What Information is Required on a Marriage License Application?

Koren Allen

Filling out a marriage license application is not complicated, but since you may be required to submit additional documents, it is a good idea to be prepared ahead of time. Marriage is a legally binding contract between a husband, a wife, and the state, and U.S. marriages must be licensed and filed to be recognized as legally valid. Since marriage is governed by state law, each state has its own application process. This information is intended as a general guide; you should always check with your local marriage license office for specific requirements for your locality.

Wedding rings on top of a marriage contract.
Wedding rings on top of a marriage contract.

Nearly all states have a minimum age requirement for obtaining a marriage license, typically 18. You may be asked to submit proof of your identity and age in the form of a driver's license, Social Security number, or birth certificate. If you are under the minimum age, some states will allow you to apply for a marriage license if you have parental consent. A few states will require a court order with the marriage license application if the bride or groom is 15 years old or younger.

A marriage license application.
A marriage license application.

If you have been married before, you may be required to submit documentation regarding the end of your previous marriage. This may be a divorce decree if you are divorced, or a death certificate if you are widowed. Some states have a mandatory waiting period between the end of your previous marriage and your current marriage license application.

The majority of states do not require you to be a resident of the state where you are married anymore. Blood tests are generally a thing of the past as well, but a few states do still require them. You may be required to submit proof of residency and copies of your blood test results if your state still requires this.

You will want to be aware of how long your license application is valid in your state. Some states have a short waiting period between the issuing of the license and the wedding, usually no more than a day or two. Many states require you to be married within 30-90 days after the license is issued, or you will have to complete another application.

Finally, you will need to find out what the license fee is for your locality. These fees can vary widely from state to state, and even from county to county. You are usually required to pay this fee when you submit your marriage license application, or sometimes when you pick up your license.

Most states have a website that will give you the details of how to apply for a marriage license and what types of documentation you will need to bring with you. At some of these websites you will be able to fill out and print your marriage license application, but most states still require one or both parties to appear in person to submit the application. To find out more about your state, a simple internet search should give you more details and the location of your local office, where you can call for further help.

Once the public marriage license is issued, a couple may have a specific time period in which to use it.
Once the public marriage license is issued, a couple may have a specific time period in which to use it.

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