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How to Find New York Marriage Records

Marriage can be known as the union between two loving partners, but other than that, it is also a legally binding agreement between two consenting adults. This agreement states the obligations and duties of both parties of the marriage, including any obligations applicable to any children or other family members. New York courts keep track of these marriages by recording them in their New York Vital Records Office. These records of proof of marriage come in different forms and hold different purposes, so knowing the nuances between them can help someone when attempting to obtain some sort of marriage record. The personal nature of marriage records makes it difficult for those not directly involved in the marriage to access these records, but it is not always impossible.

Are New York Marriage Records Public?

While New York Marriage Records are public, they represent some of the most difficult records to obtain due to the personal nature of the information within. Government organizations often offer marriage verification letters rather than the original marriage records because marriage records must remain intact and unchanged with regard to the people involved in the marriage. If changes need to be made, these records are critical to that procedure.

Family Court Records can include marriage records and divorce records. These records contain personal information of those involved and their maintenance is critical should anyone involved wish to make changes. Because of this both marriage and divorce records can be considered more difficult to locate and obtain than other public records, and may not be available through government sources or third party public record websites.

Where to Find Free New York Marriage Records

As said before, it is difficult for uninvolved parties to access divorce records. Since 1880, marriage records have been held and maintained by New York Vital Records. The records available for request, marriage certificates, are not complete records, because the information it contains is still very general. Although it is not complete, it is still a valid form of proof that a marriage has occurred. A New York marriage certificate contains the names of the two parties, the date of the marriage, and the city or county where the marriage happened. These types of records are available by either the Office of New York Vital Records, or from the county clerk in the courthouse where the marriage occurred.

How Do I Get My Marriage Certificate in New York?

To obtain one’s own marriage certificate in New York, walk-in, mail-in, and even phone ordering services are available at the New York State Vital Records Office. Those who are eligible to access these records are either of the spouses, the children of the spouses, or anyone who has a New york State Court Order signed by a judge. Identification also must be given by the requesting party. This includes the following forms of identification:

  • Driver's license
  • State-issued non-driver photo-ID card
  • Passport
  • U.S. Military-issued photo-ID

If those forms of identification are not available to the requesting parties, they may submit two of the following:

  • Recent utility or telephone bill
  • A letter from any government agency from within the last six months

To order a copy of a certified marriage certificate, download the application form and mail to

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Certification Unit
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

Alternatively, walk-in services are available and often result in same-day service.


For phone orders, the fee is $45.00 payable by MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, or Electronic Check. Walk-in orders have a fee of $45.00 payable by cash, check or money order. They do not accept debit or credit cards. Mail-in order fees are $30.00 and can be paid by personal check or money order. All checks can be made payable to the NYS Department of Health.

What are New York Marriage Records?

A New York State marriage record differs from a marriage certificate in that it is the most complete record of a legal marital union between two people. A marriage record includes all information included in a marriage license and marriage certificate, but has more authority than both in the court of law. The documents held inside these records can be used for different purposes and are often confused with each other.

Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and marriage records. Similarly, third party public record websites can also provide these types of records. But because third party organizations are not operated or sponsored by the government, record availability may vary. Further, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.

What are New York Marriage Licenses?

A New York Marriage License is what needs to be obtained in order to get married.There are a few steps and procedures that requesting parties must do in order to obtain this license. The fee for a New York Marriage License is $35.00 and is payable by credit card, check, or money order to the Court Clerk. The Licence is then valid for 60 days, meaning the couple must get married within 60 days of being granted the marriage license. There is an application online to begin the process of applying for a marriage license, but it is also possible to fill out the application in physical form. To apply, blood tests are not required. The information required to fill out this form is as follows:

  • Both party’s names, current address, city, state, ZIP code and country, country of birth, date of birth, name and country of birth of both party’s parents;
  • Social Security numbers
  • Marital history: if one of the requesting parties was married before, they must list all prior marriages. They must include their previous spouse's full name, the date that the divorce was finalized; along with the city, state, and country where the divorce was issued. It is possible, depending on the county, that the requesting party might be asked to provide a copy of the divorce decree.

Proper identification includes:

  • Driver License with photograph
  • Non-Driver Identification Card with photograph
  • Learner Permit with photograph
  • Active United States Military Identification Card
  • Passport
  • United States Certificate of Naturalization
  • United States Permanent Resident Card
  • United States Employment Authorization Card

How to Change Your Name After Marriage in New York

Newlyweds can start using their spouse's name immediately after marriage. However, if they want to legally change their name after marriage in New York, they must go through the appropriate steps.

The first step in effecting a name change after marriage is obtaining the marriage license. Couples apply for marriage licenses before their wedding day and usually obtain them after the day. Newlyweds will need certified copies of their licenses to navigate the name change. They can obtain certified copies of their marriage license from the clerk's office in the county where the wedding happened. These copies typically cost $10 each.

The next step for the person changing their name after marriage is to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) about their new name. This step is essential because the person cannot change their name with other government offices unless they have a new social security card. To make this change, the newlywed must download and complete a new Social Security card application, including their given name and married name. They may attach a certified copy of their marriage license, SSN, and photo ID and submit the application to their nearest social security office in person or by mail. The SSA will issue them another card in two to three weeks.

Once the newlywed has their new social security card, they should apply to their local DMV for a new driver's license. They will need to make an appointment and carry along their current driver's license, new social security card, and a certified copy of their marriage certificate.

What are New York Marriage Certificates?

A New York marriage Certificate is different from an entire New York State Marriage Record or a simple New York State Marriage License. A certificate acts as proof that a marriage has occurred between two people, and is not the complete document containing a marriage license and a marriage record.

How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Certificate in New York

By visiting the appropriate local City Clerk Office in person or by mailing in a completed request appication, it is possible to obtain a copy of one’s own marriage certificate in New York State.