Las Vegas is one of the easiest destinations worldwide in which to get married, hence its reputation as the unofficial ‘wedding capital of the globe’. Couples can marry indoors, outdoors, in a chapel or at a drive-thru. And anyone from a Priest to a Rabbi, or even Elvis can officiate, provided they are appropriately authorized of course!
Here’s the process you’ll need to follow in order to legally marry in Las Vegas.
Obtain a Marriage Licence
Las Vegas falls under the jurisdiction of Clark County Nevada, and both applicants will need to appear in person before a Clerk of the Clark County Marriage Bureau. The main bureau is located in downtown Las Vegas at 201 E Clark Avenue, Las Vegas. No appointment is necessary and the bureau is open from 8:00am until midnight, seven days a week, including all holidays. There are several other bureaus located throughout Nevada, and you can also obtain a marriage license from any of these, however opening hours will be shorter so you should check ahead of time if you are planning on visiting an outlying bureau.
The paperwork can be completed at the bureau, or you can complete it online prior to visiting the marriage bureau. Couples who plan to obtain their marriage license during holidays and peak periods such as Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve are advised to complete an online application to avoid lengthy delays. Once you have completed an online application, the information remains in the system for 60 days. Couples who have completed their application online can proceed directly to an ‘Express Window’ at the bureau, where you will just need to provide your reference number, along with the relevant identity documents.
Marriage licenses are issued to couples immediately after their application has been processed by the Clerk. There is no waiting period to get married after the license has been issued, and the license is valid for one year from the date of issue. Please note that a Marriage License simply allows couples to marry in the State of Nevada. It is not proof of marriage.
The requirements are the same for both U.S. and non U.S. citizens.
1. You must both be over 18 years of age (although applicants under the age of 18 can marry if a consenting parent or legal guardian is present, and applicants under the age of 16 can marry with a court order)
2. You must not be related (no nearer of kin than second cousins or cousins of half-blood)
3. You must not be currently married, either to another spouse or to the current applicant. The bureau is prohibited from issuing a new Marriage License to a couple who are currently married. If you wish to renew your vows, you can do so in a symbolic, non-legal ceremony, and you should contact your wedding chapel or wedding officiant to discuss this.
You will both need to provide documents that show your name and date of birth. You can view a full list of acceptable documents on the bureau’s website. U.S. citizens will also need to quote their Social Security number (you do not need to present your card), and non U.S. citizens or those without a Social Security number can simply indicate ‘none’ in the relevant field. Note that your marriage license will be prepared with your name exactly as it appears on your identity documents. For example, if you would like your full middle name or names to appear on the license, be sure to provide documents that state your full middle name/s and not just your initials.
The fee for a marriage license is USD $60, payable by cash, credit card, traveler’s cheque or money order. Debit cards are not accepted and an additional USD $5 fee is payable for credit card transactions.
The Wedding Ceremony
Once you have obtained a marriage license, your wedding ceremony can take place in any church, chapel, or any other venue or location within the state of Nevada, where your marriage officiant is willing to perform the ceremony. You can also marry at the Office of Civil Marriages in Las Vegas, at 330 S. 3rd Street, 6th floor, Suite 660, Las Vegas, however all ceremonies are by appointment only.
In order for your marriage to be legal and valid, the officiant performing your ceremony must hold a Certificate of Authority to Solemnize Marriages issued by a County Clerk from the State of Nevada. Almost all commercial wedding chapels, churches and other wedding venues in Las Vegas only use authorized officiants, however you should always confirm this prior to your ceremony. You can do so via this online database of registered marriage officiants. Couples who wish to have their own minister from outside the State of Nevada perform their marriage, can arrange for him/her to obtain authorization to solemnize a single marriage ceremony in Nevada. The minister must contact the marriage bureau to lodge an application, and they should allow 4 to 6 weeks to obtain the relevant authorization.
Once the officiant has performed your ceremony, they have ten days to notify the Clark County Recorder’s Office that the marriage has taken place. You can then order a certified copy of your marriage certificate online from the Recorder’s Office.
Considerations for Non U.S. Citizens
Some nationalities require an Apostilles (Authentication of Signatures) to register and finalize a marriage in a foreign country. Your own embassy can advise you if this is necessary. If so, you will need to obtain it via the Nevada Secretary of State. A certified copy of your marriage certificate can be purchased online via the Recorder’s Office (see above), however if you require a certified copy of the marriage license, you should arrange to purchase a copy from the marriage bureau at the time of applying for the license, as these are not available for purchase online.
It is now possible for same-sex couples to legally marry in Las Vegas. Same-sex marriage became legally recognized in the State of Nevada on the 9th of October, 2014.
Divorced or Widowed Applicants
Divorced applicants will need to advise the date that their divorce was finalized, along with the city and state where it was finalized. Similarly, widowed applicants will need to advise the date, city and state of their spouse’s death. A copy of the Divorce Decree or Death Certificate is not required.
For more information, visit; http://www.clarkcountynv.gov
NOTE: The information contained in this article is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Couples should always seek the advice of their own Embassy to request accurate and up to date information on the requirements for legal marriage in Las Vegas. These requirements may vary, depending upon your own personal circumstances.