Marriage Certificates

Richard N. Benson, Assessor - Recorder - County Clerk

Ordering Marriage Certificates

Marriage Certificates are registered in the county where the  marriage license was purchased. Marin County can only issue certificates for marriage licenses purchased in Marin, regardless of where the ceremony took place

Requests for public marriage certificates are processed by the Marin County Recorder.

Complete instructions for submitting your request for a public marriage certificate and the required request forms may be found on our website.

Please Note: To request a Marriage certificate for a confidential marriage, please direct your inquiry to the Marin County Clerk.

The fee for requesting a Marriage certificate is $15.00, payable by cash, check, or money order.

Who May Request Marriage Certificates

Although vital records are public documents, under California law, certificates are not open for public inspection.  Anyone may request copies, however only persons authorized under California law may receive authorized certified copies of Marriage records. Those who are not authorized to receive an authorized certified copy will receive a certified copy marked “INFORMATIONAL, NOT A VALID DOCUMENT TO ESTABLISH IDENTITY”.

For Marriage records, legally authorized people are:

  • The registrant, or a parent or legal guardian of the registrant
  • A child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner of the registrant
  • An attorney representing the registrant or the registrant's estate, or any person or agency empowered by statute or appointed by a court to act on behalf of the registrant or the registrant's estate.
  • A party entitled to receive the record after a court order
  • A member of law enforcement or another governmental agency who is conducting official business as allowed under the law

Note: The confidential marriage certificate is only made available to the parties to the marriage and cannot be viewed by anyone except the couple without a court order. Certified copies may be purchased after a ceremony is performed and it has been registered with the Marin County Clerk.

What is the difference between a confidential and a public marriage license? 

A public marriage license allows you to hold the ceremony anywhere within the State of California and you are required to have at least one witness present during the ceremony. After the ceremony takes place and the license is recorded, the marriage certificate becomes a public record.

A confidential marriage license requires the couple to be living together prior to applying for the license. Couples who are living together may obtain a confidential marriage license as long as they meet the requirements listed on the Marin County Clerk website. The ceremony may take place anywhere within the State of California and witnesses are not required during the ceremony nor do witnesses sign the marriage license.

The confidential marriage record is only made available to the parties to the marriage and cannot be viewed by anyone except the couple without a court order. Certified copies may be purchased after a ceremony is performed and it has been registered with the Marin County Clerk. Both types of marriage licenses are legally valid.

If you need additional information or have more questions, please contact us. Our office is located at the Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive room 234, San Rafael, CA. You can also contact a member of the County Clerk staff via phone at (415) 473-6772 or via email. Office hours are from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday (closed major holidays). Due to processing time, licenses and applications are accepted for filing between 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM.

Completing and Submitting the Request Form

If you are making your request in person, do not sign the form until you present it to the Recorder’s office. In order to obtain an authorized certified copy, other than in person, you MUST complete the sworn statement on the request form, sign it before a notary public, and have your signature acknowledged.

If you are submitting your order by mail, you must sign the sworn statement in the presence of a notary public and the notary public must also fill out a Certificate of Acknowledgment. If your mailed request indicates that you want an authorized certified copy, but does not include a notarized statement, the request will be considered incomplete and returned unprocessed.

You may request authorized certified copies for multiple individuals by mail and collectively notarize them; however, a separate application must be completed for each request.

No Record/Search Fee

The fee for vital records must be paid in advance by the applicant. If no record of the event is found, the fee will be retained for searching as required by California statute, and a Certificate of No Record Found will be issued.

Requesting Documents Online

The Marin County Recorder does not process vital records requests online or accept credit card payments, however, for your convenience; you can process online requests through VitalChek Network, an independent company that we have partnered with to provide this service. An additional fee is charged by VitalChek for using this service and all major credit cards are accepted; including American Express®, Discover®, MasterCard® or Visa®.

If you need additional information or have more questions, please contact the Marin County Recorder Copy Center at (415) 473-6094 or send an email. The office of the Marin County Clerk Recorder is located at Marin Civic Center Room 232, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.