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Marriage Records

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Frequently Asked Questions


Application for verification of marriage record files

Ordering Information
Marriage Records

  The marriage license: Where do you get one? Top of Page

A couple who intends to be married in Illinois must apply in person for a marriage license in the county clerk's office (List of county vital record Web sites or county clerk addresses) where the marriage will be performed. There is no residency requirement for out-of-state applicants. While applicants may apply for a license in any county, the license is only effective in the county where issued. Therefore, the marriage must take place in the county where you obtained your license.

The application for a license must be signed by both the bride and groom in the presence of the county clerk. A representative cannot apply for the license on behalf of the bride or groom. This applies even if the representative has been given power of attorney. Notarized marriage license affidavits signed by the bride and groom cannot be substituted for her or his personal appearance.

  What can I use if I don't have a current/valid photo ID? Top of Page

If you do not have a valid photo id, such as a drivers license or state issued photo identification (ID), we need TWO pieces of documentation with your name, one of which must show your current address, to prove your identity.  ONE piece of documentation can be a bill or other mail.  The OTHER piece of documentation must be one of the following items listed below:

  • Medical/car insurance card
  • Car registration paperwork
  • Credit card statement
  • Bank statement
  • Paycheck stub with imprinted information
  • Public assistance card
  • Voter’s registration card
  • Active duty military ID with issued and expiration dates

Matricula Consular card issued after October 2006 is acceptable on its own.  However, if issued prior to October 2006, we need ONE additional documentation showing current address as noted above.  If you do not have any of the items listed above, please submit a copy of a current utility bill (electricity, cellular phone, water, etc) showing your name and your current address.

If your driver’s license is expired and you have an extension sticker on the back, you must submit a copy of both sides.

If you have an expired driver’s license that is no more than six months expired, we need ONE additional documentation showing your name and your current address.

If you are currently incarcerated, you can submit a dated copy of your prison intake/offender summary sheet containing your photo.  If you have been released from prison within the last six months, we will accept a copy of the release papers along with the prison photo ID.

If you are writing from a state or federal agency, you can submit a copy of your photo work badge.

If you are writing from a hospital, you can submit a copy of your photo work badge.


  Is there a waiting period? Top of Page

Yes. Illinois has a one-day waiting period. For example, if the license is applied for on Wednesday, the marriage may occur on Thursday. For just cause, the one-day waiting period may be waived by petitioning the court.

  How long is the license valid? Top of Page

A marriage license is valid for 60 days, beginning the day after it is issued.

  How much does it cost? Top of Page

In most counties, the fee for a marriage license is $15, payable at the time of application.

  Is a blood test or premarital exam by a physician required? Top of Page

No. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/204) now only requires the county clerk to distribute free of charge, to all persons applying for a marriage license, a brochure "Know the Facts about Your Sexual Health" prepared by the Illinois Department of Public Health concerning sexually transmitted diseases and inherited metabolic diseases.

  Are there any age or consent requirements for minors? Top of Page

Applicants who are 16 to 17 years of age must have parental or guardian consent. This requirement can be waived by a court. No person younger than 16 years of age can be married in Illinois. Proof of age (e.g., birth certificate, passport, driver's license, employment certificate, etc.) may be required.

  Does Illinois restrict some marriages? Are same sex marriages allowed in Illinois? Top of Page

Certain marriages are prohibited by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/212). These include same sex marriages; marriages entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of one of the parties; those between an ancestor and a descendant or between a brother and sister, whether the relationship is by the half or the whole blood or by adoption; and those between an uncle and a niece or between an aunt and a nephew. Generally, marriages between cousins of the first degree are prohibited; however, first cousins may marry if --

  • both parties are 50 years of age or older; or
  • either party, at the time the couple applies for a marriage license, presents to the county clerk of the county in which the marriage is to take place a certificate signed by a licensed physician stating that the party to the proposed marriage is permanently and irreversibly sterile.

  Are there any special requirements for those individuals who have been previously married? Top of Page

Information regarding how previous marriages ended must be furnished in the application for a marriage license. This includes whether the former spouse died or was divorced and, if so, when and where the divorce was granted. A certified copy of the divorce decree(s) or certificate(s) of dissolution of marriage may be required by the clerk issuing the marriage license.

  Is a marriage ceremony required? Top of Page

No particular type of ceremony is required. The law simply requires the marriage to be performed by certain public or religious officials.

  Who can perform a marriage? Top of Page

To be valid, a marriage must be performed by one of the following individuals:

  • a judge of a court of record or a retired judge of a court of record;
  • a judge of the Court of Claims;
  • the county clerk in counties having 2 million or more inhabitants (Cook County);
  • a public official whose powers include solemnizing marriages; or
  • an officiant performing the marriage in accordance with the principles of any religious denomination, Indian nation or tribe or native group provided that when such principles require an officiant, the officiant be in good standing with his religious denomination, Indian nation or tribe or native group.

More than one officiant can perform the marriage. Officiants do not have to reside in Illinois.

The person solemnizing the marriage must complete the marriage certificate form and forward it to the appropriate county clerk within 10 days after the marriage is solemnized. A newly married couple is required to file the marriage certificate if more than one officiant is involved and none of the officiants have assumed that responsibility.

  Where can I get copies of my marriage license or verification of a marriage record? Top of Page

Certified copies of marriage records are available from the county clerk in the county where the marriage occurred. (List of county vital records Web sites or county clerk addresses.) The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Division of Vital Records does not issue certified copies of marriage records.

For a $5 fee, IDPH, Division of Vital Records can verify the facts of a marriage that has taken place from 1962 through the current index date available. Verifications can be obtained by mail, by fax or in person.

  Can I pay with a credit card and is there an additional fee? Top of Page

Yes, you can use a credit card. There is an additional $10 handling charge, a $19.50 UPS return delivery fee and a $3 fee for each additional person in a group order.

  What should I do if I can't download the form? Top of Page

The forms on this Web site are in PDF format. To view PDF documents, you need a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader Software. If after downloading the Adobe Acrobat Reader Software you continue to have problems downloading the form, you can request the verification by writing to:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
925 East Ridgely Ave.
Springfield, IL 62702-2737

The letter must include the following information:

  • The names of both parties;
  • The date of the marriage, if known;
  • The place of the marriage, if known;
  • A money order or check made payable to the "Illinois Department of Public Health" for the $5 fee (If you want to pay by credit card, please include your credit card number and expiration date; and a daytime phone number, including area code, should it be necessary to contact you about the request.);
  • Your return address;
  • Your written signature; and
  • A legible/readable copy of your valid photo identification card. If not provided, unreadable or expired, the request will be returned unprocessed.

  Can you tell me if someone is married? Top of Page

No, a search fee is required in advance of any processing of a request.

  I didn't get what I wanted. How do I get a refund? Top of Page

Search fees are not refundable. Most refunds result when customers are unable to supply the documentation necessary to complete the request. If you believe you qualify for a refund, you can write to:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
925 East Ridgely Ave.
Springfield, IL 62702-2737

  What is a common law marriage? Top of Page

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/214) states that common law marriages contracted in Illinois after June 30, 1905 are invalid. A common law marriage was traditionally when a man and a woman lived together and held themselves out to the world as husband and wife for a certain period of time (such as seven or 14 years), and the law of the state in which they resided recognized them as husband and wife despite the lack of the formal legalities of marriage.

  Is my marriage in another state or foreign country legal in Illinois? Top of Page

Yes, all marriages contracted outside this state, that were valid at the time of the contract or subsequently validated by the laws of the place in which they were contracted or by the domicile of the married couple, are valid in Illinois if the marriage would have been allowed in this state.

  I am getting married abroad and I am required to furnish a document from the state of Illinois that I am single and free to marry. Can you provide that to me? Top of Page

The IDPH Division of Vital Records can do a search of the marriage files and issue a "no record statement" that would show you were not married in Illinois between the years of 1962 through the current index date available.

Frequently Asked Questions


Marriage, Dissolution, and Invalidity Records Act
Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act
Illinois Vital Records Code (rules)
Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763 - 1900
County Vital Records Web Sites or County Clerk Addresses

925 East Ridgely Ave., Springfield, IL 62702