Iowa Marriage License

If you're getting married in Iowa, you must first apply for a marriage license. It'll cost you $35.00, plus you'll have an unlimited amount of time to use it, as it won't expire.

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Where to go

Where can I get a marriage license?

Iowa marriage licenses are issued on the county level, at the County Recorder Office, by the County Recorder.

Where can I use it once I get it?

Your marriage license can be used throughout the state, regardless of which County Recorder Office you get it from.

Your license is only valid within the borders of Iowa. For instance, you can't get a marriage license from the neighboring state of Missouri, then use it here—and vice versa.

Costs

How much is a marriage license in Iowa?

A marriage license costs exactly $35.00 USD. This price is established by state law and doesn't change no matter where you buy your license.

This price also includes the fee to provide you a certified copy of your marriage certificate, following your marriage ceremony.

I've changed my mind; can I get my money back?

County Recorder Offices will not issue refunds for unused marriage licenses.

Attendance

Must we both be present when applying?

Both parties to the marriage must appear together when applying for a marriage license. You must also bring along one witness when applying.

Waiting periods

Is there a waiting period to get a marriage license?

There is no waiting period to get an Iowa marriage license. You'll get your license the same day you apply for it.

Can I pick up my marriage license later?

There may be situations where you're unable to pick up your marriage license the day it becomes available to you. For such circumstances, the County Recorder Office may hold your license in reserve, awaiting you to collect.

If you don't pick up your marriage license from the Iowa County Recorder Office within six (6) months of submitting your application, it will no longer be set aside for you to retrieve, and will be considered null and void.

How soon can I get married after getting a license?

Iowa law requires you to wait four (4) days after getting a marriage license before you're allowed to get married.

Can the waiting period between receiving my license and marrying be waived?

Iowa's four day wait time, after receiving your license, can be waived under the following circumstance:

Undue hardship waiver

If it can be shown that Iowa's waiting period would impose an undue hardship, you can request a waiver.

Expiration dates

When will my marriage license expire?

Surprisingly, Iowa marriage licenses do not expire after they've been handed out. Iowa's one of the few states that won't invalidate an unused marriage license after a certain period of time has passed.

Residency requirements

What are the rules for residents and non-residents?

Whether you're a resident or non-resident of Iowa, the rules are the same; you can apply for a marriage license anywhere in the state. You can then get married anywhere within the state.

Age requirements

How old must I be to get married?

You must be 18 years old (or above) to get married in Iowa without parental consent.

16 to 17 years old

You must obtain the consent of both parents or legal guardians. It's not sufficient if only one parent/guardian acquiesces—both must agree.

You must obtain a court order from a District Court Judge—in Iowa—which will authorize the County Recorder to issue a marriage license. The judge can only grant a court order within his/her jurisdiction.

Identification requirements

What forms of ID must I bring?

There are multiple types of identification to consider bringing when applying for a marriage license at your local County Recorder Office. They are as follows:

Provide one of the following:

  • Driver's License
  • State-issued Identification
  • Passport

Provide the following:

  • Social Security Number
    • Issued by the SSA
    • You don't need to bring you card; just know your number
    • It's understood that non-U.S. citizens are unlikely to have a SSN
    • Submitted to child support enforcement agencies; within Iowa and out-of-state
    • Submitted to the IRS to confirm EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) compliance

Name Change

How do I go about changing my name due to marriage?

Undergoing a marriage-related name change in the state of Iowa (or any other state) involves notifying various government and non-government institutions. You'll typically start with updating your Social Security Card, driver's license, passport, and other federal/state/non-governmental institutions.

Keep in mind, your name does not automatically and legally change just because you get married or obtain a marriage license or marriage certificate; you must go through the steps of updating your identification documents, whether it's through an online name change service, or contacting the SSA, State Dept. and IA DOT directly.

Blood Tests

Am I required to get a blood test?

No, Iowa does not require you, nor your partner, to get a blood test as a condition for getting a marriage license.

Divorced

What if I've been previously divorced?

You are not required to provide any documentation, dates, or knowledge of any previous marriage, annulment, or dissolution. Having said that, if you are divorced, it must be final (or absolute).

What if I'm separated from my spouse, but not yet divorced?

Iowa law forbids a marriage license be granted to anyone who is currently married or separated from their spouse. You must have your divorce finalized, or marriage annulled, before getting married again.

Widowed

What if I'm currently a widow or widower?

You will not be asked to provide details (e.g., date, location, proof) of your prior spouse's death.

Solemnization

Who's allowed to marry me?

Iowa law recognizes several types of officiants who may legally officiate (i.e., preside over) your marriage. They are as follows:

Clergymen

The following clergymen, whom are part of any church or congregation within the state of Iowa, can preside over your marriage.

  • Minister
  • Pastor
  • Priest
  • Rabbi

Nonreligious officials

Finally, the following secular officiants can solemnize the rights of matrimonial contract.

  • Supreme Court Judge
    • Current
  • Appeals Court Judge
    • Current
  • District Judge
    • Current
  • District Associate Judge
    • Current
  • Judicial Magistrate
    • Current

Witnesses

Are witnesses required to attend my marriage ceremony?

Iowa statutes require at least two (2) witnesses be present at your marriage ceremony.

Whomever officiates your marriage must log the contact information (typically name and address) and signature of each witness.

Note: The officiant does not count as a valid witness.

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