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Getting Married in NY

Posted by Giselle Ayala | Jan 09, 2021 | 0 Comments

This document is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Access to this document does not form an attorney/client relationship. 

If you have decided to get married in the U.S. it is very important that you consider the specific requirements of the state where the marriage ceremony will be performed. For this purpose, you can visit the Office of the City Clerk or go online to https://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/

 

1. Getting a Marriage License

New York State requires all individuals who intend to get married to apply for and obtain a marriage license from any city or town clerk's office.

  • If you apply for a marriage license in New York City, the fee is $35.
  • If you apply for a marriage license anywhere else in the state of New York, the fee is $40.

A marriage license application can be started online. However, both applicants must still appear in person, together and at the same time, at either of the five (5) borough offices to complete the application and sign the application.

A New York State Marriage License is valid for 60 days (except for active military personnel, for whom the validity runs for 180 days). A Marriage License issued in New York can be used anywhere within New York State but may not be used outside New York State.

 

Filing my Marriage License Application Online              

It is possible to complete the marriage license application online. However, both applicants must still appear in person, together and at the same time, at either of the five (5) borough offices to complete the application and sign the application.

 

General Requirements to get married in NY

  • The couple must acquire a Marriage License.
  • Both parties must appear in person to apply for a marriage license.
  • Photo ID and Proof of age are required. The photo identity documentation must be current and valid.
  • If applicable, the couple must provide documentation of previous marriages.
  • The spouses must decide on the surname.
  • New York State residency is NOT required. 
  • New York does not require a blood test before marriage.
  • For specific requirements of the town or city Clerk's Office where you intend to purchase your license, we recommend that you contact the office before arriving to purchase your marriage license. Here
  • New York law requires a twenty-four (24) hour waiting period before your ceremony can be performed.

 

Information necessary to fill out a Marriage License Application

The application is an affidavit where you and your prospective spouse must list your Name;

  • Current Address.
  • City, State.
  • ZIP code and Country.
  • Country of birth.
  • Date of birth.
  • Name and country of birth of your parents.
  • Social Security number, if applicable.
  • Marital history.
  • If applicable, the date of prior divorces or the date of the previous spouse's death. In this case, a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate must be provided too. All divorces, annulments, and dissolutions must be finalized before the couple applies for a new Marriage License.

 

Marriage ID Requirement New York

To complete the process of getting married the couple must provide proper identification. In the State of New York, the are eight forms of identification are accepted.

  • Driver License with photograph, Non-Driver Identification Card with photograph, or Learner Permit with photograph (from the United States of America or any of its territories).
  • Active the United States Military Identification Card.
  • Passport.
  • United States Certificate of Naturalization (good for 10 years after date of issue).
  • United States Permanent Resident Card.
  • United States Employment Authorization Card.

Virtual Marriage Licenses

Couples can now apply for a marriage license online.  Pursuant to the Executive Order No. 202.20, signed by Governor Cuomo on April 18, 2020, the City Clerk is authorized to use videoconferencing technology to enable couples to apply for a marriage license. Here.

Couples must be physically located in New York State during the videoconference in order to be issued a marriage license. In addition, the Executive Order also permits the performance of marriage ceremonies using such technology.  

A couple can also choose their own licensed marriage officiant, the person who performs the marriage ceremony, and have a marriage ceremony using videoconferencing. This allows the couple, the marriage officiant and the witness to each be located in a separate place.  

Please note that all participants in the marriage ceremony (the couple, the officiant, and the witness) must be physically located in New York State during the marriage ceremony.

 

2. Getting Marriage with a Marriage Officiant

The couple may arrange a civil or religious Marriage Ceremony outside of the Clerk's Office offices in any location within the State of New York. In this case, the private ceremony must be conducted by a Marriage Officiant who is eligible to perform Marriage Ceremonies under New York State Law.

If the private Marriage Ceremony will be performed in the City of New York, the Marriage Officiant must be registered with the Office of the City Clerk before the wedding. To verify whether the Marriage Officiant is registered with the Office of the City Clerk the couple can call the 311 lines, or inquire by mail to:

Office of the City Clerk

Marriage Officiant Registration Clerk

141 Worth Street

New York, NY 10013

 

After the ceremony, it is time for official recordkeeping. Accordingly, it is the officiant's responsibility to ensure that the officiant and witness portions of the Marriage License are properly completed and accurate.

It is the couple's responsibility to present their marriage license to the officiant and the witnesses. The officiant's job is to look over the license, confirm that the information is accurate, and complete the officiant's section.

Once completed, the officiant will be in charge of returning the original license to the town or city clerk where the license was purchased (usually by mail).

In New York, completed marriage licenses must be returned within five days of the ceremony. Once the town or city where the license was purchased takes delivery of an accurate and finalized marriage license, a copy of the marriage license is delivered to the New York Department of Health to be recorded and filed.

 

3. The Certificate of Marriage Registration

A Certificate of Marriage Registration is the official documentation of the wedding that lists the date, time, location, Marriage Officiant's name and title, and any changes in surname.

If the couple gets married in the City Clerk's office, they will receive the Certificate of Marriage Registration at the conclusion of the ceremony.

If the couple has a Marriage Ceremony outside of the City Clerk's office, they will receive the Certificate of Marriage Registration in the mail within approximately 20 days from the date when the City Clerk receives and process the Marriage License from the Marriage Officiant.

If the couple has not received the Certificate of Marriage Registration within a month of the Marriage Ceremony, the couple should contact the Office of the City Clerk where they obtained their Marriage License by email to [email protected]

 

About the Author

Giselle Ayala

Giselle Ayala Mateus is a NY attorney with comprehensive experience in transactional law, creative agreements, business formation, and immigration law. She is also the founder of Focus Juridico a not-for-profit project focused on supporting Latin American entrepreneurs and artists.

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