Wisconsin Marriage License

If you're getting married in Wisconsin, you must first apply for a marriage license. It'll cost you $50.00 to $120.00, and you'll have to use it within 30 days.

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Where to go

Where can I get a marriage license?

Wisconsin marriage licenses are issued on the county level, at the County Clerk Office, by the County Clerk.

Where can I use it once I get it?

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

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

Costs

How much is a marriage license in Wisconsin?

A marriage license costs approximately $50.00 to 120.00 USD. The cost can vary between each County Clerk Office, as each county is allowed to set its own price.

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

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

Even if you're still waiting to receive your license after submitting an application (see waiting periods), you will not be reimbursed after you've already paid.

Attendance

Must we both be present when applying?

Both parties to the marriage must appear together when applying for a marriage license.

Waiting periods

Is there a waiting period to get a marriage license?

Wisconsin does have a five (5) day waiting period before getting a marriage license. Your license will be issued five days after your application is received by the County Clerk Office.

How soon can I get married after getting a license?

You can get married immediately after you receive your marriage license. There is no post-issuance waiting period to abide by before you can have your marriage ceremony.

Expiration dates

When will my marriage license expire?

Your Wisconsin marriage license will expire 30 days after it's been issued. If you don't get married before time runs out, you'll have to start over and apply for a brand new license.

I need more time; can I get an extension on my license?

Extensions are not provided for expired (or near expiring) marriage licenses. If your license completely expires you must reapply and repay the same $50.00-120.00 application fee, wherein you'll be given 30 more days.

Residency requirements

What are the rules for residents and non-residents?

There are multiple residency rules, only of which some may apply to you. They are as follows.

Residency rule 1

If one of you is a resident of Wisconsin, you must apply for a marriage license in the county of residence. You can then get married anywhere within the state.

Residency rule 2

If neither of you are residents of Wisconsin, you must apply for a marriage license in the county where the marriage will take place. Your marriage ceremony must be held in the same county where you applied for your marriage license.

Age requirements

How old must I be to get married?

You must be 18 years old (or above) to get married in Wisconsin 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.

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 Clerk Office. They are as follows:

Provide one of the following:

  • Driver's License
    • Issued by the state of Wisconsin
  • Non-Driver Identification Card
    • Issued by the state of Wisconsin
    • Also referred to as a Driver's Identification Card or Non-Driver's License
  • Passport
    • Issued by any U.S. or foreign government body
  • State-issued Identification
    • Issued by any U.S. state or territory
  • Military Identification Card
    • Issued by U.S. Armed Forces
  • Military Dependent Identification Card
    • Issued by U.S. Armed Forces

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

Provide the following:

  • Birth Certificate
    • Original or certified copy
    • Issued by any U.S. state or territory
    • Non-English document must be translated into English

If unavailable, AND foreign-born, provide one of the following:

  • Passport
    • Issued by any U.S. or foreign government body
  • Permanent Resident Card
    • Issued by USCIS
    • Also referred to as an Alien Registration Card, Green Card, and Permanent Visa
  • Certificate of Naturalization

Unacceptable documents (for the sake of clarity):

  • Certificate of Birth Registration
    • Not to be confused with a "birth certificate"; merely states a birth has been registered
  • Souvenir Birth Certificate
    • Also referred to as a Hospital Birth Certificate, is a keepsake, novelty item issued by the hospital
  • Matricula Consular Identification Card
    • Issued by the Government of Mexico
    • Issued by the U.S. Department of State

Name Change

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

Undergoing a marriage-related name change in the state of Wisconsin (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 WI DMV directly.

Blood Tests

Am I required to get a blood test?

No, Wisconsin 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?

There are two sets of divorce requirements that may pertain to you:

Divorce rule 1

If you've been previously divorced, or have had an annulment or dissolution, there are extra bits of information that you must provide the County Clerk when applying.

In Wisconsin, it is unlawful for any person to get married until six (6) months after the judgment of divorce is granted. If your divorce was finalized within the past six months, you must wait to apply for your marriage license until such time has passed.


Divorce rule 2

If you've been previously divorced, or have had an annulment or dissolution, there are extra bits of information that you must provide the County Clerk when applying.

For your last divorce, annulment, or dissolution, provide the following:

Things you must bring

You will need to provide a copy of your divorce decree (aka divorce certificate). It must be an original or certified copy—not a photocopy. The County Clerk will not keep your certificate; it just needs to be examined for authenticity, and to confirm your previous marriage is over.

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

Wisconsin 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?

If your previous marriage left you as a widow or widower, the County Clerk Office will need to solicit basic information regarding the death of your spouse.

Things you must bring

You must bring the original or certified copy of the death certificate for review. If the death certificate is written in a language other than English, then it must be translated into English. The County Clerk will hand the death certificate back to you once it's been looked over.

Solemnization

Who's allowed to marry me?

Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin, can preside over your marriage.

  • Bishop
  • Minister
  • Priest
  • Rabbi

Nonreligious officials

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

  • Self-Solemnization
    • Current
  • Judge
    • Current or retired
  • Circuit Judge
    • Current or retired
  • Municipal Judge
    • Current or retired
  • Court Commissioner
    • Current

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