Have you been captivated by Arizona’s bright blue sky over the Sonoran Desert, Sedona’s Red Rocks, and the striking shapes of Saguaro cactus and want to marry there? Then you’ll need an Arizona marriage license. With the help of Natasha Anakotta of American Marriage Ministries, we have all of the details to ensure this process is not a prickly-pear experience but a smooth and simple one.
Meet the Expert
Natasha Anakotta is the outreach and operations manager of American Marriage Ministries. AMM offers free legal ordination to perform weddings all over the United States, in addition to a variety of ceremony planning resources for couples and officiants.
"Arizona is a state with easy-peasy requirements for obtaining your license. But pay close attention to what you need to bring with you to your license appointment," says Anakotta. Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to get a marriage license in Arizona.
Where to Get a Marriage License in Arizona
In Arizona, you can apply at any Clerk of the Superior Court office and some Justice Courts. Where you will be married doesn’t matter; the license is valid anywhere in Arizona. Most county offices require you to reserve an appointment time. Always get your license well in advance of the wedding date.
In most counties, you must first schedule an appointment online or by phone for an in-person application. Marriage license appointments fill up fast, so book as soon as you can. However, Maricopa County, including Phoenix and the Greater Phoenix area, offers an online Marriage License Program for Arizona residents. The program, which began July 1st, eliminates the need to schedule an appointment and appear in person at the county office. Just complete the online form and submit it. Once your application, affidavit, and IDs are reviewed, the county will contact you within five days to confirm your Social Security numbers, dates of birth, the spelling of your names, take your payment via credit card, and mail the license to you. Smaller counties like Apache County do not offer online services. Apply in person if you plan to be married within 30 days.
Arizona has no waiting period—you can marry as soon as you get your license in hand. But, licenses expire one year after they are issued.
Bring Your Documentation
After making your appointment for the in-person application, you’ll need to gather all required documentation to bring with you. Otherwise, you won’t be leaving with your license. Both persons must be present to obtain a marriage license and Arizona does not require blood tests. Here are the items you will need:
- Proof of Identity and Age. Each of you must have a valid photo ID, a driver's license, passport, etc., to confirm identity and show proof of age. Applicants must be the legal age of consent which is 18 years of age or older. Applicants who are not 18 years of age but at least 16 years old will need a picture ID, a copy of your birth certificate, a certified copy of an Emancipation Order, or a notarized Clerk's Office parental consent form and parent(s) or legal guardian's ID, or have them accompany you. The younger applicant's prospective spouse cannot be more than three years older than the younger applicant.
- Money. Have the appropriate form of payment with you. Check the county website or confirm with the clerk before you arrive. Arizona marriage license fees are $83, generally payable by cash or money order. Some counties take credit cards and debit cards, and a few don't accept bills larger than $20. The Justice Courts in Maricopa County only take money orders. You may be offered a certified copy of your recorded license, also called a marriage certificate, sent to you after the wedding. In Maricopa, it's $37.50. Buy it. You’ll likely need this document for banking and legal reasons.
- Covenant Marriage License. Arizona is one of three states that offer a Covenant of Marriage License, which only grants divorce for specific and limited reasons as listed in the state law. It's a mutual agreement to remain together in the marriage for a lifetime. The couple must show proof of pre-marital counseling by a clergy member or counselor via a notarized statement confirming that they have been fully advised and understand this commitment. The clerk will have additional paperwork for you to sign. Fees are the same as the standard license.
Arizona Marriage Licenses are valid anywhere in Arizona. If you can't get an in-person appointment to obtain your marriage license in a large city, arrange one in a less-populated county.
Don’t forget to bring your marriage license to your wedding. As Anakotta reminds us, "You can’t have a legally binding ceremony without the marriage license. It needs to be physically present at the ceremony, filled out, signed, and returned according to specific instructions. The couple and their officiant need to be aware of the local policies and legal obligations concerning their marriage license." Your officiant must return the signed license to the county not more than 30 days after the wedding.
Make It Special
At Brides, we love all of the wedding moments, especially one as important as getting your marriage license. Make dinner reservations for just the two of you after you get your license and celebrate. Your wedding day is on its way!