How To Obtain a Marriage License or Certificate in California?
California is a great place to get married! The state offers many exciting things to see and do. You can rub elbows with famous Hollywood actors, honeymoon in Disneyland or visit the famous island prison of Alcatraz.
Rules and Regulations
Rules and fees differ by county, but some general provisions for tying the knot in the sunny state of California are:
- You must be 18 years or older, without parental consent.
- You do not need to be a resident of CA to get married there.
- Same-sex marriage is legal.
- No blood test or physical is required.
- You must have at least one witness; more are optional.
How to Apply
The fees by country vary, but you will need to bring between $35 - $100 in cash when you file. Both parties need to apply together, in person at the county clerk’s office. You will need to bring a valid photo ID in one of the formats below:
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s License
- Military ID
- Green Card
If you have a previous marriage from your past, bring your divorce decree and final judgment.
Special Marriage Licenses
There are two types of marriage licenses that you can apply for in California.
Public - becomes public record and can be obtained by anyone for viewing.
Confidential - protects the parties private information and can only be viewed by either spouse (by notarized request) or a court order.
One additional stipulation when applying for a confidential marriage license is that both parties must be living together already like a married couple.
This “confidential” option is in place to protect the privacy of famous people in the public eye who require security for their personal lives and information.
Waiting Period and Expiration
There is no waiting period, and you can receive your marriage license immediately when applying for it. The marriage certificate is good for 90 days so be sure to plan your wedding accordingly.
Who Can Officiate
Here is a short list of the types of authorized personnel that can officiate at your wedding.
- A member of the clergy (any religion).
- Current or retired judge.
- A U.S. magistrate.
- A legislator, congressman, or officer holding state office.
Whoever officiate at your ceremony must return the marriage license to the county clerk within ten days of your wedding, for filing.
After the Wedding
You may contact the California Department of Public Health Vital Records to obtain a copy for yourself.