Chester County, Pennsylvania
County of Chester
313 West Market Street
West Chester, PA 19380

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Marriage License FAQ

We are getting married in another State or foreign country. Where do we get our license?

You must get your marriage license in the State or foreign country where the marriage will take place. You should research the requirements of the State or foreign country.

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Can I register my marriage in Pennsylvania if it takes place in another State or foreign country?

NO. Your marriage will never be registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or in this County. You should be certain to get a certified copy of your marriage license from the State or foreign country where the marriage took place.

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Is there a central registry of marriage licenses in Pennsylvania?

NO. In Pennsylvania records of marriage licenses are maintained in the county where you applied for the license. This is true even if you applied in Chester County but were married in another county of the Commonwealth.

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I live in Chester County but my marriage is taking place in another county in Pennsylvania. Where can I get my marriage license?

The laws of Pennsylvania state that you can apply in any county of the Commonwealth and use the license in any other county of the Commonwealth.

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Do I need a minister, judge or other officiant to perform my marriage ceremony?

No, but read the Clerk of the Orphans' Court policy concerning officiants of marriages in the Commonwealth. Click here for the policy.  Pennsylvania has a provision in the Marriage Act that recognizes a marriage performed without officiating clergy. This is referred to as a self-uniting license. Two witnesses are required.

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Are officiants required to register or be licensed in Pennsylvania or the County before performing the marriage ceremony?

No, there is no registry or licensing required for officiants in Pennsylvania or the County.

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How do I get a self-uniting license?

You must inform the clerk that you want a self-uniting license at the time that you apply.

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Does Pennsylvania recognize common-law marriages?

After January 1st, 2005 Pennsylvania does not recognize common-law marriages.  If you believe you were married by common-law before this date, please contact an attorney.

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At what age is a person no longer a minor in Pennsylvania?

Age 18. Until then the person is considered a Minor and needs custodial parental permission to marry. If the person is between 14 and 16, Court permission is also required to apply for a marriage license.

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Why do you need my social security number to apply for a marriage license?

The 1996 Federal Welfare Reform Act and the Commonwealth of PA Act 98-127 require the Social Security number of an individual, who has one, on any application for a marriage license.

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What if I have a social security number but refuse to provide it?

Law does not permit us to take the application.

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What happens if I do not have a social security number?

Provision is made for this in the law. The application is taken and the license is issued.

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Marriage applications are public record. I do not want my social security number given out to the public.

The social security number is available only to this office. It does not appear on the application or any public documents in this office.

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Chester County