marriage license info

minnesota marriage license information

All counties in the state follow Minnesota Statute 517.08, though the process of fulfilling the requirements vary from county to county. It’s best to contact the license office for specifics. The following is a quick reference for common questions.

where to apply

Apply for a marriage license at any county in Minnesota. The license will be valid for a wedding ceremony performed anywhere within Minnesota. You don’t need to be a resident of Minnesota, nor be a U.S. citizen. You don’t need to live in the county where the license was issued.

submit information online in advance

Some counties allow you to submit your information online. Bring the confirmation number to the license office and sign for the license.

together, in person

Both parties are required to sign the application for a marriage license together, in person. If one party cannot be present, inquire about a notary option ahead of time with the license center staff.

information required

You will need to provide the following information: full names before and after marriage, addresses, social security numbers, and dates and places of birth. If either party has previously been married, you will need to submit the person’s married name and the date, place, and court in which the civil marriage was dissolved or annulled; or the date and place of death of the former spouse.

Identification requirements vary in each county. Call for information before you go to the license center. A valid driver’s license, photo ID, or certified copy of a birth certificate may be required.


Statewide, the license fee is $115. The fee is $40 with certification of 12 hours of premarital counseling.

Pay with cash or a credit card (make sure the county accepts credit cards). In some counties, paying with a check may mean a 3-week delay before the county will issue the marriage license.

no waiting period

A marriage license is issued immediately (if paid for with cash or credit card) and is valid in anywhere in Minnesota for six months from the date of issue. If the license expires, you can return to the license center and have it reissued for another 6 months. There is no charge for reissue.

license misplaced or expired

If marriage license has been misplaced, it can be reissued, though some counties charge a fee for doing this.

A marriage license is valid for six month from the date of issue. An expired license can be reissued at no cost at the original license center.

can minors get married?

Applicants under the age of 18 must list their parents on the application. Contact the license office for further information.

premarital counseling

Premarital counseling is not required, but the marriage license fee is reduced to $40 if you have the documentation to prove 12 hours of premarital counseling. Request further information at the license office. Most counties have the reduced fee form on their website.

marital name changes

If you intend to change your name at the time of marriage, you will indicate this on the application for your marriage license (though there are special requirements for any applicant who has a felony conviction). The marriage license will arrive with the names as they will be once the marriage has been officiated. On the day of the wedding, the license will be signed by the officiant, you and your new spouse, and the two witnesses. It will then be mailed back to the county. Two to three weeks after the date of marriage, the county will mail a certified copy of the marriage certificate to the address listed on the application. This certified copy has a certification stamp and a raised seal. You will need the certified copy to change your social security, driver’s license, passport, banking, etc. Additional certified copies can be attained at any time from the county of issue for a fee of $9 each. 

can both spouses change their names?

The wording of Minnesota Statute 517.08 on changing names at the time of marriage has been interpreted differently in the various counties. Some counties limit the couple to adopt one or both of their two last names. Some counties, including Anoka, Ramsey, and Washington County, allow a couple to choose an altogether different name and to change their first and middle names too.

Before you apply and purchase a marriage license, be sure that the name changes that you want will be allowed in that county. If your desired change is not accepted by your county, find out which nearby counties will allow your type of change and apply for the license there. A marriage license can be purchased in any county in Minnesota and the ceremony can be performed anywhere in the state.