Iowa Marriage License Laws

Married couple leaving church


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Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding in Iowa. Make sure you understand the marriage laws and requirements before setting your wedding date. We recommend verifying information with the Recorder's office. Marriage licenses can be obtained at any County Recorder's office in Iowa. Here is a list of all the County Recorders in the state of Iowa.

Iowa Residency and ID Requirements:

You do not have to be a resident of Iowa. Picture identification is required. You also need to provide Social Security information.

Previous Marriages:

If either of you were previously married, you will need to show the date of divorce or date of spouse's death. If the divorce was within 60 days, a signed copy of the divorce decree will need to be provided.

Same-Sex Marriage in Iowa:

Yes, same sex marriages are legal in Iowa. The law became effective April 27, 2009. On April 3, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in an unanimous decision in Varnum v. Brien that "state laws prohibiting marriage on the basis of the partners' gender are unconstitutional."

Iowa Waiting Period:

Iowa has a three (3) business day waiting period.

Fees for Marriage Licenses in Iowa:

In most towns in Iowa, the cost of a marriage license is $35. The fee and acceptance of checks or credit cards varies from county to county.

Other Tests in Iowa:

No other tests are required in Iowa for a marriage license.

Proxy Marriage in Iowa:

No. However, if one of you can't be present at the Recorder's Office to apply for the license, the absent party can sign the Iowa marriage license application before a Notary Public.

Cousin Marriage in Iowa:


Common-Law Marriage in Iowa:


Under Iowa Code for Revenue and Finance, 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]).

701-73.25(425) states "A common law marriage is a social relationship between a man and a woman that meets all the necessary requisites of a marriage except that it was not solemnized, performed or witnessed by an official authorized by law 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."

Under 18 in Iowa:

Applicants 16 or 17 years of age need to have parental consent.

Wedding Officiants in Iowa:

Any ordained or licensed clergymen, and justices of the peace.


You need to have one witness (over 18 years of age) with you when you apply for the license.


An Iowa marriage license is valid for 6 months. Copy of Certificate of Marriage:
Iowa Department of Public Health
321 E. 12th, 4th Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319
(515) 281-4944

Please note: State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. It is important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans.

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