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How to Apply for a Marriage License

If you want to get married, you and your proposed spouse will need to first apply for a marriage license with your local county or state government. Each state has its own application process that must be completed, and marriage license requirements which must be fulfilled before it will grant such a request. Specific personal information will be asked, and marriage license laws dictate that an issued license is only valid for a specified period of time. Here, you’ll find some of the specific issues which may arise when applying for a marriage license in your area.

The Application

Every state or county will require you to fill out an application either online or in person before filing it with the corresponding government office. If you are in a hurry to obtain your marriage license, some states will issue a same-day license when you both appear in person at the courthouse. However, this is not possible in states that still require blood tests.

Applications for marriage licenses will generally ask such things as the full names of the bride and groom, their parents’ names, mothers’ maiden names, addresses, and dates and places of birth. Some states may also inquire as to what you and your significant other do for a living.


Most states require an individual to be of at least 18 years of age in order to be considered for a marriage license. Other options do exist if someone under this designated age wants to marry, including offering a notarized and signed note from a parent or legal guardian, or bringing them to the courthouse with you in person.

Previously Married Couples

If the couple applying for a marriage license was previously married to each other, they may need to provide a copy of their dissolution or annulment papers that were issued by the court. Of course, if either applicant has been married in the past, this may also deem copies of such papers necessary. If either applicant is currently legally married to another individual, they will generally not be approved for a marriage license.

Requirements for a Marriage License

If your state asks for a blood test prior to issuing a marriage license, they will most likely be trying to ensure you and your spouse-to-be are not closely related. Other requirements that vary from state to state include a fee which must be paid, which is typically very nominal. Marriage licenses may only be used in the state or county where they are issued. This means that you may not obtain a license in your state, then proceed to marry in another. In addition, a license is valid for only a specified period of time after being issued; this is usually around 90 days.

Confidential Licenses

If you and your proposed spouse prefer your marriage license not to be part of a public record, you may want to inquire as to whether your state issues confidential licenses. Only a select few state and local government offices offer this option. 

It’s important to remember that even if you and your co-applicant do not officially wed, your state may retain public information that you were issued a marriage license. This means that any question asked on the application or items included in the application process may become part of a public record that others can search. Contact your local or state government offices to inquire about what is needed for you and your fiancé to apply for and obtain a marriage license, but always ensure that you will be married in the same locale within a timely manner before doing so.



Marriage License Application Rules and Information by State:

Alabama Marriage License

Arizona Marriage License

California Marriage License

Florida Marriage License

Georgia Marriage License

Hawaii Marriage License

Illinois Marriage License

Indiana Marriage License

Maryland Marriage License

Michigan Marriage License

Missouri Marriage License

Nevada Marriage License

NJ Marriage License

New York Marriage License

Ohio Marriage License

Oklahoma Marriage License

Oregon Marriage License

Pennsylvania Marriage License

Tennessee Marriage License

Texas Marriage License

Virginia Marriage License

Washington Marriage License



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