If you want to get married in the vast majority of U.S. states, you'll need to get a marriage license and have a wedding ceremony. Each state has its own requirements for getting a license, including where and how to apply for the license, whether there's a waiting period before you may get married, and how long the license is good for (whether it will expire if you don't get married within a certain period of time). We've outlined these key requirements in the chart below for all 50 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia. (Learn more about marriage requirements, licenses, and ceremonies.)
Almost all states in the U.S. have dropped any blood-test requirements before getting married. The only (partial) exception is New York, which requires that Black and Latino applicants for marriage licenses take a blood test for sickle cell anemia. The law allows religious exemptions, and the results of the test won't affect anyone's ability to get married. (N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law § 13-aa (2022).)
In place of mandatory blood tests, some states require that applicants for marriage licenses read a brochure or pamphlet that includes information about inherited and sexually transmitted diseases (such as AIDS), as well as how to get tests for those diseases.
The fees for marriage licenses vary widely across the country. Usually those fees fall somewhere in the range of $35 to $75, but they can be as low as $20 or as high as $120.
We haven't included license fees in the chart below, because they're often different from county to county within a state—and they can change at any time. Also, some states will give a discount on the fee for couples who complete a premarital education course, while a few states charge more for out-of-state residents (think destination weddings).
Check with the court clerk's office or other government office that will issue your license (as spelled out in the chart below) to find out the current license fee, as well as the methods of payment they'll accept. You can find contact information by searching online for the appropriate county and the name of the court or office.
The waiting periods shown in the chart below may affect when you receive the marriage license after applying for it or the effective date on the license—when you're allowed to use it. Regardless of the specifics, a waiting period means that you probably won't be able to get married right after you apply for a license, unless you qualify for any waiver allowed in your state.
In some states, the waiting period is actually the minimum amount of time between applying for a license and either receiving or using it to get married. Regardless of any legal waiting period in your state, processing times for marriage license applications can vary. Don't expect that you'll always receive your license on the same day you submit your application.
It's a good idea to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to get the license before your long-planned ceremony. That's because it's usually illegal to get married or perform a wedding ceremony without a valid marriage license. But it's probably not a good idea to apply for your marriage license too far ahead of time, because the license may not be good for very long in the state where you're planning to get married. Check the chart for details.
Many states (or counties) allow you to apply for a marriage license online or by mail. But you'll generally have to show up in person to receive the license, and many states require both partners to appear.
As with all laws, states may change their requirements for marriage licenses at any time. You can check the current statutes by searching on the Library of Congress's Guide to Law Online, follow the links below to state court websites with current information about marriage licenses, or check with the local authority that issues licenses.
|State||Waiting Period to Marry||License Expiration||Who Issues License||Notes/Laws|
|Alabama||N/A*||N/A||N/A||No license required, but must submit marriage certificate to probate court within 30 days after signing. Get forms from county health departments (in person or online). Ala Code § 30-1-9.1 (2022)|
|Alaska||3 days*||3 months||Alaska State Vital Records Section or county court clerk||Waiting period may be waived if it would cause undue hardship. Alaska Stat. §§ 25.05.091, 25.05.111, 25.05.121 (2022)|
|Arizona||None||1 year||Any county clerk*||May apply at some city/town clerks or justice of peace offices. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 25-121, 25-126, 25-127 (2022)|
|Arkansas||None*||60 days||Any court clerk||5-day waiting period for 17-year-olds. Ark. Code §§ 9-11-203, 9-11-218 (2022)|
|California||None||90 days||Any county clerk or recorder's office||
Cal. Fam. Code §§ 350–360 (2022)
|Colorado||None||30 days||Any county clerk or recorder's office||
Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 14-2-106, 14-2-107 (2022)
|Connecticut||None||65 days||Vital Records Office*||Must apply for license in town where ceremony will take place. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-24 (2022)|
|Delaware||24 hours*||30 days*||County clerk (Marriage Bureau)||Waiting or expiration period may be waived for good reason. Del. Code tit. 13, §§ 107, 109 (2022)|
|District of Columbia||None||No expiration||Court clerk (Marriage Bureau)||
D.C. Code § 46-410 (2022)
|Florida||3 days*||60 days||Any circuit court clerk||No waiting period with completion of premarital course, for nonresidents, or in case of hardship. Fla. Stat. §§ 741.04, 741.041 (2022)|
|Georgia||None||No expiration||Probate court*||Georgia residents may apply for license in any county, but nonresidents must apply in county where wedding will take place. Ga. Code §§ 19-3-10. 10-3-33, 19-3-35 (2022)|
|Hawaii||None||30 days||State Health Department||Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 572-5, 572-6 (2022)|
|Idaho||None||No expiration||Any county recorder||Idaho Code § 32-403 (2022)|
|Illinois||1 day||60 days||Local county clerk*||Must apply in county where wedding will take place. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/203, 5/207 (2022)|
|Indiana||None||60 days||County clerk*||Indiana residents apply in county where one of applicants lives; out-of-state residents apply where wedding will take place. Ind. Code §§ 31-11-4-3, 31-11-4-10 (2022)|
|Iowa||3 days*||6 months||Registrar of Vital Statistics in any county||Waiting period may be waived in emergency or extraordinary circumstances. Iowa Code § 595.4 (2022)|
|Kansas||3 days*||6 months||Any district court clerk||Minimum waiting period may be waived in emergency or extraordinary circumstances, but application processing may take 2 weeks. Kan. Stat. § 23-2505 (2022).|
|Kentucky||None||30 days||Any county clerk||Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 402.100, 402.105 (2022)|
|Louisiana||24 hours*||30 days||Any parish-level court clerk*||In Orleans Parish, licenses issued by State Registrar of Vital Records or any city court judge. Waiting period may be waived for good reason. La. Rev. Stat. §§ 9:221, 9:222, 9:235, 9:241, 9:242 (2022)|
|Maine||None||90 days||Town clerk* or State Registrar of Vital Statistics||Apply at town office where one applicant lives; nonresidents apply at any town office. Md. Rev. Stat. tit. 19-A, §§ 651, 652 (2022)|
|Maryland||2 days||6 months||Circuit court clerk*||Apply in county where wedding will take place, but applicants may apply for nonresident marriage license by mail if neither lives in that county. Md. Code, Fam. Law §§ 2-405, 2-409 (2022)|
|Massachusetts||3 days*||60 days||Any city or town clerk||Marriage license is called "certificate of intention of marriage." Minimum waiting period may be waived in extraordinary or emergency cases. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 207, §§ 27, 30 (2022).|
|Michigan||3 days*||33 days||County clerk*||Apply in county where either applicant lives or, if both are nonresidents, in county where wedding will take place. Waiting period may be waived for good reason. Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 551.101, 551.103a (2022)|
|Minnesota||None||6 months||Any county registrar (Vital Records Office)||Minn. Stat. §§ 517.07, 517.08 (2022)|
|Mississippi||None||No provision||Any circuit court clerk||Miss. Code § 93-1-15|
|Missouri||None||30 days||Recorder of Deeds in any county||Mo. Rev. Stat. § 451.040 (2022)|
|Montana||None||180 days||Any district court clerk||Mont. Code §§ 40-1-202, 40-1-212 (2022)|
|Nebraska||None||1 year||Any county clerk||Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-104 (2022)|
|Nevada||None||1 year||Any county clerk (or Marriage License Bureau)||Nev. Rev. Stat. § 122.040 (2022)|
|New Hampshire||None||90 days||Any town/city clerk||N.H. Rev. Stat. §§ 5-C:42, 457:26 (2022)|
|New Jersey||72 hours*||30 days||Local Vital Records Office or city clerk*||Apply for license in municipality where either applicant lives or, if nonresidents, where wedding will take place; waiting period may be waived in emergency. N.J. Stat. §§ 37:1-3, 37:1-4 (2022)|
|New Mexico||None||No provision||Any county clerk||N.M. Stat. § 40-1-10 (2022)|
|New York||24 hours*||60 days||Any city or town clerk||Waiting period may be waived. N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law §§ 13, 13-b, 14 (2022)|
|North Carolina||None||60 days||Any register of deeds||N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 51-8, 51-16 (2022)|
|North Dakota||None||60 days||County recorder or other designated official*||Apply in county where either applicant lives. N.D. Cent. Code § 14-03-10 (2022)|
|Ohio||None||60 days||Probate Court* (marriage department)||Apply in county where either applicant lives or, if nonresidents, where wedding will take place. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3101.05, 3101.07 (2022)|
|Oklahoma||None*||30 days||Any county district court clerk||72-hour waiting period for applicants under age 18. Okla. Stat. tit. 43, §§ 4, 5, 6, 20 (2022)|
|Oregon||3 days*||60 days||Any county court clerk||May get waiver of waiting period for good reason. Or. Rev. Stat. § 106.077 (2022).|
|Pennsylvania||3 days*||60 days||Department of Court Records in most counties*||Licenses issued by Orphans Court clerk in Philadelphia and Register of Wills in Pittsburgh. Licenses are good anywhere in state. May get waiver of waiting period in emergencies or extraordinary circumstances, or if applicant is in active military duty. 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. §§ 1303, 1310 (2022)|
|Rhode Island||None||3 months||Town or city clerk*||Apply in city/town where either applicant lives; nonresidents apply where ceremony will take place. When state implements system for issuing licenses electronically, you'll be able to apply anywhere in state. R.I. Gen. Laws 15-2-1, 15-2-1.1, 15-2-8 (2022)|
|South Carolina||24 hours||Varies by county||Probate court in any county*||Apply with court clerk in Darlington and Georgetown counties. S.C. Code § 20-1-220 (2022).|
|South Dakota||None||90 days||Any county register of deeds||S.D. Codified Laws §§ 25-1-10, 25-1-24 (2022)|
|Tennessee||None||30 days||Any county clerk||Tenn. Code § 36-3-103 (2022)|
|Texas||72 hours*||90 days||Any county clerk||Exceptions to waiting period include applicants who completed premarital education course, received waiver, or are on active military duty. Tex. Fam. Code §§ 2.001, 2.201, 2.204 (2022)|
|Utah||None||32 days||Any county clerk||Utah Code § 30-1-7 (2022)|
|Vermont||None||60 days||Any town clerk||Vt. Stat. tit. 18, § 5131 (2022)|
|Virginia||None||60 days||Any county or city court clerk or deputy clerk||Va. Code §§ 20-14, 20-14.1 (2022)|
|Washington||3 days||60 days||Any county auditor||Wash. Rev. Code §§ 26.04.150, 26.04.180 (2022)|
|West Virginia||None*||60 days||Any clerk of county commission||2-day waiting period for applicants under 18, except in extraordinary circumstances. W. Va. Code §§ 48-2-102, 48-2-103, 48-2-202 (2022)|
|Wisconsin||5 days||30 days||County clerk*||State residents must apply for license in county where one of them has lived for previous 30 days; out-of-state residents must apply in county where ceremony will take place. Waiting period may be shortened for extra fee. Wis. Stat. §§ 765.05, 765.08, 765.12 (2022)|
|Wyoming||None||1 year||Any county clerk||Wyo. Stat. § 20-1-103 (2022)|