Chester County, Pennsylvania
County of Chester
313 W. Market St.
P.O. Box 2748
West Chester, PA 19380-0991
Ph: (610) 344-6000
Toll Free: 1 (800) 692-1100

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Marriage Licenses
    


Requirements to Apply for a Marriage License
 

Marriage License Applications are taken MONDAY through FRIDAY between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ONLY.  BOTH Applicants must be in the office and registered by 4:00 p.m. 

 !!!!!!!! BLOOD TESTS ARE NOT REQUIRED !!!!!!!! 

  1. The current fee is $75.00 payable with Cash ONLY.  Checks, Money Orders, Debit Cards and Credit Cards are NOT accepted. This fee cannot be waived. If for any reason the marriage does not take place, there is no refund.
  2. BOTH applicants must appear together in the office to apply for the license. Both applicants must be in the office no later than 4 pm. No Exceptions! 
  3. There is a 3-day waiting period before the license is valid so application must be made at least 3 days but not more than 60 days before the marriage date. {The chart in #4 shows the application day and corresponding issue/valid day.}
  4. Application day and issue day are as follows:
APPLICATION MADE ISSUED/VALID*
Monday Thursday
Tuesday Friday
Wednesday Monday of following week
Thursday Monday of following week
Friday Monday of following week

*If Legal Holiday, License is valid next business day

  1. License is valid for 60 days from the Issue date that appears on the License. If not used within the 60 day period, the application process must be repeated in its entirety to obtain a subsequent license.  This includes the payment of the license fee. 
  2. License can be used in any County in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. An out- of- state marriage license CANNOT be used in Pennsylvania nor can a Pennsylvania marriage license be used out-of-state.
  3. An Applicant, who has one, is required to provide his/her Social Security Number. It is not necessary to present the Social Security Card. Federal and State law require the Social Security Number.  It is confidential and not public record.  If either applicant refuses to provide his or her Social Security Number, the application will be denied.
  4. Applicants must provide identification that shows their current legal name and date of birth.  Photo ID is required.  We reserve the right to require any further identification as deemed necessary.
  5. If either applicant was previously married, the date of the most recent divorce, legal annulment, or death of previous spouse must be provided. If the divorce or legal annulment was final within 6 months of the application date, a Certified copy of the Final Decree must be presented. This document will be photocopied and the original will be returned to the applicant.
  6. AGE REQUIREMENTS:   If an applicant is under age 18, the following applies:
  • Applicant 16 or 17 years of age:Additional Fee - $20.00-Cash ONLY 
    Custodial Parent must appear with the applicants, show Identification and sign a consent to the marriage.
  • Applicant 14 or 15 years of age:Additional Fee - $60.00-Cash ONLY {Includes Parental and Court Consent}   
    Custodial Parent must appear with the applicants, show Identification and sign a consent to the marriage. The applicants are then scheduled to appear before a Judge for the consent of the Court. The application is not taken until after the Court Consent Order is signed by the Judge!  Applicants are strongly recommended to call this office for further instructions.

 


Emergency Waiver of the 3-Day Waiting Period:

  1. Except for Active Duty Military personnel, the waiver request must be submitted to the  Marriage License Department for approval by the Court at least 2 working days BEFORE THE DAY OF THE APPLICATION.    For example, if marriage day is Saturday, the latest day to submit waiver request is Wednesday. Application will not be taken until the waiver is approved by the Judge.  Both of you should be prepared to return to apply at some time after the request is submitted.
  2. $25.00 fee must be paid when waiver request is submitted--Cash or Money Order Only. Checks are NOT accepted! Money order is payable to "Clerk of the Orphans' Court."  Please do NOT mail cash!   No requests are  presented to the Judge unless the fee is paid.  Active Duty Military personnel are NOT subject to this fee. 
  3. Request must be in writing.  Both applicants must sign the request. If either applicant is not able to sign the request, please provide an explanation.
  4. The reason for the waiver request must be given. Include date of marriage and time period involved.
  5. The request can be prepared by the applicants or on a form provided by the Marriage License Department. This may be obtained by phone, mail or in the office.  Form is also available at our website. Click here for the Marriage License Waiver Request.
  6. Mail or hand deliver the request and fee to:
            Marriage License Department
            Chester County Justice Center
            201 W. Market Street, Suite 2200
            P.O. Box 2746
            West Chester, PA  19380-0989
 
To receive a copy of the approved waiver, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

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Officiant of the Marriage:

Pennsylvania has no provision for the registration of officiants to perform marriages.  Selection of and arrangements for an Officiant to perform the marriage ceremony are the responsibility of the applicants.  Click here for contact information for Chester County Common Pleas Judges who perform marriage ceremonies.  For Magisterial District Judges please contact your local jurisdiction. 

Click here for policy concerning officiants of marriages.


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Non-English Speaking Applicants: 

  1. If either applicant is non-English speaking, an English interpreter must be provided.  It is the responsibility of the applicants to provide an interpreter. Be advised, the interpreter must appear with the applicants, provide a photo ID and sign an oath verifying the translation.
  2. The County of Chester does not have interpreters on staff.
  3. Applicants MAY NOT interpret for each other.

 


Self-Uniting Marriage Licenses:

A License for a Self-Uniting Marriage is also available. If a self-uniting license is required, inform the clerk BEFORE the application process begins.  Except for the format of the license, the requirements for a Self-Uniting license and a Standard license are the same.

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Public Record and Publishing of Information:

All Marriage Applications are Public Record. Except for the Social Security Numbers and Voter Declination Forms, which are confidential, all other information is available to the public. Local Newspapers often publish the names of the Marriage License applicants. This office is NOT permitted to withhold any information considered Public Record without a Court Order. The applicants should contact an attorney for the procedure to petition the Court to impound the record.

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Certified Marriage Records:

Requests for Certified Marriage Records are accepted in person or by mail.  Application for the Marriage License must have been made in Chester County, Pennsylvania from 1931 to the present.  Marriage records cannot be certified unless and until the duplicate marriage certificate has been returned to this office by the officiant.

This certification is signed by the Assistant Clerk of the Orphans' Court.  In some instances, for example, Foreign Registration of the Marriage or Foreign Adoptions, the certification must be signed by the Elected Clerk of the Orphans' Court and the Court. You must determine which type of certification is needed.  Refer to the section on Marriage Records for a Foreign Country for more details. 

A form for requesting certified marriage records is available in the Forms and Documents section.  Walk-in requests are processed immediately.  Please allow 7 to 10 working days for processing of mail-in requests!  All requests require the following information: 

  • Name of male applicant
  • Name of female applicant at the time of application
  • Date of Marriage
  • Daytime Telephone number for all mail-in requests
  • $15.00 fee payable with Cash or Money Order ONLYPlease do NOT mail cash!  Money Order is payable to "Clerk of the Orphans' Court."  If the request is by mail, a self-addressed, stamped envelope must be enclosed for the return of the Certification. 
  • Mail the request to:
            Marriage License Department
            Chester County Justice Center
            201 W. Market Street, Suite 2200
            P.O. Box 2746
            West Chester, PA  19380-0989

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Exemplifications of Marriage Records

An Exemplification is an authentication of the record by a Judge of the Orphans’ Court and the Elected Clerk of the Orphans’ Court.

An Exemplification contains the complete Marriage Application which has all the information provided when the application was made, e.g. applicants place and date of birth, parent information, etc.  Official Seals and signatures are on the document. 

The fee for the Exemplification is $40.00.  A form for requesting an Exemplification is available in the Forms and Documents section or contact the Office of the Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, in person or by telephone at 610.344.6335.  The process may take 7 to 10 days.


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Apostilles for Marriage Records
 
If the marriage record is for a foreign country you may need to obtain an Apostille issued by the Pennsylvania Department of State.
 

An Apostille is used by foreign governments to assess the authenticity of an official signature.  It is recognized only by countries that have signed the Convention of the Hague of 1961.  For those countries that are not signatories, the Department of State attaches a certification.  When the Department of State certifies a document with an Apostille, the department verifies that the person who signed the document is a Pennsylvania official and the department has given “full faith and credit” to the official’s seal and signature.  The Apostille is prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of State for documents signed and sealed by the County Elected Officials.

The Marriage Application and Duplicate are the most commonly requested documents for authentication by the Department of State.   Marriage Documents are required for Foreign Adoptions, dual citizenship and registering marriages performed in USA in a foreign country. The two types of authentication of the records issued by this office and accepted by the Department of State are (1) the Certification of the Marriage signed by the Elected Clerk of the Orphans' Court and (2) the Exemplification, which includes the complete marriage application, signed by the Elected Clerk of the Orphans’ Court and a Judge of the Orphans’ Court.

For more information or to request an Apostille, contact the Department of State at:

 

Pennsylvania Department of State

Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation

Room 210 North Office Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Phone:  717.787.5280

                              Email: 

You may also visit the Department of State website by clicking here.

 

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