County of San Diego

ASSESSOR | RECORDER | COUNTY CLERK

Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr.

Marriage License & Civil Ceremony


Our office issues marriage licenses and performs civil ceremonies by appointment only. Read the requirements or watch this short video before scheduling an appointment.

After scheduling, complete the Marriage License Online Application to make your appointment more efficient. We are excited to see you and your partner at your scheduled appointment time.

Remember, you must do two things to be legally married:

  1. Obtain a marriage license before having a ceremony
  2. Have a ceremony officiated by someone authorized to solemnize marriages

General Information:

  • You must obtain a marriage license before having a ceremony.

  • A marriage license is valid for 90 days with NO extensions. A ceremony must take place within 90 days of the license issuance and within the State of California.

  • License fees are non-refundable.

  • After the ceremony, the marriage license must be signed by your officiant and returned to our office for registration. Registering the license may take up to 10 business days.

  • After the license is registered, you may purchase a copy of your marriage certificate (proof of marriage). One will not automatically be sent to you. 

  • Our office only registers licenses issued in San Diego County.

  • Appointments are available up to 7 weeks in advance and fill up quickly. Please plan accordingly. 

General Requirements:

  • Both parties must appear together to their appointment.

  • Both parties must present valid and current government-issued photo ID.

  • Appointments are required. Schedule your appointment before submitting the Marriage License Online Application.
  • Both parties must be 18 years old or older.

  • Both parties must be able to read, speak, and understand English or Spanish.
    • Issuing a marriage license in any other language is not permissible by County Clerk staff because we would be unable to confirm the communication that takes place.
    • If you would like a ceremony performed in another language, we suggest having someone you know apply to be a Deputy Commissioner for a Day.
    • Couples requiring American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation services must notify our office directly before booking an appointment. Please allow a minimum of two weeks' advance notice for sign language services.
       
  • Both parties must be unmarried at the time the license is issued. 
    • If either party was previously married and the dissolution is not yet final, even if it will be final before the wedding date, you will not be issued a marriage license.
    • If the dissolution was final within the past 90 days, please provide a copy of the final judgment.
    • If you are in a State Registered Domestic Partnership (SRDP), you may not enter into a marriage or be issued a license with someone other than your registered domestic partner, unless the most recent domestic partnership has been terminated or a final judgment of dissolution or nullity has been entered.
       
  • There is no residency requirement. 

Please note:

  • You will not automatically receive a copy of your marriage certificate (proof of marriage). You must submit a separate request and payment for a copy of your marriage certificate after the license is registered.

  • An active-duty 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 a military proxy, commissioned and empowered in writing for that purpose through a power of attorney. For more information, see the FAQs tab.

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

Public Marriage License:

  • This is the most common type of marriage license. Also known as the Non-Confidential Marriage License.

  • Must have at least one witness present at the ceremony.

  • No more than two witnesses may sign the marriage license after the ceremony.
    • No age requirement for witnesses, but must be old enough to understand that they are witnessing a marriage ceremony AND must be able to sign their own name without assistance.
       
  • Additional persons are authorized to receive copies of the public marriage certificate upon request. 

Confidential Marriage License:

  • No witnesses are required to be present at the ceremony.

  • No witnesses sign the marriage license.

  • Couples must be living together as spouses at the time they apply for the marriage license and must sign under penalty of perjury attesting to that fact.

  • Persons other than the married couple requesting copies of a confidential marriage certificate may only do so by presenting a court order.

  • Confidential marriage licenses may also be issued by an Authorized Notary Public. An Authorized Notary Public may be available to the public outside of normal business hours and office locations. Confirm availability with the Notary Public directly. Find an Authorized Notary Public in San Diego County.

Fees:

  • $70 Public Marriage License 
  • $89 Confidential Marriage License
  • $88 Civil Ceremony
  • $18 Witness provided by the County Clerk

Fees are payable by cash, check or money order, or credit/debit card.
An additional $2.50 surcharge is applicable for card payments.

Check or money order payable to: San Diego Recorder/County Clerk.

Civil Ceremony:

  • A valid marriage license must be purchased before solemnizing a marriage ceremony.

  • Appointments are required. You may obtain a marriage license and have a civil ceremony at the same time by selecting a “License and Ceremony” appointment type.

  • Appointments are available for indoor and outdoor ceremonies.
  • Both parties must be able to read, speak, and understand English or Spanish.
    • Performing a ceremony in any other language is not permissible by County Clerk staff because we would be unable to confirm the communication that takes place.
    • If you would like a ceremony performed in another language, we suggest having someone you know apply to be a Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day.
    • Couples requiring American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation services must notify our office directly before booking an appointment. Please allow a minimum of two weeks' advance notice for sign language services. 
       
  • For outdoor ceremonies, there is no limit to the number of guests you may have. For indoor ceremonies, there is a limit of 15-20 guests depending on location.

  • If you would like a friend or relative to perform the marriage ceremony at your chosen venue in California, we offer a Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day program. 

Witness Requirements:

  • For a Public Marriage License, you must have at least one witness present at your ceremony. No more than two witnesses sign the official marriage license.

  • For a Confidential Marriage License, no witnesses are required to be at your ceremony. No witnesses sign on the marriage license.

  • No age requirement. Witness must be old enough to know that they are witnessing a marriage ceremony AND must be able to sign their own name on the official marriage license without assistance.

  • Witnesses should not come to a “License Only” appointment (not having a civil marriage ceremony).

  • For civil marriage ceremonies performed by the County Clerk, you may bring your own witness. Our office may provide a witness for an additional fee.

  • A witness is different than a guest. There is no limit to the amount of guests for an outdoor civil ceremony. There is a limit of 15-20 guests for an indoor civil ceremony, depending on location.

Fees:

  • $88 Civil Ceremony
  • $18 Witness provided by the County Clerk
  • $70 Public Marriage License
  • $89 Confidential Marriage License

Fees are payable by cash, check or money order, or credit/debit card.
An additional $2.50 surcharge is applicable for card payments.

Check or money order payable to: San Diego Recorder/County Clerk.

 

IMPORTANT - Please read before scheduling an appointment:


Appointments are currently available up to 11/23/2022

Yes. Marriage License and Civil Ceremony appointments can be booked through our award-winning self-service system. See the Appointments tab for important information prior to scheduling. 

You must do two things to be legally married: 1) Obtain a marriage license before having a ceremony; and 2) Have a ceremony that is officiated by someone authorized to solemnize marriages. 

To purchase a marriage license, you must schedule an appointment to appear at one of our County Clerk offices together, with valid and current government-issued photo ID for both parties, a completed marriage license application, and payment. 

Both parties must be at least 18 years old. If either party is under 18 years of age, you must contact the San Diego County Juvenile Court at (858) 634-1600 for approval. You may also contact our office for additional information.

If either party has been divorced or filed a "Termination of Domestic Partnership” within the last 90 days, he/she must also bring the final divorce decree or termination documents with the judge's signature and date.

No. A ceremony must be performed after purchasing a marriage license, and before the license expires, for the parties to be married. The ceremony must be performed by someone authorized to solemnize marriages. 

You will be required to present valid government-issued photo ID. Examples of acceptable identification include:

  • A current driver's license (no temporary or interim extensions accepted)
  • A current passport
  • A current military identification card
  • A current state identification card

The ID must be current - if it is expired, the marriage license cannot be issued.

A valid marriage license (non-confidential or confidential) must be purchased prior to solemnizing a civil ceremony.

Non-confidential (public) marriage license: The ceremony can take place anywhere in California, with at least one witness present to sign the marriage license. The fee for a non-confidential marriage license is $70. A non-confidential marriage record resultant from a non-confidential marriage license allows for certain authorized individuals to receive a certified copy of the record, such as certain family members.

Confidential marriage license: The ceremony can take place anywhere in California, and a witness is not required. The fee for a confidential marriage license is $89. A confidential marriage record resultant from a confidential marriage license limits the authorized individuals who can receive a certified copy of the record to:

  • One of the two registrants listed on the marriage certificate
  • A party entitled to the record as a result of a court order​

Marriage licenses expire after 90 calendar days from the issue date. It is recommended to return the completed marriage license to the County Recorder’s Office within 10 days after the marriage ceremony for registration. The marriage ceremony may be performed at a church, chapel, or other location of your choice by persons authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies in California. Appointments for civil ceremonies performed by the County Clerk staff are available at our office locations for a fee of $88. ​

A certified copy of the marriage certificate may be available for purchase approximately 10 business days from the time the marriage license was received by our office. A marriage certificate is not automatically sent to the parties after registration. You must send a separate request to purchase a copy of the marriage certificate. The fee for a certified copy of a marriage certificate is $17.

You may call or email us to check on the status of your marriage license registration by providing us with your License Number (found on your receipt or customer copy). If you do not have the License Number, please provide each spouse's full name at birth, date of marriage, date the license was submitted to us and how it was submitted, and a phone number to reach you in case there are any questions.

Parties can get married as soon as the marriage license is issued. ​

If your appointment is to purchase a marriage license only, you do not need to bring a witness.

If your appointment is to purchase a non-confidential marriage license and have a civil ceremony, you will need to bring at least one witness. If you do not have a witness, one can be provided for you for a fee of $18.

Civil ceremonies for a confidential marriage license do not require a witness. ​

Please go to our Name Change Information page to learn more about changing your name through marriage. 

You can make an appointment for a License and/or Civil Ceremony for the following locations: 

  • County Administration Center
  • Chula Vista Office
  • San Marcos Office
  • Santee Office

Availability for each location is shown on the appointment scheduler. See Appointments tab.

Yes. We offer marriage appointments one Saturday a month. Appointments are REQUIRED and will become available during the usual 7-week window. To help you plan ahead, view our Saturday schedule.

Customers are seen in the order of their appointment and sign-in time.   

No, there is no blood test requirement​ in California.

No, you are already married.

No, there is no residency requirement to get married in California. ​

Location # of Guests
County Administration Center 20 to 30 guests
Chula Vista Office 15 guests
San Marcos Office 15 guests
Santee Office 20 guests

There is no limit to the number of guests you may have for an outdoor ceremony.

Outdoor ceremonies are subject to change based on availability; including, but not limited to: weather, obstructions, Waterfront Park events or maintenance. For the CAC, your outdoor ceremony may be moved to the East Plaza to ensure events in the park do not disrupt your ceremony. See the list of scheduled dates impacting the CAC west arbor ceremony location.

For all other locations, your ceremony may be moved to an indoor ceremony room. 

Please go to our Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day page to learn more. 

An active-duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is stationed overseas serving in a conflict or a war AND is unable to personally appear for the issuance of a license and solemnization of the marriage may enter into the marriage by the appearance of a military proxy/attorney-in-fact, commissioned and empowered in writing for that purpose through a power of attorney.

The original power of attorney must be signed by the party stationed overseas and acknowledged by a notary public or witnessed by two officers of the United States Armed Forces. The power of attorney shall state the full given names at birth, or by court order, of the parties to be married, and that the power of attorney is solely for the purpose of authorizing the military proxy/attorney-in-fact to obtain a marriage license on the person’s behalf and participate in the solemnization of the marriage. The original power of attorney shall be a part of the marriage certificate upon registration and is included as a subsequent page to the original marriage certificate when certified copies are issued.

If this situation applies to you, complete the Power of Attorney form.

Once the power of attorney is complete, please schedule an appointment for a License & Ceremony. (See Appointments tab)

A Non-Resident Affidavit is required by the State of Maryland for couples who are having a ceremony in Maryland, but neither are residents of the state. Both parties must be San Diego County residents for our office to acknowledge the form. The form must be completed, signed in the couple's local County Clerk office, and acknowledged by a clerk for a fee of $13. 

You must schedule a license appointment for this affidavit to be completed at our office. Please let us know which office you schedule your appointment so we may inform the staff (we do not get these very often). Also, if possible, send us a scan of the form you will be bringing to ensure it is the one we have completed before. You may email directly to: arccsdmarriagehelp.fgg@sdcounty.ca.gov

For your appointment: Please arrive together with valid government-issued photo ID with current resident address in San Diego County, and bring the affidavit form already completed but not signed. If your ID does not have your current residence address, please bring recent documentation with current residence listed. Examples of acceptable documentation include SDG&E Bill, Water Bill, Rental Lease Agreement, or Cable/Internet Bill. Both parties must sign the affidavit in the presence of a clerk. 

If either party has been divorced or filed a “Termination of Domestic Partnership” within the last 90 days, please provide the final divorce decree of termination documents with the judge’s signature and date.

Our office does not hold copies of divorce records. Copies of divorce decrees/judgments are kept with the San Diego Superior Court (if filed in San Diego). See more information on their website.

Please contact the San Diego Superior Court for more information. The San Diego Superior Court's website is www.sdcourt.ca.gov