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Marriage FAQ

Q. How do I get married in New York City?
Q. How do I obtain a Marriage License?
Q. Is there a waiting period? Can we get married right away?
Q. How long is the Marriage License valid?
Q. How much does the Marriage License cost?
Q. Is a premarital physical exam or blood test required?
Q. What are the age and consent requirements for minors?
Q. What form of identification is required to obtain a Marriage License?
Q. Can two first cousins marry?
Q. Must I disclose information regarding my previous marriages?
Q. What are my name change options?
Q. What if I make a mistake in filling out the application for a Marriage License?
Q. What is an Amendment?
Q. Can I use a Marriage License obtained at one of your offices outside of New York City in another part of New York State?
Q. Can I use a Marriage License obtained in another part of New York State in the City of New York?
Q. Can I use the Marriage License obtained at one of your offices in another state?
Q. Can I register my Marriage Record from another jurisdiction with your offices?
Q. What form of Marriage Ceremony is necessary?
Q. Who can perform a Marriage Ceremony?
Q. Which Marriage Records are kept on file in your offices?
Q. How can I obtain copies of my Marriage Records?
Q. Are Marriage Records public?
Q. What is the difference between a "short" or "extended" Marriage Certificate?
Q. Who is entitled to get a copy of Marriage Records?
Q. Can I find out if someone is married by inquiring at the Office of the City Clerk?
Q. Can I have both a religious and civil ceremony?
Q. What can I do if the person who performed my Marriage Ceremony fails to return my Marriage License or if the Marriage License is lost?
Q. Can I obtain my divorce record at any of your offices?

Q. How do I get married in New York City?
A. You have to first obtain a Marriage License and then have a Marriage Ceremony in the City Clerk's Office or a Marriage Ceremony outside the City Clerk's Office.

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Q. How do I obtain a Marriage License?
A.
Follow the steps to obtain a license on the Marriage License page.

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Q. Is there a waiting period? Can we get married right away?
A.
Yes, there is a waiting period. Once you obtain your Marriage License, you must wait a full 24 hours before your Marriage Ceremony can be performed unless you obtain a Judicial Waiver.

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Q. How long is the Marriage License valid?
A.
A Marriage License is valid for 60 days, beginning the day after it is issued. Members of the armed forces who can prove they are on active duty at the time of applying for the Marriage License can obtain a Marriage License valid for 180 days.

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Q. How much does the Marriage License cost?
A.
The fee for a Marriage License is $35 by credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk.

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Q. Is a premarital physical exam or blood test required?
A.
No premarital physical exam or blood test is required to obtain a Marriage License in New York State.

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Q. What are the age and consent requirements for minors?
A.
No consent is required if you and your prospective spouse are 18 years of age or older. There are several requirements if you are under the age of 18.

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Q. What form of identification is required to obtain a Marriage License?
A.
We accept eight forms of proper identification.

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Q. Can two first cousins marry?
A.
Yes. However, New York State does not permit Marriage Licenses to be issued to an ancestor and a descendant (such as between a parent and child or grandparent and grandchild), a brother and a sister of either full or half blood, or an uncle and niece or aunt and nephew, regardless of whether or not these persons are legitimate or illegitimate offspring.

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Q. Must I disclose information regarding my previous marriages?
A.
Yes, you are required to provide information regarding all previous marriages.

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Q. What are my name change options?
A.
Get more information on your surname options from the Marriage License section of this site.

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Q. What if I make a mistake in filling out the application for a Marriage License?
A.
You will have several opportunities to check your Marriage License for errors.

  • You can watch the clerk type your license on the customer monitor to see the Marriage License information entered in real time and tell the clerk if you see a mistake.
  • We will ask you after you receive the Marriage License to review it for any errors or typos before you leave. If you find any, simply return to the clerk who processed your application and they will correct the mistake.
  • We will correct the Marriage License free of charge within the 24-hour period after you obtain the Marriage License.
  • After the 24-hour period has passed you can obtain a correction for a fee of $25 by credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk.
  • The Amendment process allows for certain corrections after you receive your Certificate of Marriage Registration.

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Q. What is an Amendment?
A.
The City Clerk has the discretion to correct Marriage Records whenever it is claimed that a mistake was made in any of the statements on your Marriage License application. You can correct the error by filing an application for an Amendment.

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Q. Can I use a Marriage License obtained at one of your offices outside of New York City in another part of New York State?
A.
Yes. You may use a Marriage License issued in New York City in any part of New York State. Your marriage record will be maintained by the Office of the City Clerk.

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Q. Can I use a Marriage License obtained in another part of New York State in the City of New York?
A.
Yes. You may use a Marriage License issued by a Town Clerk or City Clerk outside of New York City anywhere within the City of New York. Your marriage record will be maintained by the Department of Health of the State of New York in Albany.

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Q. Can I use a Marriage License obtained at one of your offices in another state?
A.
No. A Marriage License issued in New York City may not be used outside of New York State. Please note that if you marry outside of New York State, your marriage record will be filed in that jurisdiction.

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Q. Can I register my Marriage Record from another jurisdiction with your offices?
A.
No. We do not register marriages performed in jurisdictions outside of New York City in our offices. We only maintain marriage records where the Marriage License was obtained in one of our offices. While some other countries require their residents to register any marriage performed elsewhere in their local registry, New York City does not.

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Q. What type of Marriage Ceremony is necessary?
A.
Learn more about the options for ceremonies from the Marriage Ceremony section of this site. Instead of a ceremony, New York State Law permits a marriage to be solemnized by a written contract. The contract must be signed by both parties and at least two witnesses and all signatures must be given within the State. The contract must state the place of residence of each party and of each witness and must state the date and place of marriage. The contract must be acknowledged by both the parties and witnesses before a judge of a court of record of the State of New York.

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Q. Who can perform a Marriage Ceremony?
A.
A Marriage Ceremony can be performed by any licensed Marriage Officiant. Learn more on the Marriage Officiant page.

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Q. Which Marriage Records are kept on file in your offices?
A.
We maintain Marriage Records from January 1, 1930, through today's date. For any Marriage Records dated prior to January 1, 1930, please visit the New York City Archives Web site. For Marriage Records issued by any Town Clerk or City Clerk outside of New York City but within the State of New York, please visit the New York State Department of Health Web site.

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Q. How can I obtain copies of my Marriage Records?
A.
You can obtain copies of your Marriage Records in person or by mail.

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Q. Are Marriage Records public?
A.
Only Marriage Records that are at least 50 years old from today's date or where both spouses are deceased are public.

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Q. What is the difference between a "short" or "extended" Marriage Certificate?
A.
A "short certificate" typically refers to the 8½ inch by 8 inch light blue colored safety paper used to print Certificates of Marriage Registration. The same size and type of paper is used for copies of Certificates of Marriage Registration issued by our Record Room division for all Marriage Records from 1995 to the present. Prior to 1995, Marriage Records were typed and are stored on microfilm. Under law, a completed photocopy of the Marriage License certified by the City Clerk is also a legal Certificate of Marriage Registration. Those microfilm records are photocopied on an 8½ inch by 14 inch light blue colored safety paper. Thus, a Certificate of Marriage Registration can be issued in either of those two formats in different sizes.

An "extended certificate" refers to an extended version of the Certificate of Marriage Registration that includes additional information such as the names of both parents and their countries of birth, the name and title of the Marriage Officiant, and the name and location of the place where the Marriage Ceremony was conducted. Depending on whether the marriage took place before or after 1995, the extended certificates will be printed on the same two forms as used for short certificates. The extended version is typically used in foreign jurisdictions in connection to applications for adoption, passports, and dual citizenship, among others. The Extended Certificate for Foreign Use has a fee of $35 that includes the cost of the Counter Certification and Raised Seal with Hand Signature.

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Q. Who is entitled to get copies of Marriage Records?
A.
Any person can request copies of Marriage Records that are more than 50 years old from today's date. Certain people can obtain copies of Marriage Records that are less than 50 years old.
Get the list of people who are eligible

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Q. Can I find out if someone is married by inquiring at the Office of the City Clerk?
A.
Only certain persons, namely a spouse or a prospective spouse, can legally inquire about the prior or current marital history of their spouse or prospective spouse. If you are a spouse or prospective spouse, you may do this by visiting the Record Room Division of the Manhattan office and filling out a search application that includes a sworn statement as to your status. There is a fee of $5 by credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk. After the search is completed, a clerk will advise you by issuing a verbal "yes" or "no" answer but no documents will be given to you.

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Q. Can I obtain a letter that indicates that I am either single or unmarried?
A.
No. However, we can provide you with a letter that indicates that there is no marriage record with your name on file in our office. This is known as a "no record" letter. You may obtain this by visiting the Record Room Division of the Manhattan office and filling out a search application. There is a fee of $5 by credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk. If you need an official documentation of your unmarried status to get married in another country, you must obtain a Certificate of Non-Impediment.
Learn how to obtain a Certificate of Non-Impediment

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Q. Can I have both a religious and civil ceremony?
A.
Yes. Many couples choose to have a civil Marriage Ceremony prior to a religious Marriage Ceremony. You may marry the same person more than once.

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Q. What can I do if the person who performed my Marriage Ceremony fails to return my Marriage License or if the Marriage License is lost?
A.
You must present the Office of the City Clerk a letter from the Marriage Officiant addressed to the City Clerk and written on the Marriage Officiant's official stationary stating that the ceremony did occur and the date of occurrence. You or your spouse will be asked to complete a Duplicate Marriage License Affidavit that you fill out in our office. You must then request a Duplicate Marriage License for a fee of $25 by credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk. You must then have all of the parties who signed the original Marriage License fill out the Duplicate Marriage License. If the original signers are not available due to death or otherwise, you should contact the Office of the City Clerk. After all of the documents have been submitted properly and reviewed, we will issue your Certificate of Marriage Registration.

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Q. Can I obtain my divorce record at any of your offices?
A.
No. We do not maintain divorce records in our offices. Typically, you must contact the Clerk of the Supreme Court where your Decree of Divorce was issued if you obtained a Divorce in New York State. The Department of Health of the State of New York also maintains divorce records. If you were divorced outside of New York State, you should contact the court where the Decree of Divorce was issued.

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