How to get a copy of a marriage certificate

How to get a copy of a marriage certificate should not be so difficult. The first thing is that you have to have clear is what a marriage certificate is.

A marriage certificate is a document that certifies and proves that you are indeed married, so the first way to get it, is after you get wedded.

Generally, the person that performs or officiates the wedding is the one who will submit the license to a designated county office, previous or after to the wedding day, to get a copy of a marriage certificate.

And in a few subsequent days of the ceremony, your marriage certificate is then issued by the respective government office and they will send it to you.

The waiting period for the certificate to arrive is usually a month and it should arrive at the address provided by you.
A marriage license is not the same as a marriage certificate, this specific document must be used before actually getting married because it is the piece of paper that authorizes the person who will be officiating the ceremony.

Usually, a marriage license will expire in a 30 days period up to a year; this is going to depend on the stated that issues it and it should work to get married and to request the certification of it.

Get a copy or duplicate of a marriage certificate

Get a copy or duplicate of a marriage certificate

The first step to get a copy of a marriage certificate is to have the license. In case you don’t have your wedding license, because you lost it, or it was destroyed after or before the marriage took place.

The person that officiated the ceremony must contact the office where the marriage license was obtained and inform it.

After you get the marriage license, you should contact the nearest state’s vital records office from where your marriage was officiated. The officials should help you to get a duplicate because the rules and procedures tend to be different in each state, so you will have to check the municipality requirements.

What are Vital Records?

What are vital records

The vital records are documents of certification issued by the United States Government such as:

  •  Birth
  • Death
  • Marriage
  • Divorce

The vital record’s office is the place that is authorized by the United States Government to issue these documents and to give certified copies.

Therefore, you have to find out where the vital record’s offices are located in your city.

But, specifically where the event (marriage, death, birth, divorce occurred).

In addition, you can also check out the Web page in this link

There are some requirements that are frequently asked for, no matter the state:

  1. Date of the marriage: Must be a specific day, month and year
  2. Full name of both of the spouses at the time of the marriage (before changing the last name to take the spouses)
  3. Place of the ceremony: It has to include the city or town, county, and state
  4. Daytime phone number including the area code to be located
  5. Relationship to the spouses whose marriage certificate is being asked for
  6. The reason why a copy or a duplicate of the marriage certificate is being requested for

What a marriage certificate must show

What a marriage certificate must show

The copy or duplicate supplied by the vital record’s office should reflect:

  • The date of the marriage (specified)
  • Complete name of both spouses
  • Place if the ceremony (specified)

In case of divorce in the past

If either of the spouses has had a previous marriage, it will be necessary to supply to the vital records office a divorce certificate in both cases.

Check it Online

What if your name appears different in other documents?

In the case of a name change, because of a recent marriage or other personal reasons, the marriage certificate will be the document you need to evidence that name change.

When is due to other personal reason, you should submit the correspondent document.

When the name change is made because an adoption took place, you should submit the court order that changed your name or last name or the adequate legal document (name change or restoration order).

Always take into account that the rules sometimes vary depending on the location or city.

In the case of a traditional or religious wedding

Don’t worry, this is a common situation for couples, sometimes they don’t have the documentation (license or certificate).

If the ceremony was officiated by a priest or a religious leader,  you will need proof that the marriage indeed was held, to legalize it to the U.S Government.

In such cases, you should make sure get a person who is ordained by the State officials where you are located to officiate a ceremony. First, the person will need to get a license and then a certificate.

Check out how to get an authorized official to get married or go to your local City Hall.

What to do in case you were married abroad

What to do in case you were married abroad

If your wedding took place abroad, not in U.S soil, you will need to check out the U.S Department of State’s Web to verify the designated issuing authority of the country where the ceremony was officiated

You need to corroborate as well the fee that has to be paid and all the procedures, to get the certified official copy of the marriage certificated.

When you finally obtain the certified marriage duplicate, and it is written in another language, you will need to translate the document to English by a certified translator.

The translator has to be authorized by the office where the marriage certificate was requested for, in the first place.