A couple who intends to be married in New York State, must apply for a marriage license to any town or city clerk in the state. The state of New York does not require couples to be residents of New York to marry in the state, but licenses issued in the state of New York must be used within the state. The application must be signed by both applicants in the presence of the town or city clerk and representatives cannot apply for the license on behalf of applicants. Even if the representative is given Power of Attorney, the applicants cannot substitute their personal appearance.
What You Need to Provide:
Both applicants must establish proof of age and identity by submitting a birth certificate, baptismal record, naturalization record, or census record to the issue clerk; in addition to a driver’s license, passport, employment picture ID, or immigration record to establish identity. If the birth document is in a foreign language, you must provide a certified translation into English along with the original. A certified translation will be signed, dated, and contain a statement that attests the accuracy of the translation.
If either you or your partner were previously married, you must furnish information about those marriages on the application. You must clarify if previous marriages ended as a result of annulment, divorce, or death. If divorced, you must be able to give your previous spouse’s full legal name, date that the divorce decree was finalized, and the city, state, and country that issued the divorce. It may be required to show a certified copy of the divorce decree, so bring that with you, too.
These forms must be filled out; preferably online if applicable (New York City provides the forms online), to make the in-person application process run smoother.
If you apply for a marriage license anywhere else in the state of New York besides the city, the fee is $40; in New York City, it is $35. The City Clerk of New York City accepts only credit card or money order as a form of payment.
Although the marriage license is issued immediately, the marriage ceremony may not take place within 24 hours from the exact time the license was issued. If both applicants are 16 years of age or older, the waiting period may be waived by an order of a justice of the Supreme Court or a judge of the County Court of the country in which either of the applicants resides. Learn how to here. The marriage license is valid for 60 calendar days, beginning the day after it is issued, meaning you must get married within at least 60 days of issue.
The state of New York does not require a premarital medical examination or a blood test to get a license.
Changing Your Surname
If you plan to change your surname after the wedding, be sure to include that in the marriage license application. This makes it easier for you to change your surname with Social Security as well as other institutions where you do business. In the state of New York, you must choose from the following options for the surname change: one spouse’s surname for both partners, a surname that combines elements of both spouses’ surnames, or both spouses’ surnames, separated by a hyphen.
The process is easy enough and is one of the least stressful aspects of planning. Consider it your day off from the craziness.