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Applying for a Marriage License

Applying for A Marriage License
New Hampshire residents, as well as non-residents, who wish to marry in the State of New Hampshire, must file for a marriage license. Below are some guidelines to assist you in the process.

Where to File
Couples can file in the office of any town or city clerk in the State of New Hampshire, regardless of their residency.  However, if you would like to appear in our Annual Town Report, you must file your intention with the Sandwich Town Clerk's Office.   

Licenses are issued during regular business hours.  Appointments are not required, however, the process takes up to 30 or 45 minutes, so please plan accordingly.  

How to File
Both parties must appear before the Town Clerk to complete the application form. However, if either party (or both) is a member of the armed forces, he or she shall forward an affidavit of marriage intentions, prepared by the armed forces legal representative, to the Town Clerk, if he or she cannot appear in person.

Additional information required at time of filing:   Parents Full Names (Maiden) and their Place of Birth; Will one or both of you be changing your names?  Effective January 1, 2015, upon entering into marriage, each party must indicate on the marriage license worksheet the party's name after marriage.  Either party may retain or change his or her surname to the surname of the other party.  Changed surnames may be a hyphenated combination of both surnames.  If a party requests a surname change on the marriage license worksheet that party may also change his or her middle name to his or her surname prior to the marriage.

Required Documentation
When completing the application form the following documentation will be required:

Proof of identity and age is required in the form of photo identification. We will accept a driver's license, armed services identification card, or a passport. If you do not have photo identification, we will require a certified copy of a birth certificate.

If either or both parties have been previously married or previously joined in a civil union, you will be asked to present proof that you are divorced or widowed. We will accept a certified or absolute copy of the final divorce decree from the most recent marriage, a certified or absolute copy of the dissolution decree of the most recent civil union, or a certified copy of the death record of the deceased spouse.

Please note, photocopies of divorce, dissolution, or death certificates will not be accepted.  A certified copy of a death certificate will be on special paper and will contain a signature of the issuing party as well as a raised seal.  A certified or absolute copy of a divorce or dissolution will have one or more of the following: a raised seal, a gold foil seal, a stamped seal, original signatures and/or say "True Copy Attest" with an original signature. This document will also have the date the divorce was made final or absolute.

Age
An individual who has reached the age of 18 can marry without special permission. Anyone between the age of 16 and 17 may apply in writing to the judicial branch family division having jurisdiction in the location in which one of them resides, for permission to contract such a marriage. Persons below the age of 16 are not allowed to marry under any condition. Please see NH RSA 457:4 for details.

Relationship
Marriage is not permitted in New Hampshire between people who are related by blood as first cousins or in any more direct lineage. Please see NH RSA 457:2 for details.

Fee
There is a $50 license fee. Payment can be made with cash or check. Please make checks payable to the Town of Sandwich.  Please see NH RSA 457:29 for details.

When and Where the License Can Be Used
Once the marriage license is issued, it is valid for 90 days from the date of application and can be used anywhere in the State of New Hampshire. There is no waiting period and witnesses are not required.

Marriage Ceremonies may be performed by:

  • A Justice of the Peace commissioned in New Hampshire. Please contact us for a list of local Justices of the Peace.
  • A minister of the gospel in New Hampshire who has been ordained to the usage of his denomination, resides in New Hampshire, and is in regular standing with the denomination.
  • A minister within his parish, residing outside New Hampshire but having a pastoral charge wholly or partly in New Hampshire.
  • Jewish Rabbis who are citizens of the United States and reside in this state.
  • Quakers, or the Religious Society of Friends.
  • A deacon in the Roman Catholic Church ordained according to the usage of his denomination.
  • Judges of the United States, a US magistrate judge residing in this state pursuant to federal law, clergymen who are not ordained, and non-resident Justices of the Peace, ministers, and Jewish Rabbis, after being licensed by the Secretary of State. See NH Secretary of State Special Marriage License.

The officiant code will appear on the marriage license when issued by the Town Clerk's Office. The officiant will then choose the number that applies.

Certified Copy of Marriage Certificate
After your marriage is complete, the officiant will file your license with the Town Clerk's Office. The officiant has six days to return the completed license to our office so it is recommended to wait at least one week from the date of your marriage to purchase a certified copy of your marriage record. The certified copy is the legal documentation which proves you are married.

Certified copies of marriage records cost $15 for one copy and $10 for additional copies (of the same record) per order. Photo identification is required of the person requesting the vital record.

Changing Your Name After Marriage
It is a common misconception that your name automatically changes when married, however, that is not the case. Changing your name is a process you must do yourself. Find out how to begin the process of changing your name by visiting our Changing Your Name After Marriage page.