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Marriage Laws U.S. California San Diego County Clerk

Here's what you need to know and what documents to bring with you before you apply for a San Diego County marriage license. We recommend getting this legal aspect of your wedding out of the way about a month before your ceremony date.

How Much a Marriage License Cost?

California law requires a couple to obtain a marriage license in order to have a legally binding wedding ceremony. Some states require a medical examination or blood tests in order to obtain a license. All require proof of identification and a license application fee.

In San Diego it will cost you $70 for a public license and $89 for the confidential marriage license.


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Marriage License in San Diego

Public Marriage License:

This office only issues marriage licenses if both parties are at least 18 years of age. If either party is under 18, special requirements apply.

Appointments are required. Both parties must appear together at one of our office locations.

Marriage Requirements:

Each person must present one form of valid photo identification with proof of age. To expedite the identification process, it is recommended that both parties bring a certified copy of their birth certificate.

Couples applying for a marriage license must be unmarried:

The Name Equality Act of 2007 gives specific rights to parties at the time they are applying for a California marriage license to choose and list on the marriage license the new name that each party will go by after marriage. Please refer to the Name Equality Act.

Your public marriage license is effective immediately and valid for 90 days anywhere within the state of California.

Once you have your marriage license the ceremony can be performed at the church of your choice, a wedding chapel, or a civil ceremony may be performed by this office.

After the ceremony, the license must be returned to our office for recording. Certified copies may be purchased one week after the license is returned to our office.

Witness Requirement:

  1. If you are having a civil ceremony and have already purchased a non-confidential marriage license, you will need at least one witness.


  2. You may bring your own witness or this office can provide a witness for a fee of $18.00.


  3. If you are having a civil ceremony and have already purchased a confidential marriage license, you will not need a witness.


  4. You will not need a witness to purchase a marriage license

Fees:

The fee for a public marriage license is $70.00. Application: English  Spanish

The fee for a confidential marriage license is $89.00. Application: English  Spanish

For information on a Confidential Marriage License, click Confidential Marriages.

If you need to speak with a Marriage Section staff member, call (619) 237-0502.

Se habla Español.

Marriage License Under 18:

This section contains information on how to obtain a marriage license if either party is under 18 years of age. You must go through Juvenile Court and comply with the requirements set by them.

The address and phone number is:

Juvenile Court
2851 Meadowlark Drive
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 634-1600

Both parties must then make an appointment by calling (619) 237-0502 and appear together in our office and have the following requirements:

Couples applying for a marriage license must be unmarried:

Bring all of the requirements to the Clerk of the Court at the Juvenile Court. The Clerk will review the material and present it to a judge for his or her signature before a marriage license can be issued.

If you have further questions, please call our office at (619) 237-0502.

Confidential Marriage License:

To obtain a Confidential Marriage License, the couple must make an appointment by calling (619) 237-0502 and appear together at one of our office locations.

Each person must present one form of valid photo identification with proof of age. To expedite the identification process, it is recommended that the couple bring certified copies of their birth certificates.

Couples applying for a marriage license must be unmarried:

In order to issue a Confidential Marriage License:

  1. Both parties must swear in writing that they have already been living together.
  2. The marriage ceremony may be performed ONLY in San Diego County.

The marriage record will be maintained as Confidential and ONLY the couple named on the record may obtain copies of the marriage certificate, EXCEPT by Court order.

The cost of a Confidential Marriage License is $89.00. Application: English  Spanish

Please Note: The office of the Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk strongly advises that a public marriage license be issued except in those instances where the confidentiality of the marriage is vitally important. Couples who choose the Confidential License should be aware that when certified copies of the Confidential Marriage License are requested, the copies can ONLY be issued to the couple.

Once you have your marriage license the ceremony may be performed at the church of your choice, a wedding chapel, or a Civil ceremony may be performed by this office. No witness is required for a Confidential Marriage.

Marriage license Appointments:

An appointment is required to obtain a marriage license and/or civil ceremony.

  • Appointment line hours are from 8:00am - 4:00pm, Monday through Friday.


  • To schedule an appointment for our Downtown, San Marcos and El Cajon offices, please call (619) 237-0502. Se habla Español.


  • Walk–in marriage license services are not available. Couples must have an appointment.

Authorized Notaries:

If you need a confidential marriage license issued or ceremony performed outside of our normal business hours, you may wish to contact an Authorized Notary.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, possess valid government issued picture identification, and already be living together as spouses.

For the list of Authorized Notaries click here.

Persons authorized to solemnize (perform) marriage ceremonies in California:

Any judge or retired judge of this State; Commissioner of Civil Marriages or retired Commissioner of Civil Marriages; Commissioner or retired Assistant Commissioner of a Court of Record or Justice Court in this state; any judge or magistrate of the U.S.or any priest, minister or rabbi of any religious denomination of the age of 18 or over. A marriage may also be solemnized by a judge or magistrate of the U.S. who has resigned from office. 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.

Copy of Certificate of Marriage:

Copies of San Diego County birth certificates, San Diego County death certificates and public San Diego County marriage records (for marriage licenses that were issued in San Diego County). You may order copies of San Diego County vital records through USAVital on an expedited basis.

It is important that you verify all information with your local marriage license bureau or county clerk office before making any wedding or travel plans.

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.

To notify us of corrections or additions send an email to update@usmarriagelaws.com.

San Diego Marriage License Office Locations:

All offices closed for holidays.


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