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New York State Marriage License

The information on this page was obtained from http://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/married.htm. Consequently the information presented here may be out of date. Please visit the official website for the most recently updated information.

The Information is also available as a PDF.

If you have any questions concerning the information presented in “Getting Married in New York State,” please be aware that CNYweddings is unable to answer your questions. Please visit the New York State web site where this information was obtained.

Getting Married in New York State

Getting Married in New York State” is also available in Adobe PDF format (PDF, 240KB, 2pg.)

The Marriage License

Where do you get one?

A couple who intends to be married in New York State must apply in
person for a marriage license to any town or city clerk in the state. The
application for a license must be signed by both the bride and groom in the
presence of the town or city clerk. A representative cannot apply for the
license on behalf of the bride or groom. This applies even if the
representative has been given the Power of Attorney. Notarized marriage
license affidavits signed by the bride or groom cannot be substituted for
their personal appearance.

Is there a waiting period?

Yes. Although the marriage license is issued immediately, the marriage
ceremony may not take place within 24 hours from the exact time that the
license was issued. When both applicants are 16 years of age or older, the
24-hour waiting period may be waived by an order of a justice of the
Supreme Court or a judge of the County Court of the county in which either
the bride or groom resides. If either person is under 16 years of age, the
order must be from the Family Court judge of the county in which the person
under 16 years of age resides.

How long is the license valid?

A marriage license is valid for 60 days, beginning the day after it is issued.

How much does it cost?

If the marriage license is issued by a town or city clerk
in New York State outside of New York City, it costs $40.
This fee includes the issuance of a Certificate of Marriage
Registration. This certificate is automatically sent by the
issuing clerk to the applicants within 15 days after the
completed license is returned by the officiant (person who
performs the marriage ceremony). It serves as notice that
a record of the marriage is on file. Couples who do not
receive a Certificate of Marriage Registration within four
weeks of the wedding should contact the town or city clerk
who issued the license.

If the license is to be issued by the City Clerk of the City
of New York, please contact the New York City Clerk’s Office for
current fees and requirements. The City Clerk’s Office can be reached at (212) 669-2400
or via their web site at

New York City Marriage Bureau
.

Is a premarital physical exam required?

No premarital examination or blood test is required to obtain a
marriage license in New York State.

What are the age and consent requirements for minors?

  • If either applicant is under 14 years of age, a marriage license cannot
    be issued.
  • If either applicant is 14 or 15 years of age, such applicant(s) must
    present the written consent of both parents and a justice of the
    Supreme Court or a judge of the Family Court having jurisdiction over
    the town or city in which the application is made.
  • If either applicant is 16 or 17 years of age, such applicant(s) must
    present the written consent of both parents.
  • If both applicants are 18 years of age or older, no consents are
    required.
  • One parent alone may consent to a minor’s marriage if:
    • The other parent has been missing for one year preceding the
      application;
    • The parents are divorced and the consenting parent was given sole
      custody of the child when the divorce decree was awarded;
    • The other parent has been judged incompetent; or the other parent is deceased.
    • Parents, guardians or other people consenting to the marriage of a minor
      must personally appear and acknowledge or execute their consent before the
      town or city clerk or some other authorized official. If the notarized
      affidavit is made before an official outside of the State of New York, it
      must be accompanied by a certificate of authentication when the consent is
      filed in New York State.

Proof of Age and Identity

A person is required to establish proof of age and identity by submitting to the issuing clerk one of the following age related documents:

  1. Birth Certificate
  2. Baptismal record
  3. Naturalization record
  4. Census record

And one of the following identity related documents:

  1. Driver’s license
  2. Passport
  3. Employment picture ID
  4. Immigration record

Familial Restrictions

A marriage may not take place in New York State between an ancestor
and descendant, a brother and sister (full or half blood), an uncle and
niece or an aunt and nephew, regardless of whether or not these persons are
legitimate or illegitimate offspring.

Previous Marriages

Information regarding previous marriages must be furnished in the
application for a marriage license. This includes whether the former spouse
or spouses are living, and whether the applicants are divorced and, if so,
when, where and against whom the divorce or divorces were granted. A
certified copy of the Decree of Divorce or a Certificate of Dissolution of
Marriage may be required by the clerk issuing the marriage license.

Surname Options

Every person has the right to adopt any name by which he or she wishes
to be known simply by using that name consistently and without intent to
defraud. A person’s last name (surname) does not automatically change upon
marriage, and neither party to the marriage is required to change his or
her last name. The bride and groom need not take the same last name.

One or both parties to a marriage may elect to change the surname by
which he or she wishes to be known after the marriage by entering the new
name in the appropriate space provided on the marriage license. The new
name must consist of one of the following options:

  • the surname of the other spouse;
  • any former surname of either spouse;
  • a name combining into a single surname all or a segment of the
    premarriage surname or any former surname of each spouse;
  • a combination name separated by a hyphen, provided that each part of
    such combination surname is the premarriage surname, or any former
    surname, of each of the spouses.

The use of this option will provide a record of your change of name.
The marriage certificate, containing the new name, if any, is proof that
the use of the new name, or the retention of the former name, is lawful.
The local Social Security Administration office should be contacted so that
its records and your social security identification card reflect the name
change. There is no charge for this service.

Whether you decide to use or not use this option at the time of your
marriage license application, you still have the right to adopt a different
name through usage at some future date. However, your marriage license
cannot be changed to record a surname you decide to use after your
marriage.

If you plan to use your married name at work, be sure to have your name changed in Social Security records. This way, you will get credit for all your earnings. It’s easy and it’s absolutely free. Contact any Social Security office. Look in the telephone book for the address and phone number. You will need documentary evidence showing both your old name and your new name.

Where can a marriage take place?

A New York State marriage license may be used within New York State
only. Please note that if you go out of New York State to be married, your
New York State marriage license will not be filed in New York State.

What about the ceremony?

There is no particular form or ceremony required except that the
parties must state in the presence of an authorized member of the clergy or
public official and at least one other witness that they take each other as
husband and wife. There is no minimum age for a witness. However, in
selecting a witness, choose at least one person who you feel would be
competent to testify in a court proceeding as to what he or she witnessed.

Who can perform a marriage ceremony?

To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the
individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic
Relations Law. These include:

  • the mayor of a city or village;
  • the former mayor, the city clerk or one of the deputy city clerks of a city of more than
    one million inhabitants;
  • a marriage officer appointed by the town or village board or the city
    common council;
  • a justice or judge of the following courts: the U.S. Court of Appeals
    for the Second Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern,
    Southern, Eastern or Western Districts of New York, the New York State Court of
    Appeals, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, the New York State
    Supreme Court, the Court of Claims, the Family Court, a Surrogates
    Court, the Civil and Criminal Courts of New York City (including
    Housing judges of the Civil Court) and other courts of record;
  • a village, town or county justice;
  • a member of the clergy or minister who has been officially ordained and
    granted authority to perform marriage ceremonies from a governing
    church body in accordance with the rules and regulations of the church
    body;
  • a member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing
    church body but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside
    over their spiritual affairs;
  • other officiants as specified by Section 11 of the Domestic Relations
    Law.

The person performing the ceremony must be registered with the City of
New York in order to perform a ceremony within the New York City limits.
The officiant does not have to be a resident of New York State. Ship
captains are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in New York
State.

Where can I get copies of my records?

For copies of marriage licenses issued anywhere in New York State
except the five (5) boroughs of New York City, a certified copy of the marriage record may be
obtained from the office of the town or city clerk who issued the license,
or from the New York State Department of Health. The fee is $10 if you
obtain a certified copy from the town or city clerk who issued the license.
If applying to the New York State Department of Health, the fee is $30. For
a certified copy, write to:

Certification Unit
Vital Records Section
New York State Department of Health
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, New York 12220-2602

For marriage licenses issued in New York City, do not apply to the New York State Department of Health.
For an application, current fees and ordering information contact the City Clerk of New York at
(212) 669-2400 or visit their web site at

New York City Marriage Bureau
.
You can also write them at:

  • New York City marriage records from 1930 to 1995 can be obtained solely from the Manhattan Office.
    MANHATTAN:
    Office of the City Clerk
    141 Worth Street
    New York, New York 10013
  • BRONX:
    Supreme Court Building
    851 Grand Concourse
    New York, New York 10451
  • BROOKLYN:
    Municipal Building
    210 Joralemon Street, 2nd Floor, Room 205
    Brooklyn, New York 11201
  • QUEENS:
    Borough Hall Building
    120-55 Queens Boulevard
    Kew Gardens, New York 11424
  • RICHMOND:
    Borough Hall Building
    10 Richmond Terrace, 3rd Floor, Room 311
    Staten Island, New York 10301