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How to Get an Illinois Civil Union License & Civil Union Certificate

Lesbian & Gay Marriage in Illinois - Same-Sex Marriage IL




When did Civil Unions in Illinois become Legal?

Civil unions were legal in Illinois on June 1, 2011.

Because there is a 24 hour waiting period - the earliest you can have your civil union is June 2, 2011.


What is an Illinois Civil Union?

A civil union is a legal relationship granted by the state of Illinois. Couples who enter into a Civil Union in Illinois are entitled to the same benefits and protections that state law provides to married couples.


Where do we get an Illinois Civil Union License?

Chicago Civil Union Licenses are issued through the Cook County Clerk office. You must apply for your Civil Union License in the county where your civil union will be held - list of Illinois county clerk's offices.


How much does an Illinois Civil Union License Cost?

In most counties, the license costs $30. Some county offices do not accept all methods of payment - so bring cash with you to the clerk's office.


Is there a Waiting Period and County Requirement?

  • Yes. There is a 24 hour waiting period between the time you apply for your civil union license and the time you have your legal civil union ceremony
  • Because of this - the earliest date that you can legally have your civil union ceremony is June 2, 2011
  • The License is only valid in the county where it was issued a day after it is issued and is valid for the following 60 days 


Can my Illinois Civil Union License Expire?

Yes. You must have your civil union ceremony and have your civil union certified in that county within 60 days by an authorized person or the license becomes invalid. Once you have the civil union certified, it becomes and remains valid until it is dissolved.  


Do we need to be residents of Illinois?

You do not have to be a resident of Illinois or a resident of the county.


Who can enter into an Illinois Civil Union?

You can enter into a civil union in Illinois if you are a same-sex or opposite-sex couple in a committed relationship.


  • You and your partner must both be at least 18 years old
  • Neither of you can already be in a marriage, civil union, or similar legal relationship
  • Illinois does not allow civil unions between relatives  


Do we both need to apply for a license?

Yes. Both you and your partner must appear at the county clerk’s office to apply for a civil union license.


  • You must each show proof of your identity, such as a driver's license or state-issued photo identification
  • Both you and your partner must sign the application witnessed by the county clerk


What do we do with the Illinois Civil Union License?

You must deliver the license to the person who will certify your civil union. Your license then becomes a civil union certificate.


  • Your Civil Union Certificate must be returned to the county clerk’s office where it was issued within 10 days of the ceremony so that it can be officially registered by the clerk
  • The Civil Union Certificate is not a complete legal document until it has been recorded in the county clerk's office where it was issued


EnGAYged Weddings would like to thank our couples and the following photographers who can be viewed on our Gay Wedding Planning Forum :


  • Same Sex Wedding Photo
  • Prideful Engagements
  • Melissa Koren Photography
  • Elle Wedding Photography 


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