Wondering what is a marriage license? What is a marriage registration? And how to register marriage in the USA?
Getting married is a very big step for couples, and one of the most important things you need to after the celebrations and the ceremonies are over is to sign a marriage license and get a marriage registration certificate.
A registered marriage legally binds a couple to each other and helps you with other legal re-courses in your life, such as changing your name legally, property proceedings, insurance policies, and even work permits.
Marriage registration certificates are essential for a married couple, but many people do not actually know that much about marriage registration—how to do it, what (if any) rules there are, and so on.
The legal requirements after marriage might seem confusing, such as the difference between a marriage license and a marriage certificate. But they are actually very simple, even though they might vary from one state to another.
If you are engaged to be married and need to know more about the registration of marriage or where to register marriage? And why marriage registration is important?
Then, look no further than this guide to everything you need to know about marriage registration or how to register for a marriage certificate, and also the things required for marriage registration.
Where to go for a marriage registration
Before you start the marriage registration process and file your marriage license, you need to decide when and where you are getting married.
You would also need to be wary of your marriage license expiration date and try to schedule your wedding within that time frame to avoid re-filing for the license.
A bit of planning would definitely be required as different states adhere to different regulations when it comes to filing for a marriage license.
In most jurisdictions, you will need to apply for a marriage at the office of the county clerk. The county clerk’s office issues various registrations and permits, such as permits for new buildings and, of course, marriage licenses.
In some jurisdictions, you may need to go somewhere else; make sure you research where to go for a marriage license in your area before you head out of the house.
What you need to bring with you
Going to the county’s office is the easiest part of obtaining a marriage license; however, make sure you have all the required documents and make an appointment before your visit to avoid hours of waiting.
Things that you need to bring with you can vary from state to state and even county to county. In some states, all you need to bring with you are birth certificates, a state-issued ID, and proof that your marriage is legal in your state.
Other states may have other requirements for applying for a marriage license, such as proof that you are not related or that you have undergone certain medical tests required by some state laws.
Here is a list of some things you might need for your visit to the county clerk:
- Both partners need to be present with proof of their identity. Either a driver’s license, passport, or a birth certificate should suffice; however, be sure to check with the county clerk for any specific requirements.
- You would need to know your parent’s full names, date of birth, or passing, whichever is applicable, and the state of their births. Also, some states require a witness to be present during the application process.
- In case of a second marriage to legally remarry, you would need your certificate of divorce or your first spouse’s death certification.
- There would definitely be a small fee that you would have to pay for the application, and in case you are under 18, you need to be accompanied by a parent to provide consent.
Once you have finished the process of acquiring your marriage license, the next step in marriage registration is to gather some signatures.
Unless your state has some additional requirements, you would definitely need the signatures of the following; the couple(obviously), the officiant, and two witnesses.
Finally, when the license has been attested by all the required people, the officiant is responsible for returning the license back to the county clerk.
After that, once your application gets approved, you would either receive the marriage certificate through the mail, or you might have to pick up the certificate yourself.
You may need to undergo testing
In some states, couples who wish to be married are required to undergo testing for certain infectious diseases such as rubella or tuberculosis.
This type of testing used to be standard in almost all states but has fallen out of favor in the last few years in many of them.
Some states may also strongly encourage both partners to get tested for certain diseases, including HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases before they make the marriage registration valid.
Make sure there’s no time limit
Many people do not realize that some marriage registrations actually have a time limit—and these time limits vary state by state. In some states, marriage registration certificates are only valid for a certain period of time—which can be anywhere from a week to several months.
If you live in a state with a short time limit on a license, you need to make sure that you time your license application just right with your marriage ceremony.
In other states, the time limit works in reverse: you must wait a certain time period after applying for your license before you can actually receive your marriage registration certification.
This is typically done to discourage spur-of-the-moment marriages since you can’t be married to someone without being with them for at least a few months.
In these cases, you must make sure that your marriage ceremony is planned in time – when your registration finally becomes valid.