Before getting married in Chicago or suburban Cook County, couples must obtain a marriage license from the Cook County Clerk's office.
Under Illinois law, only eligible persons can marry. Both partners must:
- be 18 years of age or older
- not be blood relatives
- not already be legally married to someone else or each other
- Under state law, first cousins older than 50 years of age may marry.
- Under state law, applicants who are 16 and 17 years old may obtain a marriage license with parental consent
Both parents or legal guardians must:
appear in person
- provide sworn consent of the marriage at that time
- provide valid identification
If a court-appointed legal guardian is providing consent, a certified copy of the appointment is required.
Applicants who are 16 or 17 must present the following:
- a certified copy of their birth certificate
- a second form of identification showing their date of birth
Applying for a Marriage License
All couples must appear together at one of the Clerk’s six locations for marriage 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 marriage license application.
Pay the marriage license fee of $60.
- Couples applying for a marriage license ONLINE must:
- Fill out the Clerk’s Online Marriage 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 marriage license application.
- Pay the marriage license fee of $60.
- Couples applying for a marriage license IN PERSON must:
Applicants who have divorced must provide the date the divorce was finalized upon applying for a marriage license. Applicants who have divorced within the last six months must provide a certified copy of their divorce decree.
Timelines and restrictions
Marriage licenses are:
- Issued while you wait
- Effective the following calendar day after they are issued
- Valid for 60 days
- Valid only in Chicago and suburban Cook County
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 marriage ceremony occurs
The officiant performing the ceremony must complete the bottom portion of the marriage license and mail or deliver it to the Clerk's office.
You may obtain a copy of your marriage certificate upon request.
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