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How long to get a marriage certificate

how long to get a marriage certificate

Marriage Licenses

Before you can get married in Massachusetts, you will need a Marriage License issued in Massachusetts. An out-of-state license cannot be used and you cannot use a Massachusetts license outside of this state.

Upon Filing a Marriage Intention

Once you file a marriage intention, the Registry Division's Marriage Staff will give you a small white card with your names, the date you can pick up your Marriage License, and the date the license will expire (after 60 days).

There is a three (3) calendar day waiting period until you can pick up your license. This waiting period includes weekdays, weekends, and holidays, but the day the application is submitted is not included in the three day waiting period.

  • After the three day waiting period has passed, the marriage license can be picked up in person by you or someone else holding the white card.  You must pick up the license prior to the wedding and have it in hand to give the person performing the wedding before the ceremony.
  • Whoever picks up the license must verify that all information listed is correct. The license packet will include further instructions for the couple.

    What Do We Do With the License?

    Bring the original marriage license to the officiant of the wedding ceremony.

    To register the marriage, the officiant must complete and sign the license in black ink and return it directly to the City Clerk or Town Clerk that issued the license. He or she must ONLY fill out the sections outlined in the instructions that come with the license. Reprinting a license will require an additional $12 fee.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    +Expand All Answers

    How much does a Marriage License cost? The couple’s $50 application fee is due at the time they file their Marriage Intention. Cash, money order, credit or debit cards are all acceptable forms of payment. Please make money order payable to the City of Boston. How long after issuance is the license valid? The marriage license is valid for sixty (60) days from the day you applied for your Marriage Intention.  If it expires you will have to start the process over again and pay a new application fee. When can I get my license? There is a mandatory three (3) calendar day waiting period between when you file your marriage intention and when you can pick up your license. While weekends, Wednesdays (closed), and holidays are included in the three days, the day the application is made is not included in the 3 days. For example, if you apply on Friday, your license will be issued on or after

    Monday. Is there a waiver for the three day waiting period?

    Yes, there is a Marriage Without Delay waiver option for the three (3) calendar day waiting period, however it is an exception and the Court will charge a $195 fee. The requirement can only be waived by a petition presented and approved by a Judge upon a petition for a marriage waiver.

    In Boston you would apply for the Marriage Intention at the Registry Division and then request information on to apply for a waiver at the Suffolk Probate and Family Court.

    If you are applying for the waiver, you first have to apply for the marriage intention/license at the Boston Registry then we will give you directions for the court. After you have the waiver you return to the Registry to complete and pick up the license, then take the license to a person who can marry couples in Massachusetts. Allow enough time as there are no appointments.

    Can I get married in Boston or another city or town in Massachusetts? Yes, you can marry in any city or town in Massachusetts if you follow all of the requirements in applying for a Marriage Intention and License. When can I get a 'Certified Copy' of my marriage license once I am married? The officiant will sign and return the original marriage license to the City of Boston Registry Division where your license was issued along with any required authorization. Certified Copies are available after we have received the completed license from the person who performed the wedding. Certified copies are usually available as of the Thursday two weeks after they are received in this office, approved as completed, and given a registration number. However, if the completed license is sent in early in the week the certified copy will not be available until after the following Wednesday. Now that I am married, how do I change my name on legal documents?

    You will need to request a Certified Copy of your marriage from the city or town where you got your marriage license. Contact the specific agency and follow their instructions.  Here are some tips:

    Before the Wedding

    Make your honeymoon reservations using your MAIDEN name. You won't have a passport or driver’s license in your new name yet, so you'll need your tickets to match your documentation.

    After the Wedding (If Your Legal Name Has Changed) 

    Get a copy or copies of your certified Marriage License.

    Get a new social security card.

    Get a new driver’s license or State ID (also check on your car title and registration information).

    Category: Insurance

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