Requirements for marriage license in New York

When two people want to get married, the first step before even thinking about the wedding is to obtain a marriage license; it authorizes the couple to start the procedure, and is usually issued by a government institution.

It is not the same as a marriage certificate; this one is requested after the ceremony is completed to “certify” that you are indeed together.

In this article, we will explain the process and requirements to get your marriage license in New York without any problems.

What is a marriage license?

It is a document issued by a government institution that authorizes a couple to get married. It is really simple to get, and you have to do it before the ceremony.

Most of the time, a marriage license is issued the same day it was required. This is helpful since it will not take so much time between all other wedding arrangements.

In the state of New York, the city clerk is the official entity allowed to give this license. But, there are some requirements you need to fulfill.


Minimum age

The main rule is that you need to be at least 18 years old. People under 17 years cannot apply in any way.

However, a 17-year-old person (or couple) can still apply if he or she presents a consent written and signed by both parents; it also has to be certified by a Supreme Court justice or a Family Court judge.

The consent can be from just one parent if one of the following situations occurs:

parents consent exceptions


Besides your age, you have to prove your identity; check this link to see the documents that the clerk of New York City considers as “proper identification”:

propper identification for marriage licenses

Also, you may be asked to give your Social Security Number.

Other documentation

Some clerk’s offices require additional or different documentation, such as your birth certificate, baptismal record, employment picture ID, immigration records (if any), copy of the divorce decree (if any), among others.

So, make sure to contact the office first to ask them about any other document you will need to submit.

Fee payment

There are two types of fees to get the license:

  • $35 for people applying in New York City.
  • $40 for people applying in other places outside New York City.

You can pay it by a money order or credit card.

Also, this amount includes the Certificate of Marriage Registration; the registration functions as a “deposit” prior to the certificate.


In the application form, there will be a section to indicate your surname if you want to change it. Note that this is something optional, if you want to keep your surname, you can still get the license.

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Process to get a marriage license

  1. First, both of you have to go in person to your closest city clerk; you cannot send a representative or third party on your behalf.
  2. Request the form, read it carefully, and fill it.
  3. Pay the license fee.
  4. Then, you, your soon-to-be spouse, the officiant, and witnesses have to sign the document. At this point, you will receive the license in a few minutes.
  5. Note that you must wait at least 24 hours to make the official ceremony; it can not be earlier than that.
  6. After the ceremony, the officiant must return the license (now completed) to the city clerk’s office so that they can file it.

For your convenience, here is a Marriage License sample, so you can see what kind of information you will have to provide.

marriage license sample

On the other hand, it does have an expiration date; from the day you get it, you will have 60 days to use it (180 days for military personnel). After that time, you must request another one. Also, you can only use it inside the state of New York.

Same-sex marriage

On June 24, 2001, the Marriage Equality Act was officially approved. This means that same-sex couples can legally marry without any problems.

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