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Marriage License Requirements

Marriage License Requirements

Predictably, the requirements for a marriage license vary by state.

This is because there is no federal marriage license.

What are some requirements for marriage licenses in the United States?

Some states will set some of the following requirements:

-Age limits, usually 18, but lower in some states

-Persons younger than 18 must have the consent of a parent or judge; persons as young as 15 can be married in New York State, but only with the consent of both parents and a justice of the State Supreme Court or Family Court.

-Payment of a nominal marriage license fee

-Medical requirements

-Some states will require proof of immunizations against certain diseases such as tuberculosis and measles

-There may be blood tests to prove the absence of venereal diseases

-The state may also suggest a non-mandatory HIV test

-Proof that other marriages have been annulled or terminated

-Mental capacity to enter into a marital union

-The couple are not blood relatives

-First cousins may marry in some states, but the state may require that they not have children due to the high risks of genetic defects

-A marriage certificate, completed at the appropriate ceremony, must be mailed to the agency that issued the marriage license.

There may also be a variable waiting period, depending on the state. This is to allow for a cooling-off period for the couple to determine if they truly wish to be married.

There waiting periods are:

-1-day: Delaware, Illinois, New York, South Carolina

-2-day: Maryland

-3-day: Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington

-5-day: District of Columbia, Minnesota

-6-day: Wisconsin

The waiting period can be potentially waived or shorted depending on specific circumstances or through the intervention of a court that will shorten the waiting period on the couple’s behalf.

Among the quirkier laws for marriage licenses, the couple may be required to consummate the marriage through sexual relations.

There is no way for the state to enforce this, but the lack of sexual relations can be used as the basis for divorce or annulment in many states.

Marriage laws are always subject to change, including variable fees, so one is best served by checking with their local county or city clerk that issues marriage licenses for information on fees and waiting periods.

Marriage License Requirements – Everything You Need to Know

Marriage is a beautiful union of two people, but before the big day, there are several legal formalities one has to go through. One of the most important requirements is obtaining a marriage license. Here is everything you need to know about marriage license requirements.

Age Requirements

The legal age to get married is 18 in most states, but some allow minors to get married with parental consent. For example, in California, a minor can get married at 16 with parental consent and court approval. However, some states completely prohibit marriage for anyone under the age of 18. It is important to check the laws of your state before applying for a marriage license.

Identification Requirements

To obtain a marriage license, both parties will need to provide valid government-issued identification such as a driver’s license or passport. Some states also require a birth certificate or social security number.

Residency Requirements

Some states require couples to be residents of the state where they apply for a marriage license, while others allow out-of-state couples to apply. If you are unsure of the residency requirements in your state, it is best to check with your local county clerk’s office.

Waiting Period

Some states have waiting periods after applying for a marriage license. It can range anywhere from a few hours to a few days. This waiting period allows for any objections or issues to be addressed before the couple is legally married.

Blood Tests

In the past, many states required couples to have blood tests before issuing a marriage license to screen for certain diseases. However, this is no longer a requirement in any state.


There is usually a fee for obtaining a marriage license which varies from state to state. The fee can range from $10 to $100, depending on the state and county.

Final Thoughts

Obtaining a marriage license is an important step in a couple’s journey to get married. It is important to know your state’s laws and requirements before applying for a marriage license. These requirements may seem like a lot of work, but they ensure that the marriage is legal and protected by law. Happy wedding planning!