8th of March 2023

Can I Legally get Married in California?

Whether you want to get married in San Fransisco or Santa Barbara, getting married in California is straight-forward and relatively easy to organise. You just need to ensure you have all the correct documents to hand before flying out there. This will avoid any last-minute panics and ensures a stress-free and relaxed experience.\nHere are the steps that you need to follow in order to get married in the state of California:
  1. The first thing you need to do is organise the Marriage Licence with the County Clerk.
  2. Both you and your partner need to know where each of your parents were born, as well as proof of your parent’s names and mother’s maiden name.  
  3. Thankfully, there is no waiting period to receive your Marriage Licence in California so you can get married immediately and after that the Licence is valid for 90 days. A Marriage Licence typically costs between $35-$100. You only need at least 1 valid witness, although 2 is preferable.
  4. You can also choose whether to have a ‘public’ or ‘confidential’ marriage, the latter meaning no one else can retrieve information about your marriage. To obtain a ‘confidential’ licence you and your partner have to have proof that you have been living together as a married couple. This means you can only apply for it after you have been formally wed.
  5. After the marriage itself you will need to send the Marriage Licence to the County Clerk who will record all the information and can thereafter issue official copies. Then you’re all done!

Necessary documents

  • Passport
  • Passport sized photos
  • Birth certificate
  • Copy of the 2 witnesses’ passports
  • California Marriage Licence Fee
  • Proof of residential address for both partners
  • Proof of return air ticket
  • Affidavit stating that you can legally marry
  • Divorce certificate (if necessary from previous marriage)
  • Death certificate (if you have been widowed)

Same-Sex weddings

Same-sex marriage is legal in the state of California and has been since 2008.


This information is appropriate for UK nationals getting married overseas. We always advise that you contact the relevant embassy for information before booking any trips. This information is up to date to the best of our knowledge.

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