Table of Contents
- What are Iowa Vital Records?
- Iowa Birth Records
- Frequently Asked Questions About Iowa Birth Records
- Iowa Death Records
- Frequently Asked Questions About Iowa Death Records
- Iowa Marriage Records
- Frequently Asked Questions About Iowa Marriage Records
- Iowa Divorce Records
- Frequently Asked Questions About Iowa Divorce Records
What are Iowa Vital Records?
Iowa vital records are birth, death, and marriage records that include fetal death and stillborn births, adoption records, and change of name applications. Certified copies of vital records are only available to specific individuals outlined in state law. Iowa allows for public inspection of vital records held at the county level, but does not allow public access to records held at the state level.
Certified copies of vital records are available online from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). Official State-certified copies are only provided to specific individuals identified under Iowa law. These individuals include the subject, immediate family, and legal representatives.
Public inspection of vital records is permitted in Iowa. You must go to the County Registrar in the County Recorder's Office. Contact information is available for each Recorder's Office online by following the County Recorder's Office link above. You can access records online through the IDPH if you are a qualified recipient. Third-party online searches for vital records in Iowa will confirm the existence of a record, but not the certified record itself.
Iowa Birth Records
State-certified copies of original vital birth records are available from July 1, 1880 to current through the IDPH. Certified copies are only available to the subject, immediate family like children or parents, and legal representatives. These records will have a raised, embossed seal. Official records are used for official purposes like getting a passport, taking out a loan, or applying for a license.
Iowa uses the VitalChek.com site for requesting vital records online. VitalChek charges fees to process your request. By mail requests will require four to five weeks, however you can pay for expedited shipping through UPS. Only the parents, the subject, some immediate family, and legal representatives can use VitalChek.com to search for copies of records online. Proof of identity is required.
You can go to the County Recorder's Office and view records in person. You will need to know at least some information, including the names of the parents and approximate date of birth. County Recorder's offices will not have some records, but the dates of records held varies by county office.
The Iowa State Archives holds birth records more than 75 years old that are available to the public. You will need to go to the offices in Des Moines or Iowa City to view records.
Frequently Asked Questions About Birth Records in Iowa
Who Can Request Official Records in Iowa?
Only the subject of the inquiry, immediate family, or a legal representative may request official birth records. Certified birth records are confidential, however anyone may inspect copies of records by visiting the County Recorder's Office.
How Much Does a Birth Record in Iowa Cost?
Certified copies of birth records are available for $15, plus additional fees for using the VitalChek site. VitalChek starts at $9.00.
What Records Are Available from the Iowa Department of Health?
Only certified records of birth certificates are available through the IDPH. IDPH can provide certified copies of birth records from 1880 to current.
What Birth Records are Available to the Public in Iowa?
Anyone has the right to inspect birth records held by the County Registrar. County records of births may include records from 1880 onward. Most county records stop in the 1920's or 1930's. Birth records must be more than 75 years old to be accessible to the public. County recorders also have certified copies of records from 1988 to present.
County Recorder's Offices will not have single-parent births before 1995, any adoption records, or physical records of births occurring between 1921-1941.
Can You Check to See if A Record Exists Before I Pay?
The staff at IDPH can't search for the existence of records without a completed application request form and the appropriate fee.
If My Record Isn't Found, Can I Get a Refund?
Fees collected by the IDPH are not refunded, even if a record is not found. Fees are collected for the purposes of paying for research time.
How Do I Order a Birth Record?
There are several ways you can request a birth record. The IDPH contracts with VitalChek.com for online records requests. VitalChek can also be contacted by phone at (866) 809-0290. VitalChek charges a fee that starts at $9.00. Notarized application forms can be mailed to the IDPH with a check or money order for $15.00. The address is online. Records may also be requested in person.
How Can I Find Historical Records in Iowa?
Historical birth records are available from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Records will be more than 75 years old. Iowa offers several options for individuals conducting genealogical research. The IDCA can assist with finding birth records dating to at least 1880 in Iowa.
How Can I Correct Information on My Birth Certificate in Iowa?
You can correct errors on your birth certificate, such as misspellings or incomplete information. The IDPH provides an online form that you fill out. Specific forms of identification are required and are listed online with instructions for filling out and filing the form.
Can I Check the Status of my Records Request?
The IDPH does not have an online process for checking the status of a request. Online records requests are processed by a third-party website.
Iowa Death Records
The State Government of Iowa holds death records that are listed as a vital record in State Law. The IDPH holds records of deaths that were registered in Iowa from 1896 to current. The IDPH is the statewide records agency and provides certified copies of death certificates. Iowa law prevents the disclosure of certified records to the public. Death records are held at the county level by County Recorder's.
The public has the right under Iowa law to inspect death records held by the County in person, but certified copies will not be available unless the requestor qualifies as an entitled entity. Entitled entities include the spouse, immediate family, and legal representatives. Records can be searched online through the IDPH website using VitalChek.com, the state-sanctioned third-party records provider. Only entitled entities will be able to search for vital records online in Iowa.
Frequently Asked Questions about Death Records in Iowa
How Can I Request a Certified Copy of a Death Record in Iowa?
There are several ways that the Iowa Department of Public Health makes it easy for people to request records. Iowa uses VitalChek.com for all records searches online. Records can be requested by phone by calling (866) 809-0290. VitalChek charges a fee that starts at $9.00. Notarized application forms can be mailed to the IDPH with a check or money order for $15.00. The address is online. Records may also be requested in person at the County Recorder's Office.
Who Can Obtain Official Death Records in Iowa?
Iowa law restricts access to certified, official death records to certain individuals. Only the spouse of the deceased, the children or parents of the deceased, or a legal representative may obtain official records. Records can be inspected by any member of the public by visiting the County Recorder's office that holds the record.
How Much Does a Certified Death Record Cost?
Iowa death records cost $15.00 for a certified copy. Records are requested through VitalChek.com, with charges starting at $9.00 plus the $15.00 search fee.
My Record Wasn't Found. Can I Get A Refund?
The fees charged by VitalChek.com and the IDPH are not refundable. The certificate fee is intended to offset the cost of researching for records. Fees charged by VitalChek.com are not refundable.
Can I find Out if a Record Exists Before I Pay the Fee?
VitalChek.com and the IDPH are not able to perform a verification search without having a completed request form and full payment.
Where Can I Find Historical Death Records?
The IDPH has on file records of deaths dating to 1896. Records that are older than 75 years are publically available. You can also search the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs for historical and genealogical records.
Can I Correct Errors on a Death Certificate?
You can correct errors of spelling or incomplete records on a death certificate. You will need to contact the IDPH and provide other vital records to verify the error.
Iowa Marriage Records
Vital records of marriages are kept by the Iowa Department of Public Health at the state level, and are also retained by the County Recorder that filed the marriage license. Record keeping began in 1880, but the earliest records available begin in 1916. Only information about the groom is available until 1931.
State-level certified copies of marriage records are restricted to entitled individuals, but the public has the right to inspect records held at the county level in person. Fees may be charged by the County Recorder to produce records for public inspection. Individuals who have a right to access vital records can search online using VitalChek.com, the third-party contractor for Iowa that provides access to official records.
Frequently Asked Questions About Iowa Marriage Records
How Do I Request a Certified Marriage Record in Iowa?
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) utilizes several options for individuals to receive copies of records. Online requests for certified copies are handled through the third-party website VitalChek.com. Records can be requested by phone by calling (866) 809-0290. Notarized request forms can be mailed to the IDPH with a check or money order for $15.00. The address is online. Records may also be requested in person at the County Recorder's Office.
Who May Request Certified Copies of Marriage Records in Iowa?
Iowa restricts access to certified records of deaths in the state to the spouse, children or parents, or a legal representative. Records can be inspected by the public at the County Recorder's Office for a fee that is determined by the individual office.
How Can I Find Historical Marriage Records in Iowa?
The IDPH holds all records that are on file for marriages in Iowa. Records older than 75 years are also available through the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. IDCA can assist with genealogical or historical records searches.
How Much Does a Certified Marriage Record Cost in Iowa?
A certified marriage record incurs a fee of $15.00 per copy. If you are requesting a marriage record online, you will be required to use the VitalChek.com site. Additional fees for use of the site begin at $9.00.
Can I Get a Refund if My Record Isn't Found?
Fees charged by IDPH and VitalChek.com are not refundable, even when no record is found.
How Long Does It Take To Receive a Marriage Record?
Records requests processed through the IDPH may take four to five weeks to process. Faster processing can be had for an additional fee through VitalChek.com, which provides expedited shipping for one or two day service.
Can I Correct Errors on My Marriage Certificate?
Corrections to spelling errors or missing information can be made through the IDPH. You will need to pay $15 for the amended record.
Can I Request Records From the County Recorder's Office in Iowa?
The IDPH is the statewide repository for all vital records, but the County Recorder's hold marriage records as well. You may request records from the County directly, which may have less of a processing time. A $15.00 fee is required along with the completed application for records.
Iowa Divorce Records
Divorce records are not considered vital records in Iowa and are not held by the Iowa Department of Public Health. IDPH does not have the ability to access divorce records and can't help find records. In Iowa, the records of marriage dissolutions are held by the Superior Court that issued the final ruling. Divorce records are public documents in Iowa.
Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce Records In Iowa
How Do I Find Divorce Records in Iowa?
Records are held by the courts. The Iowa Courts provide online access to case searches that will include divorce records. The information provided online will be seriously limited, and will only indicate the existence of a record. You will need to visit the Superior Court that issued the ruling to access the full record. You can request records through the Clerk of the Court.
Can I Get a Certified Copy of a Divorce Record in Iowa?
Notarized, official records of divorces are available through the Clerk of the Court that issued the divorce. A per-page copy fee will be charged, along with a charge for notarization.
Why are Divorce Records Not a Vital Record?
Divorce proceedings are a legal matter that is resolved in the courts, therefore the courts hold ultimate responsibility for retaining the records. You will need to contact the court that issued the ruling to get records of divorces in the state.
Can I Find Historical Divorce Records in Iowa?
Records are retained by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs for divorces between 1838 and 1940. Records more recent than 1940 will be retained by the Superior Court that issued the divorce.