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How to Get Married in the U.S. Virgin Islands: Wedding Guide for Americans in Paradise

Published Wednesday, Oct. 18th, 2023


Photo: Image Source / iStock

Everything Americans need to know to get married in the US Virgin Islands: This short guide will help you choose a wedding officiant, apply for your marriage license, and more!

 

 

The U.S. Virgin Islands are the perfect place for a Caribbean destination wedding, with white sandy beaches, emerald green hills, pristine reefs, nightlife, and dozens of resorts designed for relaxation and celebration.

 

It’s easy for U.S. citizens to get married on the islands, and you can even bring a family member or friend with you to serve as your wedding officiant!  

 

 

Because the islands are a U.S. territory, U.S. citizens don’t need a passport to visit, and a marriage license issued there is legally binding anywhere in the States when you return. That means you won’t need to file any additional paperwork when you return home. 

 

Below, we cover all the basics to help you start planning your island-style wedding ceremony, and answer a few of the most common questions people have when marrying on the islands. 

 

Let’s dive in! 



aerial view of st thomas, in the us virgin islands, houses and trees on small islands in the ocean

Photo: Katrina Mulfati / Unsplash

Want to get married in St. Thomas? Apply for your marriage license through the U.S. Virgin Islands Superior Court there.

 

 

How to get married in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 5 Easy Steps 

 

 

 

1. Find a sweetheart! 


Got one? Whew! There will be a few more boxes to check, but the hardest part’s over.


 

2. Find a wedding officiant 

 

A wedding officiant is the person who conducts your ceremony, pronounces you married, and signs the marriage license – making things legal. Wedding officiants can perform religious or non-religious wedding ceremonies. Many officiants will work closely with the couple to write the perfect ‘wedding script’ and design the perfect ceremony, and are happy to include any rituals you might want (such as a unity candle lighting or sand ceremony).

 

You can ask a friend or relative to officiate your Virgin Islands wedding if they’ve been ordained online. Online ordained ministers are recognized on the islands, including those ordained with American Marriage Ministries, and officiants don’t need to register with the state before performing a ceremony. 
 
That means that once your friend or family member is ordained, they’re all set! They’ll be able to legally pronounce you married and sign your marriage license. 


After the wedding, you and your friend can enjoy all the natural splendors of the islands together. Just make sure the marriage license is signed and returned on time.

 


 

You can also hire a professional officiant to perform your ceremony. Professional wedding officiants decide their own rates and services based on their level of experience and the type of ceremony you request. 


Many all-inclusive resorts and professional wedding venues provide a ‘preferred vendors list’ with recommendations for local officiants. Some will even have an officiant on staff. Or you can find local professionals by researching officiant listings online. 



Happy brides run down the beach in US Virgin Islands on their wedding day, one is wearing a white dress, the other is wearing a yellow dress in the same design

Same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ+ marriages are legal in the US Virgin Islands, and there are many friendly and welcoming wedding venues there to host your ceremony.

 

 

U.S. Virgin Islands Marriage License Quick Facts

♡ 8 Day Waiting Period
♡ No Expiration Period
♡ 10 Day Return Period

Stylized graphic of a bride and groom getting married, and a wedding officiant signing an oversized marriage license with an oversized pen on the wedding day

Did you know? Every state has different laws governing when the marriage license is issued, can be completed, and must be returned. There are called a state's marriage license Waiting Period, Expiration Period, and Return Deadline. Learn more here.

 

 

3. The marriage license

 

Applying for a U.S. Virgin Islands marriage license

 

Your marriage license will be issued by the U.S. Virgin Islands Superior Court. You must use a marriage license issued by the islands – you cannot use a marriage license from your home state. 

 

You will apply by completing a ‘Marriage Application Packet.’ This can be done using the Electronic Filing System, or you can apply in person at the Family Division office (in both judicial districts, St. Croix or St. Thomas). 

 

For complete details and to start your application online, head here: 

 

 

U.S. Virgin Islands Superior Court Family Division
Office of the Clerk: How to File a Marriage Application

 


Don’t forget the 8 day waiting period!

 

After you apply, your marriage application will be posted for public examination in the Clerk’s Office for 8 days (this is a local legal requirement for all marriages, regardless of a couple’s residency, 16 V.I.C. § 37.) This means you should apply for your marriage license at least 8 days before your ceremony date. 

 

How much does a U.S. Virgin Islands marriage license cost? 

 

At the time of writing, submitting an application to marry was $100, and a marriage license was $100. This means you can expect to pay around $200 to complete the necessary paperwork. 

 

How to return a U.S. Virgin Islands marriage license after the ceremony

 

After the ceremony, your officiant must sign your license. Additional witness signatures are not required. The completed license must be returned by your officiant to the Court within 10 days of the ceremony for your marriage to be valid, so make sure it’s returned before you head home! Licenses can be returned by mail or in person. Officiants who do not return a license on time can be fined by the court. (16 V.I.C. § 38. b. , 16 V.I.C. § 40.)

 

 

 

Is a U.S. Virgin Islands marriage license legal in the U.S.? 

 

Yes! Your island-issued marriage license will be recognized in every jurisdiction in the U.S. You will not need to complete any additional paperwork when you return to your home state. 

 


Young woman sits on the edge of a boat in diving gear outside St John US Virgin Islands

Photo: cdwheatley / iStock

St. John, US Virgin Islands

For a truly unique wedding, consider getting married in an underwater wedding ceremony! For inspiration, check out: How to Take the Plunge with an Underwater Wedding Ceremony

 

 

 

4. Meet with your wedding officiant…

 

Once you’ve chosen a date, a venue, and have your marriage license details worked out, you’ll be ready to meet with your wedding officiant to plan the ceremony! 

 


Ask your officiant about any special elements and unity rituals you want to include. For example, you might want to exchange personal written vows, include a sand blending ceremony or unity candle lighting, or have a unique handfasting on the beach! 

 

 

 

5. The wedding day! 

 

Today’s the big day! Make sure you bring your marriage license with you to the ceremony for your officiant to sign. After the ceremony, your officiant will sign and return the license to the Court. 

 

For tips on how to complete the marriage license, head here. 

 

The license should be signed and returned within 10 days of the ceremony, and can be returned by mail or in person by your officiant. 

 

Once it’s been recorded, you’re officially married! 

 


Close up of bride and groom and wedding parties feet on the beach in US Virgin Islands

Photo: Elias Vidal / Unsplash

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

 


Asked to officiate a wedding in the U.S. Virgin Islands? 

 

Read: Become a Wedding Officiant in US Virgin Islands

 

We’ve got everything you need to understand local requirements and any ministry credentials and paperwork you might need, plus tips on how to officiate your very first wedding ceremony!

 


 

You might also like: 

 

 

 

 

Illustration of bug spay and sunscreen and scissors for a wedding officiant emergency kit

From sunscreen to bug spray -- prepare for spring and summer weddings with these smart seasonal items. Read the full article here. 

 


 


Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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