Vital Records are birth, death, marriage. They are legal documents that contain information about the vital events of people in our society. Certified copies of vital records are used for many purposes, such as to establish proof of age, receive social security benefits, and receive death benefits from life insurance policies.
Certified copies- New Surcharge Per State of Rhode Island effective July 1, 2018
Governor Gina Raimondo signed the State's Budget last Friday, June 22, 2018. The FY2019 State Budget that came out of the House Finance Committee, had the following change to ARTICLE 7 (RELATING TO FEES), that takes effect July 1, 2018 .
Article 7, Section 4, beginning on Page 6, states:
To acquire, maintain and operate an Electronic Statewide Registration System (ESRS),the state registrar shall assess a surcharge of no more than five dollars ($5.00) for a mail-in certified records request, no more than three dollars ($3.00) for each duplicate certified record and no more than two doUars ($2.00) for a walk-in certified records request or a certified copy of a vital record requested for a local registrar. Notwithstanding the provisions of §23-3-25 (d) of the general laws of Rhode Island, any such surcharges collected by the local registrar shall be submitted to the state registrar. Any funds collected from the surcharges listed above shall be deposited into the Information Technology Investment Fund (ITIF).
The purpose of the above-mentioned surcharge is to provide funding for the acquisition, operation and maintenance of a new ESRS at the Depaitment of Health.
The Total Fees collected by the City/Town and the amount due to the Center for Vital Records will now be as follows:
New Cost per Copy
Mail-In First Copy: $25
Mail-In Add'l Copies:$18
Walk-In First Copy: $22
Walk-In Add'l Copies: $18
The Office of the Town Clerk is the local registrar of vital records for the purpose of recording births, deaths, marriages and civil unions in accordance with RIGL§ 23-3-7. Birth Certificates, Death Certificates
Marriage Certificates are available through this office.
Marriage Licenses can be obtained at the Town Clerk's Office.
Couples marrying in Rhode Island must apply for a license at a city or town clerk's office. The license is valid for three months after the issuance date. The ceremony must take place in the presence of the officiant (the person performing the marriage) and two witnesses age 18 or older.
What You Should Do
Both applicants must: Apply for the marriage license in person
Both people must apply for the license in person and sign the application in the presence of a city or town clerk or his or her assistant. Please be sure to contact the city or town office where you will apply for the license to verify their identification requirements and hours open to the public.
- Rhode Island residents:
- If both applicants live in Rhode Island, apply for the license from the city/town clerk of the residence of either applicant. The marriage license is valid in any city or town in Rhode Island and the couple may be married anywhere in Rhode Island.
- If one applicant lives in Rhode Island the license should be issued from the city/town of residence.
- Non-residents: If neither applicant lives in Rhode Island, the marriage license must be obtained at the city or town clerk’s office where the ceremony will take place. Rhode Island law states that the marriage license is valid only in the city or town in which it was issued. If the ceremony is performed in a city or town other than where it was issued, the validity of the marriage may be in question.
Provide required identification and legal documents
- Proof of Birth Facts and Identification
- A long-form certified copy of a birth certificate is required as proof of birth facts. A foreign birth record must be translated and certified by a certified translator.
- One of the following is required for identification:passport, drivers license, or government issued ID.
- Please contact our office at 392-3800 Ext. 100 or 102. to verify the requirements and the hours of operation.
- Permit to Marry for Minors and Persons Under Legal Guardianship
- A Permit to Marry (VS 10) must be completed if either applicant is 16 or 17 years of age or under control of a legal guardian. The permit should be signed and notarized in the presence of the city or town clerk, or any clerk employed in that office. If this is not possible, please contact the Division of Vital Records for instructions.
- Applicants under the age of 16 cannot get a marriage license in the state of Rhode Island without the approval of Family Court.
- Proof That Previous Marriages, Civil Unions or Registered Domestic Partnerships Have Ended
- If either applicant has been previously married, civilly united or in a registered domestic partnership, and the previous marriage, civil union or registered domestic partnership ended in divorce, dissolution or death, that person must present a certified copy of the FINAL decree of divorce or dissolution, or a certified copy of the death certificate to the city or town clerk.
- The couple must give the license to the officiant.
- Accurate information
- Any person who willfully and knowingly supplies false information intending that the information be used in the preparation of a marriage license shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, pursuant to Section 23-3-28 of the RI General Laws.
Pay for the license: Marriage licenses cost $24.
Please allow 20-30 minutes to process your request. (Therefore please arrive by 3:00 PM)
Vital records are confidential. Only individuals who have what is called a "direct and tangible interest" in the records can access them. This includes:
The person named on the certificate, a member of his/her immediate family, his/her guardian, or an authorized agent of these individuals
Attorneys-at-law, title examiners, or members of legally incorporated genealogical societies conducting their official duties
A person requiring information to determine or protect a personal or property right
A person who has been granted a court order instructing the registrar to provide the document
Firms, agencies, or individuals requesting information for commercial purposes are not considered to have direct and tangible interest.