Here’s the one part of your wedding that everyone HAS to have: a New Jersey marriage license! Without it, your marriage isn’t legal, so you’ll need to get this right. Every state has its own rules, so if you’re getting married in New Jersey, you need a New Jersey marriage license and need to follow the rules set forth by the State of New Jersey. There are a number of steps you’ll need to take that may seem confusing or overwhelming, but don’t worry. We’re here to walk you through the entire process. Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to get this done, along with some frequently asked questions!
Requirements for getting married in New Jersey:
You need to meet the following criteria before you can get married:
- Not be a party to another civil union, domestic partnership or marriage in this state or recognized by this state;
- Be at least 18 years of age.
Required documents when applying for a New Jersey marriage license:
- Both you and your partner must bring proof of identity by presenting your driver’s license, passport or state/federal I.D. They will not accept an expired proof of identity.
- Proof of residency by one applicant if a NJ resident
- Social Security number*
- A witness, 18 years of age or older. The witness must also present a government-issued photo I.D. The witness need not be a resident of New Jersey
- The $28 application fee.
*Your social security number is required by law for US citizens and will be kept confidential.
Any documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by a certified English translation.
Who needs to be present when applying for a New Jersey marriage license:
Both you and your partner, along with a witness you can vouch for your identities, must be present.
How to apply:
You need to complete the marriage license application form attached here. Click on Reg-77.
You may also get the application at your Local Registrar’s office.
Do not sign the marriage application form before going to your Registrar. You must sign the application, under oath, in the presence of the issuing authority.
Where to apply:
Apply for the marriage license in the New Jersey municipality where either party resides. The license is valid throughout New Jersey.
If neither applicant is a New Jersey resident, submit the application in the municipality where the marriage ceremony is taking place. In this case, the license is only valid in the issuing municipality.
Some towns allow you to walk in while others require an appointment. You can contact your Local Registrar to determine if they handle license applications during business hours or by appointment.
When to apply:
Here’s where it gets a little tricky. The marriage license application is valid for six months from the date accepted, unless the Registrar has given prior approval to extend the validity of the application to a maximum of one year.
So you can apply anytime within a 6-month window BEFORE your wedding date. But once picked up, the license is only valid for 30 days. So you can plan ahead and apply up to six months before your wedding, but only pick up within 30 days of your wedding date.
But don’t cut to too close. There is a 72-hour waiting period before the license is issued, so you can’t apply too close to your wedding date. The waiting period begins when the application is filed with your Registrar. There is no 72-hour waiting period for a remarriage; however, you must bring a certified copy of your existing marriage.
Only one marriage license may be granted from a marriage application. If the license expires before being used, a new application must be made and another $28 fee remitted.
Proof-read your license before leaving the Registrar’s office
Before leaving the Registrar’s office, you and your partner will both be given an opportunity to review the marriage license in order to confirm that all the information is true and spelled correctly. If after leaving the Registrar’s office, you discover that any of the information provided on the license is incorrect or spelled incorrectly, you may have to pay a fee for the correction, you will have to produce additional Vital Records such as a Birth Certificate to process the correction, and the finalization of your marital status will be delayed. It is your responsibility to ensure that all the information on your New Jersey marriage license is both factually correct and spelled correctly.
For individuals who are currently married in New Jersey or are married in another state or country, the option exists to reaffirm your relationship/vows by registering a remarriage.
To apply for a remarriage, the couple must provide proof of their existing marriage, meet the requirements for entering into a marriage in New Jersey and follow the guidelines above to completing the license application. The process for a remarriage license is the same as for the marriage license, except that the remarriage license must be accompanied by the proof of existing marriage. There is no 72-hour waiting period before the license is issued.
After the wedding
Once the marriage ceremony is over and your officiant, you and both witnesses have signed the marriage license, it needs to be filed in the city or town where your cermony took place. You must file the first two pages of the marriage icense with the city or town where the ceremony took place. For example, if you obtained your marriage license in Jersey City, but your marriage ceremony took place in Hoboken, then you must file it in Hoboken. Only submit the first two pages; you should retain the fourth page for your records. The third page is for your officiant’s records. You will then receive a copy once the Registrar files and processes your license.
What is the difference between a New Jersey marriage license and a New Jersey marriage certificate?
A New Jersey marriage license is the legal document that you must have to get married. A marriage certificate is the legal document that proves that you have been married.
Do I need to have witnesses for the actual marriage ceremony itself?
Yes. You must have two (2) witnesses. The officiant cannot serve as a witness.
I live in New Jersey but am getting married in another state. Where do I apply for my marriage license?
You ALWAYS apply in the state where you’re getting married. So if you live in New Jersey but are getting married in Pennsylvania, you apply in Pennsylvania. Getting married in Hawaii? You apply in Hawaii. Laws in the United States require you to get a license in the state you’re getting married it, not where you live. And every state has different rules regarding how to apply for a marriage license, so go to the website of the state you’re getting married in to find out their specific requirements.
I live in New Jersey but am confused about where I should I apply?
If you live in New Jersey, you apply in the town you live. If you live outside of New Jersey but your fiancé lives in New Jersey, you apply in your fiance’s town. If neither of you live in New Jersey, you apply in the town you’re getting married.
I was married in another state. Do I need to apply for a New Jersey marriage license in order to have my marriage recognized in New Jersey?
No. As long as your out-of-state marriage is consistent with the laws and public policy of New Jersey, your marriage is valid and recognized in New Jersey and you will not need to enter into a New Jersey marriage.
What qualifications does my officiant need in order to legally marry us?
New Jersey law specifically states that every member of the clergy of every religion is authorized to continue to solemnize marriages or civil unions without having to be a certified civil celebrant. Judges, mayors, county clerks and others who have traditionally solemnized marriages or civil unions are also permitted to carry out their traditional role in solemnizing marriages or civil unions without having to be a certified civil celebrant. A civil celebrant may be certified to solemnize marriages or civil unions if they submit the required application here.
Among the requirements set forth in the application is an applicant must be at least 18 years of age and has graduated from a secondary school of New Jersey or another state; and has completed a civil celebrant course meeting the requirements set forth in the application. The application and processing fee to become a certified civil celebrant is $55.
Can my town’s clerk marry us?
No. According to New Jersey State law, only certain public officials such as judges and religious ministers are legally permitted to serve as officiants. Your town’s registrar only issues marriage licenses and marriage certificates.
I got married at my reception venue but want my marriage to be recognized by my house of worship. What to do I need to do?
If you were previoulsy married, you can register for a remarriage and get remarried in your house of worship. To apply for a remarriage, you must provide proof of your existing marriage, meet the requirements for entering into a marriage in New Jersey and follow the guidelines above to completing the license application. The process for a remarriage license is the same as for the marriage license, except that the remarriage license must be accompanied by the proof of existing marriage. There is no 72-hour waiting period before the license is issued.
I am getting married in my place of worship three days before my wedding reception. What will be my legal wedding date?
In order for your marriage to be recognized by your place of worship, they will want your legal wedding date to be the date of your religious ceremony. Your marriage license will state the date of your religious ceremony, with your officiant signing off on that date.
What will I need my New Jersey marriage certificate for?
Your certificate is legal proof that you are married. You will need a certified copy with the raised seal of your marriage town where the ceremony was performed in order to change your driver’s license, passport and Social Security records.
I lost my New Jersey marriage certificate. Where can I get a new copy?
You must apply to the city or town where your marriage ceremony took place. Marriage certificates are not provided automatically; you must request them separately and pay the corresponding fee.
My partner and I are planning to get married in another country. Do we need to get re-married in New Jersey once we return to the States?
No. Marriages performed overseas are considered valid in the country where they take place if they are entered into in accordance with local law. Recognition of the validity of marriages performed abroad depends on the laws of the place in which the marriage is to be recognized. But since the process of marrying overseas can be time-consuming and expensive and procedures vary from country to country with lengthy preparation, many couples choose to get married in the United States prior to their destination wedding just because it’s easier and less expensive. If you plan to marry in a foreign country, you should find out the requirements of that country before you travel.