How do you get a marriage license? Easy: You apply for one!
When you apply for a marriage license, it legally allows you to get married to your significant other. But before that, it is important to understand what a marriage license is and why is it important to get one.
What is a marriage license?
A marriage license is a document issued by a governmental authority that allows two people to get married. To obtain a marriage license, the soon to be married couple needs to visit the county clerk’s office in the location in which they are planning to get married. You can find more information on online marriage license applications here.
Getting a marriage license before you walk down the aisle
The importance of marriage licenses can not be underlined enough. A marriage license helps you earn legal, social, medical, and security benefits too.
Naturally, the process of actually getting a marriage license is not as simple as it seems. Obtaining a marriage license will require various forms, applications, proofs, and in some cases, even medical tests.
Yet despite the potential hassle that plagues any couple attempting to get married, in the end, it’s worth it.
If you are considering applying for a license, it’s important to be prepared first—and save yourself the trouble. If you want to know the answer to that age-old question ‘how do you get a marriage license?’, then look no further than the following essential things you should know.
Applying for a marriage license: Steps to follow
How long does it take to get a marriage license?
The time to receive your marriage license depends on what state or province you reside in and what state or province you were married in.
The license will be printed where you were married and depending on how far it has to travel to get to you is the deciding factor for how long it takes to get a marriage license.
Step One: Get everything you need
How to apply for a marriage license? When applying for a marriage license, one of the most important marriage license requirements is that both the partners must appear together.
Before you can get a marriage license, you will need to gather together all of the appropriate paperwork necessary for the application. The paperwork and other items you may need to bring will vary from state to state and can vary depending on your legal status and age. The most basic requirements for marriage license application are:
- Your state-issued identification card or driver’s license
- Your social security card and/or social security number
- Your birth certificate
- Some proof of residency
- Blood or medical test
Again, these are just the most basic requirements. Some states and circumstances will require more paperwork. Always make sure to look up your state’s marriage license requirements before heading down to the office.
Step Two: Inquire about mandatory testing and waiting periods
When people ask themselves ‘How do you get a marriage license,’ they often don’t know about two significant factors: mandatory testing and waiting periods.
In the past, it was standard for states to require medical testing for couples; this was done in order to stop the spread of contagious diseases. Even today, testing for particularly dangerous illnesses such as rubella and tuberculosis is still mandatory in some states. However, mandatory physical examinations are not as common as they used to be—though some states still require them. If your state does, you will need proof of testing and examination.
Waiting periods are another element of marriage license applications that can vary from state to state. A waiting period is essentially a time period that must elapse between applying for the license, getting the license, and actually getting married.
Waiting period laws were introduced to avoid people getting married on impulse—and no, Nevada does not have a waiting period on marriage licenses!
Step Three: Apply in person or online
The increase in modern technology has led many states to allow couples to use online applications rather than make them drag themselves down to the county clerk to apply.
Depending on your state, you may be able to complete your application online and avoid the hassle of appearing in person; some states, however, do not have online applications and require you to appear in person to apply and pick up your marriage license. Hopefully, this answers the question, “how to get a marriage license?”.
Obtaining a marriage license if you are widowed
If you are widowed, you do not need to submit a death certificate when you apply for a marriage license at a marriage license bureau.
Difference between a marriage license and marriage certificate
Once you have gotten your marriage license, a government document that legally allows you and your significant other to get married, then it is time to get a marriage certificate. The certificate of marriage comes after the wedding ceremony has taken place.
A marriage certificate is a public record that you two are legally married to each other. It is also important when you want to legally change your last name, to add someone to your work benefits policy, and can be helpful when you get audited by the IRS.
Also read: How to Apply for a Marriage Certificate.
Lastly, keep your marriage certificate safe, so you can easily access it when required.