Texas Marriage License: How to Get Married in TX

Summarized steps

Here's an outline on how to get married in Texas:

  1. Apply in any county clerk's office
  2. Pay the $65–88 marriage license fee
  3. Take a premarital course to save money
  4. Submit an application
  5. Absent applicants apply absentee
  6. Show ID
  7. Minors get permission
  8. Get your issued license
  9. Endure the waiting period or get it waived
  10. Divorcees wait a month
  11. No blood test to worry about
  12. Hire an officiant
  13. Get married before it's too late
  14. Record your marriage
  15. Get your marriage certificate
  16. Change your name after marriage


In order to get married in Texas you must apply for a Texas marriage license at any county clerk's office. There are 306 such offices across the State's 254 counties.

The application process takes about 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Also be aware that some offices carve out shorter marriage license only hours.

Note: If one or both of you are unable to apply together and in person, either or both may apply by proxy. You may also marry by proxy.

Licensing officers

The county clerk or one of their appointed deputy clerks will guide you through the application process and will subsequently record your license.


When you purchase a marriage license you're paying for issuance, prepping the application, administering of oaths, recording the completed license, and mailing the recorded license back to you.

Every county clerk's office accepts cash. Credit and debit cards may be honored at some locations, but there's usually a surcharge.

License fee

A Texas marriage license costs between $65 and $88, depending on the county.

Premarital course discount

If you present a premarital education course certificate that's less than one year old, the marriage license fee will be reduced by roughly $60.

Declaration of informal marriage fee

A Texas declaration of informal marriage costs between $30 and $82 to register. This is not the same as a regular marriage license that requires solemnization.

Voluntary contribution

You and the other applicant will be asked to voluntarily and separately contribute $5 to the Texas Home Visiting Program that promotes healthy early childhood.

Texas trust funds

The Texas child abuse and neglect prevention trust fund receives $20 out of every marriage license purchased and $12.50 out of every declaration of informal marriage registered.

Moreover, the Texas family trust fund account is allocated $10 out of every license purchased, which funds the attorney general's premarital education handbook.

Application form

The marriage license application (form VS-180), designed by the bureau of vital statistics and furnished by the county clerk, will ask you to document the following:

  • Name (must match what's on your identification)
  • Maiden name, for females
  • Address (street, city, state, and zip)
  • Date and place of birth (city, county, and state)
  • Social security number, if any
  • Signature and date signed

Then answer true or false:

  • You're not currently married?
  • The other applicant is not currently married?
  • You've not been divorced within the past 30 days?
  • You're not delinquent in court-ordered child support? (doesn't affect issuance)
  • You're not marrying an ascendant, descendant, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or first cousin?

Finally, specify:

  • Would you contribute $5 to the Texas Home Visiting Program in support of early childhood development?
  • Where to mail your recorded license (street or po box, city, state, and zip)?

Note: An absent applicant who applies by proxy must fill out the affidavit of absent applicant form instead of this form.

Social security number

Your social security number is collected for child support enforcement purposes as mandated by Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.

Your social security number will be kept confidential by the county clerk and will be redacted if information related to your application is authorized for release.

Oath and signature

Your signature swears or affirms that the information you've provided is correct. Do not sign and date it until you're in the presence of the county clerk.

Note: Anyone applying as a proxy is not required to take an oath on behalf of the missing applicant.

Warning: Intentionally falsifying information on the application is a third degree felony punishable by two to ten years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Applying absentee

If you're 18 years old or older and unable to apply in person, you may assign a proxy to apply on your behalf. The proxy can be any adult, including the other applicant.

Whoever's absent must provide the proxy a completed and notarized affidavit of absent applicant and acceptable identification.

Note: Both applicants may apply absentee if at least one applicant is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces serving overseas in a military operation.

Affidavit of absent applicant

The affidavit of absent applicant marriage license (form VS-180.1) is similar to the regular application; it asks all the same questions as well as the following:

  • Specify citizenship
  • Do you desire to marry? (true or false)
  • Name, age, and address of the other applicant
  • Estimated date of marriage
  • Reason for absence
  • Who may act as your proxy for the ceremony (not the other applicant)

Note: Every county clerk's office provides blank absentee affidavit forms that anyone can pick up in advance.


There are no residency requirements. Texans or visitors, apply in any county clerk's office, then marry anywhere in the State.


Submit unexpired identification to prove your age and identity, including:

  • Driver's license (not more than two years expired)
  • State-issued ID card (not more than two years expired)
  • Canadian province-issued ID card (not more than two years expired)
  • U.S. passport
  • Foreign passport
  • Consular document
  • Certificate of naturalization
  • Certificate of U.S. citizenship
  • U.S. citizen identification card (no longer issued, but still valid)
  • Permanent resident card (a.k.a. green card)
  • Employment authorization document/card (EAD)
  • U.S. Department of State document, with photograph
  • Department of Homeland Security document, with photograph
  • Military ID card, with photograph (active duty, reserve, or retired)
  • Birth certificate (original or certified copy)
  • Consular report of birth abroad (issued by U.S. Department of State)
  • Certificate of birth abroad (issued by U.S. Department of State)
  • School records (secondary or post-secondary education)
  • Court order for name change (original or certified copy)
  • Court order for sex change (original or certified copy)
  • Insurance policy (active for the past two years)
  • Motor vehicle certificate of title
  • Military records (e.g., discharge, selective service)
  • Marriage license (original or certified copy)
  • Divorce decree (original or certified copy)
  • Voter registration certificate
  • Pilot's license (FFA or U.S. government-issued)
  • License to carry a concealed handgun
  • Temporary driver's license (issued by TxDPS)
  • Temporary ID card (issued by TxDPS)
  • Offender ID card (issued by Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

Warning: Deliberately presenting false identification is a Class A misdemeanor.

Issuance of license

Once your application is accepted, the county clerk will issue you a marriage license that merely contains your name, date and time of issuance, and name of any appointed proxy to stand-in for you during the ceremony.

The original application will be archived in the office and a copy dispatched to the bureau of vital statistics for statewide indexing and genealogical purposes.

Lost or destroyed license

If your marriage license is lost or destroyed, you don't have to go through the entire application process again: simply request a duplicate license.

Waiting period

Your marriage ceremony must not take place until 72 hours after your marriage license is issued.

72-hour waiting period waiver

The 72-hour waiting period can be waived if any of the following is true:

  • You're an active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • You're an employee or contractor working for the Department of Defense
  • You present a premarital education course certificate of completion that's less than one year old
  • You obtain a written waiver from a judge


Your marriage license will expire 90 days after it's been issued.

Update: Effective September 1, 2013, the expiration date has been extended from 31 days to 90 days.

Age requirements

Age 18 or above

If you're at or above the age of 18, you do not need consent from a parent or guardian to marry.

Age 16 or 17

If you're 16 or 17 years old, you may only marry by presenting a certified copy of a court order from this state or another removing the disabilities of minority.

Age 15 or below

Update: Effective September 1, 2017, no person at or below the age of 15 is allowed to marry under any circumstance. Before this date, fifteen year olds and younger could marry if permitted by a court.

Disabilities of minority

Update: Effective September 1, 2017, Texas Senate Bill 1705 amended the law to no longer allow minors to marry by obtaining the consent of a parent, guardian, court, or virtue of having previously been married.

From now on, a minor may only marry if their "disabilities of minority" are removed by a court order, which would bestow upon them full legal rights of an adult. A certified copy of the court order must be presented to the county clerk.

The motivation behind this change in law is to mitigate the risk of a non-emancipated minor being exploited when contracting marriage with an adult.

Residents' petition

You can petition the court to remove disabilities of minority if you're a Texas resident who's 16 or 17 years old and financially self-reliant. Sixteen years old must live apart from their parents.

If the court finds marriage to be in your best interest, you'll be issued a certified copy of the court order removing disabilities of minority which would provide you full legal rights of an adult.

Nonresidents' filing

If you're a 16 or 17 year old nonresident who's had disabilities of minority removed in your state of residence, file a certified copy of the court order in any county's deeds records. Upon filing you'll possess the legal rights of an adult.

Blood test

Although you are not required to get a blood test, you will be given information on AIDS and HIV, as well as testing sites and counseling services.


Recently divorced

If you've been divorced within the last 30 days, you cannot obtain a marriage license unless you're remarrying your former spouse or a court waives the prohibition.

Marrying current spouse

If you're planning to renew your vows, you can still apply for a marriage license. Answering "false" to the application question that asks if you're currently married is acceptable if you're marrying your current spouse.

Premarital education course

If you and your intended spouse complete an 8-hour premarital education course from a trained instructor, you'll receive a certificate—valid for one year—to discount the license fee by about $60 and waive the 72-hour waiting period.

You can find your nearest course provider at the Twogether in Texas website, maintained by the Health and Human Services Commission.

Authorized officiants

The following officials—active or retired—are authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies in Texas:

  • Authorized official of any religious organization
  • Court of appeals justice
  • Supreme court justice
  • Justice of the peace
  • County court judge
  • District court judge
  • Probate court judge
  • Juvenile court judge
  • Municipal court judge
  • County courts at law judge
  • Court of criminal appeals judge
  • Court of domestic relations judge
  • County court at law associate judge
  • Statutory probate court associate judge
  • Federal court judge or magistrate of Texas

Warning: Texas does not permit self-solemnized or self-uniting marriages.

Refusal to solemnize

No person or religious organization is required to provide services, goods, or facilities in celebration of a marriage if it violates their sincerely held religious beliefs and no civil or criminal cause of action may be brought against them.

Unauthorized officiant

Any person who knowingly solemnizes a marriage without authorization is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Any person who knowingly performs a bigamous or unlawful underage marriage is guilty of a third degree felony.

Fallout from an unlawful solemnization will be isolated to the officiant if either party to the marriage genuinely believed the ceremony was lawfully conducted.


Witnesses are not required to attend your marriage ceremony. Any witness who does attend should not sign your marriage license, which risks invalidation.

Proxy marriage

Texas allows marriage-by-proxy as long as the absent party applied absentee and appointed a proxy to serve as their stand-in during the ceremony.

Marriage ceremony

Before your marriage ceremony can be solemnized, you must present your unexpired marriage license to the authorized officiant for examination.

Completion and return

Once the ceremony is over the officiant must document on the license when and where the marriage took place, as well as their name, title, signature, and address.

The completed license must be returned to the issuing county clerk within 30 days after the ceremony so that it may be recorded.

If the officiant fails to return the license, they will be guilty of a misdemeanor which carries a fine between $200 and $500.


After the county clerk receives your returned marriage license, it will be recorded and mailed back to the address you provided on the application.

Recording entails dredging up your archived application and filling in the remaining "for office use only" blanks: date and place of marriage and officiant's name.

Marriage certificate

Upon request and payment, the county clerk will issue a certified copy of a recorded marriage license (a.k.a. marriage certificate).

Note: The Texas bureau of vital statistics does not issue certified copies of marriage records; however, for $20 they can search for and confirm the existence of a marriage established between 1966 and today.

License vs. certificate

What's the difference between a marriage license and marriage certificate?

  1. A marriage license allows you to get married.
  2. A marriage certificate confirms that you are married.
  3. A marriage certificate is basically a "recorded" marriage license.
  4. They're both the same documents; the only thing that changes is the status.

Mistake on certificate

If you find an error on your marriage certificate, you and your spouse can file a notarized affidavit with the county clerk requesting a correction.

Instead of editing the original record, the affidavit will be recorded and filed alongside it as an amendment. Future certified copies will have the affidavit attached.

Affidavit correction forms are available in the clerk's office.

Name change after marriage

You can change your name after marriage with the Social Security Administration, DMV, passport agency, and other government and non-government institutions by using a certified copy of your marriage license/certificate.

Warning: If you do not notify the Texas DMV of a change of name or address within 30 days of the change, you may be fined an administrative fee of up to $20.

Declaration of informal marriage

An informal marriage is a marriage minus the ceremony, is available to adults age 18 and above, costs $30–82, and takes place instantly in the county clerk's office.

You'd submit a "declaration and registration of informal marriage" instead of an "application for marriage license." The questions on both forms are identical.

You must approximate the date your marriage was established when registering. Between that time and now you could not have been married to anyone else.

A declaration of informal marriage is similar to a common-law marriage—which is also legal in Texas—but makes it more official due to registration.

Declaration recording and certificate

Once your registration form is accepted, fees paid, and oaths administered, the county clerk will "execute" your declaration as follows:

  1. Prepare a "certificate of informal marriage" showing date and time of issuance.
  2. Dispatch a copy of the registration form to the bureau of vital statistics.
  3. Record and archive a copy of the registration form.
  4. Record and archive a copy of the certificate.
  5. Give you the original registration form.
  6. Give you the original certificate.

Common-law marriage

Texas does recognize common-law marriage, which is a marriage where the spouses present themselves as married without legal solemnization.

Common-law marriage should not be confused with the similar declaration and registration of informal marriage that Texas law formally offers.

You do not have to register or declare a common-law marriage; you and your spouse must simply mutually agree that you are married and present yourselves as such.

Out-of-state marriage

The marriage laws of Texas apply to residents who marry out-of-state. Any attempt to evade the statutes of this State is a risky proposition.

Marrying relatives

If you enter into a marriage in Texas with any of the following members of your family—whether related by the whole blood, half blood, or adoption—it will be void.

  • Great-grandparent
  • Grandparent
  • Parent
  • Child
  • Grandchild
  • Great-grandchild
  • Sibling
  • Aunt
  • Uncle
  • Niece
  • Nephew
  • First cousin
  • Stepchild (current or former)
  • Stepparent (current or former)


You would be guilty of bigamy by knowingly entering into a marriage, informal marriage, or common-law marriage when you or your spouse had an existing spouse.

Bigamy is a felony of the first, second, or third degree depending on the age of the victimized party: 16, 17, or 18+, respectively.

Pick a county clerk's office

Now that you understand the required steps for getting married in Texas, your next move is to choose a county clerk's office to apply in.

Your questions or comments regarding Texas marriage law are welcome.

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TX Office Locations

Below are the 254 counties in Texas where you can apply for a marriage license.


Anderson County

58,458 (population)

Andrews County

14,786 (population)

Angelina County

86,771 (population)

Aransas County

23,158 (population)

Archer County

9,054 (population)

Armstrong County

1,901 (population)

Atascosa County

44,911 (population)

Austin County

28,417 (population)


Bailey County

7,165 (population)

Bandera County

20,485 (population)

Bastrop County

74,171 (population)

Baylor County

3,726 (population)

Bee County

31,861 (population)

Bell County

310,235 (population)

Has 3 offices

Bexar County

1,714,773 (population)

Blanco County

10,497 (population)

Borden County

641 (population)

Bosque County

18,212 (population)

Bowie County

92,565 (population)

Brazoria County

313,166 (population)

Has 3 offices

Brazos County

194,851 (population)

Brewster County

9,232 (population)

Briscoe County

1,637 (population)

Brooks County

7,223 (population)

Brown County

38,106 (population)

Burleson County

17,187 (population)

Burnet County

42,750 (population)


Caldwell County

38,066 (population)

Calhoun County

21,381 (population)

Callahan County

13,544 (population)

Cameron County

406,220 (population)

Has 7 offices

Camp County

12,401 (population)

Carson County

6,182 (population)

Cass County

30,464 (population)

Castro County

8,062 (population)

Chambers County

35,096 (population)

Has 2 offices

Cherokee County

50,845 (population)

Childress County

7,041 (population)

Clay County

10,752 (population)

Cochran County

3,127 (population)

Coke County

3,320 (population)

Coleman County

8,895 (population)

Collin County

782,341 (population)

Has 2 offices

Collingsworth County

3,057 (population)

Colorado County

20,874 (population)

Comal County

108,472 (population)

Has 3 offices

Comanche County

13,974 (population)

Concho County

4,087 (population)

Cooke County

38,437 (population)

Coryell County

75,388 (population)

Has 2 offices

Cottle County

1,505 (population)

Crane County

4,375 (population)

Crockett County

3,719 (population)

Crosby County

6,059 (population)

Culberson County

2,398 (population)


Dallam County

6,703 (population)

Dallas County

2,368,139 (population)

Has 9 offices

Dawson County

13,833 (population)

Deaf Smith County

19,372 (population)

Delta County

5,231 (population)

Denton County

662,614 (population)

Has 4 offices

DeWitt County

20,097 (population)

Dickens County

2,444 (population)

Dimmit County

9,996 (population)

Donley County

3,677 (population)

Duval County

11,782 (population)


Eastland County

18,583 (population)

Ector County

137,130 (population)

Edwards County

2,002 (population)

El Paso County

800,647 (population)

Has 3 offices

Ellis County

149,610 (population)

Erath County

37,890 (population)


Falls County

17,866 (population)

Fannin County

33,915 (population)

Fayette County

24,554 (population)

Fisher County

3,974 (population)

Floyd County

6,446 (population)

Foard County

1,336 (population)

Fort Bend County

585,375 (population)

Franklin County

10,605 (population)

Freestone County

19,816 (population)

Frio County

17,217 (population)


Gaines County

17,526 (population)

Galveston County

291,309 (population)

Has 2 offices

Garza County

6,461 (population)

Gillespie County

24,837 (population)

Glasscock County

1,226 (population)

Goliad County

7,210 (population)

Gonzales County

19,807 (population)

Gray County

22,535 (population)

Grayson County

120,877 (population)

Gregg County

121,730 (population)

Grimes County

26,604 (population)

Guadalupe County

131,533 (population)


Hale County

36,273 (population)

Hall County

3,353 (population)

Hamilton County

8,517 (population)

Hansford County

5,613 (population)

Hardeman County

4,139 (population)

Hardin County

54,635 (population)

Harris County

4,092,459 (population)

Has 10 offices

Harrison County

65,631 (population)

Hartley County

6,062 (population)

Haskell County

5,899 (population)

Hays County

157,107 (population)

Has 2 offices

Hemphill County

3,807 (population)

Henderson County

78,532 (population)

Hidalgo County

774,769 (population)

Has 2 offices

Hill County

35,089 (population)

Hockley County

22,935 (population)

Hood County

51,182 (population)

Hopkins County

35,161 (population)

Houston County

23,732 (population)

Howard County

35,012 (population)

Hudspeth County

3,476 (population)

Hunt County

86,129 (population)

Hutchinson County

22,150 (population)


Irion County

1,599 (population)


Jack County

9,044 (population)

Jackson County

14,075 (population)

Jasper County

35,710 (population)

Jeff Davis County

2,342 (population)

Jefferson County

252,273 (population)

Has 2 offices

Jim Hogg County

5,300 (population)

Jim Wells County

40,838 (population)

Johnson County

150,934 (population)

Has 2 offices

Jones County

20,202 (population)


Karnes County

14,824 (population)

Kaufman County

103,350 (population)

Kendall County

33,410 (population)

Kenedy County

416 (population)

Kent County

808 (population)

Kerr County

49,625 (population)

Kimble County

4,607 (population)

King County

286 (population)

Kinney County

3,598 (population)

Kleberg County

32,061 (population)

Knox County

3,719 (population)


La Salle County

6,886 (population)

Lamar County

49,793 (population)

Lamb County

13,977 (population)

Lampasas County

19,677 (population)

Lavaca County

19,263 (population)

Lee County

16,612 (population)

Leon County

16,801 (population)

Liberty County

75,643 (population)

Limestone County

23,384 (population)

Lipscomb County

3,302 (population)

Live Oak County

11,531 (population)

Llano County

19,301 (population)

Loving County

82 (population)

Lubbock County

278,831 (population)

Lynn County

5,915 (population)


Madison County

13,664 (population)

Marion County

10,546 (population)

Martin County

4,799 (population)

Mason County

4,012 (population)

Matagorda County

36,702 (population)

Maverick County

54,258 (population)

McCulloch County

8,283 (population)

McLennan County

234,906 (population)

McMullen County

707 (population)

Medina County

46,006 (population)

Menard County

2,242 (population)

Midland County

136,872 (population)

Milam County

24,757 (population)

Mills County

4,936 (population)

Mitchell County

9,403 (population)

Montague County

19,719 (population)

Montgomery County

455,746 (population)

Has 3 offices

Moore County

21,904 (population)

Morris County

12,934 (population)

Motley County

1,210 (population)


Nacogdoches County

64,524 (population)

Navarro County

47,735 (population)

Newton County

14,445 (population)

Nolan County

15,216 (population)

Nueces County

340,223 (population)

Has 2 offices


Ochiltree County

10,223 (population)

Oldham County

2,052 (population)

Orange County

81,837 (population)


Palo Pinto County

28,111 (population)

Panola County

23,796 (population)

Parker County

116,927 (population)

Parmer County

10,269 (population)

Pecos County

15,507 (population)

Polk County

45,413 (population)

Potter County

121,073 (population)

Presidio County

7,818 (population)


Rains County

10,914 (population)

Randall County

120,725 (population)

Reagan County

3,367 (population)

Real County

3,309 (population)

Red River County

12,860 (population)

Reeves County

13,783 (population)

Refugio County

7,383 (population)

Roberts County

929 (population)

Robertson County

16,622 (population)

Rockwall County

78,337 (population)

Runnels County

10,501 (population)

Rusk County

53,330 (population)


Sabine County

10,834 (population)

San Augustine County

8,865 (population)

San Jacinto County

26,384 (population)

San Patricio County

64,804 (population)

San Saba County

6,131 (population)

Schleicher County

3,461 (population)

Scurry County

16,921 (population)

Shackelford County

3,378 (population)

Shelby County

25,448 (population)

Sherman County

3,034 (population)

Smith County

209,714 (population)

Somervell County

8,490 (population)

Starr County

60,968 (population)

Stephens County

9,630 (population)

Sterling County

1,143 (population)

Stonewall County

1,490 (population)

Sutton County

4,128 (population)

Swisher County

7,854 (population)


Tarrant County

1,809,034 (population)

Has 8 offices

Taylor County

131,506 (population)

Terrell County

984 (population)

Terry County

12,651 (population)

Throckmorton County

1,641 (population)

Titus County

32,334 (population)

Tom Green County

110,224 (population)

Travis County

1,024,266 (population)

Trinity County

14,585 (population)

Tyler County

21,766 (population)


Upshur County

39,309 (population)

Upton County

3,355 (population)

Uvalde County

26,405 (population)


Val Verde County

48,879 (population)

Van Zandt County

52,579 (population)

Victoria County

86,793 (population)


Walker County

67,861 (population)

Waller County

43,205 (population)

Ward County

10,658 (population)

Washington County

33,718 (population)

Webb County

250,304 (population)

Wharton County

41,280 (population)

Wheeler County

5,410 (population)

Wichita County

131,500 (population)

Wilbarger County

13,535 (population)

Willacy County

22,134 (population)

Williamson County

422,679 (population)

Wilson County

42,918 (population)

Winkler County

7,110 (population)

Wise County

59,127 (population)

Wood County

41,964 (population)


Yoakum County

7,879 (population)

Young County

18,550 (population)


Zapata County

14,018 (population)

Zavala County

11,677 (population)

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