Frequently Asked Questions

General Request: Can I get a copy of my Birth/Death/Marriage certificate?

There are 5 ways to obtain a certificate:

1. Order Online
  • In addition to the standard record fees, VitalChek online orders charge $12.45 for processing and standard postage.
  • Processing time averages 10-14 business days for regular mail (included), 5-7 business days for 2-day air ($17.50), and 3-5 business days for UPS Air ($20).
  • Credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express & Discover) and checks are accepted.
2. Order By Phone

Call Toll-Free: (866) 252-8974

  • In addition to the standard record fees, VitalChek online orders charge $12.45 for processing and standard postage.
  • Processing time averages 10-14 business days for regular mail (included), 5-7 business days for 2-day air ($17.50), and 3-5 business days for UPS Air ($20).
  • Credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express & Discover) and checks are accepted.
3.  Order By Mail
Mail your request to:
Cook County Clerk's Office
Bureau of Vital Records
P.O. Box 641070
Chicago, IL 60664-1070
 
Include the following items:
  • a photocopy of your photo identification
  • a check or money order payable to the Cook County Clerk for $15 (additional copies of the same record cost $4 each)
  • For birth and marriage certificates, please enclose a check or money order payable to Cook County Clerk for $15 ($4 for each additional copy). Death certificates are $17 ($6 for each additional copy).
  • a self-addressed stamped envelope
  • Note: Be sure to include your phone number with your mail request.
  • On average, mail orders are processed within 20 working days from the date the request is received by this office.
4. Go to a local Currency Exchange
  • Call (847) 759-8905 for Currency Exchange hours and locations in Chicago and suburban Cook County, or visit www.mycurrencyexchange.com.
  • There is a $5 surcharge for records obtained at Currency Exchanges.
  • Records must be picked up at the store by the customer at a later time.
5. Order In Person

Most records are printed on demand while you wait at any of our locations (downtown and five suburban courthouses).

  • Cash, debit cards and credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express & Discover) are accepted. A $1.25 processing fee is charged for debit cards; a $1.75 processing fee for credit cards. Checks are not accepted.
  • Records are $15 for the first copy and $4 for each additional copy of the same record.

Genealogical General Request: Are you fulfilling requests for Genealogical Records?

All genealogical requests are being fulfilled by mail.  Our online portal services are temporarily offline.

Please check our website legacygo.cookcountyclerkil.gov periodically for the latest information for when the online portal services will resume.  We appreciate your patience during this time.


Genealogical Old Outstanding Order: Why can’t I get my Genealogical order that was placed before the Clerk’s Office closed?

If you have a pending genealogical record order and have not received the requested records, it is because your request requires extended researching at our archival location of our historical records.  Genealogical records which require extended research can take up to 8-10 weeks to fulfill the requested order.  

Please check our website legacygo.cookcountyclerkil.gov periodically for the latest information for when the online portal services will resume.  We appreciate your patience during this time.


Marriage License Request: Can I get a marriage license from the Clerk’s Office?

Pursuant to Executive Order 2021-09 signed by Governor Pritzker on April  30, 2021, the following change has been made to the requirements and deadlines related to Marriage Licenses during the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation through May 29, 2021:

Before getting married in Chicago or suburban Cook County, couples must obtain a marriage license from the Cook County Clerk's office and have the option to complete the marriage license application process in-person, as per state statute, and Couples can now apply for a marriage license online via videoconferencing technology pursuant to the Executive Order.

Virtual Marriage License Issuance via Online Video Call – Couples who meet the criteria/prerequisites will be able to pre-register for a Marriage License on the Clerk’s office website and will be emailed their scheduled appointment time and URL to access and submit an online marriage application. The couple will then be contacted via phone during their scheduled appointment to complete the Marriage License process by virtual video meeting to have the license issued.

Please check our website cookcountyclerk.com/agency/vital-records for information pertaining to Marriage Licenses.


Marriage License Expiring: Our marriage license expired  – what can we do?

Pursuant to Executive Order 2021-09 signed by Governor Pritzker on April 30, 2021, the following change has been made to the requirements and deadlines related to Marriage Licenses during the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation through May 29, 2021:

The 60-day expiration timeframe for marriage licenses obtained from the County Clerk, is suspended.  If your marriage license expired during the COVID-19 pandemic and while the Cook County Clerk's Office was shutdown, the expired marriage license can be used by the officiant or judge and returned to our office after your marriage ceremony.


Marriage License Registration: I recently mailed in my marriage license within the 10 days noted on the reverse side of the marriage license, when will my marriage license get recorded?

Pursuant to Executive Order 2021-09 signed by Governor Pritzker on April 30, 2021, the following change has been made to the requirements and deadlines related to Marriage Licenses during the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation through May 29, 2021::

The requirement that a fully executed marriage license must be submitted to the County Clerk within 10 days, is suspended.  Your marriage license will be recorded when it is received in our office.  The 10-day return period will not affect the recording of your marriage license.


Civil Union Licenses

Before formalizing a union in Chicago or suburban Cook County, couples must obtain a civil union license from the Cook County Clerk's office and have the option to complete the marriage license application process in-person, as per state statute, and Couples can also begin their civil union license application process online!


Three types of marriage certificates

Standard Certificates

Certified legal copies of marriage records are $15 and $4 for each additional copy. Five ways to order are shown above.

 

Standard Certificate 

$15

Wallet Certificates

A set of (2) wallet-sized marriage or civil union records are $15 and $4 for each additional copy. Although smaller, these records are also certified legal copies of your marriage or civil union and perfect for carrying in your pocket. Order in person at one of our six office locations (same-day service available only at our downtown office) or fill out a Request Form and apply by mail. Not available online.

 


$15

 

Commemorative Certificates

Art-quality commemorative certificates of a marriage or civil union make an ideal keepsake or gift. Choose from ten original designs by local artists. Ready to frame and printed on canvas, commemorative certificates are $65 and include a free certified legal record. Order online at our commemorative certificate store or visit one of our six office locations.

 

 

$65

 

Notary Request: Can you process my Notary Registration?

The Cook County Clerk's office certifies newly commissioned notaries public who live in Cook County and certifies notaries' signatures.

However, the Illinois Secretary of State first processes all notary public applications. You can print an application to become a notary public at the Secretary of State's website or call (217) 782-7017.

Please check our website cookcountyclerk.com/service/notary-commissions


Authentic Notaries / Apostilles

An apostille certifies the validity of an Illinois notary public, county clerk, circuit clerk or local registrar. This special certification is accepted by foreign countries as proof that specific documents are official.

Authentication process

  1. Before an apostille is issued, the Clerk's office verifies or authenticates the notary public's signature on the document.
  2. The Clerk's office issues a Certificate of Authenticity ($2 per document) verifying that the notary public is in good standing.
  3. The Secretary of State's office issues the apostille.

Apostilles are issued by the Index Department of the Illinois Secretary of State's office:

Main Office:
Illinois Secretary of State's Office
Index Department
111 E. Monroe
Springfield, IL 62756
(217) 782-7017

Chicago Office (Walk-in):
Illinois Secretary of State's Office
Index Department
17 N. State St.
Suite 1010
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 814-2067


Assumed Business Request: How do I access online services for an Assumed Business Name Registration?

The Cook County Clerk's office registers business names known as "assumed names" for new businesses in accordance with Illinois law.

  • Apply online.
  • Follow the steps for completing an application and publishing a legal notice.
  • Dissolution of a business or changing names, addresses or business partners.

An assumed name is issued to any business entity that uses a name other than the name(s) of the individual(s) who own or operate the business.  For example, a business called "John Jones, P.C." (i.e. owner's full name and title) does not have to file an assumed name, but "Jones Wrecking" does.

The Clerk's office also allows the public to search for businesses and owners by name, address, or registration number.

Please check our website cookcountyclerk.com/service/assumed-business-name-registration.