SFGovAccessibility
Seal of the City and County of San Francisco
City and County of San Francisco

To view graphic version of this page, refresh this page (F5)

Skip to page body

Marriage: General Information

 

Where can I go to get married?

  • San Francisco County Clerk
    City Hall, Suite 168
    1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
    San Francisco, CA 94102-4678
    Phone: (415) 554-4950

 

The Name Equality Act of 2007

The Name Equality Act of 2007 (PDF) 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.

The new law pertains to marriage licenses issued on or after January 1, 2009. It does not apply to marriage licenses issued prior to January 1, 2009.

It is unlawful for our employees to answer questions of a legal nature. County Clerk staff cannot advise you how to complete the marriage license application as it relates to your entry of a new name or retention of your former name on the marriage license application. For your protection, if you have any questions regarding whether you should or should not list your new name on the marriage license application, and/or how the Name Equality Act of 2007 may affect you, please contact local, state, federal and private agencies to verify their requirements or consult an attorney prior to applying for your marriage license.

Additional Information: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/Pages/CorrectingorAmendingVitalRecords.aspx

California Department of Public Health (www.cdph.ca.gov) policy prohibits the registration of marriage licenses containing erasures, white-outs, or alterations.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Link

Processing hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

General information about marriage in the State of California: 

  • California residency and US citizenship are not requirements for marriage in California
  • Only two unmarried persons over the age of 18 years of age may apply for a marriage license in California. Anyone under 18 must obtain a court order through the Juvenile Court system.
  • Marriage by proxy is not allowed in California

Requirements for a California Legal Marriage:

  1. Unmarried couple apply for and purchase a valid California marriage license, and
  2. Marriage ceremony within the State of California (or County where the confidential marriage license is issued) within 90 days of when the marriage license is issued, and
  3. Marriage ceremony performed by authorized person defined by CA Family Code Section 400.


What is the difference between a Public and a Confidential marriage license?

Public: The ceremony may take place anywhere in the State of California, at least one witness must be present at the ceremony, and the marriage record is made available to the public. Click here for more details about Public Marriage.


Confidential: Parties to the marriage must be living together, ceremony must take place in the County where the marriage license was issued, no witnesses are required, and the marriage record is only available to the named parties on the document. Click here for more details about Confidential Marriage.


Civil ceremonies at City Hall

Civil ceremonies are performed by a Deputy Marriage Commissioner Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (except legal holidays) by prepaid confirmed reservation only. Reservation may be made and paid for through our online reservation system. It is highly recommended that you check for reservation availability of your preferred ceremony date and time prior to making your marriage license reservation in the event you want both reservations scheduled on the same day.

  
Requirements for a Public Marriage License
 

 

Marriage License

By prepaid confirmed marriage license reservation only. Reservations are available Monday-Friday beginning 8:15 a.m. and every half hour between 8:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m.

Reservations may be scheduled and paid for through the online reservation system, or in person at our office Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Issuance Time

Marriage license is issued within 30 minutes of checking in for your marriage license reservation appointment.

Age Requirement

Both parties must be at least age18. Person(s) under age 18 with written consent of at least one parent (or legal guardian) and written permission from a San Francisco Juvenile Court Judge may marry.

Blood Test

Not required.

Attendance

Both parties must be present to file the application for and be issued a marriage license.

Legal Photo I.D.

Both parties must present valid authentic legal photo identification card containing photograph, full legal name, date of birth, date of issue, and date of expiration (Examples: passport, driver's license, naturalization certificate, resident alien card, military I.D.) If the legal picture I.D. card does not contain your full legal name you must also present a certified copy of birth certificate or social security card, showing your full legal name.

Note: Original identity documents in a foreign language must be translated into English by a Court certified translator or American Translators Association (ATA) certified translator and must be presented along with the translation.

Previous Marriages or State Registered Domestic Partnerships

You will need to know the exact date your last marriage or State Registered Domestic Partnership (SRDP) legally ended. If your last marriage/SRDP ended within 90 days of your marriage license reservation date, a "certified" copy of divorce, annulment, termination, or death record must be presented at the time of your appointment.

Note: The “certified” copy must have an original court seal and a signature (or signature stamp) of the court clerk. It is the original seal and court clerk signature (certification) that make this a “certified” copy.

The “CONFORMED / FILED / ENDORSED” stamp in the top right corner of the copy of the court order (usually issued by your attorney) is NOT the court clerk’s certification and will NOT be accepted.

Certified Copies in a foreign language must be translated into English by a Court certified translator or American Translators Association (ATA) certified translator and must be presented along with the translation.

Validity

Public marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from issuance date for a ceremony anywhere in the State of California. A marriage license is only a permit to get married and you are not married until a ceremony is performed by an authorized person.

License Fee

$103.00* - collected at the time of scheduling. Cash, money order, or debit card only in person (*price subject to change). Visa/Mastercard online only.

 


Requirements for a Confidential Marriage License

 

Marriage License

By prepaid confirmed marriage license reservation only. Reservations are available Monday-Friday beginning 8:15 a.m. and every half hour between 8:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m.

Reservations may be scheduled and paid for through the online reservation system, or in person at our office Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Issuance Time

Marriage license is issued within 30 minutes of checking in for your marriage license reservation appointment.

Age Requirement

Both parties minimum age must be18.  Minors cannot apply for a confidential marriage license.

Applicants for a confidential marriage license must be living together and attest to the fact on the marriage license. The law does not specify a minimum duration of time living together. Documented proof is not required.

Blood Test

Not required.

Attendance

Both parties must be present to file the application for and be issued a marriage license.

Legal Photo I.D.

Both parties must present valid authentic legal photo identification card containing photograph, full legal name, date of birth, date of issue, and date of expiration (Examples: passport, driver's license, naturalization certificate, resident alien card, military I.D.) If the legal picture I.D. card does not contain your full legal name you must also present a certified copy of birth certificate or social security card, showing your full legal name.

Note: Original identity documents in a foreign language must be translated into English by a Court certified translator or American Translators Association (ATA) certified translator and must be presented along with the translation.

Previous Marriages or State Registered Domestic Partnerships

You will need to know the exact date your last marriage or State Registered Domestic Partnership (SRDP) legally ended. If your last marriage/SRDP ended within 90 days of your marriage license reservation date, a "certified" copy of divorce, annulment, termination, or death record must be presented at the time of your appointment.

Note: The “certified” copy must have an original court seal and a signature (or signature stamp) of the court clerk. It is the original seal and court clerk signature (certification) that make this a “certified” copy.

The “CONFORMED / FILED / ENDORSED” stamp in the top right corner of the copy of the court order (usually issued by your attorney) is NOT the court clerk’s certification and will NOT be accepted.

Certified Copies in a foreign language must be translated into English by a Court certified translator or American Translators Association (ATA) certified translator and must be presented along with the translation. 

Validity

Confidential marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from issuance date for a ceremony only in the county where the license was issued from.  i.e. If the license was issued by the San Francisco County Clerk's office, the marriage ceremony must take place in San Francisco County.  A marriage license is only a permit to get married and you are not married until a ceremony is performed by an authorized person.

License Fee

$103.00* - collected at the time of scheduling. Cash, money order, or debit card only in person (*price subject to change). Visa/Mastercard online only.

 


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.


Marriage Ceremony: Fee, witnesses, hours, and other details:

Marriage Ceremony

By prepaid confirmed ceremony reservation only.  Ceremony reservations are available every half hour between 9:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

You may schedule and pay for a reservation through the online reservation system, or in person at our office Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

You must have a valid California marriage license prior to your ceremony.

Please note: A certified copy of your marriage record ($15 each) will NOT be available for purchase on the same day after the ceremony. Same day and expedited services for certified copies are NOT available. Please plan accordingly.

Ceremony Fee

Ceremony fee is $76.00* collected at the time of scheduling. Cash, money order, or debit card only in person (*price subject to change). Visa/Mastercard online only.

Witnesses

One witness* is required to be present during your ceremony on a public marriage license.

No witness is required during the ceremony on a confidential marriage license.

Up to 6 guests total may attend the ceremony (guest count includes photographer, children, videographer, etc...)

* County Clerk staff cannot serve as a witness for marriage ceremonies.  You are responsible for providing your own witness.

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl., City Hall #168 SF CA 94102-4678 - Map Directions

 

 
Last updated: 6/30/2014 4:54:08 PM