If you're getting married in the District of Columbia you must first apply for a wedding license at the Marriage License Bureau in the Superior Court of DC. This document provides the instructions you must follow to obtain a valid marriage license that can be used district-wide. Let's begin…
Cost of Your License
How much does a marriage license cost?
The marriage license fee is $45.00 ($35.00 for the application and $10 for the license fee). Accepted forms of payment are cash.
Are there any special residency conditions for in-state or out-of-state residents?
There are none. You do not have to be a previous or current resident of Washington DC to obtain a marriage license that will be valid statewide.
After I submit my application how long do I have to wait before I receive my marriage license?
There is a mandatory 5 day waiting period before your license is issued to you. In most states, the waiting period does not include Saturdays, Sundays or federal holidays. In some instances, the day the application is filed is not included within the waiting period timeline.
Is there a waiting period from the moment the license is given to me to the date I'm allowed to actually marry?
No, you can get married immediately after your marriage license is issued.
How long will my marriage license remain valid once it's been issued?
Your marriage license will never expire once it's been issued.
What happens if my marriage license expires before I get a chance to use it?
This scenario wouldn't apply to you because, as stated above, your license will not expire once it's been issued to you.
How old must I be to get married?
You must be at least 18 years of age or older to marry without parental consent. A birth certificate may be necessary to show proof of age.
What if one or both of us is younger than 18?
If either partner is under 18, parental consent forms must be signed. You will need a certified copy of your birth certificate. If you are under 16 you can not marry.
Are blood tests and physical exams required?
Yes, the couple is required to take a blood test for syphilis prior to receiving a license. The bride is also required to take a blood test for venereal desease. The blood test must be analyzed by a state certified laboratory and recorded on a state form. This form can be obtained from the physician, clinic, or the Office of the Town Clerk. Test results become invalid after 30 days.
Divorced or Widowed Applicants
What if one or both partners have been divorced or have had a spouse die?
If you were previously married, the date of your divorce or the date of your spouse's death must be provided. Bring a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate. If necessary, a copy of your divorce records or spouse's death certificate can be ordered from your local vital records office and mailed to you.
Marriage Name Change
How do I legally change my name before or after I get married?
When you are married, you will receive a marriage certificate, which is a piece of paper proving that you are legally married. This document will serve as evidence of your marriage, which you'll need to complete the process of notifying several government agencies about your name change, as well as any non-government institutions that you do business with (ie, banks, employers, credit cards, memberships, etc).
There is an online marriage name change kit that you can use and complete before or after your marriage takes place. It's applicable for Washington DC or any other state in the union. Completing all the necessary name change documentation prior to your wedding is recommended in order to expedite the name change process.
What is a proxy marriage?
A proxy marriage, also known as a "proxy wedding," is when one or both partners to be married are unable to physically attend the ceremony. The missing person, or persons, will have someone "stand in" for them and serve as their "proxy."
Can I get married by proxy if I'm unable to to be present for the ceremony?
No, getting married by proxy is not allowed in Washington DC. There are actually only five states left that do allow marriage by proxy.
Common Law Marriage
What is a common law marriage?
The term "common law marriage" refers to an informal marriage, based upon cohabitation and a mutual understanding by both partners, rather than getting married through a civil or religious ceremony. The latter, more common approach, would require an actual Washington DC marriage license.
Is a common law marriage a legal option for me instead of undergoing a conventional marriage?
Yes, common-law marriages are allowed in Washington DC. The fact that it is a viable option in this district is notable considering common law marriage is not available in four-fifths of the country.
Can I get married to my cousin?
Yes, cousin marriages (first, second, etc) are allowed to take place.
Same Sex Marriage
Are same sex marriages legal?
Yes, same-sex marriages are allowed and legally recognized in Washington DC.
Where to Go
Where do I physically need to go to get my marriage license?
Washington DC has only one office where a marriage license can be acquired. Simply choose the single location below to visit. Map and driving direction links are provided for the address.
Washington, DC 20001