importance of marriage records

Do Marriage Licenses Transfer from State to State?

Looking to plan your wedding in a different state than the one you live in? Wondering “Do marriage licenses transfer from state to state?” You’ll want to make sure you learn about the state’s marriage license restrictions well before your wedding date. A common question couples ask when planning a wedding is “Do marriage licenses transfer from state to state?” and the answer is no, they do not. A marriage record or marriage certificate, which is received as legal proof of marriage after the ceremony, will be legally recognized in all states. Because your marriage license will not transfer from one state to another, you’ll need to have the required documents prepared when you go in person to apply for the license. Typically, a marriage license is not hard to get when you do not hold residency in the same state as your ceremony, but there are a few things you should be prepared for during your application process.

Do Marriage Licenses Transfer From State to State?

Most states require you to apply for your marriage license at the town or county clerk’s office where the ceremony will be taking place. However, in some states, permanent residents must apply for their marriage license in the town or county where they live, while non-residents must apply in the town or county where the ceremony will take place. To clarify which town or county you must visit to apply for your marriage license, be sure to contact the county clerk’s office to discuss the state’s individual requirements. And don’t fret, they will be familiar with the “is a marriage license valid in all states” question!


Once you have determined where you’ll have to apply for your marriage license, you should ask about any required wait times and the license duration. It isn’t uncommon for a marriage license to come with a three day waiting period between the application and issuance, but again every state is different. Your state of choice may not have any waiting period, in which case you can apply for your out of state marriage license and get married in the same day! Be sure you also ask about the license duration period too. You may be required to use the marriage license within as little as 10 days after receiving it. On the other hand, you may find out you’re lucky enough to have applied in a state with no marriage license expiration date.


Last but not least, be sure that you have the required vital records and documents needed to apply for a marriage license. In most cases, both you and your soon-to-be spouse will be required to have a valid form of photo ID, such as a passport,  driver’s license or military ID, a social security card, and/or a birth certificate. In order to complete your application process, your documents must be  valid, current, government certified documents so make sure everything is up to date prior to your application day. If you do need to update your birth certificate or need help obtaining a birth certificate to apply for one of the other forms of ID, you can visit VitalChek’s express online ordering system and you’ll have your birth certificate in hand in no time.


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