Marriage License

Everything You Need to Know to Get a Marriage License in the US

10 Mins Read March, 03 2024 Posted by Nilanjana Basu

All the best for your soon-to-be wedding! When you set about to make a day of your life, the first thing to do would be planning the logistics of your day. The crucial point here is obtaining the marriage license. You might have research to be conducted about where you would apply for the license and work out the necessary requirements and applicable documents. It is an essential step that you need to take to secure all legal aspects for your marriage. In this article, we will guide you through the procedural aspect of securing a marriage license in the United States. 

What Is a Marriage License?

What Is a Marriage License

Having a marriage license is additionally a vital legal document that implies that two people may enter wedlock and ultimately can be married. The organization may award it to citizens under the approval of the government agency. The two parties, passengers and drivers, should physically submit their applications, provide identification and must pay a fee. Moreover, the license is usually given for a certain date, and it should be imprinted generally by the name of the bride and the groom and the officiant or the witnesses after the marriage ceremony is completed. 

More About Marriage Licenses

Here are some key things you should know about marriage licenses. Here are some key things you should know about marriage licenses.  

  • A license legally sanctions the wedding of two people which is called a marriage license document. 
  • In the United States the federal government issues marriage license but such duty is usually held at county or lower level. 
  • There are some criteria for a marriage license that could be set on either national, state or even local level of a jurisdiction. 
  • To have marriage licenses, age and identification must be provided and should be available to the people who will have that license. 
  • Issued upon the completion of several procedures and regulations stated in an appointed time frame, marriage licenses generally have a designated period of validity. 
  • In most cases, partners to the marriage ceremony need to apply for the license and get it, personally. 
  • Getting a marriage license commonly involves a payment of a sum of money, and in some countries, this amount can be quite high. 

When it has been signed at the wedding ceremony, it is usually sent from the issuing agency to the office in charge of recording to be duly dropped in the public records. 

Wedding guidelines or schedules are determined by the US state or country where the wedding will be conducted. 

The Process of Getting a Marriage License in the United States

The Process of Getting a Marriage License in the United States

The process of obtaining a marriage license in the United States can differ slightly depending on the state and local jurisdiction. To guide you through the process, here is a general overview of how to obtain a marriage license in the United States. 

Attaining a valid marriage license can be undertaken only after you have made sure you have met the state legal conditions if you intend to wed there. Each state, indeed, approves its individual requirements. Besides, it must be indicated that the applicant should be at least 18 years old and not married. 

Additionally, a classification ought to be mentioned that some states can enforce a period after obtaining the license before you can legally get married. Not only has this period of uncertainty in between come ever so close to a few days but also multiple months, depending on the state.  

Moreover, individual states may demand that you include certain documents, like a birth certificate or your Social Security cards. At the same time, it is worth knowing explicitly the local legislation in advance, ideally several months before your wedding day to be on the safe side. 

Acquire the necessary documents

However, it might happen the moment comes when you are to start getting the task done and find out you don’t have a clue what exactly is required of you. In addition, so that you can quickly start the process, after you have a clear idea of the application requirements, you should then start including the relevant paperwork.  

Usually, such procedure includes a photo ID document issued by the government (for example, a license or a passport) and address proof. From time to time, you may need to provide more than just a passport as documents such as the birth certificate are also required.  

It might be highly possible that the requirements vary from state to state, and depending on the situation, request for further evidence might come in, such as proof of divorce, or a death certificate of your former spouse. Also, try to gather all the needed documents including applying for waivers and other documentation before you even kick off the process. This way, you will be sure to avoid any delays and frustrations. 

Apply for the license

If you are planning to get married, the first thing you must do is acquire a marriage license. There, you must visit your local county clerk’s office or another designated office in the area where you want to register your marriage. As per the specifications of your state, you either need to present in person or may be fortunate enough to get the document completed online or by post. 

When you apply for a marriage license in the office, you must fill out the application form, which contains all the necessary information about both of you. This application will use your personal data which includes your name, date of birth, and your address. Besides that, you are also required to submit the pieces of ID such as driver’s license or passport, along with copy of the birth certificate.  

In some states, both parties must be made directly available to apply for a marriage license, however, in others, only one party is required to go through the process of applying in person. Over these states, services also request blood tests or a waiting period before the license can be given. 

After the application form has been filled in and you have presented all required documents, you will be asked to pay a fee for marriage license issuance. The costs differ by district and county but usually start at $20-$100 statewide. Additionally, with your marriage license in your pocket (wedding attire optional) you can then legally wed and start living in the newly acquired matrimonial home. 

Paying the fee for a marriage license

Marriage licenses, the primary document confirming the legal legitimacy of a union, are typically charged a certain fee, again, this fee varies depending on the jurisdiction in which you receive it. In addition to this, you should find out the relevant juridical requirements and the cost of the wedding license in your local case as early as you can before choosing the wedding date.  

Besides the fee, you will also have more paperwork to take care of, like submitting documents to identify yourself, completing courses in premarital counseling, or undergoing a medical checkup. In addition to this, you may need to comply with those conditions and include them in your wedding plan for the celebration to go on as planned, with no complications. 

Receive the license

The submitted marriage application will be approved and you will be required to pay for it so that you receive the license. Subsequently, the fee, upon its payment, will be granted to you in the form of the license which is valid for the specific period. 

The precise validity of the license can be no longer than 30 days to 90 days after it has been granted, too, depending on the location. Also, to indicate- it must be timely as the license is valid only for that period. 

Additionally, it will expire, and you will have to say good-bye to your previous driving privileges and replace your old license with a new one. Consequently, it is important to do the right planning of this while not forgetting the validity period when given the license.  

Get Married

When you get your marriage license, then you must ensure that the authorized person you yourself appointed signs on your behalf and that the number of witnesses as required by the state can do it for you during the wedding ceremony. 

To mention here, the fact of the matter is that regulators impose specific requirements concerning the number of witnesses that are supposed to sign the marriage license by each state. Besides, after the contract has been signed. The signed copy needs to be delivered to the county court clerk’s office or a designated state institution within a given deadline to make the marriage legally recognized.  

Failure to have the license agreement signed within the required time may attract legal ramifications and may even compel you to go through the licensing process once more. Consequently, you should be diligent in respecting the established limits and requirements stipulated in your area.  

That not only reminding but, also equivalent jurisdictions and states can differ. Along with this, you go and check the clerk’s office and other offices that offer these procedures in the county clerk. 

Marriage Licenses and U.S. Immigration

Marriage Licenses and U.S. Immigration

If you’re seeking to get married and considered one of you is not a U.S. Citizen, you could need to achieve a wedding license to navigate the immigration technique.   

If you’re considering applying for a wedding-based green card with your spouse, you’ll be curious approximately the importance of your marriage license inside the overall U.S. Immigration process. Moreover, knowledge of the position of your marriage license lets you navigate the utility process with greater self-belief and clarity.   

When making use of for a green card based on marriage, it’s miles vital to prove to the U.S. Government that you are legally married. The most common way to provide this proof is by submitting a photocopy of your marriage certificates. Moreover, this document carries critical data along with the names of the spouses, and the date and region of the marriage. Along with, any applicable information about the officiant.   

It is critical to maintain in mind that a marriage certificate and a marriage license are two awesome documents that serve specific purposes. Moreover, while a wedding license grants permission to get married, a wedding certificate is a criminal report of the wedding itself.   

A marriage license is a professional file that permits individuals to marry legally. However, a marriage certificate is a legal file that validates the fact that two human beings are legally married.   

It is typically issued through the authorities’ agency accountable for registering marriages, which includes the county clerk’s workplace, and includes details about the couple, along with their names and the date and vicinity of the wedding. In addition to the signature of the marriage officiant or witness. Moreover, a marriage certificate is often required for diverse criminal functions, such as changing one’s name, obtaining a passport, or while making use of for immigration advantages.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Marriage License  

Here are some of the frequently asked questions associated with a marriage license mentioned below: 

Q: How do I get a marriage license?

A: Before getting married, you need to gather some important paperwork, such as birth certificates and forms of identity for both you and your partner. Once you have the necessary documents, head to your county clerk’s office to get a marriage license. But remember to check the specific requirements for your county before you go. 

Q: Where do I get a marriage license?

A: Before heading to your county clerk’s office to get a marriage license, make sure you gather all the necessary documents to ensure a smooth and speedy visit. Once you have everything in order, the process should take about an hour. 

Q: How long does it take to get a marriage license?

A: When you’re getting married, remember to apply for your marriage license with enough time. You should do this at least a week before the wedding and no more than 90 days prior to the big day. Make sure to check how long the license is valid in your county. Don’t wait until the last minute, but also don’t apply too early. It’s important to find the right timing. 

Q: How much is a marriage license?

A: Marriage license fees can vary depending on your state and county. On average, the cost ranges from $20 to $100. Once you obtain your marriage license, you will have the legal documentation necessary to officially get married and embark on a new chapter in your life together.

Final Words

After going through the process of getting a marriage license, you now have a better understanding of the different ways in which you can effectively obtain one for your marriage whether you applied online or in person. You likely had to provide certain documents and meet specific criteria to be eligible for the license. Some states may require you to complete a marriage education course or provide a blood test before you can get the license.  

Additionally, you may have had to pay a fee and wait a certain amount of time before the license was issued. Despite the various requirements, the effort you put into getting the marriage license will be worth it when you finally marry the love of your life. 

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Nilanjana Basu

Nilanjana is a lawyer with a flair for writing. She has a certification in American Laws from Penn Law (Pennsylvania University). Along with this, she has been known to write legal articles that allow the audience to know about American laws and regulations at ease.

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