Marriage licenses are issued to applicants on the spot. A marriage license is valid for 90 days. There are no citizenship or residency requirements, nor are blood tests required to obtain a marriage license. Applicants must be over 18 years old. Couples can begin the process for submitting an application for a marriage license online. (See Online Services.)
For your convenience, appointments are accepted but not required. Online applicants are given priority.
Walk in applicants are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Afternoons and Fridays are the busiest times.
Payment can be made by cash, personal check, cashier's check, money order, Discover, American Express, MasterCard/Visa Credit and Debit.
To complete the application for a marriage license, a couple must:
Appear together in person.
Each present one form of a valid non-expired photo identification (such as a driver's license or passport).
If divorced within the last 90 days, please provide a certified copy of the divorce decree. If spouse is deceased within the previous 90 days, please provide a certified copy of the death certificate.
Select the name each wishes to use after marriage, to be listed on the marriage license. Couples are not required to change their names nor are they required to take the same name. However, if a name change is desired, it must be correctly reflected before the marriage license is signed. Once the license is signed, names can only be changed by a court order.
Both individuals must be able to read, speak and understand English. If not, the couple must bring a third party translator to obtain a license and to have a ceremony performed. The department does not provide translation services.
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license is a public record, and anyone can request a copy or information from the record. This license can be used anywhere in the state of California.
Confidential Marriage License
A confidential marriage license becomes a confidential record, and the only people able to obtain information about it are the couple, except by special court order. The requirements to obtain this type of license are:
Couple must be living together prior to the marriage.
The ceremony must be held in Orange County.
United States Armed Forces Stationed Overseas
A member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is stationed overseas serving in a conflict or a war and is unable to appear for the issuance of a license and solemnization of the marriage may enter into the marriage by the appearance of an attorney-in-fact, commissioned and empowered in writing for that purpose through a power of attorney. The attorney-in-fact must personally appear at the Clerk-Recorder Department with the party who is not stationed overseas, and present the original power of attorney, duly signed by the party stationed overseas and acknowledged by a notary or witnessed by two officers of the United States Armed Forces.
The power of attorney shall state the true legal names of the parties to be married, and that the power of attorney is solely for the purpose of authorizing the attorney-in-fact to obtain a marriage license on the person's behalf and to participate in the solemnization of the marriage. The original power of attorney shall be a part of the marriage certificate upon registration.
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