Marriage License

Clerk Services will be closed on 3/5/24. All Clerk staff will be providing assistance for the Presidential Primary Election.

 

The Fresno County Clerk offers all services on an appointment-only basis. Appointments are scheduled online only.

Schedule Appointment


Notice: Our office does not provide copies of public marriage certificates. To obtain a copy of your marriage certificate please call the County of Fresno Recorder’s Office at 559-600-3471 or visit the Recorder's website. Information about obtaining a copy of a confidential marriage certificate can be found below.

How to Get Married

Step 1: Apply for a Marriage License (by Appointment Only)

  1. Licenses and ceremonies are by appointment only.
    Schedule Appointment
  2. Save time by completing the online portion of the application prior to your appointment time. The application link will be provided in your appointment confirmation email.
    Schedule Appointment
    If you are unable to complete the online application please arrive 15 minutes early (unless you have an 8:30 AM appointment) to complete your application on one of our computers.

License Requirements

  1. The application will request the following information in addition to basic personal information about the couple (name, address, date of birth, etc):
    1. Full names of your parents and their state of birth as they appear on your birth certificate. Your birth certificate is not required.
    2. Dissolution status of previous marriages, complete with dates, if applicable. Copy of divorce judgment only requested if divorce was finalized within the last 90 days.
  2. Appear together at your appointment and present valid and authentic government-issued photo identification with proof of age. A physical ID is required. Cell phone photos or photo copies of ID documents are not acceptable.
  3. Marriage license will be reviewed with clerk and issued the same day as your appointment.
  4. Pay fees by cash or credit/debit card. No checks or $100 currency will be accepted.
    1. Public Marriage License Fee $58
    2. Confidential Marriage License Fee $69
    3. Civil Ceremony Fee $21
  5. A marriage ceremony must be performed to be legally married. Ceremony must be performed within 90 days from the date marriage license was issued.
  6. Both individuals must be able to read, speak and understand English or Spanish. If not, the couples must bring an independent witness who is able to translate to obtain a license and/or have a ceremony performed. To receive prompt assistance in Spanish you must book a Spanish appointment type.

Step 2: Solemnize Your Marriage in a Ceremony: Two Options

Option 1: Marriage Ceremony in the County Clerk’s Office

  • Ceremonies are by appointment only. Select the appointment option for Marriage License and Ceremony when scheduling.
    Schedule Appointment
  • A maximum of six guests in addition to the couple are allowed for ceremonies.
  • We have a few guidelines for our ceremony room for the benefit of our customers:
    • Please do not throw rice, flowers, confetti, etc.
    • No food or drinks allowed.
    • Please supervise children at all times.
    • Please keep noise to a respectful level. Noise should not interfere with the ability of other customers to conduct business.
  • Fee of $21 payable by cash or credit/debit only. Checks and $100 currency are not accepted.
  • Our office provides the officiant. Witnesses can be provided for your ceremony at no additional charge.

Option 2: Marriage Ceremony by Authorized Person

  • Deputy Marriage Commissioner for the Day. Our office is not currently deputizing individuals to be Deputy Marriage Commissioners.
  • Other Authorized Person:
    • It is the responsibility of the parties to be married to verify that their officiant is authorized in the State of California to solemnize the marriage ceremony. (For more information, see Family Code Section 400).
    • Individuals that are ordained online or by other means (clergy, elected officials, etc.) are not required to register with our office. Our office recommends that officiants retain their ordination paperwork in the event that documentation is requested by the California Department of Public Health.
    • We recommend that individuals interested in officiating weddings research online marriage ordination programs. Many online programs are inexpensive and convenient.

Step 3: Return License to Recorder or County Clerk

  1. After the ceremony, the original marriage license shall be returned by the officiant to the Recorder’s Office (Public Marriages Only) or County Clerk’s Office (Confidential Marriages only), within 10 days of the date of marriage for registration.
  2. County Clerk staff will discuss this in detail during your appointment.

Step 4: Requesting Your Certificate (Your Proof of Marriage)

You will not automatically receive a copy of your marriage certificate. You must request and pay for a copy. Certificates are generally available two weeks after your license has been returned to the Recorder or Clerk. To purchase a copy of your marriage certificate, you may do one of the following:

For a Public License

  1. By Mail: Mail application to the Fresno County Recorder’s Office with $17.00 and a self-addressed stamped envelope. The application must have the sworn statement completed and be notarized. Form is available on the Recorder's website.
  2. In-person: Appear at the Fresno County Recorder’s Office with valid ID to complete an application and pay required fee.
  3. Online: Enter an order on-line at www.vitalchek.com (additional fees for orders placed through vitalchek.com apply); for public marriage licenses only.

For a Confidential License

  1. By mail: Complete an application and mail it to the Fresno County Clerk’s Office with $17.00 and a self-addressed stamped envelope. The application must have the sworn statement completed and be notarized. Get the Confidential Marriage Certificate Application(PDF, 91KB)
  2. In-person: Appear with valid ID to complete an application and pay required fee.

Special Circumstance Marriages (Incarceration/Hospitalization)

Fresno County Jail

Inmate marriage applications are completed in our office during regular business hours. After your application is submitted the Sheriff and District Attorney will review the application to determine if a license can be issued. The review process takes at least four weeks. For a status update on your pending application you will contact the Fresno Sheriff’s Office directly using the information provided at the time of application.

When you are approved the Fresno Sheriff’s Office will notify you and you will schedule an appointment with the Fresno County Clerk to purchase the license. Appointments are scheduled here:  

Schedule Appointment

Pleasant Valley State Prison/Federal Correctional Institution – Mendota

Contact prison staff directly for information on their process.

Hospitalization or Illness

If you wish to marry a person who is unable to physically appear at the County Clerk’s Office to apply for their marriage license due to hospitalization or illness, you must do the following:

The person solemnizing the marriage along with the party to the marriage who can appear, must physically present the completed form(PDF, 143KB) along with proof of inability to appear to the County Clerk at the time the marriage license is issued (Family Code Sections 426(a); 502(a)). For medical/hospitalization reasons: a note on doctor’s or hospital letterhead with original signature from a physician must be provided. Please contact us at clerk-services@fresnocountyca.gov to schedule your appointment for this service.

The signature of the person who is physically unable to appear in person at the County Clerk’s Office must be authenticated by a Notary Public prior to the County Clerk issuing the marriage license (Family Code Sections 426(a); 502(a)). The notary public who has authenticated the signature of the person who is unable to appear is prohibited from also being the person solemnizing the marriage. (Government Code Section 8224(a))

At the time of application for the marriage license the person solemnizing the marriage, and the party to the marriage who appears, must present valid government issued photo ID.  

A copy of the identification of the person who is unable to appear must also be provided at the time of application.  

After payment of the required fees, the County Clerk will issue the marriage license to the person solemnizing the marriage.  The person solemnizing the marriage shall obtain the signature on the marriage license of the person who is unable to appear.

Other Important Information:

  • Please contact us at clerk-services@fresnocountyca.gov to schedule your appointment for this type of marriage service.
  •  The parties to the marriage will have to make all the arrangements for their ceremony.  
  •  No refunds are issued for marriage licenses that are not or cannot be used.

 

 

Difference Between a Confidential and Public License

Public Licenses

  • You can purchase copies of your public marriage license from the Recorder’s Office in the county where it was purchased.
  • Other authorized parties may obtain an unrestricted copy of your marriage certificate.
  • Anyone may obtain a restricted copy of your marriage record.
  • Fee is $58 payable by cash or credit/debit only. No checks will be accepted.

Confidential Licenses

  • Parties must be living together at the same residence.
  • Fee is $69 payable by cash or credit/debit only. No checks will be accepted.
  • Certified copies of a confidential marriage license may be obtained only by the parties to the marriage or by court order. You may obtain copies either in person or by mail for $17 per copy. If requesting a copy by mail, please submit a Confidential Marriage Certificate Application(PDF, 91KB) along with payment.

Changing Your Name

There are very specific rules for changing your name after you are married. The Name Equality Act of 2007 gives specific information that you must follow. Please take the time to read the information at the link above. If you still have specific questions about changing your name, contact us for further assistance, or contact the California Department of Public Health Vital Records, Customer Service Unit at (916) 445-2684. If you have specific questions about how the changes may legally affect you or if you have legal questions about the Name Equality Act, you should consult with a private attorney.

The Fresno County Clerk’s office suggests that you notify the following agencies of your name change:

  • Social Security Administration (SSA)
  • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • Voter Registration
  • Credit card agencies
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Utility companies
  • United States Post Office (USPS)
  • Department of State – Passport Services
  • Financial Institutions
  • Your employer