Marriage in Rhode Island

You need not be a Rhode Island resident to get a marriage license there. If either the bride or the groom lives in Rhode Island, the license must be granted by the clerk for the town in which the person lives. The license will be accepted only in the town where it was granted.

Persons who have been divorced must present a certified copy of the divorce decree, while widows or widowers must present a certified copy of the death certificate.

A minor female who is under 16 may not get a marriage license without the request being approved by the Family Court. A male under 18 is under the same restriction. If a female is 16 or 17, she must fill out a Minor's Permit to marry and have it signed and notarized before a city clerk.

Marriages between cousins are allowed in Rhode Island. If a woman is Jewish, she may marry her uncle, but a man may not marry his aunt. Common law marriages are not allowed.

What You Should Bring?

Everyone who applies for a marriage license must present a valid ID. Birth certificates are preferred, but a non-citizen may present an alien card or a passport instead.

You and your future spouse must both be personally present when applying for the marriage license; you will both have to sign the marriage license to affirm that its contents are factual. Marriage by proxy, which occurs when a person stands in for an absent bride or groom, is not allowed in Rhode Island.

There is a fee of $24, which can be paid only in cash.

To be legally binding, a marriage must be witnessed by at least two people who are not minors and the person conducting the ceremony.

Important Information

Any person who was once or is currently a minister of any religious group which holds regular services is allowed to conduct marriage ceremonies. The minister must get a license for performing such ceremonies and must also sign and file the marriage license with the city clerk who serves the town where the marriage occurred.

There is no blood test required before a marriage license will be granted. After it is issued, the license is immediately valid; there is no waiting period.

With a marriage license that remains valid for 90 days, Rhode Island has one of the longest license expiration dates available.

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