
- For marriages where the bride is younger than age 18 or if either individual is under the control of a legal guardian, a "Minorís Permit to Marry" completed by the parent or legal guardian. The Minor's Permit is available at city and town clerk offices. Please note that men younger than age 18 and women younger than age 16 also need court permission to marry. (more) Individuals must be at least 18 years of age to form a civil union.
Pay for the license
Marriage and civil union licenses cost $24.