Are you contemplating a wedding in Hawaii? To control COVID-19 cases, Hawaii's Governor Ige has asked leisure travelers to reconsider visiting Hawaii until after October 2021, and limited weddings to 10 people for indoor and 25 for outdoor weddings (visit Hawaii's COVID-19 portal for up-to-date restrictions and information). However, if you do find yourself already in Hawaii and are ready to tie the knot, you'll need to secure a marriage license.
"Given the times we live in, a small, safe elopement is a wonderful option to create a precious memory that will last a lifetime," says wedding officiant Kelehua Kawai. Read on for up-to-date expert advice to help you navigate how to get a marriage license in Hawaii.
Meet the Expert
- Wedding officiant Kelehua Kawai tailors her ceremonies to each couple and weaves in elements of her Hawaiian culture to embrace them with genuine aloha. Intimate elopements are her specialty, and she loves to perform weddings by the ocean.
Where to Get a Marriage License in Hawaii
Licenses are issued by a Marriage License Agent, the State of Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) located on Oahu, and local Hawaii District Health Offices on Hawaii Island, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, or Lanai. Complete your online application, pay the fee, and you'll get a list of agents. There is no waiting period in Hawaii. Upon issue, your license will be valid immediately and can be used anywhere in the State of Hawaii.
How to Get a Marriage License in Hawaii
Obtaining your license is a three-step process done in a specific order. According to the DOH, these are the steps:
Find a Performer
A performer is what Hawaii calls a minister, judge, or officiant. Make finding your performer a priority as you’ll need one for the application. They must be registered with the state, even if it's just for this one marriage. A ceremony performed by someone not registered with the State of Hawaii is not legal or valid.
Fill Out and Submit an Online Application
Know the "planned date" of your wedding and the island or county where it will occur because you have to provide that on the application. When you have the performer, the location, and the date figured out, visit the Hawaii State Health Department's website for licenses and you'll see two options. One is to download a PDF that you fill out and bring to your appointment with the agent. However, the best option is to use the online application, pay the fee by credit or debit card, submit and get a receipt and a Locator ID number, right away.
If you are not in Hawaii, you may still apply for your license up to a year in advance online, but you must be in Hawaii to have it issued to you.
Find a Marriage License Agent
After filing your application and payment, print out the receipt, and you'll receive a list of marriage license agents. Make an appointment to meet with them in person to get your license. Some work at state offices or on their own, and a few hotels and resorts have agents to service their guests or hotel wedding bookings. In-person appointments are needed to get your license issued. You can schedule the meeting with the license agent a couple of weeks or a few days before your wedding date.
With the current COVID situation, couples on Oahu don't have to make an appointment to meet with an agent to get their license. Walk-ins are accepted at room 101 of the Hawaii Department of Health's (DOH) building at 1250 Punchbowl Street. Arrive on the island and go from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday (excluding holidays). For options on other islands, call each island directly: Hawaii/Big Island, (808)-974-6008; Kauai, (808)-241-3498; Maui, (808)-984-8210; Molokai, (808)-553-7870; and Lanai, (808)-214-8819.
Bring Your Documentation
To obtain a Hawaii marriage license, blood tests are not required and you don't have to be a Hawaii resident or even an American citizen. The blood relationship between the couple can't be closer than first cousins and both parties must be present at the appointment with your Marriage License Agent. Be sure to bring the following with you to your appointment:
- Proof of Identity and Age. A valid form of photo identification like a driver's license, passport or military ID, passport, etc., will confirm identity and show proof of age for those 19 years or older. The legal age to marry for both applicants is 18 years old with a birth certificate presented. If you are between the ages of 15 and 17 you can still be married in Hawaii, but you will need the written consent of both parents or legal guardian and a family court judge. You'll need to bring your parent or guardian with you to an in-person appointment to sign a consent form. Have a picture ID and a certified copy of your birth certificate.
- Money. The fee for a marriage license is $65, which includes the license and processing fee. Credit and debit cards are accepted online with your application.
- Other Important Info and Dates. You’ll need your social security number, place of birth, which can be a state or foreign country. Know your parents' full names and mothers’ maiden names. Provide your current home address, date of the ceremony, and name of the wedding performer. If you ended a marriage or civil union, indicate if it ended by death, divorce, dissolution, annulment, or termination, and enter the date. If it's been less than 30 days since your previous marriage ended, bring a copy of your divorce decree to your meeting. The application asks you to check a box for either Groom, Bride, or Spouse.
Weddings of Hawaii on Oahu offers wedding packages that include license agent assistance and virtual license issuing, so you don't have to go to DOH on Oahu to pick up your license. You can meet with them in person or virtually and receive your license online, but you must be on the islands. They'll help couples not having a wedding with them, but there is limited appointment availability and a fee.
As soon as you have your license in hand in Hawaii, you could head to the beach and meet your performer. The license does expire 30 days after issue, including the day of issue. Once it expires, you'll have to apply and purchase a new one. Performers have three business days after the marriage to electronically report the ceremony to the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH). It takes the DOH within 30 days to process and mail your legal marriage certificate to you, but you can access your temporary marriage certificate online using your Locator ID. Don't confuse a license with a certificate. A Hawaii marriage license permits the marriage to occur, and the marriage certificate indicates a legal marriage has taken place and registered with the state.
Toes in the sand, palms softly swaying, celebrate your love as you exchange your fragrant flower lei, your heartfelt vows, and your wedding rings.
Editor's Note: While we recognize the proper use of the Hawaiian language, we have omitted the unique punctuation marks for this online version for readability by those unfamiliar with the written language.