Santa Clara County Marriage License Requirements

Santa Clara County
Marriage License Requirements

If you’re planning to tie the knot in San Jose, California, understanding the ins and outs of marriage license fees is essential. From the different types of licenses available to the application process and requirements, this article will guide you through the details so you can prepare for your special day with confidence.


Your wedding day is one of the most memorable occasions of your life, and it all begins with obtaining the right marriage license. In San Jose, California, there are important details to consider, from the type of license you choose to the associated fees.

Types of Marriage Licenses in California

When it comes to marriage licenses, California offers two main types: the Public Marriage License and the Confidential Marriage License.

Public Marriage License

The Public Marriage License is available for public viewing, allowing anyone to access the information contained within. This type of license is commonly chosen for traditional weddings.

Confidential Marriage License

On the other hand, the Confidential Marriage License is a more private option. All personal details on this license are protected from public view, and only a court order or notarized application from either spouse can grant access to the information. This is ideal for couples who value privacy.

Requirements for Obtaining a Marriage License

Before you can obtain a marriage license in San Jose, you need to meet certain requirements:

Valid Identification

Both parties, referred to as the First Person and the Second Person, must present valid photo identification, such as a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card.

See also  Los Angeles County Marriage License Requirements

Confidential Marriage License Application

If you’re opting for a confidential marriage license, you’ll need to request an application from the Clerk. This application must be completed and submitted for processing before 4:15 p.m.

Nitty-Gritty Details on Marriage Licenses

When applying for a marriage license, specific information is required:

Personal Information

For both parties, you’ll need to provide details like your full names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers.

Confidential Marriage License Eligibility

To qualify for a Confidential Marriage License, both parties must be living together as a married couple.

Waiting Period and Residency Requirement

There is no waiting period, and you don’t need to be a California resident to marry in Santa Clara County.

Debunking Marriage License Myths

Let’s clear up some common misconceptions:

Proxy Marriages

Marriage by proxy is not allowed in California. The marriage officiant, parties, and witnesses must be physically present.

Cousin Marriages

Yes, first and second cousins can legally marry in California.

Common Law Marriages

No, common law marriages are not recognized in California.

Marriage Blood Test

Unlike some states, California does not require a blood test to obtain a marriage license.

Changing Your Name After Marriage

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

Age Requirements and Parental Consent

If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present. Proper evidence, such as a certified copy of the birth certificate, must be provided. An appointment with a counselor and a court appearance may also be necessary.

See also  Alameda County Marriage License Requirements

Authorized Marriage Officiants in California

Marriage ceremonies in California can be solemnized by various individuals, including:

  • Priests, ministers, or rabbis of any religious denomination
  • Judges, commissioners, or assistant commissioners of a court of record
  • Legislators, constitutional officers, and members of Congress representing the state

Returning and Obtaining Copies of the Marriage License

After the ceremony, the person officiating the marriage must return the original license to the County Clerk or Recorder within 10 days. Certified copies can be obtained for a fee.

Witnesses and Expiration of Marriage License

Public marriage licenses require one or two witnesses, while confidential licenses do not. Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.


As you embark on this exciting journey toward matrimony, understanding the intricacies of obtaining a marriage license is crucial. Whether you’re considering a public or confidential license, meeting the identification and application requirements ensures that your special day goes off without a hitch.


  1. How much does a marriage license cost in California? The fee for a public license is $80, while a confidential license costs $83.
  2. Can I change my name after marriage in California? Obtaining a marriage license with your new name does not automatically change it. You can use an online marriage name change kit.
  3. Are blood tests required for a marriage license in California? No, California does not require blood tests for obtaining a marriage license.
  4. Can I marry my first cousin in California? Yes, first cousins can legally marry in California.
  5. How long is a marriage license valid in California? Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.

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