In Cook County, IL, you can apply and receive your Marriage License in two ways. The most common route has been the in-person marriage process. However, with technological advances and the demand for this timely process to be sped up, Online Marriage Licenses have become available in Cook County, Illinois.
The online Marriage License Process can be broken down into the following steps:
1. Fill out the Clerk’s Online Marriage Application.
2. Appear together at one of the Clerk’s six Vital Records locations.
3. Inform the clerk that you filled out your application online.
4. Present valid identification with proof of age.
5. Sign the marriage license application.
6. Pay the marriage license fee of $60.
There is no virtual option for appearing at the Clerk’s Vital records location at this time. Therefore, the process is not able to be completed online only. However, that does not limit who can officiant your legal marriage. Although you need to apply for a marriage license in person or online via the Cook County courthouse, you have several options to choose an officiant. If you have a wedding ceremony at a courthouse, then the clerk of courts will choose an officiant for you.
You can also choose your officiant:
• Any religious official, if they are authorized by their religion to perform marriages;
• A judge of a court of record;
• A retired judge [unless they were forced out of office for misconduct];
• A Cook County clerk; or
• A Native American tribal official authorized to perform marriages.
You also need to consider the following requirements:
• Marriage licenses in Illinois become effective the day AFTER they are issued in Illinois. The couple doesn’t need to wait 24 hours—they just can’t get married on the same calendar day (unless they can get a court order).
• The marriage must take place WITHIN COOK COUNTY if the license is issued there.
• The officiant CANNOT receive compensation.
• The officiant must forward the certificate to the clerk within 10 days of the marriage.
Although marriage is a joyful process, you must be aware that there are several steps required by law for your marriage to take place. Being mindful of this two-step process will help the process go smoother.
This blog was written by Francis Law Center Staff Liridoni Ademi and Daniel Lurker