Guide: Getting Married in NYC for Foreigners & US Citizens


Guide to Getting Married in NYC for Foreigners. How to elope in NYC and get married at City Hall or anywhere in New York.

I frequently photograph New York elopements and City Hall weddings, and oftentimes the couple is not from NYC. And that makes me excited: to them, this is a destination wedding, and I get to play the hybrid role of photographer-slash-tour guide and make their New York elopement dreams come true.

But getting married in NYC for foreigners can be daunting. In addition to the fact that you can’t preview the location beforehand, the logistics of getting married in New York can be confusing as a non-U.S. citizen. Here, a guide to getting married in New York for foreigners, from getting your marriage license to getting an extended marriage certificate.

[Note: If you’re a U.S. citizen, check out this guide to getting married in NYC for Americans.]


Getting Married in NYC for Foreigners


Central Park elopement by the lake, part of a guide to getting married in NYC for foreigners. Photo by New York wedding photographer Everly Studios, www.everlystudios.comStep 1: Call your consulate.

First, check to make sure your home country will recognize your marriage if you are married in the U.S. If you are already in America, you can ask your country’s consulate in the U.S.


Step 2: Getting a New York Marriage License

Online application: All couples looking to get married must first go about getting a New York marriage license. Couples can begin the application process online. After submitting an application, you will receive a confirmation number and further information on what documentation to bring with you to the New York City Clerk’s Office. Note that online applications are only valid for 21 days, so couples should apply for one no sooner than 2.5 weeks before you arrive in NYC, lest the application expire.

Getting a Marriage License in NYC: Once you have applied online and are physically in New York, it’s time to make the trip to the City Clerk’s Office. The Manhattan branch is located at 141 Worth St., but each borough has a location (see here for addresses). The Manhattan branch is open Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 3:45pm, so plan accordingly.

Both parties must provide government-issued photo IDs that show your photo, name, date of birth (you must be 18 or older to get married in the U.S.) and address, such as a passport. A list of accepted IDs can be found here.

Cost: Marriage licenses cost $35, and can be paid via credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk. Please note that the City Clerk does not accept cash.

Expiration: Marriage licenses expire after 60 days, so you must get married before then in order to use the license. However, note that you must also wait at minimum a full 24 hours after the marriage license is issued to get married.


New York City Hall wedding, part of a guide to getting married in NYC for foreigners. Photo by New York wedding photographer Everly Studios, www.everlystudios.comStep 3: Marriage Ceremony

New York City Hall ceremony: The swiftest way to get married in New York is at City Hall. You can see more information (plus photos from real City Hall weddings!) over here.

If you decide a City Hall wedding is for you, all you need to do is show up at the Marriage Bureau with your documentation and be prepared to queue up; there are no reservations. Bring your wedding license, your government-issued photo ID, and a credit card to pay for the ceremony ($25). You will also need at least one witness — and yes, if you hire me as your photographer, I am more than happy to act as your witness. The ceremony itself lasts about one minute long, but you are left in the room for another minute or so to take photos. And besides, you probably didn’t travel all the way to NYC to take photos in a room — the city outside awaits!

New York elopement: If getting married inside a government building isn’t what you pictured, no problem. As long as you have a New York-ordained officiant to perform the ceremony and complete the paperwork, you can get married anywhere in NYC. Some of the more popular locations are Central Park elopements, or somewhere with a distinctly iconic New York view.

Here’s more information on how to plan a New York elopement.


Step 4: Getting an Extended Marriage Certificate

There are two types of marriage certificates: a “short” certificate and “extended” certificate. The short certificate is the basic form. An extended certificate is an extended version of the Certificate of Marriage Registration, which includes additional information like the names of both parents and their countries of birth, the name and title of the Marriage Officiant, and the name and location of the place where the ceremony was conducted. For some foreigners, an extended certificate will be needed in order for it to be valid outside the United States. To confirm, you can phone your consulate and ask if you need an extended license.

Here’s how to get an extended marriage certificate:

  1. Take the document to the nearest County Clerk’s Office (see locations here) to authenticate the City Clerk’s hand signature, for a fee of $3.
  2. Take the document to the New York State Department of State for the authentication of the County Clerk’s signature and the attachment of an “Apostille,” for a fee of $10.

The Department of State is located at:

123 William Street
19th Floor
New York, NY 10038

Note that this will require you to visit several different buildings, so while you’re welcome to complete this right after your ceremony, you can also come back and do it any day after the wedding as well.

Step 5: And that’s it!

Congratulations, you’re married! New York will always be a part of you. Now come back soon, ya hear?


Ready to elope?

NYC Elopement Packages

NYC City Hall Wedding Packages

5 Iconic New York Wedding Locations with a View

5 Small Central Park Wedding Locations


4 responses to “Guide: Getting Married in NYC for Foreigners & US Citizens”

  1. […] If you are an adventurous non-U.S. citizen planning to elope in NYC, see my guide to getting married in NYC as a foreigner, which has slightly different […]

  2. […] How to Get Married at NYC City Hall Getting Married in NYC: How to Get Your Marriage License Guide: Getting Married in NYC for Foreigners  […]

  3. […] New York Elopement Packages How to Get Married at NYC City Hall Getting Married in NYC: How to Get Your Marriage License Guide: Getting Married in NYC for Foreigners  […]

  4. […] Guide to Planning Your NYC Elopement How to Get Married at NYC City Hall Guide: Getting Married in NYC for Foreigners  […]

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