Licensing in the Days of Coronavirus

Reverend Jim Beidle is ready to help you make your wedding real in the days of Coronavirus

Getting your Marriage License during the days of Coronavirus is going to be a bit of a challenge. Even with the “Stay-home” order, though, it’s doable. This article will help you solve some of the basic questions. To get your paperwork signed, you will need to be creative, proactive, and patient.

All of the county offices in Washington have closed their doors to the public in order to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. The doors may be shut, but there are still employees in the office waiting to process your application. Here’s where your creativity comes in to play. Snohomish, Skagit, and Whatcom counties are encouraging mail-in applications. I’ll include links to their websites at the bottom of this post, or you can find them on the List of Washington Counties page elsewhere on the site. For now, let’s take each county in turn.

Snohomish County

Snohomish County is only accepting mail-in applications. Follow these steps, and remember to allow plenty of time for mailing back and forth.

  1. Download the Marriage License Application (PDF).
  2. Complete the application in blue or black ink in clear, legible writing.
  3. Sign the application in front of a notary and have them sign it and attach their seal. I suggest checking with your bank or credit union; usually, the manager and assistant managers are notaries and will meet with you by appointment. Both of you will have to go to the appointment and bring a valid, government-issued ID.
  4. Include a check, money order, or cashier’s check for $70.00, payable to the Snohomish County Auditor. 
  5. Mail the completed application and fee to:
    Snohomish County Auditor’s Office – Recording Division
    3000 Rockefeller Ave M/S 204
    Everett, WA 98201
  6. The Recording Division will process your application and mail your marriage license, a Certificate of Marriage, and an information packet.

Expect this process to take up to two weeks to finish. And, that depends on how quickly your Notary can see you.

Skagit County

It is best to use the mail-in process for Skagit County. According to the website, the Skagit County Auditors office accepts on-line applications and requires you to pick it up in person. But, the Marriage Licenses page hasn’t been updated to reflect their closure. As a result, I think there are some disappointed couples out there who find out that their online application won’t get processed for weeks until the office reopens.

To obtain a Skagit County marriage license:

  1. Complete the marriage license application form (pdf) and affidavit (pdf). Both forms are also obtainable from the Auditor’s Office.
  2. Both the bride-to-be and groom-to-be must sign the completed affidavit. The signing must be witnessed by a notary public. As mentioned above, check with your financial institution and make an appointment.
  3. The Marriage License fee is $64.00 (cash or credit card accepted).  You have an option to pre-pay $3.00 for a certified copy that will be automatically mailed to you.
  4. The recorder’s office has a walk-up window, and my source says you may bring it in.
    1. Alternatively, leave the affidavit, application, and payment in the dropbox outside the office.
    2. Finally, you may also mail the application package to the Skagit County Auditor’s Office at this address:

      PO Box 1306
      Second St., Room 201
      Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Again, your patience and planning come into play. It will take a couple of weeks to make this happen.

Whatcom County

In Whatcom County, you fill out your application on a web-form. When that’s complete they will send you an email with instructions on completing an affidavit with a notary and getting that information to the Auditor’s Office.

What About Notaries?

In Snohomish and Whatcom counties you will definitely need a Notary Public to complete your paperwork during the current crisis. That’s also the case when you choose the mail-in or dropbox options for Skagit County. The good news is that Notaries are easy to find. These days of Coronavirus may require a bit more persistence than usual, but shouldn’t stop you from getting your paperwork done.

I’ve already mentioned your financial institution. The Branch Manager or Customer Service Manager is usually a Notary, something required to conduct many kinds of business. But, what if your bank is unable to accommodate you in a timely manner?

I have learned that most UPS Stores have a Notary on staff. Call to learn when they’ll be available. If the UPS Store is closed, you have other options.

While you’re Googling the UPS phone number, you can also search the term “Notary near me.” You’ll have a list of stores and mobile notaries. As you might imagine, a mobile notary will hop into their car and visit you on a convenient schedule. If you’re both working, and are on different shifts, this may be your best option.

That Notaries charge for their work should come as no surprise. The State of Washington has set a limit of $10 per notarial act. A traveling Notary may charge a travel fee and will negotiate that with you when you call.

Why Wait? Don’t Let the Days of Coronavirus Stop You

I hope I’ve given a fairly complete picture of obtaining marriage licenses in the three counties I regularly serve. It requires a bit of patience and planning in the days of coronavirus to get your ducks in a row, but it isn’t the impossible task it might seem. True, marriage parties of dozens of guests are off the table, for now. Available options include micro-weddings and elopements, and with a bit more creativity, we can stream or record your wedding for your family and friends.