Every minister must be “registered” in the state of Virginia in order to perform marriages within the Commonwealth. Registration of a minister is completed through the circuit court in which a minister's license or papers of ordination are produced and an order authorizing such person to celebrate the rites of matrimony is entered.

Documents to Prove Denomination

Virginia Code § 20-23 provides that when a minister of any religious denomination shall produce before the judge or clerk of the circuit court of any county or city in this Commonwealth,
  • Proof of his/her ordination and of his being in regular communion with the religious society of which he/she is a reputed member, or
  • Proof that he/she holds a local minister's license and is serving as a regularly appointed pastor in his/her denomination, or
  • Proof that he/she is commissioned to pastoral ministry, and
  • A valid photo identification card (e.g. a valid Virginia driver’s license) for identification is required by the Portsmouth Circuit Court.
Note: Every person authorized to perform the rites of marriage in Virginia is permitted to perform these rites anywhere within the Commonwealth regardless of the circuit court in which he/she registered.