What makes a marriage license invalid

What Makes a Marriage License Invalid?

When dreaming of all the components of a perfect wedding day, it’s easy for your mind to drift to thoughts of your stunning white dress, jaw-dropping floral pieces, and your loved ones surrounding you as you tie the knot. There aren’t many of us who are thinking about applying for a marriage license or obtaining a marriage certificate. The paperwork is more of a boring afterthought compared to the happily ever after that awaits you! 

Before getting all wrapped up in the fun stuff, it’s important to know which documents you will need to have and how a marriage license can be deemed invalid. Similar to how you want a stellar wedding planner on your side to make your big day go smoothly, you’ll want to have all your ducks in a row in terms of paperwork so you can focus on enjoying your wedding with your partner.

Marriage License vs. Certificate

Before we get right into the gritty details about what makes a marriage license invalid, we first want to cover the differences between a marriage license and a marriage certificate.

A marriage license is a document you will apply for before you get married. This license is typically issued by a county clerk and officially allows you and your partner to marry based on the marriage laws in your county. Looking for a quick reference of marriage laws by state? Check out this comprehensive list at WeddingWire.

With regards to your marriage license, you will only need it up until your big day. Once you and your partner say “I do”, you can just about forget about your marriage license! A marriage certificate, on the other hand, is a certified vital record that you can use throughout your lifetime as proof of your marriage. You will need it in order to change your name on other official documents, such as your driver’s license and social security card.

If you’re looking for more detail on the differences between a marriage license and a certificate, head on over to this blog for more info.

What Makes a Marriage License Invalid?

Now that we’ve covered the basic differences between a license and a certificate, it’s time to discuss what can make a marriage license invalid. If you and your partner are 100% honest with all information when applying for the marriage license, then you have nothing to worry about. In most cases, an invalid marriage license is the result of fraud. We highly recommend researching your local marriage laws before beginning the process to ensure there are no surprises and you don’t accidentally make a mistake on your marriage license.

The following list covers what can cause a marriage license to be deemed invalid:

  • Underage – know the age of consent!
  • Proof of ID – ensure you have proper ID when applying (ex. Birth certificate)
  • Fraud
  • Medical examinations (if required)
  • Certificates to prove divorce if previously married – make sure to have this documentation if you were previously married
  • Additional documentation – if you or your partner is not a U.S. citizen, make sure to know what you’ll need to provide when applying
  • Fulfilling a waiting period (if required)

As long as you are aware of your local marriage laws before applying for your marriage license, and you are not intentionally trying to commit fraud, the process of applying should be quick and easy. If you are unsure of any of your local laws, it may be worth consulting with a lawyer beforehand.

Mistakes on a Marriage License

A possible scenario after you apply for your marriage license is noticing a minor mistake after you both have signed the document. If this happens, don’t panic! Laws may differ depending on where you are applying, so you may need to do some quick research about the revision window for a document that is signed already.. 

You may be able to revise any mistakes on your marriage license for free if it’s within two weeks of initially signing it. Many states will ask you to file an affidavit to verify the mistake and the correction. We urge you to double check with your local county offices to confirm your local process to ensure there aren’t any additional hiccups.

We hope the above information was helpful in understanding what makes a marriage license invalid. If you need copies of certified vital records, like a birth, marriage, or divorce certificate, VitalChek can help. We pride ourselves on offering a completely online process backed with the highest standard of data security to give you peace of mind while you’re “skipping the line”.


  1. How do you find out the date of a marriage if you don’t know?
    I was married in Los Vegas, Nevada in the winter/spring of 1990. I registered it only recently at the Secratary of State’s office in Kalamazoo, MI
    Please advise me on this issue. I need this document to finish a name change.
    The groom’s name was Mark Alan Whittaker. I was awarded the name Sarah Jean Williams-Whitaker in court last year with one “T”.
    He went through a name change that same year for work purposes.

    1. Hello Sarah Jean. If you were legally married in Nevada, your marriage should be a matter of public record. You may be able to contact the Clark County Clerk’s office for more information.


    1. Hello Marika. For an accurate answer to your question, you may want to seek the opinion of a legal professional.

  3. We are in the process of divorce of 12 years we were married in 2007 in Montana and moved to Iowa in 2012 and are currently in this state, I’ve noticed 7 or 8 mistakes on the license itself, wondering if that can be grounds for not even having a valid marriage?

    1. Hello Drew. It is doubtful. If the mistakes you mention were on the actual license, which is the document you apply for previous to getting married, you can contact the county clerk’s office in Montana that issued the license for clarification. If you or your spouse presented false information in order to obtain the license, it might be possible there could be legal issues but as to what those would be, we cannot say. If the mistakes are on the certificates, it is possible they are clerical errors. You might bring this up to your divorce attorney if you have one.

    2. Soo me and my wife were married in January. But where my name is it says male and my license says female. Does this make it invalid?

      1. Hello Brayden. We suggest you contact the agency that issued the marriage certificate for more information on how to correct this error.

  4. My mistake on the certificate

  5. My sister in law accidentally put the wrong birth place and already got married. How can she fix it? Will she get it trouble?

    1. She can contact the agency that issued the certificate to find out the procedure for making the correction.

  6. How do I change my birth day on my marriage certificate? I was married on 1991, for some reason my birth year shows 1991 as well, I was born in 1971 so its obviously a clerical error.

    1. Hello Ruben. Thanks for reaching out with your question. Requirements for corrections/amendments may vary from agency to agency so you should contact the vital record agency that issued your marriage certificate to find out their procedure.

  7. Is my marriage invalid if I found out my husband’s social security number is fake

    1. Hello April. We apologize but we are unable to answer your question. Your best bet may be to consult with a legal professional.

  8. Thank you Larissa! While we make our mirriage! We rocord vital miarriage registration and my wife is gate to in US by 2016 Dv lottery and applying for me for process ! And when we checke our date of mirriage it has mistake date of mirriage! this is after filling form for process that time we will try to correct our mistake , but the time of our process is alread finished! Then after The immigration judges wrote Notes to appear! Now our mirriage certificate is corrected however our immigration judge apointment is next Augast 23,2020! My quistion
    1/Is it possple mirriage certificate correction?
    2/ is it affect our immigration process after correction?
    3/ Can we find lawyer during before immigration judge ?
    4/ This is high risk for US?

    1. Hello Dereje. Unfortunately I am unable to answer your questions. You best solution may be to seek legal assistance.

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