Applying for a Marriage License
During this time of social distancing due to COVID19, please complete the following
steps to obtain a marriage license which is valid anywhere in Washington State.
- Submit your Marriage Application online.
- After the Marriage Application is completed, the system will state Document Submitted -On Line Marriage XXXXX. Write down this 5 digit code.
- Please download the Marriage Application and have it signed in front of a notary public.
- Mail this and notate your phone number to:
Benton County Auditor
5600 W Canal Dr
Kennewick, WA 99336
- We will call you when we receive your notarized marriage application, for
payment via bankcard.
Following this we will mail you the packet you need to complete after the ceremony.
Please note that your license fee is payable at this time by bankcard only. The 3-day waiting period doesn't begin until fees are paid and license is created.
Please let us know if you have any questions at 509-736-2727.
- Both applicants must have a current photo ID as proof of your age and identity.
- Blood tests and physical exams are not required to obtain a marriage license.
- Applicants do not have to be residents of the State of Washington to obtain a marriage license. The license is only valid for weddings that are performed within the State of Washington.
- Proof of divorce from a previous spouse, or death of a spouse, is not required to obtain a marriage license. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the final decree of divorce is filed before applying for a new marriage license.
- Both applicants must be at least 18 years of age or older. Applicants who are 17 years of age must be accompanied by one parent or legal guardian who can provide consent.
- Applicants under the age of 17 must obtain permission from the Family Court.
Application must be made a minimum of 3 days prior to marriage as there is a 3 day waiting period and no exceptions can be made. The 3 day waiting period begins on the date of application.
Witnesses are not necessary to apply for a license, but state law requires that at least two witnesses be present at the ceremony. Witnesses should be at least 12 years of age.
How do I know if someone is legal to officiate a marriage?
State law prescribes who can perform a marriage ceremony: active and retired Supreme Court justices, Court of Appeals judges, Superior Court judges, Supreme Court commissioners, Court of Appeals commissioners, Superior Court commissioners, and judges of courts of limited jurisdiction, as well as any regularly licensed or ordained minister or priest, imam, rabbi, or similar official of any religious organization. See RCW 26.04.050 for a complete list.
A qualifying officiant from any state may perform marriage ceremonies, but the ceremony must be performed in the State of Washington. Neither applicant may perform the ceremony.
Washington State does not "license" persons who are authorized to perform marriages. In this sense, the word "license" is not an official governmental function of issuing a license or permission to perform marriages, but more a function of recognition by the religious affiliation. It is the person within the religious affiliation who is recognized or granted the power (consequently, "licensed" by the religious affiliation) to officiate over wedding ceremonies.
We are prohibited from stating whether a person ordained through a specific organization/ministry can perform marriage ceremonies. It is not uncommon for marriages to be officiated by individuals who obtained credentials via organizations, including on the internet.
Where can I find a marriage officiant?
The Auditor's Office only issues marriage licenses. The Auditor's Office does not perform civil ceremonies similar to what is done in other states. There are several options for finding a marriage officiant. You can "Google" marriage officiants in the Tri-Cities, Washington. Also, there is a small section of "Wedding Officiants" in the yellow pages or a section in the Tri-City Herald related to wedding services that generally lists officiants. You can also be married by a judge. You can contact a judge through Benton County District Court. Their telephone number is (509) 735-8476.
Marriages are Public Record
All marriage records are a matter of public record. The one exception to this is for those enrolled in the State's Address Confidentiality program. Once a license has been recorded, it cannot be "unrecorded."
Copies of Marriage Licenses
Certified copies of marriage licenses must be requested. Requests may be made in person or by mail.
To request in person, please come to the Recording Department located at the Prosser or Kennewick Office listed above. Department hours are 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday thru Friday.
To request by mail, please send a request with bride, groom, and date of marriage to Prosser or Kennewick Office listed above.
All public documents, including marriage certificates, are available from the Recording Department.