Thursday, November 4, 2010

Applying for a Marriage License and According Fees

Marriage License:

My then fiancé and I went to the County Clerk's office in Van Nuys on August 14,2010. The one in Norwalk is too far from our location so we called to inquire about one in our vicinity. We entered the place at 11:00 am and we were entertained after 20 minutes of waiting in the queue. Since the application is readily available online, we printed a copy for ourselves and filled it up the night before. If you don't have the luxury of time to do it at home, you can proceed to the County Clerk's office and fill up an application there.


-One valid I.D. for the petitioner
-One valid I.D. for the beneficiary
-$90 fee for the marriage license
-Application form
-You must both be present in order to show "proof of identity"

The process only took 15 minutes for us. The usual time for the process takes an hour depending on the volume of clients. I handed over my Philippine passport while Jordan showed his license. I brought along an original copy of my birth certificate just in case but I was never asked for it. Your passport will suffice.

The registrar then asked us to sign the marriage license. As it goes with every legal document, we scanned the papers to check for errors. Once again, my name was misspelled though I don't blame her for it. The registrar produced one copy for their file and a personal copy for us to keep.

I was told to jot down the married name of my choice. My single name used to be in this format:
A A A B C. I decided to drop my last name so it's now, A A A B D.

You cannot change your first name. You are not required to change your name. You can choose to alter your middle name as your current last name, a hyphenated combination of your current middle name and current middle name or that of your spouse or the traditional way. What you can do is use a hyphenated combination of your present last name and future husband's last name or simply, your husband's last name as it is the tradition. Be sure to check any errors because you cannot amend the license once it is issued by the County Clerk. The registrar was very adamant about it.

Afterwards, we took a quick oath and paid the fee of $90 for the marriage license. Our marriage license was issued on the same day. They offer a same day service only until 3pm. The last step that we had to decide on was the desired ceremony date. In California, the available days are only on Fridays. We chose August 29th since I didn't have a dress yet. At the end of it, you will be given an envelope which you should bring on the wedding day. Do not fold it in any way.

FYI: You can apply for a marriage license online though by law, it cannot be mailed so you are required to pick it up once the document is produced.

Keep in mind that the marriage license is only valid for 90 days so you must marry within the given time frame.

instructions for marriage records

appointment slip

Wedding Day:

-One valid I.D. for the petitioner
-One valid I.D. for the beneficiary
-One valid I.D. for the witness/es
-A fee of $14 for a copy of the marriage certificate
-Civil ceremony fee of $25
-Marriage license

Proceed to the line where the other grooms and brides are then wait for your name to be called. You must show your marriage license. Once again, you both must present one valid I.D. and sign the provided documents. The witnesses will be asked to present valid I.D.s and sign the marriage certificate. Do not alter your signature just yet. You will then pay for the civil ceremony fee of $25 and $14 for a copy of the marriage certificate. Since it was just two days before Halloween, the registrar gave us and our witnesses a couple of candy bars. That part made me laugh. Moving on, you will be directed towards the ceremony area and stand there until the marriage officiator beckons for you. Once called, you will proceed into the area for the ceremony. After which, the officiator will sign the papers and you'll be officially wed.

fill up and submit the pink version of this form

The marriage certificate takes approximately two months to produce. In the meantime, you can apply for a Social Security Number. If by any chance, you failed to do so before the expiration of your visa, apply for a Social Security Number once you receive your two year green card. 


  1. its way too different in Phils. and weddings in america are too expensive heheheh I can't believe marriage license is P4,000? wow when I and the husband secured ours I think we only spent/paid less P500. :) Ceremony fee is fair we paid P1k too..

    Anyways i think its reasonable ur living in US :)

    Great to know the American wedding way. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Are you already used to signing with your husband's last name? I didn't alter my last name- I stayed with my 2 parent's last name because back home in Puerto Rico women don't take their husband's last name.

  3. @evey Yeah, I know! The AOS will cost us $1,010! :s Are you going to have another wedding?

    @Emy I'm not! :)) I haven't signed any papers with his last name yet. lol. You did? That's so interesting, Emy! I didn't even know that. :))

  4. @Toni: This is really helpful! I'm seriously nervous and in the hopes of having everything smooth sailing with the fiance visa processing.

  5. wow that is really good infor, I did not know about the middle name thing. Where is some nice pictures of your outfit :( Well I'm so happy for you that it all want well and that for $90 for your papers is really good (not sure what you would pay here in the U.K) I think is it is £10 each which is pretty amazing. (It's everything that go's with it that costs the earth). Congrats on getting married and let us know if you are going to share some pictures, would love to see xxxxxx

  6. i don't know hun... but i would love too.. only that's not our priority at the moment.. were married in civil anyway so we might be doing the church soon enough if we have all things in its proper place.. we both still have to focus on our plans yet...and me getting pregnant :) its all that matters to me right now...and am moving soon to his place so theres too many things to think and do at the moment!

    Take care...

  7. glad to find out you don't have to change your last name because I wasn't planning on it! I like my last name way too much to give it up! (sorry future husband!) haha

  8. @makeup,hauls, and anything under the sun! I know that it's nerve wracking at first but the only thing you should worry about is the medical. Once you're clear then the only thing left for you to do is pass the interview.

    @Vintage and Cake Thanks, Law! Yeah, I don't think it's a bad price for it though someone told me how the prices jacked up from how it used to be. That doesn't surprise me though. lol.

    @evey Well, I hope you'll get preggers sometime soon. I don't plan on it since I want to have a career first. Have fun with the move!

    @Jourie I know. I found it out after we got married though. I like my husband's last name so it's fine. lol. Keep it! ;)

  9. Aside from all the processes and fees, it's all worth it in the end! Congrats on being a 'Mrs.'. (:

    Sanny's Head to Heart

  10. Congratulations and welcome to married life! ;-) By the way, we both married at the same city, Van Nuys.. so you're here near in LA, huh? That's so cool! Anyway, good luck on your process and keep the love burning! ~kisses~

  11. @Sanny Yeah, I know. It really is and thank you! :)

    @Cacai M. Thank you! I'm in the Valley right next to Calabasas. Thank you! Hopefully, it won't take so long!

  12. Hey Toni! Its been so long since I read your blog! Hope to see more updates on your married life! :) I followed your blog again..:)


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