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License to Officiate (LTO) Guidelines

A statement of the canonical requirement for licensing [Constitution & Canons, 2018: III.9.7 (a)]:

No Priest shall preach, minister the Sacraments, or hold any public service, within the limits of any Diocese other than the Diocese in which the Priest is canonically resident for more than two months without a license from the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in which the Priest desires to so officiate. No Priest shall be denied such a license on account of the Priest’s race, color, ethnic origin, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, or age, except as otherwise provided in these Canons. Upon expiration or withdrawal of a license, a priest shall cease immediately to officiate. 

If you wish to apply for a License to Officiate (LTO) in the Episcopal Diocese of New York, to start the application process email your request to the Rev. Canon Nora Smith, Canon for Transition Ministry (


If you have questions about the application process, or the status of an application in process, contact Alito Orsini, Liaison for the Transition Ministry Office ( or 212-316-7414).

Application process for a License to Officiate (LTO):

1.  LTO APPLICATION: Completed application form sent with resume.


3.  INS EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION – U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service Guidelines: Provide copies of documents that satisfy both Identity and Employment Eligibility [photocopy of a valid passport OK for both] following the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service Guidelines [refer to the list of acceptable documents on page three of accompanying Form I-9].

4.  BACKGROUND CHECK: No License to Officiate is granted before completion of background check. Background checks are conducted for the Diocese of New York by Praesidium, Inc. Background checks cost between $200 and $350, payable directly to Praesidium by the applicant. Cost of background check is non-refundable. 

5.  STATEMENT OF GOOD STANDING: Contact your canonical bishop/diocese and request a Letter of Good Standing for you is sent to the Rt. Rev. Andrew ML Dietsche, Bishop of New York. Please request letter is sent by email to:, and that a copy is emailed to the Canon for Transition Ministry:

6.  LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION (only required if there will be no Letter of Agreement reviewed by the Canon for Transition Ministry and signed by the Bishop of New York): Ask the Rector, Pastor, Priest-in-Charge, Employer, or Supervisor of the parish, community, or institution where you are employed and/or where you will be exercising priestly ministry to send a brief email recommending you and outlining your ministry. This email should be addressed to Bishop Dietsche and sent to the Rev. Canon Nora Smith, Canon for Transition Ministry. Please request email is sent to:

7.  LETTER OF AGREEMENT: All letters of agreement, including those of Curates, Assistants, and Associates, must be reviewed by the Canon for Transition Ministry and signed by the Bishop of New York.

8.  SAFE CHURCH TRAINING – Consistent with the Canons of The Episcopal Church, the Bishop of New York requires that all clergy complete training (Safe Church training) in both Awareness & Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Awareness & Prevention of Adult Sexual Harassment & Exploitation. Clergy are required to update their training every five years (in-person or online). If you previously completed the required training, you may provide a copy of your certificate(s) of completion. If you have not completed the training, or need to update your training, for information and training options see the Diocesan Safe Church webpage Click Here.

9.  ANTI-RACISM TRAINING: Consistent with the Canons of The Episcopal Church, the Bishop of New York requires that all clergy compete Anti-Racism training. If you have previously completed this training, you may provide a copy of your certificate of completion. If you have not completed the training, you can do so when it is offered in this or another diocese. For information and upcoming training dates visit the Diocesan Anti-Racism webpage Click here.

10.  MEETING WITH THE BISHOP’S OFFICE: Following receipt of all required application documents, your application materials will be reviewed, references checked, and, with the Bishop’s approval, your LTO will be issued and you will be invited to schedule the customary meeting with the Bishop’s Office. Bishop Dietsche would like to meet with you in-person and wants you to also meet with the Rev. Canon John Perris, Canon to the Ordinary.

11.  IF YOU ARE A TRANSITIONAL DEACON: Follow this application process. Then, following your ordination to the priesthood, a new License to Officiate as a Priest will be issued, without the need for a separate application process.

Note regarding registration to perform marriages in The City of New York
The City of New York (NYC) requires ordained clergy to be registered before performing marriages in NYC. The application can be filled out online, but you will have to go in person to complete the registration process. The City Clerk has accepted, for proof of ordination for registration option one, applicant name listed with the clergy in the; Episcopal Clerical Directory, Episcopal Church Annual, and Diocese of New York Directory. The application and guidelines are available through The Office of The City Clerk website at this address:

Note regarding annual renewal of Licenses to Officiate
Licenses to Officiate expire annually on June 30, early in June currently licensed priests will receive by email a “Report and Renewal Request” to provide a brief report on the past year’s ministry settings, including dates and locations of any supply work. Upon receipt and review of the “Report and Renewal Request” a license is provided for the upcoming year.

Note regarding opportunities for participation in the life of the Diocese
The Bishop of New York expects all priests who hold a License to Officiate to participate in the life of this diocese by maintaining an official affiliation with a parish, community or institution for which they conduct worship services on a regular basis, AND/OR by serving the diocese as a supply priest, available for at least 6 services annually.

The Transition Ministry Office maintains supply clergy lists, which are available online through the diocesan website by Clicking Here.


Transition Office Contacts

The Rev. Canon Nora Smith
Canon for Transition Ministry, Intake Officer

Cell: 917-319-3959

Mr. Alito Orsini
Liaison to Canon for Ministry, Liaison to Canon for Transition Ministry

Office: 212-316-7414
Fax: 212-932-7368