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.


  1. When i come back to California where i live, who notifies california that i got married myself or the state i was married in?

    1. Congratulations on your marriage Virginia, and thank you for your question. If your name will be changing after your marriage, it is likely that the state where you currently live will be notified as you update documents such as your state-ID or driver’s license, Social Security card, voter registration, etc. If your name is not changing, you may want to contact the State with your updated marital status information. Best Regards.

  2. If my ex-husband and I elope to a different state and re marry, how does it go on record that we remarried in the state we r from?

    1. Hello Cheiron. You may want to contact the vital records agency in the state where you reside to find out if you are required to submit any legal documentation of your marriage.

  3. Hi,
    I have been staying in Maharashtra but got married in Madhya Pradesh.
    If I need to get a marriage certificate, will I have to approach MAhrashta Corporation. Or Madhya Pradesh office.


    1. Hello. Unfortunately, we are not knowledgeable about the rules and regulations that pertain to vital records in the various states within India. We suggest you consult with the local registrar for more information on how to obtain a copy of your marriage certificate. We wish you the best.

  4. I live in Ohio. He lives in Indiana. We want to marry in Indiana but reside in Ohio. What do we need to do? Also both of us have been divorced.

    1. Hello Debbie. We suggest you contact the County Clerk’s office in the area in Indiana where you intend to get married. They should be able to fill you in on the requirements for obtaining your marriage license.

  5. My husband and I live in Indiana we got married in Florida our marriage license had caught fire in our house fire. My question is I had never filed for our license in Indiana are we still legally married in the state of Indiana?

    1. Hello Bobbie. We are sorry to hear about your house fire. To the best of our knowledge you wouldn’t need to “file” a record of your marriage in Indiana. If you ever need to have a certified copy of your marriage certificate, you can contact Florida Vital Statistics or an online ordering service such as VitalChek to order a new copy.

  6. If I live in North Dakota and am having a destination wedding in Littleton, Colorado.. can I get my license in North Dakota

    and take it with to the marriage ceremony or do I need to get it fill out and pay for the Colorado marriage license. I do believe that the signed license after the ceremony is valid in all states but can we
    use the North Dakota licenses as a legal document in Colorado. I know that we need certain documents to apply for a license.

    1. Hello Pamela. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. The best thing to do would be to contact the county clerk’s office in Colorado to determine whether they will recognize a SD marriage license or not. We wish you the best.

  7. My fiancé is a California resident I live in New York can we get married in New York and move bk to California together

    1. Hello Robert. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. We can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be able to reside together in California.

  8. Hello,
    If I’m filing for a divorce and I currently live in a different state from we were married in Orange Beach, Alabama. How do I go about it? My ex lives in Wisconsin, and I live in Texas.

    1. Hello Tamika. You do not have to go back to the state that issued your marriage license to file for divorce. You will more than likely need to file in the state where you or your spouse has established residency. Each state may have different requirements regarding the length of time that you must have lived there before you can get a divorce in the state. (A few states have no residency requirements) You may need to present proof of residency such as a valid driver’s license, voter ID card, etc.

  9. If i get married in new Orleans and i am from Michigan, do i get my marriage license in new Orleans or Michigan? when we get married in new Orleans do i send the certificate in that state or back in Michigan?

    1. Hello. Thanks for reaching out with your question about applying for a marriage license. You will need to apply for the marriage license in the place where the event occurs – New Orleans, Louisiana. Be sure to check ahead of time if LA has any residency requirements in order to issue a marriage license. Regarding your second question, your marriage certificate will more than likely be on file in the state where the ceremony took place so you would order copies from the state of Louisiana.

  10. I was married in Florida 6 years ago and now live in Kentucky and I’ve been waiting for a divorce for a few years now. I am currently pregnant (not by him) and was told since I’m married his name will come back on the birth certificate instead of the actual fathers, even if I put the baby’s father name on the hospital paper work. Will that happen if our marriage was in Florida?

    1. Hello Alysha. Each state may have different guidelines for the information that appears on a child’s birth certificate. It may be necessary for a paternity test to be taken in order for the baby’s father rather than your husband’s name to be on the birth certificate. We suggest you contact the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services for the most accurate information on this subject.

  11. Hello, If i live in Pennsylvania and want to get married in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where do i apply for my marriage license?

    1. Hello Tammy. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. In most instances, you will need to get your marriage license in the state where the marriage will occur. Click here for more information about applying for a marriage license in the state of New Jersey. Hope this information helps!

  12. Hi, I’m from Texas, and my fiance is from California. We going to get married in Vegas. I plan to move back to L.A with him, but temporarily, we both plan to move to Lincoln, Ne just not sure how long after we get married before we do this. Sense the marriage will take place in Vegas, and I plan to have my sirname changed legally, will our marriage be valid as we move, or do we have to contact each state as we arrive?

    1. Hello Jasmine. Thanks for reaching out with your question. If you are legally married in Vegas, there’s should be no problem with your marriage being recognized where ever you live.

  13. Hello I’m from Louisiana but I just recently moved to Dallas can I get a marriage license in Dallas and have a ceremony in Louisiana???

    1. Hello Al. Thanks for reaching out with your question. If you wish to get married in Louisiana, you will more than likely need to apply for your marriage license in Louisiana where a marriage license is issued by the Clerk of Court in the parish where the event is to take place.

  14. Hello. I’m living in Atlanta, but my wife and I secretly eloped to Nevada to get married. We are going to have a full wedding ceremony because my family doesn’t know that we are married. Is it possible to get a license renewal in GA?

    1. Hello Joe. Congratulations! You may want to contact the county clerk in Georgia to determine what steps you need to take.

  15. My fiancé and I will be getting married in NY and PA with two different ceremonies. Do we need to register for a marriage License in both states to get married or just one?

    1. Hello Stacy. More than likely you will need to apply for a marriage license in both states. Since requirements can vary from state to state, we suggest you contact the county clerk’s offices in both locations for more information. Congratulations!

  16. My son and his girlfriend want to get married in Reno, Nevada but are legal residents of California and will be living in California after they marry. How do they file their paperwork here in California?

    1. Hello Nancy. If they intend to get married in Reno, they will need to submit an application for a marriage license to the Washoe County Clerk’s office in Nevada..

  17. Can i get married in vegas and come back to south carolina without the state knowing? I want it to remain a secret once i return, so do i just not turn in the license?

    1. More than likely, your marriage will just be filed in the county in Nevada where you get married and you will be mailed a copy of your certificate after it is registered. You may want to check with the Clark County Clerk to see if they send any notification back to South Carolina.

      1. ok thanks so much and this is also the same answer if i were to get married in Tennessee as well?

        1. To the best of our knowledge…yes.

  18. Hello if I get married in Ohio and I live in Michigan do I have to noftied Michigan or will Ohio let Michigan know I get married

    1. Hello. I don’t believe there is any requirement that you have to notify the state of Michigan that you were married in Ohio nor do I think Ohio will do it for you. Once you are married you will need a certified copy of a marriage certificate if you need to change your name or get a new Social Security card or driver’s license. You can get a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the vital records office in the area where the marriage took place or through an online ordering service such as VitalChek.

  19. Hi I am performing a ceremony in Monterey Ca… the couple are residents of Minnesota.. where should they obtain their license.. Ca or Minnesota?

    1. Hello Marie. The marriage license will be obtained in California as that is where the event will take place.

  20. Hello, my fiance an I both live in Ohio and will be married in Kentucky. After getting a marriage license and performing the ceremony in Kentucky, do we need to inform Ohio of our marriage? If so, what is the process of doing so?

    1. More than likely, there is nothing you need to do as far as notifying the state specifically about your marriage. If a name change or address change is involved, you will need to update your driver’s license, etc. You can contact the county clerk’s office in the area where you live to find out if there is anything you need to do once the marriage has occurred.

  21. Hello,
    My Fiance and I live in Ohio but plan to Elope in Niagara Falls, Canada. I will not be changing my last name. So will i have to rwport to anyone when we get back? Also we have signed and notirized a form as far as our assets and debt if something would happen to us.

    1. Thank you for your question, and congratulations. While you may not be changing your name after getting married, you will still need to file the marriage license in the state where you currently live. This will ensure that your marriage is officially recorded, and that you and your spouse will have all the legal rights associated with the marriage. You may also wish to notify your banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, etc. as they may require updated marital status information. Best wishes on your upcoming ceremony.

  22. if i apply in kansas can i have my ceromony in okla?

    1. Hello Dustin. You will need to apply for your marriage license in the area in which the ceremony will take place.

  23. I got my marriage license in St Clair county Michigan but married in Wayne county michigan. Is my marriage valid? Someone said it wasn’t if it wasn’t in the same county as I applied in that I married

    1. Hello Jessi. Your best bet will be to contact the clerk’s offices in St. Clair County and also in Wayne County for an accurate answer to your question.

  24. Me and my husband are married in one state my husband goes to a different state and gets married how do I or the state find out that he is already previously married

    1. Hello. If someone is legally married, that marriage should be a matter of public record so you may be able to find your answer through a public records search.

  25. Is my marriage not valid if the license is for Virginia but actually got married in West Virginia

    1. Hello Greg. We suggest you contact the Clerk’s office in the West Virginia County where the marriage took place for more information as to whether they recognize out of state marriage licences.

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