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Iowa Marriage License and Blood Test Requirements

Before getting married in Iowa, couples must obtain a valid marriage license. If a marriage is performed without a license, the parties (and anyone who aids them) are guilty of a simple misdemeanor. This article provides a brief overview of Iowa's marriage license and blood test requirements.

The Marriage License

In most instances, a couple will be granted a marriage license if they submit a completed marriage license application to the county registrar and pay the required fee. However, a marriage license will not be issued in Iowa if:

  • Either party is less than 18 years old (unless an exception applies)
  • Either party is disqualified from making a civil contract
  • The parties are within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity in which marriages are prohibited by law, or
  • Either party is a ward under a guardianship and the court has found that the ward lacks the capacity to contract a valid marriage

Age Requirements

In Iowa, a marriage license will only be issued if both parties are at least 18 years old, (unless exempt). The table below outlines the various exemptions to this age requirement.

Code Section

Iowa Code section 595.2: The Age Requirement

Parties Who Are 16 or 17 Years Old


Couples where one or both parties are 16 or 17 years old may be exempt from Iowa's age requirement if the following applies:
  • The parents of the underage party certify in writing that they consent to the marriage (if the minor's parents are divorced then the parent with legal custody may execute the certificate), and
  • The parental certificate of consent is approved by a district court judge

The Waiting Period

Some states, including Iowa, impose a waiting period between the time you receive your marriage license and when you can actually get married. In Iowa, a marriage license doesn't become valid until three days after it is issued. However, a marriage license may be validated earlier in emergency situations or under extraordinary circumstances.

How Long Until Your License Expires?

In Iowa, marriage licenses are valid for six months.

Blood Tests

Iowa doesn't require couples to get a blood test as one of their marriage license requirements.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Iowa's marriage license laws contact a local family law attorney.

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