CHICAGO — The Cook County Clerk's office has added an online marriage license application feature to the clerk's website, allowing couples getting married in Chicago or suburban Cook County to fill out the application online before going to the office in person, saving over half the time it takes to do the entire process in person.
The application was created by the Cook County Clerk’s IT Department in coordination with other staff and had a soft launch in November, said a spokesman for Cook County Clerk David Orr. On average, the clerk’s office estimates the process of filling out a marriage license application in person takes 10 minutes. Filling out the application online takes just four minutes. Although this may not seem like a lot, recent data from the clerk’s office showed couples who completed the marriage license application online saved a total of 11,724 minutes.
“Those 6 minutes not only let couples get on with their day a little faster but it allows our staff to get to and complete other customers ’vital records requests quicker than before," said spokesman Frank Herrera. “As of Feb. 15, 1,954 couples had saved an average of six minutes on their visit to our office. That’s an overall savings of 11,724 minutes, or 195 hours in which our staff can spend helping additional customers or preforming other job-related duties.”
Per the Clerk’s data, around 35,000 marriage licenses are issued every year at the Cook County Clerk’s office. In 2017, 35,802 marriage licenses were issued. As of mid-February, 6,930 marriage licenses had been issued in 2018, with 28 percent applying online. The Clerk’s office data showed that the time it took to process the 6,930 licenses was 959 minutes. Had all the applications been done online, the time would have been shaved down to 462 minutes, saving customers and workers over twice as much time.
“The Clerk’s office is always looking for new efficient ways to save taxpayer[s] and the office time and money,” Herrera said.
After finishing the process of obtaining a marriage license online, couples must appear in person together with identification at one of the Clerk's offices and pay a fee. This part of the process can be very quick. Herrera noted that “there are usually 10 registers used for issuing licenses at our downtown location.”
“This application simply aims to increase efficiency at the Clerk’s office as well as save couples and other customers time on their visit,” he said.