How Do You Get a Marriage License?

how do you get a marriage license

How do you get a marriage license? Easy: You apply for one!


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 troupe. 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.


Step One: Get everything you need

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 common things you will need to bring include:

  •         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

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.

Mary Fisher is a writer experienced with helping couples understand marriage, love
and relationships. She completed her studies in 2011 and is currently involved in
writing articles on intimacy, relationships and family.

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