Obtaining a Marriage License
- Both applicants must have current photo ID as proof of age and identity.
- Both applicants must currently be unmarried.
- Both applicants must not be nearer of kin to each other than second cousins, whole or half blood.
- Proof of divorce from a previous spouse, or death of a spouse, is not required to obtain a marriage license. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the final decree of divorce is filed before applying for a new marriage license.
- Application fee is $62.00.
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old, unless they satisfy the requirements for underage applicants listed below.
- 17-year old applicants can apply if one of the following conditions is met:
- Applicants who are 17 years of age must be accompanied by one parent or legal guardian who can provide consent on a parent or legal guardian consent form. Please bring a certified copy of the applicant's birth certificate or documents establishing legal guardianship.
- Applicants who are 17 years of age and are legally emancipated must bring the court-certified copy of the emancipation document with them to apply.
- 16-year old applications and younger must obtain a family court waiver from superior court.
Residency and Citizenship Requirements
- Marriage license applicants do not have to reside in Washington State or Whatcom County.
- A marriage license purchased from any county in Washington State can be used to get married anywhere in Washington State.
- A marriage license obtained in Washington State cannot be used to get married in another state or country.
- Applicants are not required to have a U.S. Social Security number in order to obtain a marriage license. However, one of the marriage license forms requires the inclusion of one's Social Security number OR the applicant's signature on a declaration that they do not have a U.S. Social Security number. This will not impair the couple's ability to receive their marriage license.
After submitting your application, you will receive an email with instructions for completing the application process.
Signing Application in Office:
Follow the instructions in the email you received after applying online. This is the most common way couples apply.
Completing Application by Mail or Drop Off:
After applying online, contact our office so we can send the Application and Affidavit for Marriage License to you. Both parties must have their signature notarized.
To complete the application, submit the following:
- The notarized Application and Affidavit for Marriage License
- The Marriage Processing Information sheet (if one or both parties are not coming in to the office)
- $62.00 payable to Whatcom County Auditor. We accept money orders, cashier's checks, or credit/debit card payment over the phone (an additional fee applies to card payments)
The marriage application and payment can be mailed to our office at 311 Grand Ave #103, Bellingham WA 98225.
The 3-day waiting period begins the day the marriage application is processed at the Whatcom County Auditor's Office. You may not get married during this waiting period. The marriage license is valid for 60 days following the 3-day waiting period.
It is up to the couple to arrange a ceremony. Once you've received your marriage license, your ceremony must take place in the state of Washington. The license is valid for 60 days following the 3-day waiting period. You cannot get married during the 3-day waiting period. (See Below)
Who Can Officiate a Ceremony?
According to Washington state law RCW 26.04.050, the ceremony can be performed by:
- Any regularly licensed or ordained minister or any priest, imam, rabbi, or similar official of any religious organization
- Court of appeals commissioners
- Judges and commissioners of courts of limited jurisdiction as defined in RCW 3.02.010
- Judges of the court of appeals
- Judges of superior courts
- Justices of the supreme court
- Superior court commissioners
- Supreme court commissioners
The officiant who performs your ceremony has 30 days from the date of the ceremony to return the Department of Health Certificate of Marriage to the Whatcom County Auditor's Office. We will still accept the certificate if it is returned after 30 days - the important part is that we get it back after your ceremony.
The Recording Division will record the certificate and mail a certified copy to the address provided during the application process. One certified copy is included with your application. You can request additional copies of your marriage license by contacting our office.
The certified copy of the Department of Health Certificate of Marriage is required for Social Security name changes, changing driver's license records, updating passports, etc.
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