Before formalizing a union in Chicago or suburban Cook County, a couple must obtain a civil union license from the Cook County Clerk's office.
- be 18 years of age or older
- not be blood relatives
Partners of same or opposite sex may enter into a civil union.
Applying for a Civil Union License
All couples must appear together at one of the Clerk’s six locations for civil union licenses
They may fill out the entire application at the Clerk’s office, or begin the process online and finish it at the Clerk’s office. Couples who begin the application online must still appear at one of the Clerk’s offices to finish filling out and sign the application.
Appear together at one of the Clerk’s six Vital Records locations.
Present valid identification with proof of age.
Fill out and sign the civil license application.
Pay the civil union license fee of $60.
- Couples applying for a civil union license ONLINE must:
- Fill out the Clerk’s Online Civil Union Application.
- Appear together at one of the Clerk’s six Vital Records locations.
- Inform the clerk that you filled out your application online.
- Present valid identification with proof of age.
- Sign the civil union license application.
- Pay the civil union license fee of $60.
- Couples applying for a civil union license IN PERSON must:
Timelines and restrictions
Civil union licenses are:
- issued while you wait
- effective the following calendar day after they are issued
- valid for 60 days
- effective only for ceremonies performed in Chicago and suburban Cook County
As of June 1, 2011, all county clerks in Illinois issue civil union licenses. Licenses should be obtained in the county where the ceremony is to occur.
If you do not have your own officiant, you can be joined in marriage or a civil union by a Cook County judge at the Marriage and Civil Union Court, in the lower level of 119 W. Randolph St. (the City Hall/County Building). Marriages and civil unions are performed there six days a week. No appointments are taken, so you should check the court’s website or call to confirm its hours. Marriages and civil unions are also performed at the suburban municipal district courthouses. Times and restrictions vary, and some are by appointment only, so call in advance.
After the civil union ceremony occurs
The officiant performing the ceremony must complete the bottom portion of the civil union license and mail or deliver it to the Clerk's office.
You may obtain a copy of your civil union certificate upon request.
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