Where do I apply for a marriage license?
The Marriage License Bureau is a division of the Berks County Register of Wills Office. Located on the second floor of the Berks County Services Center, 633 Court Street, Reading, the office is open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Application for a marriage license must be made personally, with both parties appearing together. A valid photo ID is required. No appointment is necessary.
In addition, marriage applications can be made at your local Magisterial District Judge's Office, by appointment only.
Are there any age requirements?
If either of the applicants for a license is under the age of 18 years, the consent of one parent or guardian must be personally given before the marriage license clerk at the time of application. If the parent or guardian is unavailable, an affidavit must be signed by the parent or guardian, witnessed by two adults, and acknowledged before an office authorized by law to take acknowledgments (i.e. notary).
If either applicant is under 16 years of age, that individual must make application at the Register of Wills Office so a hearing date before the Orphans' Court judge can be scheduled with the applicant and parent. No license to marry will be issued unless the judge decides that it is in the best interest of such applicant, and authorizes the clerk to proceed.
Proof of divorce from, or death of previous spouse:
If you were previously married, proof that the most recent marriage was dissolved must be provided to the clerk accepting your application. That proof must be made in the form of a death certificate if your last marriage ended because of death, or a copy of your final decree if your previous marriage ended in divorce. A copy of your divorce decree can be obtained from the Prothonotary's Office in the County where your divorce was finalized.
If you are not a United States citizen, you will be required to complete an affidavit before a notary public indicating that you were never married or a translation of divorce decree if written in a foreign language.
How much does it cost?
The basic application fee for issuing a marriage license is currently $55.00 (due when applying). If for some reason the marriage does not take place, there is no refund.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the marriage license bureau of the Register of Wills office at (610) 478-6617.
Waiting period after application for license:
The license will be given to you at the time of your application. It cannot be used until the date of issuance, which is three (3) days later. The issuance date appears on the license.
A waiver of the three day waiting period may be obtained from the Judge of the Orphans' Court in extreme circumstances. This relates mainly to military service requirements. If you feel that circumstances warrant a waiver of the three day waiting period, please contact the Register of Wills Office prior to applying for your license. An additional $20.00 waiver fee will be charged at time of application, making your fee $75.00 for the marriage license.
Validity of license to marry
Once issued, the marriage license is valid for a period of 60 days. If the couple is not married within the 60 day period, the application process must be repeated in its entirety to obtain a subsequent license.
Where can I use the license?
A marriage license issued by the Berks County Register of Wills can be used anywhere in Pennsylvania. If you choose to apply in another county in Pennsylvania, that license can be used in Berks County. However, out-of-state licenses cannot be used in Pennsylvania, nor can Pennsylvania licenses be used out-of-state.
As Register of Wills, I would like your day to be special and without any unnecessary worries. Please remember:
- There is a three (3) day wait before your license can be used and your marriage license is valid for sixty (60) days anywhere in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Register of Wills
This information has been made available to you as a public service by the Berks County Register of Wills Office.