San Diego County Marriage License Requirements

San Diego County
Marriage License Requirements

Are you planning to tie the knot in the picturesque city of San Diego, California? Before you say “I do,” there are a few important details you need to know about obtaining a marriage license. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process, from the required identification to the fees involved. Whether you’re a local resident or planning a destination wedding, understanding the marriage license requirements will make your journey to wedded bliss smoother. Let’s dive in!


San Diego, with its stunning coastline and vibrant culture, is an ideal location for weddings. However, before you can exchange your vows, you need to obtain a valid marriage license. This essential document ensures that your marriage is legally recognized.

Types of Marriage Licenses

In California, there are two types of marriage licenses available: public and confidential. A public license is accessible for public viewing, while a confidential license keeps your personal information protected from the public eye. Only court orders or notarized applications from spouses can grant access to confidential license details.

Required Documents

To apply for a marriage license, both parties must present a valid photo identification with proof of age. It is recommended to bring certified copies of your birth certificates for a smoother process. A valid driver’s license, DMV issued Identification Card, or other acceptable photo ID are also valid options.

Making an Appointment

Couples interested in obtaining a Confidential Marriage License must call (619) 237-0502 to schedule an appointment. Both parties need to appear together at one of the office locations, ensuring that the necessary paperwork is completed correctly.

See also  Sonoma County Marriage License Requirements

Waiting Period and Residency

Unlike some states, California does not have a waiting period. You will receive your marriage license immediately after submitting your application. Additionally, you don’t need to be a California resident to marry in San Diego County, making it an attractive destination for couples from all over.

Previous Marriages and Domestic Partnerships

If you were previously married and the dissolution is not yet final, you won’t be issued a marriage license. The same applies if you are in a State Registered Domestic Partnership (SRDP). However, if the dissolution was finalized within the past 90 days, a copy of the final judgment must be provided.

Marriage License Fees

The cost of obtaining a marriage license in San Diego County is $70 for a public license and $89 for a confidential license. Payment options include cash, check, money order, American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa Debit card.

Payment Options

The San Diego Recorder/Clerk’s office accepts various payment methods, including cash, checks, money orders, and credit/debit cards. Please note that a $2.50 surcharge per transaction applies to credit/debit card payments.

Proxy Marriages and Cousin Marriages

California does not allow marriages by proxy. Both parties, the marriage officiant, and any applicable witnesses must be physically present together in the same location for the marriage ceremony.

Yes, first and second cousins are legally allowed to marry in California.

Common Law Marriages and Blood Tests

California does not recognize common law marriages.

Unlike some states, blood tests are not required to obtain a marriage license in California.

Name Change After Marriage

Getting a marriage license with your new name on it doesn’t automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit.

See also  Solano County Marriage License Requirements

Marriage Age Requirement

In California, individuals under the age of 18 must file with the court and seek judicial approval to marry. A certified copy of the court order granting permission must be presented when applying for the marriage license.

Obtaining Judicial Approval

If a judge grants permission to obtain a marriage license, the order expires in 30 days. The couple must then schedule an appointment by calling (619) 237-0502 and appearing together in the office to finalize the license.

Authorized Marriage Officiants

California Family Code authorizes various individuals to officiate marriage ceremonies, including priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, magistrates, and more.

Returning the Marriage License

The person solemnizing the marriage must return the original marriage license to the County Clerk or County Recorder within 10 days of the ceremony. This step ensures that your marriage is legally recorded.

Witnesses and Expiration Date

If you’re having a civil ceremony with a non-confidential marriage license, you’ll need at least one witness. You can bring your own witness or pay a fee for a witness provided by the office. Confidential marriage licenses don’t require witnesses.

Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. After this period, you’ll need to purchase a new license.


Obtaining a marriage license is a vital step on your journey to marriage. By understanding the requirements and procedures involved, you can ensure that your special day is legally recognized and celebrated without any hiccups.


Q1: Can I obtain a marriage license if I’m not a California resident? A1: Yes, you do not need to be a California resident to marry in San Diego County.

See also  Sacramento County Marriage License Requirements

Q2: Are blood tests required for a marriage license in California? A2: No, blood tests are not required to obtain a marriage license in California.

Q3: Can first cousins marry in California? A3: Yes, first cousins can legally marry in California.

Q4: What payment options are available for marriage license fees? A4: You can pay with cash, check, money order, credit cards, and debit cards.

Q5: How long is a marriage license valid for? A5: Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.

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