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Santa Cruz County
Public license Fee: $90
Confidential License Fee: $90
701 Ocean Street, Rm. 210
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. / M – F
(except for Court Approved Holidays)
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Before a marriage license can be issued, First Person and Second Person must bring in a valid photo I.D. with birth date (e.g., drivers license, military I.D., passport, or green card, etc.)
There are two different types of marriage licenses in California, and they can be obtained in two different ways.
Confidential Marriage License and a Public Marriage License:
- A “public” California marriage license is a marriage license that is available to the public for viewing.
- A “confidential” marriage license allows all the personal information on a marriage license to be protected from public view. Only a court order or a notarized application by either spouses can obtain a copy of the information.
The following information is required on a marriage license application.
For both spouses, or party A and party B, the information needed for marriage license requirements is below.
- A valid driver’s license or a DMV issued Identification Card. If you do not have either of these, you must provide a certified copy of your birth certificate and another acceptable form of picture I.D.
- To obtain a Confidential Marriage License, party A and party B must be living together as a married couple. The same I.D. requirements as mentioned above are applicable.
A valid photo I.D. with birth date is required (e.g., drivers license, military I.D., passport, or green card, etc.)
Waiting Period in California:
There is no waiting period. You will receive your marriage license immediately after you submit your application.
You do not need to be a California resident to marry in Santa Cruz County.
If either party has been granted a divorce within 90 days of applying for a new marriage license, a copy of the final divorce decree must be presented.
Marriage License Fees:
It will cost you $90 (fee subject to change) for a public license and $90 (fee subject to change) for a confidential license. Preferred method of payment is by cas or check. For guidance on additional methods of payment, please call ahead.
Marriage by proxy is NOT allowed in California. Family Code, Section 420(a), requires the two parties, marriage officiant and witness if applicable be physically present together in the same location for the marriage to be performed.
Common Law Marriages:
Blood test in California:
Blood tests are NOT required to obtain a marriage license in California.
Getting a marriage license with your new name on it does not mean your name has automatically changed. If you need to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit.
California State Law requires that any couple wishing to marry, when either or both are under 18 years of age, must obtain written consent of one parent who has legal custody and a court order filed in Superior Court approving the issuance of a marriage license. The minor must apply for a marriage license in their county of residence. The residence of a minor is by law that of the parent or guardian.
- Premarital Counseling – contact the Superior Court at 831.420.2200 for details.
- All minors who wish to marry will need to obtain a court order first that grants them permission to obtain a marriage license and to get married. Contact Family Court Services at 831.786.7325, for details on obtaining a court order. Their office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- To apply for a marriage license the couple should come to the Santa Cruz County Clerk’s Office, located at 701 Ocean St. Rm. 210, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The telephone number is 831.454.2060.
- They will need to present completed applications, the certified copy of the court order, valid government issued photo identification, as well as the payment for the license. Payment may be made by check or cash.
- Minors may not be issued a confidential marriage license under any circumstances (Family Code Section 500).
Officiants in California:
California Family Code, Section 400 states the persons authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies in California are as follows:
A priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination.
A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or retired commissioner of civil marriages, commissioner or retired commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this state.
A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.
Any of the following judges or magistrates of the United States.
A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme Court.
A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district court, or a court created by an act of Congress the judges of which are entitled to hold office during good behavior.
A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court.
A United States magistrate or retired magistrate.
A legislator or constitutional officer of this state or a member of Congress who represents a district within this state, while that person holds office.
The person solemnizing the marriage must return the original marriage license to the County Clerk or County Recorder as applicable within 10 days of the date of the ceremony. Addresses should be on the county site.
You will NOT receive a copy of your marriage license after you have been married unless you request and pay for a certified copy from the County Clerk or County Recorder as applicable.
ALL information on the marriage license MUST be legible, unambiguous and reproducible. DO NOT change any information on the license, cross out information, use white out, etc., as that will require the payment for and issuance of a duplicate marriage license. Contact the County Clerk’s Office if you have questions about completing the marriage license and/or incorrect information contained on the marriage license.
The public marriage license requires the signature of one witness,
and if desired, has a place for an additional witness. No more than two
witnesses may sign on the public marriage license. Only one signature
per line is allowed. No witnesses may sign on the confidential marriage
License Validity Time:
- Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do
not get married within 90 days, the license will no longer be valid. You must
purchase a new license.
- Public Marriage License can be used throughout the state of California.
- Confidential Marriage License can only be used in the county where purchased.
California birth, death, fetal death, still birth, marriage and divorce records are maintained by the California Department of Public Health Vital Records.
Please Note: State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. For more information regarding California marriage license laws please visit www.sccoclerk.com.