Application Requirements: (Please read carefully)
- Applicants must show proof of identity and have knowledge of Social Security number.
- BOTH parties should be present when applying for the marriage license. The marriage may be performed anywhere within North Carolina. In cases of extreme hardship when one applicant is UNABLE to appear (i.e. Military, confinement in hospital, nursing home or prison), the individual who is unable to appear in person must submit a sworn and notarized Affidavit in Lieu Personal Appearance. The affidavit, along with the required identification for both parties, must be presented by the individual appearing in person.
- Applicants’ Proof of Age Requirements: Ages 18+
- Social Security card or knowledge of number, and
- Valid ID with name and date of birth – Acceptable identifications:
- Driver’s license (may not be expired), or
- State-issued I.D. Card (may not be expired), or
- Passport (may not be expired), or
- Military I.D. (may not be expired)
- Social Security card or knowledge of number and
- Valid ID with name and date of birth – Acceptable identifications: same as above, and
Less than 18 years of age contact the office for Special License requirements and information regarding consenting parents.
The legal age for marriage in North Carolina is 18. Persons over 16 and under 18 can only be married with signed parental consent. It is illegal for any person under 14 to marry in North Carolina. Any person older than 14, but younger than 16 must obtain a Court Order through the Clerk of Court’s Office at 910-772-6600.
Divorced applicants must provide the month and year of their last divorce. If the divorce was finalized the same day of applying for the marriage license, the applicant must provide a certified copy of the divorce decree. There is no waiting period between the divorce and applying for the new license. The New Hanover County Register of Deeds does not handle divorces. *If you have been divorced in the last 60 days you must bring your divorce papers.*
To obtain additional information about divorce proceedings, follow this link to the Clerk of Superior Court: http://www.nccourts.org/Support/FAQs/FAQs.asp?Type=14&language=1.
General Information About Getting Married
- Applicants do NOT need to be residents of North Carolina to marry in New Hanover County or North Carolina but our marriage license is only good for North Carolina.
- A premarital medical examination is NOT required.
- Two witnesses are required for all marriage ceremonies.
- Marriage licenses are issued between 8:00 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding New Hanover County-observed holidays. It is necessary for couples to arrive at the office before 4:30 p.m. to complete the paperwork necessary to obtain a marriage license.
- The marriage license fee is $60 check or cash. The license is good immediately upon issuance and is valid for 60 days once married the license must be returned to our office within 10 days.
- Both parties should appear at the Register of Deeds, if possible (NCGS 51.8.2). If an applicant for a marriage license is over 18 years of age and is unable to appear in person please call the Register of Deeds office at 910-798-7711 for assistance.
- Applicants must show their valid ID, provide their social security number and sign the marriage license at the New Hanover County Register of Deeds office.
- Per North Carolina law, all applicants must provide their Social Security number. If ineligible for a Social Security Number, an affidavit must be completed. Download the affidavit form.
- If you are obtaining a marriage license or birth or death certificate on a Friday or at the end of the month, please allow extra time for processing as these are high volume days.
Who Performs Marriages
- Marriages may be performed by an ordained minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a church, a magistrate, or a federally- or state-recognized Indian Nation or tribe.
Change Last Name After Marriage
- You’ll need a certified copy of your marriage license in order to change your name on your driver’s license and your Social Security card. Wait at least 10 (TEN) days after the ceremony is performed to allow sufficient time for your license to be returned to the Register of Deeds.
- In your request, include the names of both applicants, date of the marriage and the address where copies should be mailed. Certified copies of your marriage license are $10 each. Check or cash will be accepted.
- Present the certified copy of your marriage license along with other required documentation to the Social Security Administration. After applying for a new Social Security card, you should wait at least 24 hours before going to the Department of Motor Vehicles to update your driver’s license. .
Get a Certified Copy of Marriage License
- You may purchase a certified copy of your marriage license filed in New Hanover County by visiting the Register of Deeds Office or requesting one from our website. The fee is $10 in person or an additional fee for mailing.
- New Hanover County Register of Deeds can only provide copies of marriage licenses that were issued in New Hanover County. For marriage licenses issued outside New Hanover County, contact the county where the marriage license was issued. If you do not know the North Carolina County where the marriage license was filed, visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Vital Records website.
Online Marriage License Application
Applicants who wish to obtain a marriage license in New Hanover County may complete their application online or at the New Hanover County Register of Deeds office located at 320 Chestnut Street, Suite 120, Wilmington, NC 28403 and the Satellite office located at the Government complex 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 185, Wilmington, NC 28403
Checklist for Obtaining a Marriage License
- Social security number
- Proper identification (example: driver’s license, state identification, passport)
- Certified copy of birth certificate, if under 21 years old.
- If under 18, contact this office
- Cost: $60.00 — check, cash or credit card
- Keepsake certificate — optional
- * A certified birth certificate in English or a notarized translation must be provided. Please bring both the native and notarized translated copy. Proof of your marriage is available upon request in person or by mail once the officiant returns your license. The officiant is required by law to return both copies of the license to the Register of Deeds within ten days after the ceremony (NCGS 51.7).