Marriage requirements for New York State

The marriage requirements for New York are relatively straightforward and should take no more than a few days to organize

Residency Requirements – None

Consent – None required if bride and groom are at least 18. If they are younger, varying rules apply depending on the age of the couple and the particular family situation. Check for details with an office of the city clerk.

Medical Requirements – No blood test required.

Witnesses – The authorized presiding official and one additional witness are required. There is no age requirement for the additional witness, but they should be able to swear in court to what they witnessed.

Who can perform the ceremony – It must be one of these: A long list of public officials, including mayors, certain judges, justices, and city clerks; many ministers and members of the clergy; other officiants named by Section 11 of the New York Domestic Relations Law. The officient does not have to live in New York, but to perform a ceremony in New York City he must be registered with the city.

Proxy marriages – Not permitted. No one else can apply for the license on behalf of the bride and or groom, even if they have power of attorney. Nor can a notarized statement take the place of a personal appearance.

Same sex marriages: Permitted.

Marriage license application form — The bride and groom must appear together and sign the form in the presence of a City (or Town) Clerk. In New York City, you can begin the process online, but to complete it you must still appear in person. The license is normally processed while you wait, but except by judicial waiver, which you can request from the Clerk, you must wait 24 hours before the ceremony can be performed. After you receive the license, you must marry within 60 days, or 180 days if you are active-duty military. No matter where you received the license, the wedding ceremony can be performed anywhere in New York, but nowhere outside of the state.

The application requires your current address; country and date of birth; parent’s names and their country of birth, your social security number; and a record of any previous marriages, including, if applicable, any divorce decrees and death certificates. All divorce decrees must be final before you can apply for a marriage license.

The application asks if you would like to choose a new surname, giving you a set of options to choose from, such as the surname, or any former surname, of your spouse. If you choose a surname different from your current one, it becomes legal as soon as you marry. If you should want to change your surname again once you marry, you must remarry. A surname choice is not considered a mistake (at least not legally) and cannot be changed through the amendment process otherwise used to correct mistakes on your Marriage Certificate. You should report the name change to any Social Security Administration office.

Required Documents

In addition to the application for a marriage license, you will need:

Identification: To prove identity, you must show one of these: U.S. driver’s license, non-driver government issued photo ID, active U.S. military ID,  passport, Certificate of Naturalization, Alien Registration Card, U.S. Employment authorization card. Parents of couples under 18 will need proper identification, as well.

Final divorce decrees, dissolution of marriage, and death certificates. These may be asked for, if applicable, and should be originals or certified copies. A completed marriage license application form serves as a statement of no legal impediment.

Marriage license fee – Varies slightly, depending on where you apply. In New York City, for instance, it is $35 and must be paid by credit card of money order payable to the City Clerk, while in the Catskills, it is $40, payable only in cash.

For more information

Marrying in New York City 

As requirements are subject to change, do not consider any of this legal advice, and verify all information from local wedding coordinators and other sources before arriving.