Find marriage license offices. Marriage license offices provide information on marriage certifications, wedding licenses, certificates, applications, fees, and requirements.
A Marriage License Office is a government agency responsible for processing marriage license applications, issuing marriage licenses, and recording marriage certificates. In most states, the agency responsible for marriage licenses is the Clerk's Office at the county or local level of government. In some states, the Probate Court processes and issues marriage licenses.
A marriage license authorizes a couple to get married. When a couple submits an application for a marriage license, the Marriage License Office will verify the couple's identification and determine whether they meet the minimum age requirements or have parental or guardian consent for the marriage. Some states require a waiting period before remarrying after a divorce. Only one state, Montana, still requires a blood test prior to issuing a marriage license.
In many states, there is a waiting period of several business days after the issuance of a marriage license before the marriage may occur. Depending on the state, the marriage license will remain valid for between one month and a year. If the wedding does not take place before the marriage license expires, a new application will need to be submitted.
To apply for the marriage license, the couple will need to provide the planned date and location of the wedding, the name of the person performing the ceremony, the names and maiden names of the couple's parents, photo identification and possibly birth certificates, and payment for the license. The application for a marriage license is usually submitted to the Marriage License Office in the county or municipality where the wedding will take place, though some states allow for the wedding to occur in a different jurisdiction.
State statutes determine who is eligible to perform marriage ceremonies. Following the wedding, the officiant and the couple sign a marriage certificate. The officiant is responsible for submitting the marriage certificate to the Marriage License Office within a set period of time, typically a few days. The Marriage License Office records the certificate and sends the couple a certified copy of the marriage certificate, usually within a few weeks. State and federal agencies generally require a marriage certificate in order to recognize a marriage as legally valid.