How long does it take to get a marriage license in Wisconsin?

Getting a marriage license in Wisconsin takes 7 days. Once an application has been submitted to the county office in which you reside, there will be a mandatory six-day waiting period before the marriage license is issued. These 6 days do not include  weekends or federal holidays. In most cases, the day in which you apply will not be included in the waiting period.

Getting Married in Wisconsin

Congratulations on choosing to get married in the sate of Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, you'll be one of approximately 33,000 other couples tying the knot this year [r]. While the process for obtaining a marriage license is a simple one, there is a mandatory waiting period that must be observed upon filing your initial application with the county clerk.

Applying for a Marriage License in WI

To get a better sense of how to properly apply for and receive a marriage license in the state, let's look at a real world example.

Oak Creek residents, John and Kathy have been carefully planning their wedding for the past 10 months, each detail accounted. With the “big day” just 20 days away, the pair is now ready to check off, the single most important item on their list: the marriage license.

At this point, you might be wondering, “why would a couple committed to meticulously planning such an important event wait until the last minute to apply for something as important as the marriage license?” The simple answer is they haven't. Anyone who knows them will tell you that neither John or (especially) Kathy are anything but procrastinators, in fact, they're right on time.

With just over two weeks before their wedding day, John and Kathy set out to file the paperwork to make their marriage legal.

Applicants must apply for marriage with the County Clerk's office in the county where at least one of partners is a resident. Since our couple live in Oak Creek, they are residents of Milwaukee County, so their journey begins at the County Clerk's office is located in the Milwaukee County Courthouse in Room 105, 901 North Ninth Street, Milwaukee.

The marriage license application must be completed at least 7 days before the date of the wedding, but not more than 30 days beforehand.

Katy and John must apply together and they will need to provide the Clerk's office with the following:

  • ID
  • Social Security numbers
  • The date of the wedding
  • $110.00 marriage license fee (no personal checks, 3% credit/debit fee)
  • Valid photo I.D. (Driver's license, State I.D., Military I.D., etc…)
  • Proof of residency (Wisconsin Driver's License or State I.D., Utility bill, Bank or credit card statement, lease agreement)
  • The wedding officiant's name, address, and telephone number

Additional considerations

  • If either were married in the past and have had a divorce or an annulment, they will need to provide a filed copy of the final judgment of divorce, a certified divorce certificate, legal annulment, or certified death certificate that ended the previous marriage.
  • In Wisconsin, the courts require anyone granted a divorce must wait 6 months after the date of the granting of a judgment of divorce, regardless of where the divorce was granted, before a new marriage certificate will be granted.
  • Any document not in English must be attached to a certified and notarized translation.  Both applicants must speak and be able to read English. Applicants may not translate for each other, additionally, the applicant's will be responsible for providing the a translator.

When will the marriage certificate be ready to pick up?

John and Kathy will be able to pick up their official marriage license after 7 days from the date of the application. The document will be available in Office of the County Clerk where the application was originally submitted. Either of the applicants can pick up the license, as long as they present valid photo identification.

With the marriage certificate in hand, our happy couple are ready to embark on their new life together.

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