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Getting married in New York State

STOP PRESS: Same sex marriages are now permitted in New York State (since July 24 2011). Click here for detailed information.

PLEASE NOTE: Different rules and procedures apply if you are planning to marry in New York City, please see our separate section.

How to apply for a marriage license

IMPORTANT NOTE: Marriage laws and license requirements change continually, so please check the latest information with your local marriage license bureau office or county clerk's office before making your wedding or travel plans, and before inviting your guests.

A couple who intends to be married in New York State must apply in person for a marriage license to any town or city clerk in the state. The application for a license must be signed both by the bride and groom in the presence of the town or city clerk. A representative cannot apply for the license on behalf of the bride or groom. This applies even if the representative has been given the power of attorney.

Notarized marriage license affidavits signed by the bride or groom cannot be substituted for their personal appearance.

Who may apply for a marriage license

If both applicants are 18 years of age or older, no consents are required. For persons under 18, please contact the Country Clerk's Office for further information.

Cousin marriages are permitted in New York State.

ID requirements

A person is required to establish proof of age and identity by submitting to the issuing clerk:
One of the following age-related documents: birth certificate, baptismal record, naturalization record, census record and
One of the following identity-related documents: driver’s license, passport, employment picture ID, immigration record.

Previous marriages

Information regarding previous marriages must be furnished in the application for a marriage license. This includes whether the former spouse or spouses are living, and whether the applicants are divorced and, if so, when, where and against whom the divorce or divorces were granted. A certified copy of the decree of divorce or a certificate of dissolution of marriage may be required by the clerk issuing the marriage license.

Blood tests and other tests

No blood tests or medical examinations are required.

Marriage ceremonies and witnesses

A New York State marriage license may be used within New York State only. Please note that if you go out of New York State to be married, your New York State marriage license will not be filed in New York State. There is no particular form or ceremony required except that the parties must state in the presence of an authorized member of the clergy or public official and at least one other witness that they take each other as husband and wife. There is no minimum age for a witness. However, in selecting a witness, choose at least one person who you feel would be competent to testify in a court proceeding as to what he or she witnessed.

Officiants

A marriage ceremony may be performed by: the mayor of a city or village; the former mayor, the city clerk or one of the deputy city clerks of a city of more than one million inhabitants; a marriage officer appointed by the town or village board or the city common council; a justice or judge of the following courts: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern or Western Districts of New York, the NYS Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division of the NYS Supreme Court, the NYS Supreme Court, the Court of Claims, the Family Court, a Surrogates’ Court, the Civil and Criminal Courts of New York City (including Housing Judges of the Civil Court) and other courts of record; a village, town or county justice; a member of the clergy or minister who has been officially ordained and granted authority to perform marriage ceremonies from a governing church body in accordance with the rules and regulations of the church body; a member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing church body but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside over their spiritual affairs; other officiants as specified by Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law.

The person performing the ceremony must be registered with the City of New York in order to perform a ceremony within the New York City limits. The officiant does not have to be a resident of New York State.
Ship captains are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in New York State.

Fees

If the marriage license is issued by a town or city clerk in New York State outside of New York City, it costs $40.

Waiting period

Yes. Although the marriage license is issued immediately, the marriage ceremony may not take place within 24 hours from the exact time that the license was issued.

Validity of license

A marriage license is valid for 60 days, beginning the day after it is issued.

Same-sex marriages

As of July 24, 2011, same-sex marriages are permitted in New York State. Click here for detailed information.

Copy of marriage certificate

For copies of marriage licenses issued anywhere in New York State except New York City, a certified copy of the marriage record may be obtained from the office of the town or city clerk who issued the license, or from the New York State Department of Health. The fee is $10 if you obtain a certified copy from the town or city clerk who issued the license. If applying to the New York State Department of Health, the fee is $30. A certified copy can be obtained from:

Certification Unit
Vital Records Section
New York State Department of Health
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, New York 12220-2602

For more information

Find out more from the New York State Department of Health
http://www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records/married.htm

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