Couples must obtain North Carolina marriage registration documents before they may legally marry in the state. These documents include a marriage license, which is a requirement prior to the wedding ceremony and a marriage certificate, which couples receive after the ceremony takes place. Couples may apply for a marriage license at any Register of Deeds office (ROD) in the state. However, customers may obtain a duplicate marriage certificate online, in person or by mail after the wedding ceremony occurs. As such, applicants can get a copy of their marriage record online here. To learn more about marriage records and how to order them, review the sections below.
Types of North Carolina Marriage Documents
Two types of wedding records are available in the state. These records of marriage include an NC marriage license and a certificate. As such, couples may obtain a license for marriage as early as 60 days before the wedding date, as a wedding license grants them permission to marry in the state. However, marriage license records only remain valid for a total of 60 days from the date of issue. To obtain marriage licenses, customers may visit any Register of Deeds office (ROD) in the state of North Carolina. After the wedding, couples or authorized officials must return license records to the same ROD office.
A certificate of marriage, however, is a legal document that proves a couple’s marriage or civil union. Marriage certificates are available as certified or uncertified copies. Since a certified copy of marriage certificate shows that a legal marriage ceremony took place, couples must replace a stolen or lost marriage certificate as soon as the incident occurs. For instance, couples often need a certified marriage certificate copy when completing a name change, filing joint taxes or applying for a mortgage loan. For this reason, couples must order a duplicate marriage certificate in NC if they lose, misplace or damage their original document. Customers can order a copy of their marriage record online here.
The Importance of North Carolina Marriage Registration Documents
There are many reasons to order a copy of marriage certificate documents, especially if the original document sustains damages or goes missing. Couples only need a marriage license prior to the wedding ceremony, but a certificate of NC marriage is a requirement when completing many transactions as a couple. For instance, a certified copy of a marriage certificate is often a requirement in situations such as the following:
- Completing a name change with the Social Security Administration (SSA)
- Changing the name on a drivers license, state ID card, vehicle registration or title certificate
- Adding a spouse to a health insurance plan
- Applying for a home mortgage loan
- Filing joint taxes
- Gaining immigration benefits
Since NC marriage certificates are a requirement whenever couples need to submit proof of marriage, it is important to retain a copy of marriage registration documents at all times. To get started, customers may order a marriage record online here.
Who can complete a marriage license search in North Carolina?
Couples may order a replacement marriage certificate if their original document acquires damages or goes missing, or if they wish to obtain an additional certified copy for any reason. Certified marriage certificates include a raised Vital Records seal and the State Registrar’s signature. Furthermore, eligible family members may access North Carolina marriage records as well, including the siblings, direct ancestors, direct descendants, stepchildren or stepparents of the individuals included on the certificate. Certified marriage registration documents are also available to the authorized agents, legal representatives, or attorneys of the individuals included on the document. However, applicants who complete a marriage certificate search must submit proof of identification and proof of eligibility. Acceptable proof of identification includes a photocopy of a driver license or non-driver photo ID card, U.S. passport or Visa, current military card or a student ID card.
If NC marriage certificate applicants cannot provide proof of identification, they may submit two of the following documents, as long as they contain a current address:
- Temporary driver license
- Car registration or title
- Current utility bill
- Pay stub
- Income tax or W-2 form
- Recent letter from a government agency
Eligible applicants may request a copy of their NC marriage record here.
While certified copies of NC marriage records are only available to authorized customers, anyone (unless legal restrictions apply) may complete a marriage license lookup if they wish to obtain an uncertified copy. Uncertified marriage certificates are clearly labeled as such and they do not contain a raised Vital Records seal. These marriage license records are for informational purposes only and cannot be used as proof of marriage in any legal transaction.
How to Order a Marriage Certificate in North Carolina
Customers may find marriage records in North Carolina by completing an online marriage record search, or by submitting an application to the State Office of Vital Records under the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Marriage certificates from 1962 to the present day are available through the Office of Vital Records and may be requested in person or by mail. Alternately, customers may order a marriage record online here. To learn more about completing a marriage certificate search, review the following methods below.
Customers may order a marriage certificate online if they wish to submit a request from the comfort of their home. Online marriage certificate searches are quick, easy and convenient to complete. Applicants who wish to obtain a marriage record in North Carolina simply need to enter the required information, pay with a credit card and wait for their certificate to arrive in the mail. To get started, submit an online marriage record request here.
If customers wish to replace a marriage certificate in person, they must visit a Register of Deeds (ROD) office in the county in which the ceremony took place, or they may visit the Office of Vital Records in Raleigh between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. When ordering a marriage certificate in North Carolina, customers must complete an Application for Death, Marriage or Divorce Record (DHHS-VR-DMD) and submit payment in the form of cash, check or money order. Additionally, customers who wish to obtain a duplicate marriage certificate must provide the full name of the groom, the full maiden name of the bride, the marriage date and the county in which the license for marriage was issued.
Note: While the Office of Vital Records retains documents from as early as 1962, the Register of Deeds holds documents prior to 1962.
If residents cannot lookup a marriage license in person or online, they may mail an Application for Death, Marriage or Divorce Record to the Office of Vital Records in Raleigh. NC marriage record applicants must enclose proof of identification and payment for the duplicate record request. Since mail-in marriage registration requests take approximately six to eight weeks to process, customers may expedite their order if they wish to receive their marriage records within three to five days from the date in which the office receives the request. To expedite the marriage document request, applicants must pay an additional fee and they must write “expedite” on the outside of the mailing envelope. To receive faster service, however, applicants may submit an online order here.