The process of getting legally married in New York is extremely straight forward in comparison to many other destinations. It simply involves first obtaining a Marriage License, followed by a Marriage Ceremony conducted by a licensed Marriage Officiant.
Obtaining a Marriage License
All couples intending to get married in New York State will require a Marriage License issued by the Office of the New York City Clerk. It is possible to begin the application process online, however both applicants must then appear together in person at the Office of the Clerk in order to complete the process.
The following information will be required when making an application for a Marriage Licence;
1) Name; current address; city, state, ZIP code and country; country of birth; date of birth; name and country of birth of your parents; Social Security number.
2) If you were married before, you must list all prior marriages. You must include your previous spouse’s full name; the date the divorce decree was granted; and the city, state, and country where the divorce was issued. You may also be required to produce the final divorce decree.
3) If you are widowed, you must provide your spouse’s full name and date of death.
4) Proof of your identity must be provided in the form of a current Passport, or other document approved by the Office of the New York City Clerk. Applicants should check with the Office of the Clerk for advice regarding approved documents.
Your application will be processed while you wait, and once issued, it is valid for 60 days from the date of issue (180 days for active military personnel). Once the application has been issued to you, you must wait 24 hours before your Marriage Ceremony can be performed.
The Marriage Ceremony
Once you have a valid Marriage License, your Marriage Ceremony can take place at any location you wish within the state of New York, including within the City Clerk’s office.
Marriage Ceremony in the City Clerk’s Office
Couples can choose to marry in the Office of the Clerk of New York during regular business hours, however it is not possible to make an appointment for this, or to reserve a specific time. Couples should arrive together, along with at least one witness over the age of 18, and you must provide the same proof of identity that you supplied when applying for your Marriage License. Your witness must also provide proof of their identity in the form of a current Passport or other document approved by the Office of the Clerk.
Marriage Ceremony Outside of the City Clerk’s Office
Couples can marry in any location they choose within the State of New York, provided that their ceremony is conducted by a licensed Marriage Officiant. If the ceremony is to take place in the City of New York, the Officiant must be registered with the Office of the City Clerk. Couples can confirm this by calling 311 within New York, or inquiry by mail to;
Office of the City Clerk
Marriage Officiant Registration Clerk
141 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013
At the conclusion of the marriage ceremony, the Marriage License is signed by the Officiant, the couple and the witness or witnesses. The License will then be returned to the Office of the City Clerk by the Officiant.
Certificate of Marriage Registration
A certificate of Marriage Registration is proof of your legal marriage in the State of New York. This document contains the date, time, and location of your marriage ceremony, along with the name of the Officiant and any change in surname. If you are married in the City Clerk’s office, the certificate is issued at the conclusion of your ceremony. If you are married in a different location, the certificate is issued via mail, usually within 20 days from the date that your signed Marriage License is returned by your Officiant.
Same-Sex Marriage in New York
New York’s Marriage Equality Act was signed into law by Governor Cuomo on June 24, 2011, allowing same-sex couples to marry legally in New York. This law took effect on July 24, 2011 and same-sex couples are now eligible and welcome to marry in New York.
Marriage Under the Age of Eighteen
If either prospective spouse is under the age of 18 years, the couple must have written parental consent to obtain a Marriage Licence. Both parents must also be present at the time of application and at the Marriage Ceremony if it is to be performed in the City Clerk’s office.
For more information on legal marriage in New York, visit the Office of the New York City Clerk’s website; https://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/content/marriage-bureau
NOTE: The information contained in this article is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Couples should always seek the advice of their own Embassy to request accurate and up to date information on the requirements for legal marriage in New York. These requirements may vary, depending upon your own personal circumstances.