California General Information
California is in the Pacific Time Zone (GMT minus 8 hours). The state observes daylight saving time.
The state sales tax is 7.25%. Local taxes may be as much as 1.25%.
For local numbers, dial 411; long-distance, 1 plus area code plus 555-1212; toll-free, (800) 555-1212.
Not all 800, 877, and 888 numbers work outside the U.S. Try a direct toll number or a fax.
You can call 911 toll free from any public telephone to obtain police, fire, or medical assistance.
Visit any county courthouse and show valid identification. You must be 18, or have consent of a parent or legal guardian. No blood test is required. There is no waiting period. Cost: $40-$60. The license is valid for 90 days. Click here for more info
Provides service to all major cities, and Greyhound is the major bus carrier.
Traveling to Tijuana/Baja
U.S. citizens may be asked to show proof of citizenship. For longer stays or trips south of Ensenada, you'll need a tourist card, available from the Mexican Embassy. Be aware that U.S. insurance is usually not valid in Mexico. However, short-term insurance is available for purchase near the border.
Alcohol is sold throughout California. Legal drinking age is 21.
Validity: License is valid for 90 days from date of issuance and is valid anywhere in the state of California.
License fee: $69 - cash, pre-printed California check or money order written out to San Francisco County Clerk only (price subject to change)
Persons authorized to solemnize: Any judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or retired commissioner of civil marriages; commissioner or retired assistant commissioner of a court of record or justice court in this state; by any judge or magistrate of the U.S. or by any priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination of the age of 18 or over. A marriage may also be solemnized by a judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.
Wedding ceremony: By appointment only. You must purchase your marriage license before an appointment can be granted. Ceremonies are at 10 am, and from 12 noon through 3 pm. Call 415-252-3282. There is a 24-hour notice required to reschedule.
Ceremony fee: $30 - cash, pre-printed California check or money order written out to San Francisco County Clerk only (price subject to change)
Witnesses: One witness is required during your ceremony.
- You do not need to be a California resident to marry in California
- Only an unmarried male and unmarried female may marry in California
- Marriage by proxy is not allowed in California
What is the difference between a public and confidential marriage license?
If public, you can get married anywhere in the state of California, you need at least one witness during your ceremony and the marriage record is made available to the public. If confidential, you must be living together, you have to get married in the county where you purchased your license, no witnesses are required, the marriage record is only available to the husband and wife.
San Francisco Marriage License Bureau:
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 110
San Francisco, CA 94102
Office hours: Monday through Friday 8 am to 4 pm