How to Get a Marriage License in New York City

Marriage License NYC

PHOTO BY AMY ANAIZ 

Do you think obtaining a marriage license in New York City is as confusing as navigating its subway system? Well, surprisingly, it's not. While the rules for marriage licenses vary by state and sometimes county (the time you have to wait to get married, how long it's valid, the cost, etc.), the process itself is fairly easy.

One thing that's true across the board and important to keep in mind is that a marriage license means you're allowed to get married not that you're actually married just yet. A few days following the ceremony, the officiant needs to file the certificate (which typically needs to be signed by both spouses, the officiant, and one or two witnesses aged 18 or older) in the appropriate county office for things to be official. In most cases, the office will then mail you a marriage certificate.

So, now that that's all clear, ahead we outline everything you need to know about snagging yourself a marriage license in the Big Apple.

Prepare the Right Paperwork

Before you get a marriage license in the city, you must first gather the following paperwork, according to New York City's Office of the City Clerk: Proper identification—a driver's license, passport, military ID, or U.S. resident's card are all acceptable forms of identification—and, if you were previously married, proof that your divorce is final or your spouse passed away. You'll be asked to list all previous marriages—and the dates they were dissolved—on your marriage license application.

Fill out an Application

Once you've collected the documents that prove you're of legal marrying age, a U.S. resident, and more, you're ready to officially apply for a license. You can fill out your application online and present it at the Office of the City Clerk, or fill it out in-person at the office. Either way, you and your fiancé must both be present when you turn in your paperwork, according to the office. See a list of office locations, by borough, here.

If you choose to fill it out online, just know that it expires within 21 days so make sure to get to the city clerk's office before then. If not, you'll need to resubmit it.

Pay the Fee

A marriage license in New York City costs $35 per couple. When you turn in your completed application, you'll also be asked to pay this fee. Accepted forms of payment include credit cards or money orders made payable to the City Clerk—so don't come bearing personal checks or cash.

Receive Your License and Wait 24 Hours

A city clerk employee should turn over your license within moments of receiving your completed application and payment, according to the office. Your license is good for 60 days, but you can't get hitched for 24 hours after it's issued unless you obtain a judicial waiver. After that, feel free to wed anywhere in the state—your license is invalid outside of New York state.

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