Alameda County Marriage License Requirements

Alameda County
Marriage License Requirements

Are wedding bells in the air? Planning your special day can be both exciting and overwhelming, and one of the crucial steps in this journey is obtaining a marriage license. California offers two types of marriage licenses – public and confidential. Each comes with its own set of rules and requirements. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of obtaining a marriage license in California, ensuring your wedding day goes off without a hitch.


Your wedding day is a joyous occasion that marks the beginning of a beautiful journey. Before you say “I do,” however, there are legal requirements that must be fulfilled to ensure your marriage is recognized by the state of California. A crucial step in this process is obtaining a marriage license, which grants you the legal permission to tie the knot.

Types of Marriage Licenses in California

Public Marriage License

A public marriage license is readily available for public viewing. It contains personal information about the couple and can be accessed by anyone. It’s a popular choice for couples who have no need for privacy regarding their marriage details.

Confidential Marriage License

The confidential marriage license, on the other hand, offers a higher level of privacy. It protects all personal information on the license from public access. This means that only a court order or a notarized application by either spouse can obtain a copy of the information.

Requirements for Obtaining a Marriage License

To obtain a marriage license in California, there are specific requirements that must be met:

Valid Identification

Both parties (referred to as Party A and Party B) must present valid photo identification. This can include a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card. If these forms of identification are not available, a certified copy of the birth certificate along with another acceptable form of picture ID can be provided.

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Proof of Residency

For a confidential marriage license, Party A and Party B must be living together as a married couple.

Previous Marriages

If either party has been previously married, information about the end of the previous marriage (due to death, dissolution, divorce, or nullity) will be required.

Application Process

There are two ways to apply for a marriage license in California:

Online Application

You can apply for a marriage license online, which simplifies the process and saves you time. This option is especially convenient for busy couples.

In-Person Application

Alternatively, you can apply in person at the county clerk’s office. This allows you to ask any questions you may have and receive assistance throughout the application process.

Marriage License Fees

The cost of a marriage license varies depending on the type you choose. A public marriage license fee is $81, while a confidential marriage license costs $90. Payment is typically made in cash, but it’s advisable to inquire about other payment methods in advance.

Marriage Officiants

Authorized individuals who can officiate marriage ceremonies in California include priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, and more. The officiant must return the original marriage license to the county clerk or county recorder within 10 days of the ceremony.

Witnesses and Signatures

A public marriage license requires the signature of at least one witness, with space for an additional witness if desired. A confidential marriage license does not require witness signatures.

Expiration and Validity

Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do not get married within this period, you will need to purchase a new license. Both public and confidential marriage licenses can be used throughout the state of California.

See also  Mono County Marriage License Requirements

Changing Your Name

It’s important to note that obtaining a marriage license with your new name does not automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name, you’ll need to follow the appropriate legal processes.

In conclusion,

obtaining a marriage license in California is a vital step on your journey to wedded bliss. Whether you opt for a public or confidential license, understanding the requirements and process ensures a smooth and joyful wedding day. Remember, the love and commitment you share with your partner are what truly make your marriage special.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can cousins marry in California? Yes, first and second cousins can legally marry in California.
  2. Is there a waiting period for marriage licenses? No, there is no waiting period. You’ll receive your marriage license immediately after submitting your application.
  3. Can I marry by proxy in California? No, marriage by proxy is not allowed in California. Both parties and the officiant must be physically present during the ceremony.
  4. Are blood tests required for a marriage license? No, blood tests are not required to obtain a marriage license in California.
  5. How long is the marriage license valid? Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you don’t marry within this time frame, you’ll need to obtain a new license.

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