San Mateo County Marriage License Requirements

San Mateo County
Marriage License Requirements

Getting married is a significant milestone in anyone’s life. If you’re planning to tie the knot in California, understanding the ins and outs of marriage licenses is crucial. From different types of licenses to the application process, we’ve got you covered with all the information you need.


Planning a wedding involves numerous details, and one of the fundamental aspects is obtaining a marriage license. This legal document is essential for validating your union in the eyes of the law. Whether you’re considering a grand celebration or an intimate ceremony, understanding California’s marriage license process is essential.

Marriage License Types in California

Public Marriage License

A public marriage license is accessible for public viewing. All the information on this type of license is available to anyone who wishes to inquire. It’s a common choice for couples who have no concerns about their personal information being accessible.

Confidential Marriage License

On the other hand, a confidential marriage license ensures that all personal information on the license is protected from public view. Only a court order or a notarized application from either spouse can grant access to this confidential information. This type of license is ideal for those who value their privacy.

What’s Required for a Marriage License?

Identification Documents

Before obtaining a marriage license, both individuals must present a valid photo identification document. This could be a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card. If these options aren’t available, a certified copy of a birth certificate along with another acceptable form of picture ID can be used.

Residency Requirements

Unlike some states, California doesn’t require you to be a resident to marry within its borders. This makes it an attractive destination for couples looking to have a destination wedding.

See also  Sutter County Marriage License Requirements

Waiting Period

California has no waiting period for obtaining a marriage license. Once you submit your application, you’ll receive your license immediately, allowing you to move forward with your wedding plans without unnecessary delays.

Applying for a Marriage License

Application Process

To apply for a marriage license, you and your partner must both be present. The process usually takes about 30 minutes, though the duration may vary based on factors such as prior completion of the online form and the number of people in line. Walk-ins are generally accepted.

Fees and Payment Methods

The cost for a public marriage license is $79, while a confidential marriage license is priced at $80. Cash is the preferred method of payment, but it’s advisable to check for other accepted payment options beforehand.

Proxy Marriages and Cousin Marriages

Proxy marriages, where one party isn’t present during the ceremony, are not permitted in California. However, it’s important to note that first and second cousins are legally allowed to marry in the state.

Marriage Officiants

Authorized Persons to Solemnize Marriages

California law authorizes several individuals to officiate marriage ceremonies, including priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, retired judges, and more. The solemnizing party must return the original marriage license to the County Clerk or County Recorder within 10 days of the ceremony.

Marriage License Validity and Expiration

Validity Period

Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you don’t marry within this timeframe, you’ll need to purchase a new license.


Obtaining a marriage license is a critical step in the wedding planning process. Understanding the different license types, required documents, and application procedures is vital to ensure your special day goes off without a hitch. Whether you choose a public or confidential license, California offers a range of options to suit your preferences and needs.

See also  Trinity County Marriage License Requirements


  1. Can I get married immediately after obtaining the license? Yes, there is no waiting period in California. Once you have the license, you can proceed with your marriage ceremony.
  2. Can I renew my marriage license if it expires? No, marriage licenses in California cannot be renewed. If your license expires, you’ll need to apply for a new one.
  3. Can I use my California marriage license in other states? While a California marriage license is valid throughout the state, it’s essential to check the marriage laws of other states if you plan to marry elsewhere.
  4. What’s the difference between a public and a confidential marriage license? A public license is accessible for public viewing, while a confidential license keeps personal information private.
  5. Can I have a proxy marriage in California? No, both parties must be physically present during the marriage ceremony in California.

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