California Marriage Licenses

Search for California marriage license rules and requirements. You can learn how to get a marriage license, a marriage certificate, or marriage records from your local Marriage License Office, Clerk, Health Department, or Town or City Hall.

About Marriage Licenses

Marriage License Application Requirements and Process:

1. Apply where: County Clerk's Office

2. Minimum Age: 18, or younger with parental presence

3. Cost/fees: $35-$100 (varies by county)

4. Identification: driver's license, state-issued identification, passport, or military identification card

5. Blood test / Physical Test: No

6. Residency Requirement: No

7. Witnesses: Yes

8. License Valid: 90 days

9. Waiting Period: No

10. Same-sex marriage: Yes

11. Marriage between cousins: No

12. Divorce/Widow: Yes, with disclosure and decree copy in some counties

13. Proxy Marriage: No, with an exception for active duty military stationed abroad

14. Common Law Marriage: No

Questions/Answers about California Marriage Licenses

What do you have to do to get married?

To get married in California, both members of the couple must visit a County Clerk's Office in person to fill out a marriage license application. You will have to meet certain age requirements, provide photo identification, and pay a fee. California also permits confidential marriages, if the couple lives together at the time of the application and provides photo identification. Confidential marriage information is available to the public only by court order. Once you have received the marriage license, you must perform a marriage ceremony while the license is still valid. After the ceremony, your officiant and witnesses must sign the marriage certificate and the officiant must return it to the issuing Clerk's Office.

How do I get a marriage license in California?

You will need to visit the County Clerk's Office to apply for the marriage license. Both members of the couple must provide proof of age, valid photo identifications, and pay a fee. Certain counties require a birth certificate.

How much does it cost to get a marriage license in California?

A marriage license can cost between $35 and $100, depending on the county. The preferred payment method is cash, but many counties process payments by alternative methods.

How old do you have to be to get married in California?

You must reach the minimum age of 18 to get married in California. Individuals younger than 18 can get married with parental consent and a court order.

Can you get married under 18 in California?

Yes. Individuals who are under 18 years of age can get married in California with the presence of one's parents or guardian. The couple must also meet with a counselor and receive a court order from a superior court judge.

Do you need a blood test to get married?

No. There is no legal requirement for a premarital blood test or physical exam in order to get married in California.

Who can legally marry you in California?

Marriage officiants in California are required to be religious officials or government officials, including magistrates, judges, commissioners, legislators, constitutional officers, members of Congress, county supervisors, city mayors, and current city clerks.

Do you need a witness to get married?

Yes. In California, at least one witness must be present at the marriage ceremony. The maximum number of witnesses is two. Witnesses must sign the marriage license, along with the officiant and the couple.

How long does it take to get a marriage license in California?

The couple will receive the license immediately. There is no waiting period in California. The marriage license is valid for 90 days, and you must perform the marriage ceremony before the license expires.

What can you do when your marriage license expires?

If your California marriage license expires, you must apply for a new marriage license and repeat the application procedure. You will also be required to pay the fee again.

What if you or your spouse were previously married? Widowed or divorced?

In California, previous marriages must be disclosed on the marriage license, including the date and reason for the end of the marriage, whether death, dissolution, divorce, or annulment. Specific counties may require a certified copy of documents validating the end of previous marriages.

Can you get married by proxy?

No. California does not permit marriage by proxy. However, a member of the Armed Forces stationed abroad who is unable to attend a marriage ceremony due to involvement in an armed conflict can get married by providing a proxy to an attorney-in-fact.

Is same-sex marriage legal in California?

Yes. Same-sex marriage is legal in California.

Can you marry your cousin?

No. It is not legal to marry your cousin in California.

Is California a common law marriage state?

No. Common law marriages are not valid in California.

How do you change your name after getting married?

You will need to present your marriage certificate to several government entities, including the California state or county government, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to receive a new license, the Social Security Administration (SSA) to update your Social Security Card, the U.S. Department of State to receive a new passport, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Some government agencies may require a valid marriage certificate. You may also need to provide a marriage certificate to change your name on your insurance, bank accounts, utilities, and with other companies.