A marriage license is, simply put, the document that grants you permission to get married. It is the first step in the process of exchanging your vows and beginning your life together as part of a married couple.
Each U.S. state has specific requirements when it comes to qualifying for a marriage license. So the exact qualifications will vary from one state to the next. Some states have stricter requirements while others have few at all.
Because states grant the authorization to marry in the form of a marriage license, you’ll need to follow the guidelines for the state in which your marriage ceremony is to take place.
When Should You Apply for a Marriage License?
Timing is everything when you’re applying for a marriage license. Most states issue the license for a certain number of dates (usually up to one month from the issue date). In the state of Indiana, for instance, the marriage license is valid for 60 days. If your wedding does not take place within those 60 days, you will be required to apply for a new license before your wedding ceremony.
Check with the rules for your state before applying for a marriage license, though, so you can be sure about things like waiting periods (the state of New York requires a period of 24-hours between the issuance of a marriage license and the actual wedding ceremony), validity dates for the license, and other considerations.
These are all things that may require you to apply for your marriage license earlier or later than you anticipate. In most cases, applying two weeks before the planned wedding date is sufficient.
What Information is Required to Obtain a Marriage License?
In addition to the fee most states charge to obtain a marriage license, you’ll be required to provide certain information to do so as well. This includes the following information for most states – though some states may have different requirements such as blood tests.
- Proof of identity.
- Social security number (for U.S. citizens).
- Proof of age.
- Information about previous marriages (dates, locations, proof of divorce, or death of partner).
Some states will also require information about the parents of both parties including last known address, dates of birth, and state or country of birth.
Who May Apply for the Marriage License?
Both parties must apply for the marriage license. Information is required about both parties. When applying in person, both parties must be present to apply for the marriage license. You must also submit samples for blood tests or provide blood test results, if required in the state in which you are to be wed.
Some states do require that two witnesses be present when applying for the marriage license as well as for the wedding ceremony itself. Make sure you bring a couple of friends or family members along with you if your state has this requirement.
If one party is under the age of 18, it may be necessary for one or both parents to be present in order to consent to the marriage. Again, check with local laws for your state to be sure.
Can You Obtain a Marriage License Online?
Yes! The power of technology makes many things possible that a few short years ago would not have been. In fact, many states have made moves to accommodate the process of applying for marriage licenses online to avoid congestion in county clerk’s offices and to facilitate larger volumes of marriage license requests.
We live in a fast-paced world, the ability to apply for a marriage license online allows you to apply when it is most convenient for you. It’s much simpler than scheduling time off work to go into a county clerk’s office together to make it work.
It also allows you to coordinate your wedding plans from different states or even different countries. It’s important to note that not every state offers the convenience of online marriage licenses.
The good news, though, is that you do not need to reside in the state issuing the certificate in order to obtain one. This means you can get a marriage license from any of the states that offer them online regardless of where you currently reside.
MarryFromHome offers you the convenience of online marriage licenses no matter which state or country you call home. Simply fill out the easy-to-use online application to get started.
Can You Also Get Married Online Legally?
If the news about getting a marriage license online isn’t enough to get you excited, there’s more good news to come. You can even get married online. And, as long as certain provisions are met, this is a legal wedding as well. The MarryFromHome wedding ceremony is conducted via Zoom and you can invite friends and family from around the world to tune in and share in your marriage celebration.