Before a marriage license can be issued, First Person and Second Person must bring in a valid photo I.D. (e.g., drivers license, military I.D., passport, or green card, etc.)
To obtain a Confidential Marriage License, First Person and Second Person must be living together as a married couple. The same I.D. requirements as mentioned above are applicable.
There are two different types of marriage licenses in California, and they can be obtained in two different ways.
Confidential Marriage License and a Public Marriage License:
- A “public” California marriage license is a marriage license that is available to the public for viewing.
- A “confidential” marriage license allows all the personal information on a marriage license to be protected from public view. Only a court order or a notarized application by either spouses can obtain a copy of the information. (NOTE: I am a Commissioned Notary Public in the State Of California so I can issue confidential marriage licences as well as officiate your wedding ceremony the same day. No need to go to the court house.)
The following information is required on a marriage license application.
For both spouses, or party A and party B, the information needed for marriage license requirements is below.
- A valid driver’s license or a DMV issued Identification Card. If you do not have either of these, you must provide a certified copy of your birth certificate and another acceptable form of picture I.D.
- To obtain a Confidential Marriage License, party A and party B must be living together as a married couple. The same I.D. requirements as mentioned above are applicable.
ID Requirement in California:
A valid photo I.D. with birth date is required (e.g., drivers license, military I.D., passport, or green card, etc.)
Waiting Period in California:
There is no waiting period. You will receive your marriage license immediately after you submit your application.
You do not need to be a California resident to marry in California.
If you have been married before, you will need to know the specific date your last marriage ended, and how it ended (Death, Dissolution, Divorce or Nullity). Some counties may require a copy of the final judgment if your previous marriage ended by dissolution or nullity.
Marriage License Fees in California:
The cost for a marriage license in California varies from county to county. It will cost you between $35.00+ and $100.00+ to get married in California. Preferred method of payment is by cash. For guidance on additional methods of payment, please call ahead.
Marriage by proxy is NOT allowed in California. Family Code, Section 420(a), requires the two parties, marriage officiant and witness if applicable be physically present together in the same location for the marriage to be performed.
Common Law Marriages:
Blood test in California:
Blood tests are NOT required to obtain a marriage license in California.
Getting a marriage license with your new name on it does not mean your name has automatically changed. If you need to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit.
If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present. If a parent can not be present, due to death, separation, divorce or other circumstances, proper evidence must be presented for verification. You will need a certified copy of your birth certificate. The couple must schedule an appointment with a counselor and then appear before a superior court judge.
Officiants in California:
California Family Code, Section 400 states the persons authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies in California are as follows:
The person solemnizing the marriage must return the original marriage license to the County Clerk or County Recorder as applicable within 10 days of the date of the ceremony. Addresses should be on the county site.
You will NOT receive a copy of your marriage license after you have been married unless you request and pay for a certified copy from the County Clerk or County Recorder as applicable.
ALL information on the marriage license MUST be legible, unambiguous and reproducible. DO NOT change any information on the license, cross out information, use white out, etc., as that will require the payment for and issuance of a duplicate marriage license. Contact the County Clerk’s Office if you have questions about completing the marriage license and/or incorrect information contained on the marriage license.
The public marriage license requires the signature of one witness,
and if desired, has a place for an additional witness. No more than two
witnesses may sign on the public marriage license. Only one signature
per line is allowed. No witnesses may sign on the confidential marriage
License Validity Time:
- Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do
not get married within 90 days, the license will no longer be valid. You must
purchase a new license.
- Public Marriage License can be used throughout the state of California.
- Confidential Marriage License can be used throughout the state of California (Effective January 1, 2015).
California birth, death, fetal death, still birth, marriage and divorce records are maintained by the California Department of Public Health Vital Records.
Please Note: State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. For more information regarding California marriage license laws please visit www.cdph.ca.gov.