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Apply for a Marriage License

Follow these steps to get married in the State of California:

1. Choose your married name, if you plan to change your name.

Select your new name before applying for a marriage license.

Learn how to choose your married name​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
2. Apply for a marriage license in person at the County Clerk-Recorder’s Office.

Both you and your future spouse need to appear together in person at the Clerk-Recorder's Office to apply for a marriage license.

Clerk-Recorder's Office
70 W. Hedding, East Wing, 1st Floor
San Jose, CA 95110

No appointment is necessary for a marriage license application.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

3. Give the marriage license to the person who will perform your marriage ceremony.

Prior to your marriage ceremony, give the marriage license to the wedding official. After the ceremony, the wedding official and at least one witness sign the license.​​​​​​​

4. Return the signed license to the Clerk-Recorder’s Office.

Following the ceremony, your completed marriage license should be returned to the Clerk-Recorder's Office within 10 business days.

5. Purchase a marriage certificate for your personal records.

When the Clerk-Recorder’s Office receives your license and records it, the license becomes a marriage certificate​​​​​​.

Use your marriage certificate as proof of your marriage.


Marriage License

Your license permits you to be married anywhere in the state of California. You and your future spouse must be present to apply for a license and must be:

  • Single
  • 18 years of age or older

Get Ready

To apply for a marriage license, you'll need to know:

  1. Your legal name and your place and date of birth.
  2. The name you’ll take when you marry (if you plan to change your name).
  3. Your parents’ legal names and their places of birth (state or country).
  4. The type of license you want:
    • Standard

      Most couples apply for a Standard license.

      With a Standard license, your marriage becomes part of the public record but your information is not published and cannot be searched online.

    • Confidential

      A Confidential license does not become part of the public record. To apply for a Confidential license, you must already be living with your future spouse.

      Learn more about Confidential Marriages


      A Confidential marriage has restrictions that a Standard marriage does not have. To apply for a Confidential marriage license, you must already be living with your future spouse. To purchase a Confidential marriage certificate (proof of your marriage), you must either be the married person listed on the certificate or have a court order authorizing you to purchase the certificate.


      Confidential marriages date back to the late 1800s. Couples living on farms or in small towns often had difficulty finding a place to marry and some couples lived together and started families without getting married. When they did marry, those couples could apply for a Confidential marriage license, keeping their date of marriage out of the public record and protecting their families from the social censure of the time.

  5. If divorced, you’ll need to know the date of your divorce. If you divorced within the last 90 days, bring a copy of the judgment of divorce.

Get Licensed

No appointment is necessary for a marriage license—show up at the Clerk-Recorder's Office with your future spouse and:

  1. Fill out a marriage license application using the Clerk-Recorder’s public computers or fill out an application online before you arrive.
  2. After you submit your application, get a service ticket and wait to be called to meet with a Vital Records Clerk.
  3. At the Clerk's window, present valid personal identification (driver’s license, passport, permanent resident card).

    If you don't have valid id, you can provide two Credible Witnesses—friends or family members who have valid personal identification and can sign an affidavit verifying your identity. The fee for Credible Witnesses is $20.

  4. Pay the license fee:
    Standard Marriage License $80 .00
    Confidential Marriage License $83 .00

    Pay with cash, check, or credit/debit card
    $2.50 convenience fee for credit and debit cards

Get Married

When you get your license, you need to complete your marriage ceremony within 90 days in the state of California. If you aren’t married within the 90-day period, you’ll have to apply for another license.

You can be married by:

  • Clergy
  • Judge
  • Clerk-Recorder's Office (marriage commissioner or vital-records clerk)
  • Deputized relative or friend (one-day deputy commissioner)

The county has a dedicated wedding chapel you can rent for your marriage ceremony.

Return your signed marriage license to the Clerk-Recorder's Office within 10 business days of being married. When the Clerk-Recorder's Office receives and records the license, it becomes a marriage certificate.

You can usually purchase a copy of your marriage certificate two business days after your marriage license is recorded by the Clerk-Recorder's Office.

​​​​​​ ​​​​​ ​​​​

Where​ to Apply for a Marriage License

Clerk-Recorder’s Office
70 W. Hedding, 1st Floor, East Wing
San Jose, CA 95110

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
(Office is closed on County holidays)

Arrive early! Submit your marriage license application by 4:15 p.m. to be processed before close of business.

Last updated: 3/18/2020 12:56 PM