In order to get married in Nevada, you must apply for and be issued a Nevada marriage license from any county clerk's office in the State.
You can find a list of Nevada county clerks near the end of the page.
The remainder of this article will fully prepare you to complete the marriage licensing process while providing insight on what to expect during and after your marriage ceremony.
The government official who will process your marriage license application will either be the county clerk (an elected official) or one of their appointed deputies.
Marriage is a contract
Marriage is a civil contract that you and your intended spouse must consent to willingly and it must be followed by solemnization. Marriage without solemnization would be considered a common-law marriage, which cannot be newly established here.
County clerk vs recorder
County clerks and county recorders are often confused by marriage license applicants. Here are the key differences between the roles:
- County clerks "issue" marriage licenses.
- County recorders "record" certificates of marriage.
- For counties without a recorder, the clerk will record certificates of marriage.
Bottom line, go to the county clerk to apply for a license and have your officiant return the completed certificate of marriage attached to your license to the county recorder.
Extended hours of operation
It's worth noting that the principal county clerk's office of Las Vegas and Reno are open for sixteen hours between 8am and midnight, including weekends and holidays. No other marriage license bureau in the nation provides such generous hours.
The main county clerk's office in Clark County (home of Reno) and Washoe County (home of Vegas) are actually mandated by law to remain open from 8am to 12am for the express purpose of issuing marriage licenses due to their populations exceeding 100,000.
The other fifteen Nevada counties open around 8–9am and close at 5pm PST (Pacific Standard Time).
Commercial wedding chapels
The board of county commissioners for every county having a population of 700,000 or less—basically all counties minus Clark County—can establish a program that authorizes a commercial wedding chapel to issue marriage licenses as any county clerk would.
Commercial wedding chapels that wish to participate in the chapel program must have been in business in the county for five years or more and pay a $50,000 performance bond when submitting their registration to the county clerk.
Commercial wedding chapels may only issue marriage licenses to adults aged 18 and older during the hours when their county's own clerk's office has closed for the day. Also, the marriage must take place in the same county the chapel is located.
A marriage license will cost you between $60 and $77, depending on the county. The handy reference table below shows the license fee for every county in Nevada:
Hint: Tap a table heading to sort the column.
Incidentally, $25 out of every marriage license purchased is deposited into the State's "Account for Aid for Victims of Domestic Violence" fund.
Certificate may be included
For some counties, the marriage license fee includes a free certified copy of your marriage certificate that will automatically be mailed to you after your marriage has been recorded.
Inquire about this when you apply or else you'll have to purchase a marriage certificate separately from the county recorder, which typically costs about $15.
There are no residency requirements related to marriage licenses. You may apply for a license in any county clerk's office and marry anywhere within Nevada; however, if you obtain a license from a commercial wedding chapel instead of a clerk's office, you must get married in the county of application.
Although every county clerk is responsible for designing their own office's marriage license application, you should expect to be asked the following no matter where you apply:
- Date of birth
- Residence (city or town and state)
- Social security number, if it exists
- Father's name and birthplace
- Mother's birth name and birthplace
- Number of "this" marriage (e.g., 1st, 2nd, 3rd)
- Last marriage end date, place, and method (e.g., divorce, annulment, death)
Social security number
Your social security number is solicited on behalf of the district attorney's office to enforce delinquent child support payments as required by Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and will not appear on the issued marriage license or public records.
Affidavit and oath
The application is an affidavit, where your signature affirms under oath that the information you've provided is true to the best of your knowledge and that you are unaware of any legal objection to your proposed marriage.
Unable to apply together
If you're not able to apply together due to extraordinary circumstances, the county clerk may waive the requirement or refer you to the district court for a waiver. If a waiver is granted, whoever is present must fill out the application for whoever's missing.
Issued license and certificate
Your issued marriage license will contain a "certificate of marriage" section that must be filled out by whoever solemnizes your marriage.
Despite similar phraseology, the certificate of marriage is not the same as a certified copy of your marriage certificate. The latter document serves as legal proof of marriage and what you could use to optionally change your name after marriage.
License is a public record
Your issued marriage license will immediately become a public record that's freely available for inspection by the general public during the county clerk's regular office hours.
Correcting an error
If you discover an error on your license, you may return to the county clerk's office to get it corrected. An "affidavit of correction" is free for clerical errors made by the clerk, but will cost a maximum of $25 if the mistake was your fault.
In Nevada, the age of majority or legal adulthood is 18 years of age.
Age 18 and above
If you are 18 years old or older, you can marry without obtaining the consent of a parent or guardian.
Age 16 or 17
If you are either 16 or 17 years old, you can marry with the consent of at least one parent or legal guardian.
Age 15 and below
If you are below the age of 16, you can marry with the consent of a parent or legal guardian and written authorization from a Nevada district court.
Permission for a minor to marry will be granted by a district court under extraordinary circumstances if it's found to be in the best interests of the minor. Pregnancy alone is not a sufficient tipping point to determine marriage being in the best interests of a minor.
Your parent or guardian can grant consent to your marriage in person before the county clerk, or in writing before someone legally authorized to administer oaths (e.g., notary public, county clerk, deputy clerk), or in writing attested to by two witnesses in which one witness must swear to before the county clerk.
You can pick up a readymade parent or guardian consent form from the county clerk's office to fill out in advance.
Proof of guardianship
Legal guardians must make available a certified copy of the court-ordered guardianship papers, whether providing in person or written consent.
Parent and minor surname mismatch
If the last name of your consenting parent differs from yours, he or she must submit acceptable identification showing his or her first and middle name matching what's on a certified copy of your birth certificate. This would be sufficient to prove parentage.
You are required to present identification to the county clerk that shows your name and age. Acceptable identification must be an original or certified copy, such as a:
- Driver's license, instruction permit, or identification card issued by a U.S. state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia.
- Birth certificate, with one of the following:
- Any additional document that shows your name and photograph
- Any document that proves you were required to submit identification to receive the certificate
- Military ID card (including dependents) issued by any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces
- United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued document, including:
- Certificate of citizenship
- Certificate of naturalization
- Permanent resident card (a.k.a. green card)
- Temporary resident card
- Any other credential that shows your name and age
Obviously over 25 exempt
If you obviously appear to be over the age of 25, you are not required to present documentation that confirms your age.
Non-English birth certificate
If you're going to submit a non-English birth certificate, the county clerk is legally empowered to optionally request a notarized English translation of the certificate.
You'll certainly be asked to document the date and place your last marriage ended on the marriage license application.
For divorce and annulments, the "place" your prior marriage ended refers to the courthouse. For a previous spouse's death, cite the location on the death certificate.
Additionally, any county clerk may exercise his or her prerogative to request a certified copy of your divorce decree, certificate of annulment, or spouse's death certificate.
You do not have to get a blood test in order to get a Nevada marriage license.
There is no waiting period. You will be issued a marriage license immediately after submitting your application. You can then get married the same day.
Your Nevada marriage license will expire one year after issuance.
Marriage among family
Marriage among any of the following members of your family would constitute incest, is prohibited by law, and would be void from inception if established in Nevada:
- First cousin, including half cousins
Punishment for incest
Entering into an incestuous marriage is a category A felony in the State of Nevada. Upon conviction, punishment ranges from two years imprisonment to life in prison with the possibility of parole. A maximum fine of $10,000 may also be applied.
If you have a living husband or wife and enter into another marriage in Nevada without first dissolving the prior, you would be guilty of bigamy and the subsequent marriage would be void from its beginning.
Furthermore, if you enter into a marriage where you knew your spouse was aware that he or she had a living husband or wife, you too would be guilty of bigamy.
Punishment for bigamy
Knowingly entering into a bigamous marriage is a category D felony in the State of Nevada. Conviction carries a prison sentence of two to four years and a possible maximum fine of $5,000.
Exception for abandonment
If the husband or wife of a preceding undissolved marriage was constantly absent and not known to be alive for five consecutive years immediately prior to the subsequent marriage, the latter marriage would not be considered bigamous.
Nevada will only recognize common-law marriages that took place before March 29, 1943 as valid marriages.
The officiant is the person responsible for solemnizing your marriage.
Permission to perform marriages
Non-governmental officials are authorized to carry out solemnizations if issued a non-revoked "certificate of permission to perform marriages" from their county clerk.
Ministers and alike
Your marriage may be solemnized by any licensed, ordained, or assigned minister or other authorized official—active or retired—of any church or religious organization as long as he or she remains in good standing with his or her church or religious organization.
Your marriage may also be solemnized by any active duty chaplain of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in Nevada, but only in the county of his or her duty station.
Notaries public may solemnize marriages if their appointment by the Secretary of State remains in good standing while maintaining an active certificate of permission to perform marriages.
Unlike ministers, other authorized religious officials, chaplains, and notaries, the following government officials are not required to possess a certificate of permission to perform marriages in order to conduct solemnizations:
- Supreme court justice, appeals court judge, or district court judge
- Municipal judge, but no more than 20 ceremonies annually if only receiving token non-monetary compensation for services rendered
- Justice of the peace, within his or her non-commissioner township
- Justice of the peace, within his or her commissioner township and not to exceed 20 ceremonies per year if compensation received is non-monetary and trivial
- Commissioner of civil marriages (which is often a county clerk) or their appointed deputy, within their commissioner township
Note: Reference to "commissioner township" refers to any township having a population over 15,500 within a county of over 100,000 inhabitants (Clark and Washoe).
The act of performing your marriage ceremony is called solemnization. The person who presides over your ceremony is called the officiant. Hand over your license to the officiant for inspection and completion.
At least one witness—excluding the officiant—is required to attend your marriage ceremony.
Completion and return
Once your marriage ceremony is done, the officiant has one final job to do:
- Fill out the certificate of marriage attached to the license, by entering the:
- Officiant's name, title, signature, and county of jurisdiction
- Printed names of one to two witnesses
- Date and place of marriage (address or location and city)
- Return the original to the county recorder for recording within 10 days
If your marriage is solemnized by someone who doesn't have the authority or jurisdiction to do so, its validity will not be called into question if either you or your spouse believes you were lawfully married at the time.
Your marriage will be officially recognized by the State of Nevada after your returned certificate of marriage has been recorded by the county recorder.
Recording entails the county recorder logging onto the certificate the date of its receipt and a document index number for where it will be archived in office.
Certificate is a public record
As with your filed marriage license, your recorded certificate of marriage is a public record that's freely available for examination by the general public during the county recorder's regular office hours.
Forward to state registrar
The county recorder is required to forward the details of all newly recorded certificates of marriage to the State Registrar no later than the 10th day of the following month.
Marriage data accumulated by the State Registrar is used to sustain Nevada's vital statistics registry and not for state-level certificate issuance.
Marriage certificate copy
After your marriage has been recorded, you can order certified copies of your marriage certificate only from the county recorder's office that recorded it. A certified copy serves as legal proof of marriage.
You can also order a certified abstract copy of your marriage certificate, which briefly itemizes the details of your marriage (e.g., names, date of marriage, recordation details).
Note: As it related to certified copies, the terms "marriage certificate" and "certificate of marriage" is interchangeable lingo referring to the same document.
State vital records inapplicable
Even though the State Office of Vital Statistics is forwarded your recorded marriage information by the county recorder, they cannot issue certified copies of your marriage certificate: that's a county-level function handled by the county recorder.
At a minimum, the State Vital Statistics office can search for marriage records and confirm the existence of any Nevada marriage that took place after 1968.
Name change after marriage
You'll need to obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate if you plan to change your name after marriage with the Social Security Administration (SSA), DMV, passport office, or other institutions—governmental and nongovernmental.
Even though your marriage certificate will not reflect a new middle name or new last name choice, it won't prevent you from completing a name change using your marriage certificate as-is.
Choose a county clerk's office
Now that you're prepared to apply for your marriage license, it's time for you to choose which county to apply in. Further below you'll find a list of every county in Nevada containing the pricing and location information for every county clerk's office—including branch offices—situated within.
FYI: Las Vegas (The Marriage Capital of the World) and North Las Vegas are within Clark County and Reno (The Biggest Little City in the World) is within Washoe County.