2017 Guide to Getting Married in St. Thomas – Getting the Marriage License

Getting married in St. Thomas, US Virgin IslandsGetting a marriage license in St. Thomas does not have to be a pain.

Well, it turns out, the whole application process can take less than 15 minutes and is entirely painless if…

…you follow this step-by-step guide.

In this post I’ve got the marriage application forms, where to mail the forms and everything I can think of  to get you married quickly and easily in the Virgin Islands.

 

Right now you might be thinking…

At some point after picking St. Thomas or St. John for your destination wedding, the reality sets in that you’re getting married on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere.

And you start asking yourself questions like:

     Are marriages in the Virgin Islands legal in the United States?

     I don’t know anyone on the island, how can I be sure they know what they’re doing?

     Is it safe to send money and documents thousands of miles away to a place I’ve never been?

     Did I just make a horrible decision?

(If panic is setting in please call me at 340-201-6069 or email with your questions.)

Look:

Believe it or not, our little rock is pretty experienced at weddings.  We host around 5,000 weddings and vow renewals each year between St. Thomas and St. John.

So trust me when I tell you that you are in good hands. 🙂
(By the way, you might want to check out 13 Things You Must Know Before Having a Wedding in St. Thomas after you finish this post.)

In this step-by-step guide for 2017, I’ll answer all of your questions about the marriage license process in St. Thomas and St. John so you can leave your sleepless nights to concerns about whether to invite crazy Aunt Sue, choosing between strawberry or coconut cake filling and whether to go barefoot or wear 4-inch heels on your wedding day.

(For all those crazy late night panic attacks, I wrote this monster guide for a destination wedding: The Destination Wedding Planning Guide.)

So, let me answer a few common questions before we jump in…

  1. St. Thomas and St. John are part of the Virgin Islands, which is a US territory.  So your marriage license will be recognized in every jurisdiction of the United States.
  2. There are no residency requirements to get a marriage license
  3. There is no waiting period to get your marriage license
  4. There are no blood tests required
  5. Same-sex marriages are legal in the Virgin Islands
  6. Many countries also recognize a marriage performed in the Virgin Islands (see below under “Additional Items”)
  7. And lastly…the process is actually very simple, so don’t worry this post is so long.  I just want to give you every possible bit of information you’ll need.

How to Get Married in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands:

  1. Prepare Marriage Application and License & Certificate documents
  2. If applicable, include certified death certificate and/or Certified Divorce Decree
  3. Prepare Cover Letter with Date of Arrival on St. Thomas
  4. Include a check for $200 made out to “Virgin Islands Superior Court”
  5. Mail documents toAlexander A. Farrelly Justice Center
    Family Division – Marriage Licenses
    Post Office Box 70
    St. Thomas, VI 00804
  6. Pick up marriage license at Virgin Islands Superior Court
  7. Get married by license officiant or minister
  8. Return signed marriage license to Virgin Islands Superior Court

Step 1 – Preparing your marriage license application

There are 2 separate forms to fill out The 2017 Marriage License Application and License and Certificate.

Here it is the marriage license application in all its glory:

Marriage License Application

And the license and certificate:

License and Certificate of Marriage

The two forms above have fields to fill in so you can print and sign.  If you are old-school and want to fill them in by hand please write legibly!  Use black ink and write in print, not cursive.

Admittedly, the forms have a few confusing parts:

1. On the License & Certificate please put your full mailing address on lines 3a and  10a.  It should look something like this:

359 Lover’s Lane

2. Leave lines 15 -26 blank.

3. You must fill in 27-30.

3. On the Marriage Application, for the line “Parents:”, it should look like this:

Present Name: Benjamin Affleck

Maiden Name: Jennifer Garner

Place of Birth: Massachusetts/New York

4.  Previous Marital Status refers to you and your groom/bride.  So if you were never married, enter “Single”.  If you’ve been married previously, enter “Divorced”.

5.  “Related to Other Applicant” is asking whether you and your bride/groom are related by blood or marriage.  If so, enter the degree of relation such as, “3rd Cousin, once removed”.  If you are not related, enter “None” or “Not Applicable”.

NOTE: Don’t abbreviate on either form.  So write out Street, Road, North, South, Ohio, New York etc.  Also, don’t use initials for first or middle names, instead write out the full name.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: If you have been divorced, you must include a certified copy (must have raised seal or other indications of being a certified original) of the divorce decree.  Been divorced multiple times?  You only need to provide a divorce decree from your most recent divorce.

If you do not have a certified copy, you will need to contact the clerk of courts in the jurisdiction where you were divorced to obtain a certified copy.

FINAL NOTE: If a particular line calls for information that doesn’t apply to you, enter “N/A”.  You don’t want to leave any of the lines blank.

FINAL, FINAL NOTE: For same-sex marriage licenses, ignore the designation of “Male”, “Female”, “Bride” and “Groom” and simply enter each partner’s information in any order.  They have updated their forms to say, “Partner 1” and “Partner 2” but I haven’t added it to my site yet.  COMING SOON!

Those are the most common questions, but call me 340-201-6069 if you have any other questions.

Step 1.a. – Write a Cover Letter

Include a short cover letter with your contact information along with the date of your anticipated appearance at the courthouse (I’ll further explain the courthouse visit below).

In the cover letter, it can be hand written or typed, address it to the Clerk and include the following information:

  1. Anticipated arrival at courthouse
  2. If divorced, let them know you’ve included a certified copy of your divorce decree
  3. Your minister’s contact informations: Michael Motylinski, 340-201-6069
  4. Your address, emails and cell phone numbers

Step 1.b. St. Thomas Superior Court Filing Fee

The 2017 filing fee for the marriage application and license is $200.  They accept a certified check or money order.  Make the check payable to “Virgin Islands Superior Court”.

Step 2 – Filing the marriage license application in St. Thomas

After completing Step 1, you need to mail the documents to (if you are getting married on St. John or Water Island, you still send your application to the address below):

Alexander A. Farrelly Justice Center

Family Division – Marriage Licenses

Post Office Box 70

St. Thomas, VI 00804

So a quick review of what to include in your application package:

-marriage license application

-license and certificate of marriage

-certified check or money order in the amount of $200 made payable to “Virgin Islands Superior Court”

-divorce decree(s), if applicable

-cover letter with your contact information and expected date of arrival at the courthouse

I suggest mailing the application at least 14 days prior to your wedding date to allow for mail delivery, processing, etc.  I further suggest using USPS Priority Mail since they don’t consider it international delivery.  Fedex and the other delivery services cost a lot more.

Call a day or two after the package has arrived to ensure it was received and there are no errors.  The court number is (340) 774-6680, ask for “Family Division”.  It is not an international call, so feel free to chat it up with the courthouse personnel.  🙂

And please don’t be discouraged if the courthouse doesn’t answer on your first, second or third call.

Step 3 – Pick up your marriage license at the courthouse

After you arrive on St. Thomas, you will need to visit the courthouse to pick up your marriage license.  Here’s what you need to know:

1. Dress modestly.  Just outside the courthouse entrance you will find the following sign:

dress code for Virgin Islands Superior Court for marriage license

The sign hanging up outside the courthouse in St. Thomas.

You may notice there is some ambiguity in the dress code, so my recommendation is for the men to wear pants with a polo or button down shirt.  For the ladies, wear a dress or blouse and pants/skirt that goes AT LEAST to the knees.  I’ve had couples go to the courthouse only to be sent away due to improper dress.  Not fun!

2. Bring a valid, government-issued ID.  A driver’s license or passport definitely work.

3. When you walk in you’ll have to go through security.  Be polite and remember it’s a courthouse so court might be in session.

4. At the clerk’s desk you’ll first need to present your IDs (driver’s license or passport).

5. You’ll sign in and then review your paperwork for potential errors.

4. Get sworn in by the clerk – you will have to attest that the information provided is true and accurate.

5. Wait about 5 minutes for your paperwork to be completed and walk out of the court with your license.

Getting to the courthouse:

If you are driving, the courthouse is on the waterfront in downtown Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.  There is a parking lot right across the street from the courthouse.  It is called Fort Christian Parking Lot.  The picture below is taken from the parking lot.location of courthouse in charlotte amalie st thomas for marriage license

The cost to park is $1 per hour.  So, you can make a day of exploring the shops and building of the historic district before or after going to the courthouse.

If you are taking a taxi, the cost from most locations to the courthouse is about $12 per person.  You may want to ask the taxi beforehand if they will wait while you get your marriage license.

Head to the family division by either entering on the ground floor and taking an elevator to the 2nd floor.  Or, walk up the steps to the second floor and hang a right.  The entrance is 2 glass doors towards the end of the walkway.

st thomas virgin islands courthouse with directions to family division

 Hours of the Court:

8 am to 5 pm Monday – Friday
Saturday 10 am to 12 pm
Sunday 9:30 am to 11 am

Avoid showing up right before closing time.  You will not get a warm reception and may be turned away.

*If you wish to arrive on a Saturday or Sunday, there is an additional fee of $150.  It is by appointment only, so you must notify the court in advance if you wish to schedule an appointment.

Holidays:

Because the Virgin Islands are a US Territory, they observe all of the federal holidays on the same dates as the US.  In addition, the islands observe several local holidays.  A full list of holidays can be found here.

An additional fee of $150 is required to arrange for the courthouse visit on one of the listed holidays.  Definitely call the court to ensure they can accommodate you.

Step 4 –  Get married and the aftermath

After you say your heart-felt vows and are proclaimed married by your wedding officiant or minister, your officiant, along with 2 witnesses, will sign your license.

From there you can either return to the courthouse to file it ($3 per copy) or have your officiant file it.  I file it for my couples and mail it out, it can take up to 30 days.  If you require the license sooner than that, you can pay $25 to have the license expedited.  Please let me know the day of the wedding and I’ll take care of it.

And…that’s it!

MISCELLANEOUS STUFF FOR 2017

Same-sex marriages

Same-sex marriages are legal in the Virgin Islands, as set forth in the 2015 US Supreme Court decision.  For same-sex couples wishing to get married in St. Thomas or St. John, you simply follow the steps set forth above.

As mentioned earlier, the attached documents Marriage License Application and License and Certificate of Marriage reference “Male”, “Female”, “Bride” and “Groom” and should be disregarded and either partner can enter his/her information on either side.

Non-US Citizens/Foreign marriages

I perform quite a few marriages for couples from Europe, South East Asia and South America.  If you are not a US Citizen, you must check to see if your country is included in the the Treaty recognizing foreign marriages.

Here is a list of countries.

If your country is a party to the convention, you will require an additional step to make your marriage legal and recognized in your home country.  It is quite simple, you need an Apostille.  After your license is signed by the officiant or minister the license is filed with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in St. Thomas.  The fee is $75.

And that is all I have to say about that!

By the way, if you are planning a simple wedding, getting married on St. Thomas or St. John is as easy as filing the paperwork as mentioned above and then letting me know where to meet you on the island for your ceremony.

My St. Thomas wedding officiant package is $195 and includes everything you need to say ‘I Do’ here in paradise. I take care of the marriage license filing after your wedding so that all you need to do is show up, say ‘I do’, and be married!

My St. Thomas Wedding Packages are about as simple, easy and beautiful as you’ll find in the Caribbean.

If you are planning a more traditional wedding, and need a little more help during the wedding planning process, you can contact my Lovely Bride, Amber, at Blue Sky Ceremony for your all of your St. Thomas Wedding needs. Feel free to visit her website and get a FREE copy of the St. Thomas Bride Guide.

To reserve your wedding date with me, a $100 non-refundable deposit is required and can be paid via credit card or check.

Also, once you have decided on your wedding dates, you should also start looking at what else there is to do  on this island paradise!  Check out all the things there are to do in St. Thomas and St. John.

If you are ready to start planning your St. Thomas or St. John wedding, please call 340-201-6069 or contact me today to reserve your date.

Regards,
Michael
Your friendly St. Thomas Wedding Officiant
340-201-6069