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How to get a marriage license in New Orleans

And how to change your name

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Couples getting married in New Orleans must obtain a marriage license from the Louisiana Department of Health, which is an easy task but requires some planning. The hours are restrictive, a couple has to appear together to apply, you must obtain the license at least 72 hours before the wedding, and you can't pay with a credit or debit card. You can fill out the application early and the license is good in any location in Louisiana — but only for 30 days. Here's the 411.

Where: Orleans Parish Marriage License Office (Benson Tower, 1450 Poydras St., Suite 407).

  Or Second City Court of New Orleans (Algiers Courthouse, 225 Morgan St.; www.new.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/page/644).

When: Benson Tower: 8:15 a.m.-3:15 p.m., Monday-Friday.

  Second City Court: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

How to apply: Both parties must apply together. The exceptions: the absent person's signature on the application has been notarized separately or a copy of a U.S. mili- tary ID has been submitted in lieu of a signature.

Documents required: First marriages — current driver's license, current Louisiana ID or passport; certified birth certificate or birth card (no photocopies accepted); U.S. Social Security number or valid passport from country of birth or visa (with I-94 form).

  Divorced or widowed — also must provide certified copy of final divorce decree or certified copy of former spouse's death certificate.

Cost: $27.50 in cash, check or money order only. Certified copies of the marriage certificate are $5.50 each.

Waiting period: 72 hours must pass between when the license is issued and the marriage. There are two exceptions: the requirement can be waived by a First or Second City Court judge — but only during their normal working hours Monday-Friday; or it can be waived by an officiant registered in Orleans Parish who is performing the ceremony — if the couple lives outside Louisiana and is getting married in New Orleans.

Expires: An unused marriage license expires 30 days after it's issued. Couples must return the expired license to apply for a new one.

Residents 16-18 years old: must have signed consent of both par- ents or an order from a Judge of Juvenile Court.


Here's how to change your name after marriage.

Social Security: You'll need a new card with the corrected name.

Documents required: Marriage license (no photocopies); you may also be asked to provide an identity document with prior name (driver's license, state-issued ID, U.S. passport).

How to apply: Download an application at www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf; in most cases it can be done through the mail.

Cost: Free

Driver's license: Changing information on a driver's license must be done in person at the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV).

Documents required: in most cases, a current driver's license and marriage license; if also changing address, bring two documents bearing new home address, and proof of insurance if you own a car. Note that documentation for a REAL ID driver's license (required for domestic air travel after Oct. 2020) is different than that for a non-REAL ID; documents will be returned to you but images will be retained by the OMV (see details at www.expresslane.org).

Cost: $13-$23

Vehicle certificate of title/car registration: application must be made in person at an OMV.

Documents required: current vehicle certificate, Louisiana driver's license, certificate of marriage, proof of insurance

Cost: $76.50

Other to-do's: Also update names and addresses on credit cards, bank accounts, utilities, your employer and with the post office.

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