Marriage Licenses & Certificates
All persons proposing to be joined in marriage within the state shall complete a Marriage License Application which shall be recorded by any New Hampshire city or town clerk. The clerk shall then provide the parties with a license which shall be delivered to the minister, justice of the peace, magistrate or other officiant who is able to solemnize marriages in New Hampshire, and who is to officiate the ceremony.
NH state law (RSA 457) states that "Marriage is the legally recognized union of two people. Any person who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements of this chapter may marry any other eligible person regardless of gender. Each party to a marriage shall be designated bride, groom or spouse." NH state law recognized civil unions for a limited period of time prior to January 1, 2010. No new NH civil unions may be established on or after this date. Two consenting persons who are parties to a valid NH civil union entered into prior to January 1, 2010 may apply and receive a marriage license and have such marriage solemnized. Such parties may also apply by January 1, 2011 to have their civil union legally designated and recorded as a marriage. Two persons who are parties to a NH civil union that has not been dissolved or annulled by the parties or merged into a marriage by January 1, 2011, shall be deemed to be married, under RSA 457, on January 1, 2011.
A Marriage Certificate or a Civil Union Certificate is a copy of the record certified by a city or town clerk or by the registrar of vital records and health statistics which serves as evidence of the fact of the marriage/civil union.
Old records are considered public records and are not subject to privacy requirements. Old records include: Birth records prior to 1918; death records prior to 1968; marriage records prior to 1968. All other records are considered private and confidential, with access limited to those individuals who have a "direct and tangible” interest in the record.
Any marriage record from the year 1960 until present are available at any city or town clerk's office in the State of New Hampshire. If the marriage occurred prior to 1960, you will need to obtain the marriage certificate from the city or town clerk in the municipality in which the couple applied for the marriage license or from the NH Bureau of Vital Records in Concord. Certified copies of marriage records can be obtained from the Nashua City Clerk's Office, 229 Main Street. The Bureau of Vital Records in Concord is located at 9 Ratification Way.
Copies of marriage or civil union records may only be obtained by the registrant, a member of their immediate family, guardian, or representatives with “a direct and tangible interest” such as an attorney, or other authorized agent acting in behalf of the registrant or his family. In order to determine if the “legal representative” may have access to the record, the direct and tangible interest must be presented in a letter, on the requester's letterhead, clearly stating Person A's (Groom/Bride or Spouse) and Person B's (Groom/Bride or Spouse) full name (including maiden name), date of marriage, where the marriage license was obtained, the reason why the record is being requested and needs to be signed by the attorney. The individual signing the letter shall submit a photocopy of their government issue id. If the requester is allowing another individual to pick-up the record on their behalf, that individual's name must appear in the letter and they will be required to show their government issued id in our office in order for us to issue them the record.
Any person shall be guilty of a Class B Felony if he/she willfully and knowingly makes any false statement in an application for a certified copy of a vital record. (NH RSA 5-C:14).
Applying For a License For a Marriage
To be married in NH you do not have to establish residency. A couple wishing to marry in the State of NH may complete an application at any NH city or town clerk’s office regardless of their place of residence. This includes out-of-state residents as well. Once a valid license is issued, the couple will be free to marry within any city or town in NH.
Marriage Of Two Persons Of the Same Gender
The prospective couple will need to produce any necessary documentation such as previous dissolutions or divorces. Both parties in a same-gender marriage must be 18 years old. No person below the age of 16 years shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage and should anyone under the age of 18 wish to obtain a marriage license, they will need to petition the court in accordance with RSA 457:6. Out-of-state residents need to be aware that a marriage of two persons of the same gender, performed in New Hampshire, may not be recognized by their state of residence. Applicants are encouraged to review the laws of their home state and/or the laws of a state they intend to move to.
Both parties must appear in person to file intentions as the signature of each applicant is required. However, if either party (or both) is a member of the armed forces, he or she shall forward an affidavit of intentions, prepared by the armed forces legal representative, to the clerk if he or she cannot appear in person, so please contact the City Clerk's Office for more information and assistance.
All information on the application shall be entered accurately. Falsification of any fact can cause great hardship to you at a later date and may make you liable for criminal prosecution.
If applying for a license in Nashua, the City Clerk's Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The process can take as long as 45 minutes because of the length of the form that the couple has to fill out and the clerk has to enter into the state database, so we ask that those applying for a marriage license be in no later than 4 p.m.. If all the supporting documentation is in order, the couple will receive the license on the same day they apply for it.
The $50 license fee is set by RSA 457:29 and is payable to the City Clerk at the time the intentions are filed.
The applicants shall supply to the clerk, prior to the issuance of the marriage or civil union license, the following documents:
- Proof of age and name - Need a certified long birth certificate (effective October 1, 2009), showing parents information and a file date. If a legal name change was issued after the birth, need a certified copy of the legal name change. If you were naturalized and changed your name, we will also need to see your naturalization certificate. This is to help stay in compliance with the Real ID as well as to make sure all information is correct on the marriage license. Please note that a passport or driver's license are not acceptable proofs for your name or age.
- Government Issued Photo identification (i.e. driver's license, passport)
- A certified copy of a death certificate of a former spouse, if applicant is widowed
- A certified or absolute copy of a final divorce decree, if the applicant is divorced
- A certified or absolute copy of an annulment decree, if the applicant’s previous marriage or civil union was annulled.
- A certified or absolute copy of a civil union dissolution, if the applicant's previous civil union was dissolved.
Documents which are not in English must be accompanied by a translation that has been signed by the translator and the translator’s signature witnessed by a notary. The individual doing the translation cannot notarize their own signature.
License Validity Period
The license shall be valid for a period of not more than 90 days from the date of filing. The 90 day period will begin on the date the license is issued up to and including the expiration date. The license will state the date the license becomes valid as well as the date of expiration. The officiant shall make note of these dates and under no circumstances shall the couple be joined before the valid date or after the expiration date.
Marriages are not permitted in NH between people who are related by blood as first cousins or in any more direct lineage.
A male or female who has reached the age of 18 can marry without parental permission. No person below the age of 16 years shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage and should anyone under the age of 18 wish to obtain a marriage license, they will need to petition the court in accordance with RSA 457:6.
In New Hampshire, marriages may be performed by:
- A Justice of the Peace commissioned in NH
- A minister of the gospel in NH who has been ordained according to the usage of his denomination, resides in NH, and is in regular standing with the denomination
- A minister within his parish, residing outside NH, but having a pastoral charge wholly or partly in NH
- Jewish rabbis who are citizens of the United States and reside in this state
- 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 or Jewish rabbis, after being licensed by the Secretary of State.
Uniform Marriage Recognition Law
Residents. If any person residing and intending to continue to reside in this state is prohibited from contracting marriage under the laws of this state and goes into another jurisdiction and there contracts a marriage prohibited and declared void by the laws of this state, such marriage shall be null and void for all purposes in this state, with the same effect as though such prohibited marriage had been entered into in this state.
Nonresidents. No marriage shall be contracted in this state by a party residing and intending to continue to reside in another jurisdiction if such marriage would be voided if contracted in such other jurisdiction, and every marriage contracted in this state in violation hereof shall be null and void.
Applying For a Copy of a Marriage or Civil Union Certificate in Person or By Mail
A signed application (PDF) must be presented in person or by mail. Payment must accompany the request. Effective January 1, 2005, all individuals requesting a certified copy of a vital record (birth, marriage, or death record, pursuant to RSA 5:C-16) must present positive identification including, but not limited to, a driver’s license, passport or other picture identification or, in the absence of acceptable picture identification, shall complete the form “Documentation Evidence for Individuals not Possessing an Acceptable Picture Identification.” If ordering by mail, you must include the request form as well as a photocopy of your identification or the form, “Documentation Evidence for Individuals not Possessing an Acceptable Picture Identification (PDF)” along with photocopies of the supporting documentation required with that form. Mail-in orders without positive identification will be returned without having been processed.
Effective September 7, 1999, the issuance of complimentary copies of marriage certificates ended. Effective July 1, 2010, the fees for certified copies are $15 for the first copy and $10 for each additional copy requested at the same time. The $15 state search fee is established by NH RSA 5-C:10. It includes a certified copy if found, a “No Records” statement if not.
Applying For a Copy of a Marriage or Civil Union Certificate By Telephone, Fax or Online
The Nashua City Clerk's Office accepts cash, check or credit cards (a convenience fee will apply for credit card transactions). The office cannot accept payment for requests submitted by email, fax, or telephone. However, the City Clerk's Office can accommodate online orders for certified copies of vital records, for events that occurred in Nashua, using VitalChek, an independent company that it has partnered with to provide you this service. Additionally, VitalChek can provide expedited service for speedy receipt of your certificate. An additional fee is charged by VitalChek for using their services, and all major credit cards are accepted, including American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa. For further information -- or if you have questions after placing your order -- contact the Nashua City Clerk's Office at 603-589-3010, Option 5.
Changes to the Certificate
Changes or corrections to marriage or civil union certificates must be initiated at the City Clerk’s office where the marriage intention was filed. Fees may apply.