Feature Photo by Rachael Schirano Photography
Congrats, you’re preparing to take your relationship to the next level and get married! Getting married is a joyous occasion, and beyond all the glitz and glam, obtaining a marriage license is a crucial step in the process. If you’re planning to tie the knot in the state of Illinois, understanding the requirements and procedures for obtaining a marriage license is essential.
Let’s walk you through the steps to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience:
Both partners must appear together in person at the county clerk at the time of application.
Who May Apply
Unmarried people who are 18 years of age or older and not blood relatives can apply for a marriage license.
- First cousins older than 50 years of age may marry and apply for a marriage license.
- Individuals who are 16 and 17 years of age must provide the following information:
– In-person sworn consent from each parent or legal guardian before the county clerk at the time of application. Those giving consent must provide proper ID, including a valid driver’s license, state ID or a valid U.S. passport. If a legal guardian is giving consent, a certified copy of his or her guardianship papers must be provided.
– A form of valid identification (ID) to show their date of birth.
What to Provide
You must provide one of the following to receive your marriage license:
- Valid U.S. driver’s license
- Valid state ID
- Valid U.S. passport
- Or U.S. Armed Forces ID card
If the above is not available, you must provide two of the following:
- Certified copy of your birth certificate
- U.S. naturalization papers or resident alien card
- Valid foreign passport
- Life insurance policy that has been in effect for at least one year
- Baptismal record showing the birth date of the applicant
- Consulate ID card
Counties may vary when it comes to forms of acceptable ID. Call your county clerk to verify what documentation you should bring.
If previously married, most counties require divorce decrees and/or death certificates of former spouses.
Civil unions are legal and valid, and offered to all couples in the state of Illinois, as long as both partners are age 18 or older and are not blood relatives. It is not required that a civil union be converted into a marriage. If couples would like to convert their civil union into a marriage, the marriage license fee will be waived if the couple applies for their license and has their ceremony within 60 days of the date their civil union was actualized.
Depending on your county, the cost to obtain a marriage license is between $30 and $60. Certain counties only accept cash, so call ahead to confirm what types of payment the clerk will accept.
If you intend to request multiple copies of your marriage license, be prepared to pay replication fees.
COOK COUNTY FEE: $60
DEKALB COUNTY FEE: $35
DUPAGE COUNTY FEE: $35
KANE COUNTY FEE: $32 (*cash only)
LAKE COUNTY FEE: $35
LASALLE COUNTY FEE: $35
WILL COUNTY FEE: $35
KANKAKEE COUNTY FEE: $30
Waiting Period/Expiration of License
A marriage license becomes effective 24 hours after it is issued. After the document becomes effective, couples have 60 days to hold their ceremony and make their marriage official. The couple must hold their ceremony in the same county that issued their marriage license for it to be recognized.
Where to Go & Location-Specific Information
Your marriage license must be obtained in the county where your ceremony is being performed. Call your county clerk’s office to verify requirements, hours and additional locations.
We recommend getting two or three certified copies of your marriage license for name change and/or filing purposes.
Cook County Clerk’s Office: Bureau of Vital Records
118 N. Clark St., Room 120
Chicago, IL 60602
South Suburbs – Markham
16501 S. Kedzie, Room 238
Markham, IL 60426
North Suburbs – Skokie
5600 W. Old Orchard Rd., Room 149
Skokie, IL 60077
West Suburbs – Maywood
Maywood Courthouse (Whitcomb Building)
1311 Maybrook Square, Room 104
Maywood, IL 60153
DeKalb County Administration Building
110 E. Sycamore St.
Sycamore, IL 60178
DuPage County Clerk’s Office
421 N. County Farm Rd.
Wheaton, IL 60187
Kane County Government Center
719 S. Batavia Ave., Building B
Geneva, IL 60134
Kane County Clerk’s Aurora Satellite Office
5 E. Downer Place, Unit F
Aurora, IL 60505
Office of Dan Hendrickson, County Clerk County Administration Bldg.
189 E. Court St.
Kankakee, IL 60901
Lake County Clerk’s Office
18 N. County St., Room 101
Waukegan, IL 60085
Jennifer Ebner, LaSalle County Clerk
707 E Etna Rd
Ottawa, IL 61350
Will County Clerk’s Office
302 N. Chicago St.
Joliet, IL 60432
Obtaining a marriage license in Illinois is a straightforward process, but it’s important to be aware of the specific requirements and procedures in the county where you plan to marry. By following these steps and meeting the necessary criteria, you’ll be well on your way to obtaining a marriage license and celebrating your nuptials. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!