Requirements for Entering Into a Civil Union
For two people to establish a civil union in New Jersey, they must satisfy all of the following requirements:
- Not be a party to another civil union, domestic partnership or marriage in this state or that is recognized by this state*;
- Be of the same sex
- Be at least 18 years of age, except that applicants under 18 may enter into a civil union with parental consent. Applicants under age 16 must obtain parental consent and have the consent approved in writing by any judge of the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part
Same sex couples who meet the above requirements and are registered as domestic partners may enter into a civil union with the same person without terminating their domestic partnership first. If the domestic partnership was registered in New Jersey, it automatically terminates when the civil union is registered. If the domestic partnership was registered in another state, that state's laws determine the impact on the domestic partnership. A couple that has previously entered into a civil union or a same-sex marriage shall apply for a Reaffirmation of Civil Union License.
Who Must Come to Apply
- Both parties must appear in our office to apply for a Civil Union License
- Translators - If either of the applicants or the witness does not speak English, you must bring a translator.
- Witness - Only one witness, who is 18 years of age or over and knows both parties.
Where to Apply
You may apply in the New Jersey municipality in which either person resides. The license is valid throughout the State of New Jersey. If neither applicant lives in New Jersey, submit the application in the municipality where the civil union ceremony will be performed. The license is only valid in the issuing municipality.
What You Should Bring With You When You Apply for a Civil Union License
- The $28 application fee in cash or check.
- Any documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by a certified English translation.
- Both parties must bring a certified copy of their birth certificate. If a birth certificate is not in English, a certified translation is required.
- Civil Union Officiant Information - Applicants must have information about who is going to perform the Civil Union ceremony, where, and when the ceremony will take place, and the mailing address and phone number of the officiant.
- If you are divorced, have had a previous civil union dissolved, domestic partnership terminated or have had a civil union annulled, please bring certified copies of the decree(s) or the civil annulment documents.
- If your former spouse/civil union or domestic partner is deceased, please bring a certified copy of the death certificate.
- Proof of residency, a photo driver's license or 3 utility bills or tax bills with your name and address. Bills may be no older than 90 days.
- Social security cards. Your social security number is required by law and will be kept confidential.
Do not sign the Civil Union Application (PDF) prior to going to the Municipal Registrar. You must sign the application, while under oath, in the presence of the issuing authority
The application form must be completed in full with exact complete information. Names must be completely spelled out, including middle names, no initials. You may not sign the form until after you have taken the oath given by the Registrar at the Health Department.
After You Apply
In New Jersey, there is a minimum 72-hour (3 day) waiting period from the time that you apply for the license until you can pick it up for use. The waiting period begins when the application is filed with the Local Registrar. If you are planning to have a civil union ceremony on a particular weekend, the latest that you can apply is the Tuesday before, in order to satisfy the three days (72 hours) by Friday, since we are NOT open on the weekends for the release of the civil union license.
The Civil Union license application is valid for six months from the date accepted, unless the Registrar has given prior approval to extend the validity of the application to a maximum of one year.
Only one Civil Union license may be granted from a Civil Union application. If the license expires before being used, a new application must be made and another $28 fee remitted.
The only exception to this requirement is in the case where a civil and religious ceremony are to be performed on the same day. In this case, the Local Registrar will photocopy the Civil Union application, marking one "A" and one "B," and issue the corresponding Civil Union licenses, marking them "A" and "B" as well. One copy will be used for the religious ceremony and the other for the civil ceremony.