Apply For A California Marriage License

Where do I get a marriage license in California?

In California, marriage licenses are issued by each county and must be applied for by the couple in person. Any of the County Clerks offices in one of California's 58 counties can be visited by the couple to obtain a marriage license. Most county websites allow you to download and complete the application form prior to visiting the clerk's office. Each county may have its own unique requirements.

What is required to obtain a marriage license?

Both the bride and groom must appear together in person at the County Clerk's office with the completed application form. In some counties the couple must make an appointment with the County Clerk. The following information is required by most county marriage license applications in California:

• Full Name
• Date of Birth
• If either party has been divorced (and the date, if applicable)
• Full name of the bride and groom's parents and their State of birth
• Who will be performing the marriage
• If desired, the new last name of one or both parties after the marriage
• A picture ID (a birth certificate is also recommended)

There is no requirement to be a resident of California or to have a blood test. California also allows for Confidential Marriage Licenses, which means that if desired the County will not make the marriage license certificate or the date available to the public, although they can still verify the existence of the marriage if someone asks. A separate application form may be required if a Confidential Marriage License is desired. Once granted, only the bride and groom will be able to request copies of the license. Also, Confidential Marriages can only be performed in the County where the license was obtained.

How soon is the license issued and how soon can I get married?

Marriage licenses in California are issued immediately to the couple by the County Clerk and there is no waiting requirement to get married. However, the couple must be married within 90 days for the date of the license, so obtaining the marriage license should be one of the final steps. Couples should not wait until the last minute though and should keep in mind that some counties require that the couple make an appointment to come in for the marriage license.

Are there fees required for a marriage license?

All counties require a fee of between $30 and $100 for the marriage license. Most counties will accept credit card or debit card payments, although some may only accept cash payments. Couple should contact their County Clerk's office in advance to make sure they understand the accepted forms of payment.

How old does a couple have to be in order to be married?

To be married without parental or court approval, couples must be 18 years old. However, if either of the bride or groom is younger than 18, the couple can still be married if the parent of the under-age party consent to the marriage and if it is authorized by a judge.

Who can marry us?

Only persons authorized in California under Family Code Sections 400-402 may solemnize a marriage. A priest, minister, rabbi or other authorized religious person can conduct the marriage, as well as judges, State legislators, Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners of Civil Marriages. If you would like to have a friend or family member perform your marriage ceremony, they can be appointed as a Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriages for the day of the marriage only. There is a separate application process and fee required for the Deputy Commissioner program, so couples intended to use this option should contact their County Clerk's office in advance to make sure the requirements are met in time for the wedding.

Where can we get married?

Except for Confidential Marriages, which must be performed in the county where the marriage license was issued, couples who receive a public marriage license can be married in any city in California and at any venue, including a church, temple, synagogue, mosque, outdoor park, backyard or at a courthouse.  


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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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