Common-law marriage has diverse names, from "marriage in fact", "marriage by repute and habit", "informal…
Where to Apply
How do I get a New York marriage license?
You may apply for a New York marriage license at any city or town clerk's office.
May I apply for a remarriage license?
You may apply for a normal marriage license to remarry your current spouse.
Should I schedule an appointment?
Because of limited resources, you may have to set up an appointment. Even after hours.
What if I live on an island?
You may get a marriage license from a justice of the peace if…
- You live on an island.
- The island has no clerk's office.
- Your assigned clerk's office is 25+ miles away.
May I apply at my county clerk's office instead?
New York county clerks do not issue marriage licenses. That's a city and town role.
What are the rules on residency?
There are no residency requirements to get a New York marriage license.
Do I have to live in New York to get married?
You need not live in New York or even the United States to marry in the state.
How much is a marriage license?
A New York marriage license costs $30 to $40. The fee is $35 in New York City.
How much is a marriage certificate?
A certified copy of your marriage certificate or transcript costs $10.
Where may I use my marriage license?
Your marriage license is valid throughout New York State.
May I use my marriage license in another state?
Your New York marriage license is only valid in New York State.
May I use another state's marriage license in New York?
You may not get married in New York using another state's marriage license.
What if I cannot apply in person?
You must apply for a marriage license in person. Applying absentee or by power of attorney is not allowed.
Do we have to apply together?
Various city and town clerks might allow separate appearances for religious reasons.
What goes on the application?
You must detail the following on the marriage license application:
- First, middle, last
- Birth name
- Surname after marriage
- Allowed for males and females
- Residential address
- Street, city/town/village, state, county, zip
- Mailing address
- Date of birth
- Job name or title
- Business type or industry
- Phone number
- Social security number
- Full name
- Country of birth
- Full maiden name
- Country of birth
- Ceremony details
- If known
- Expected date, time, location
- Total marriages
- Total marriages ended by…
- Last marriage end date
- Last marriage end reason…
- Prior spouses
- Are any still alive
- Prior divorces
- Decree date
- Decree issued (city, state, country)
- Launched against whom (self, spouse)
May I download the marriage application?
You must pick up an application, as it's custom-designed by each clerk's office.
How long will it take to process my application?
The application procedure will take 15 to 30 minutes to complete, in and out.
How old must I be to marry?
Aged 18 and above?
If you're at least 18 years old and competent, you may marry without parental or court approval.
If you're 17 years old, you may marry with both parents' written consent and court approval.
Aged 16 and under?
On June 30, 2017, Gov. Cuomo signed an anti-child marriage law that bumped up the minimum marriage age from 14 to 17.
What are the underage marriage rules?
Who grants consent?
Your custodial parents, guardians, or caretaker must grant consent.
What about divorced parents?
In cases of divorce, the custodial parent must grant consent.
How is parental consent granted?
Express consent in person to the city or town clerk or by written affidavit.
Which court will hear my marriage request?
Go to the Supreme Court or Family Court for the city or town where you'll apply.
What should I expect after petitioning the court?
Expect the following when you go to court:
- File application.
- Go to judge's chambers.
- Judge appoints lawyers for minors.
- Separate on camera interviews of minors.
- Hear from parents and assess minors' readiness.
- Deny request or grant a written court order approving marriage.
Is premarital education available in New York?
New York has not set up a state-approved premarital education program.
When will I get my marriage license?
You will get your marriage license immediately, but must wait 24 hours to use it.
How do I get the 24-hour waiting period waived?
Are you military?
The 24-hour wait does not apply to members of the U.S. armed forces.
Is waiting harmful?
A Supreme Court judge or justice may waive the 24-hour delay for emergencies.
When will my marriage license expire?
Your marriage license will stay valid for 60 days after issuance.
Must I show ID?
Bring proof of age and identity, such as a:
- Birth certificate or record
- Original or certified copy
- Driver's license
- Green card
- ID card
- Must have photo
- State-, school-, military-, or government-issued
- Life insurance policy
- Employment certificate
- Any government-issued record
- Must have date of birth
Must I show my birth record?
You needn't bring your birth certificate or record.
Must I show my social security card?
You needn't bring your social security card, but your number will be requested.
Is a blood test required?
New York repealed the syphilis and rubella premarital blood test law in 1985.
Do I have to show my divorce decree?
If you're divorced, bring a certified copy of every prior divorce decree or annulment.
How soon may I marry after getting divorced?
If your divorce is final, you may get married without delay.
Do I have to show a death certificate?
If you've been widowed, bring a certified copy of every prior death certificate.
How soon may I marry after a spouse's passing?
You need not wait to remarry following a spouse's death.
How do I change my name after marriage?
Use a certified copy of your marriage certificate or transcript to change your name in New York or elsewhere.
Am I eligible to change my name?
Men, women, and same-sex couples may execute a name change through marriage.
Is a name change required?
Name change is optional, even if a new name is on your marriage certificate.
Is a name change automatic?
Name change is not automatic. You must file name change paperwork.
What are my last name change options?
You have three surname change options:
You may take either's current or former last name.
You may hyphenate each's current or former last name.
You may combine all or part of each's current or former last name.
What are my middle name change options?
You may replace your middle name with your maiden name.
Do we both have to choose the same last name?
Your last name choices do not have to match. You may even reverse hyphenate.
Do I need to bring witnesses?
Two witnesses—not counting the officiant—must be at your marriage ceremony.
Are witness signatures required?
Both witnesses must add their signatures and residences to your marriage license.
Who may conduct our marriage?
A judge, justice, magistrate, mayor, county executive, state legislator, tribal leader, marriage officer, NYC clerk, or clergy may solemnize your marriage.
What is a marriage officer?
Cities, towns, and villages appoint marriage officers to conduct civil ceremonies.
May we officiate our own marriage?
You may not self-solemnize your ceremony. An officiant must take the helm.
Does my officiant have to register in New York?
Officiants operating in New York City must register with the city clerk.
When must my marriage license go back?
Your officiant must return your marriage license to the issuing city or town clerk within five days after marriage.
How do I get a copy of my marriage certificate?
Ordering from the clerk?
You may buy a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the city or town clerk where you got your marriage license.
Ordering from state vital records?
New York's vital records office sells birth, death, divorce, and marriage certificates.
Should I order a certified copy or a transcript of marriage?
In New York, a certified copy of your marriage certificate is a marriage transcript.
Can I get married by proxy?
You may not get married by proxy, phone, or videoconference.
May I marry a cousin?
You may marry a first cousin in New York.
May I marry a family member?
You may not marry an ascendant, descendant, sibling, half-sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew.
Can I set up a common-law marriage?
New York abolished the practice of common-law marriage in 1933.
How do we renew our vows?
You may get married a second time to the same person with a regular marriage license.
Do we have to show proof that we're married?
If you're remarrying your spouse, bring proof of your current marriage.