Congratulations on your engagement to be married! Every marriage in Virginia must be licensed and solemnized according to state law. The following information is intended to summarize these laws, but should not be construed as legal advice.
Age and Translator Requirements
The minimum age for marriage in the Commonwealth of Virginia is 18 years for both bride and groom. If a translator is required please bring one with you. Neither the Bride or the Groom may translate for the other.
The following categories of marriages are illegal in Virginia:
- A marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of one of the parties
- A marriage between an ancestor and descendant; or between a brother and a sister; or between an uncle and a niece; or between an aunt and a nephew; whether the relationship is by the half or whole blood or by adoption
- When either party lacks the mental or physical capacity to consent to the marriage
- Common law marriages are not valid if entered into in Virginia or any other jurisdiction which does not permit them for its residents
Obtaining a Marriage License
A marriage license may be obtained from the Office of the Clerk of Circuit Court in any city or county in Virginia. Once granted, a marriage license permits a marriage ceremony anywhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Currently you can apply for a marriage license by mail by following these directions. To obtain your license at the courthouse you must make an appointment and both parties must appear in person to receive the license.
The Office of the Clerk of Circuit Court in the City of Roanoke is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays. Each party must furnish the required information under oath or affirmation, and falsifying any information on a marriage license could subject the parties to prosecution for perjury.
Please be sure to bring your driver's license or a valid photo ID with you.
There is no waiting period in Virginia between being granted a divorce and remarrying or between applying for and being issued a marriage license. Once a marriage license has been issued, however, the marriage must be performed within 60 days or the license becomes void. Unused licenses must be returned to the Circuit Court. The officiant (person authorized to celebrate the rites of marriage) must return the Marriage Record and the Marriage Return to the Clerk of Circuit Court's Office within five days.
The Clerk of Circuit Court will charge a fee of $30 for issuing a marriage license. It may be paid in cash or with a debit or credit card.
If you are paying with a debit or credit card there is a 2.00 convenience fee.
If your marriage is performed by the Clerk of Circuit Court there is a fee of 50.00 in addition to the cost of your license.
Anyone performing a marriage in the state of Virginia must have been authorized by a Circuit Court or must be a Judge. Performing a marriage without court authorization is a misdemeanor. Once approved by any Circuit Court in the Commonwealth of Virginia the officiant may perform marriages anywhere in the Commonwealth, as long as the authorization has not been withdrawn.
Individuals may petition a Judge in the Circuit Court to authorize them to perform marriages. A bond may be required. See Virginia Code sec 20-25. Please call 540-853-6711 for additional information and cost.
Persons with a religious affiliation should contact the Circuit Court To confirm the requirements for authorization and the cost. 540-853-6711
Honorable Brenda S. Hamilton, Clerk of Circuit Court for the City of Roanoke is authorized to perform marriages; however, due to COVID-19, she is not performing ceremonies at this time.
The Officiant must complete and sign both originals of the Marriage License (Register and Return) and forward them to the Circuit Court Clerk's Office within five days after the marriage ceremony.
Changing Your Name
If you wish to change your last name upon marriage you will need certified copies of your completed marriage licenses.
Certified copies of marriage records may be obtained in person or by mail from the Circuit Court Clerk's office that issued the marriage license for a fee of $2.50. Copies may be obtained from the Virginia Division of Vital Records in Richmond. You can also obtain copies of marriage licenses from DMV although there may be a delay of several months before the information is available to DMV. The full names of the bride and groom and the date and place of marriage must be provided. Marriage applications and certificates are public records available in the Office of the Clerk of Circuit Court in the Roanoke City Courthouse.