A quick guide to getting married in New York City
As Beyonce once said: It’s time to “Put a ring on it”. If you are not already married- you might want to take the opportunity and get married while visiting the United States, where it's legal and easy.
Beyond the romantic and logical reasons, Being married also allows you to be matched with a surrogate from certain states that restricts surrogacy for non-married couples and will help with the parentage process to help prove your status.
I have gathered for you the information and created a useful guide to take you all the way to the altar, for your wedding in New York City.
We start our day visiting the City Clerk Office, located on 141 Worth street, Manhattan, NYC.
(link to map). Opening hours are Monday through Friday from 8.30 am to 3.45 pm, except on major holidays.
Getting your marriage license
First, you will be asked to fill out a form on their automated machines. However, You can save yourself some time by filling out the form online ahead of your arrival on their website: https://www1.nyc.gov/cityclerkformsonline . In this form, all you need is just a few details such as Your full names, Place of birth, Your parent’s names, etc.…
The whole process takes less than 5 minutes. After completing the form, you will get a number- Print it and take it with you. Remember to bring proper identifications with you.
After filling out the form (in person or online), you will get a number for one of the clerks' stations, Where you will receive your Confirmation and license papers.
Then you will need to wait for 24 hours (They are very strict on timing, so if you got your license at 9 AM Thursday, You would be able to get married only on Friday at 9:01 AM.
You will have to pay $35 on a Credit card or money order; They do not accept cash.
Ok! Got the license. Now let's get married at the city clerk!
You can be married by an officiant, there are many in NYC, but in this guide, I want to focus on the easy and quicker way - in the city clerk's office!
After your 24 hours wait from getting your license, you can come back to the same place and take another number at the entrance. Don't forget to bring your proper identification and a witness (at least one). When your number is called, Go to the station with your witness. The witness must sign the papers, so make sure they have their ID card with them.
After doing so, You will be called to clerk station number 5. There's no way to predict if it will take a long wait, and there is no way to book a ceremony in advance. There, wait to be called. You will enter a room where an officiant will hold the mini ceremony. Please note that your witness must be in attendance for the entire process to make sure that he is not in a hurry and patient. For the ceremony, you will have to pay $25. Check the paperwork carefully since changing them after the fact will cost extra money.
Wait to be called for the official ceremony. Keep in mind that there are two halls - East and West. The ceremony itself takes a few minutes, and you are married! By the end of the ceremony, you will receive your wedding certificate!
There are two kinds of marriage certificates that you can receive:
A short one that is basic and an extended certificate includes more information that a non-American judge might require. For a foreign visitor, you will need the extended version. Keep in mind that you can get the extended version on the day you are getting married. However, since it requires some extra walking around and waiting, you can always come back another day.
Wait, I need an apostilled copy of the certificates!
To do this, go to the clerk in the city clerk's office and ask for an Apostille (Make sure to bring with you some form of ID). The clerk will send you to fill out another yellow form. You will have to choose how many copies you need. Each copy costs around $35. Return the forms to the clerk and get a confirmation number. Take this number to a Registering room (In the same building) where, after paying for the copies, you will receive the copy (still not Apostilled!).
Now, You have to validate the legality of these copies. To do that, you will have to walk across the street and walk for 3 minutes to the Supreme Court on 60 Center Street, where you need to go to the “Country clerk office”. Walk down to floor B and room 141. There, you will have to wait in line, Submit your copies and pay $3 for each copy. They will sign them and send you on your way to the next destination.
A 10-minute walk from the Supreme Court, you will find the Department of State Apostille on 123 William St, New York, NY 10038 USA. There you will have to submit the copies you received and get them an Apostille stamp.
But wait, You didn’t think this one was free, right? You will have to pay, but there is a catch- They do not accept cash or credit card, so you will have to cross the street to the closest “Duane Reade” and ask to buy a “Money Order” for 10$ (Which costs 11$). Each copy will cost 10$ so buy accordingly.
After paying, you will be called again and will get your Apostille certificates! This is the finalized copy that you will probably need in your own country to recognize this marriage.
All in all, the entire process will take you approximately 6 hours of waiting, $120 in total, and an additional 24 hours of wait in between.
Congratulations! You are now officially married. You may now kiss your partner!