How To Apply

Marriage License Application
Marriage Address Update
Marriage Information
Performing Marriage in Iowa

Apply at:  Johnson County Recorder - 913 S Dubuque Street, Iowa City, IA  52240
Identification: Government issued photo ID or passport
Witness: 1 person over the age of 18 (with photo ID) who personally knows both parties
Cost: $35
Checks Made Payable To: Johnson County Recorder
Processing Time: 3-day waiting period before license is valid
Application: Completed in office or downloaded from link above (if completed off-site, all 3 parties need to have their signatures notarized by a Notary Public.)
Officiants do not need to provide proof they are ordained.

Applications received Monday, are valid Friday
Applications received Tuesday, are valid Saturday
Applications received Wednesday, are valid Sunday
Applications received Thursday, are valid Monday
Applications received Friday, are valid Tuesday

Local Magistrates and Judges

Civil ceremony (at courthouse)

  • Tuesdays only: 10:30-11:30 a.m.
  • 417 S. Clinton Street
  • No fee

No walk-in ceremonies will be performed on:
December 26 (2023)
January 2 (2024)
May 28 (2024)
Sept 3 (2024)
Nov 12 (2024)
Dec 24 (2024)

Ceremony (outside courthouse)

Out-of-state application

If you are unable to come to the office in person to apply for a marriage license, the application can be downloaded (using the link at the top of this page) and mailed to us. The application must be signed by all 3 parties and notarized. Please complete the form in its entirety.

Please also include your phone number, address, and indicate if you would like the application kept here in the office (for pickup) or mailed back. Cost to file is $35.

Checks made payable to the Johnson County Recorder and the mailing address is:
Johnson County Recorder,
913 S Dubuque St,
Iowa City, IA 52240

Common errors and missing information we often find:

Last Name Prior to ANY Marriage is not completed (both parties)
Father & Mother's FULL name (be sure to include middle names)
Social Security numbers are missing (bottom back of application)
Witness information is missing (back side of application)


Q: I have been married before, do I need to show/bring divorce papers?

A: No. Divorce papers are not required.

Q: Do we need social security cards?

A: No. Only government issued photo ID's or passports.

Q: Does Iowa require a blood test?

A: Iowa no longer requires blood tests.

Q: Can the 3-day waiting period be 'bypassed'?

A: Yes. A 3-DAY WAIVER form can be obtained from our office. The waiver must be approved/signed by a judge at the courthouse between the hours of 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. There is an additional $5 cost to file the waiver.

Q: Can people under the age of 18 get married?

A: Yes. A CONSENT TO MARRY A MINOR form can be obtained through our office (or through link below). Parents of both parties must sign the form, in addition to a judge at the courthouse. There is no additional cost for filing this form.

Consent to marry a minor

Persons 16 years & 17 years of age may be legally married with the consent of the parents of the underage party. This must be approved by a Judge prior to obtaining the marriage license.

Consent to Marry a Minor Application

Common law marriage

For Income Tax Purposes
Under Iowa Code for Revenue and Financial, common law marriage in Iowa is legal for the purposes of filing income taxes (Administrative Rule, Chapter 39 [701]) and property tax exemptions (Administrative Rule, Chapter 73 [701]).

Iowans may claim common law marriage status if:

  • A present intent of both parties freely given to become married exists
  • Both parties publicly declare themselves as common law married
  • The parties have lived together continuously and consummated the marriage (no special time limit, however)
  • Both parties are legally capable of entering into a marriage relationship; that is, both are of legal age and neither is legally married to someone else at the time.

For marriage certificate purposes:
Only legally solemnized marriage ceremonies per the Code of Iowa, chapter 595, are registered as an Iowa vital event. Such marriages permit the parties to legally change their surname through the marriage certificate. Common law marriages are not registered in the Iowa vital records system.

1 Adm. Rule 701—73.25 (425) Common law marriage
A common law marriage is a social relationship that meets all the necessary requisites of a marriage except that it was not solemnized, performed or witnessed by an official authorized to perform marriages. The necessary elements of a common law marriage are: (a) a present intent of both parties freely given to become married, (b) a public declaration by the parties or a holding out to the public that they are husband and wife, (c) continuous cohabitation together as husband and wife (this means consummation of the marriage), and (d) both parties must be capable of entering into the marriage relationship. No special time limit is necessary to establish a common law marriage. This rule is intended to implement Iowa Code section 425.17 [Homestead Tax Credits and Reimbursement: Definitions].