California marriage records are maintained by the vital records department of the California Department of Public Health and the County Recorder's Office in the county where the marriage license was issued.
The state of California issues two types of certified copies of marriage certificates. One is a certified authorized copy and the other is a certified informational copy. An authorized copy can only be obtained by certain individuals such as the persons listed on the document, parent, legal guardian, a member of the law enforcement and others who are conducting official business. Informational copies contain the same information as the authorized copies but will indicate on the face of the document that it is not valid to prove identity.
A sworn statement is required for any person who requests an authorized certified copy of a marriage certificate .The sworn statement must also be notarized. If you request a certified copy of a marriage license from the California Department of health the fee will be $14. It may take several months if you request California marriage records from the state vital records department. The processing time will be less if you submit your request to the county clerk's office where the license was issued.
The couple to be married must appear in person at the office of the county clerk. Each party must present valid picture identification in order to apply for a marriage license. Acceptable forms of identification will include: a driver's license, passport, military ID, etc. In some counties a birth certificate may also be required. It is not necessary to be a resident of California to receive a marriage license in California. However, if either party has been married before, they will need to provide the exact date that the last marriage ended. In some counties you may be required to present a copy of the final judgment.
Marriage by proxy is not permitted in the state of California. State law requires the two parties, and witness if applicable, be physically present together at the same location where the marriage is to be performed.
There is no requirement for blood tests in California to receive a marriage license. Marriage licenses in California are generally valid for 90 of the date it is issued. If the wedding ceremony does not take place within 90 days the license will expire. The couple will have to purchase a new license. Couples will not receive a copy of their marriage license after they have been married unless they request it.
In California there are many counties where the county clerk will perform a civil marriage ceremony in their office. If you wish a county clerk to perform a wedding ceremony, you may contact the county clerk in the town you want to be married in. If someone other than the county clerk performs the ceremony, the marriage license must be returned to the county clerk within 10 days of the date of the ceremony. Fees for marriage licenses may vary from county to county.
For access to a California marriage certificate, follow the instructions below:
Download and complete the California Marriage Record Application.
Read the instructions completely. Complete the form, including all required information about you, the applicant, and the Marriage Certificate section.
Sign the Sworn Statement included with the application stating your relationship to the person(s) listed on the certificate.
Send the application along with a fee of $14 by check or money order.
Additional information can be obtained by contacting the California Agency listed below:
California Department of Public Health Office of Vital Records
P.O. Box 997410
Sacramento, CA 95899-7410
Guide to Requesting California Marriage Records
The State of California issues two types of marriage records: public and confidential. Marriage certificates marked "Confidential" are only available through the County Clerk's Office. All other public California marriage records are available through the Vital Records Office.
Obtaining a California Marriage Document
While the California Department of Public Health Office of Vital Records maintains records of marriage certificates, they are experiencing a delay of up to six months for marriage document requests. You may, however, contact a County Recorder's Office directly. All requests for marriage records must be via mail. If you are requesting a "Confidential" marriage record, you must directly contact the County Clerk's Office in the county the marriage took place.
New Laws About California Marriage Records
As of January 1, 2010, California may issue certified copies of marriage records either as an authorized copy for identification purposes to the individuals named on the record, or an informational copy to all other requestors.