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Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Public Records

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Are Iowa Vital Records Open to the Public?

The public accessibility of Iowa vital records depends on the statutory period of confidentiality. In compliance with the Iowa Code 144.43, vital records such as birth, marriage, and death records less than 75 years are only available to eligible individuals upon request. However, the public may access older records without meeting the designated requirements.

 

What Information Do I Need to Search for Iowa Vital Records Online?

Members of the public searching for Iowa vital records must be able to provide basic information about the record of interest and appropriate proof of identification supporting eligibility. The basic information includes:

  • The name and personal data of the requestor
  • Personal Information of the named party to the record
  • The requestor’s relationship to the named party in the record (father, mother, son, daughter, husband, sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, legal guardian, etc.)
  • The reason for record request (personal use, insurance proceeds, authentication, death benefits, and other lawful purposes)
  • The date the event occurred
  • The gender of the named party on the record (if applicable)
  • The age of the named party on the record at the time the event took place (if appropriate)
  • The name of the city the event was recorded
  • Father’s name and mother’s maiden name (for birth certificates only)
  • Scope of search required (statewide or county limited)
  • Proof of ID reveals that the requestor has a direct and tangible interest (compulsory for all vital related searches, verification, and certification).

The Iowa Department of Public Health files and maintains various vital records, including birth and death records.

How Do I Obtain Vital Records in Iowa?

To obtain copies of marriage, birth, and death records at the state level, interested parties must provide a filled out vital records application form and a document indicating the requester’s direct relationship to the named person on the record. However, older records may be freely accessible by anyone and thus may not require proof of identification before they are released. At the county level, uncertified copies of vital records are available to anyone and therefore can be searched and obtained by anyone. However, certified copies are only available to persons with a direct and tangible interest in the record in question.

Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. To find a record using the search engines on third party sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:

  • The location of the record in question including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
  • The name of someone involved providing it is not a juvenile

 

What’s the Difference Between a Certified Record and an Uncertified Copy?

Certified copies of Iowa vital records are official copies that have been signed by the custodian and are used strictly for legal and authentication purposes. In contrast, uncertified copies of a document are reserved for non-official, genealogical research and medical research purposes. While both forms of vital record contain the same information, the certified copies are usually printed on a security paper instead of informational copies printed on plain paper and marked “Informational.”

Are Iowa Marriage Records Public Information?

Yes, but it depends on the statutory period of confidentiality. Iowa marriage records older than 75 years are regarded as public information and hence available to non-entitled persons. More recent marriage records may be unavailable to the general public. The State Registrar and county custodians only issue marriage certificates to entitled persons.

How Do I Obtain Marriage Records in Iowa?

Eligible persons can obtain Iowa marriage records by querying the Bureau of Vital Statistics office of the County Recorder’s office. Usually, the County Recorders can search and issue copies of all marriages within the state’s limit from 1954 to today. However, marriages that occurred before this date and period can only be found in the particular county where the license was issued.

Generally, public marriage records can be obtained online, in person, by mail, or by telephone (if applicable) with a completed vital records application form. However, before determining the most convenient channel, the requesting party must first prepare the basic requirements for obtaining the record of choice. The basic requirements for obtaining marriage records include but may not be limited to:

  • Full names of the couple
  • The county of marriage
  • The date the marriage event was performed
  • The full names of the couple before marriage
  • The reason for requesting the record
  • The requester’s relationship to the person named on the record
  • A government-issued valid photo ID

After getting the essential information ready, the requesting party may then proceed to make a request. In addition, the Vital Offices in Iowa furnishes some third-party vendors with the right to assist eligible applicants in obtaining marriage records.

Persons who request marriage records by physically visiting the state office or county recorders are usually required to provide a written request signed before a public notary and contains sufficient information. Some county recorders offer application forms to facilitate the request. Additionally, the applicant must give applicable fees and a current government-Issued photo ID before processing the record request.

To obtain a marriage record by mail in Iowa, the requesting party will need to send a completed vital records application form along with a valid photo ID, and applicable fees to:

Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Health Statistics
Lucas State Office Building 1st Floor,
321 East 12th Street,
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075

While the fee schedule is the same for the featured access channels, online vendors may incur additional charges for profit purposes. Officially, vital records cost $15 for each copy of the marriage record.

Are Iowa Divorce Records Public Information?

Most Iowa divorce records are public information, which interested members of the public can access upon request. However, the records available to the public might exclude certified copies and sensitive information such as details of any relief or financial agreements/settlements, financial information such as bank statements and account numbers, and identifying information of domestic violence victims.

How Do I Obtain Divorce Records in Iowa?

Divorce records are maintained at the county level by the clerk of the particular court that heard the case. Usually, interested persons can find these records by making an online request, sending a mail-in request, or physically visiting the courthouse. Before choosing the most convenient access channel, the requesting party will need to check eligibility and provide the basic information needed to recover the record of interest. This includes:

  • The full name of the parties named on the record
  • The case number on the record
  • The date of divorce
  • The place of divorce
  • Where certified copies are also needed, requesters will be prompted to bring a government-issued photo ID.

Additionally, the fee for searching and copying divorce records varies and must be fully paid before processing the record request.

Are Iowa Birth Records Public Information?

It depends on the statutory period of confidentiality. Birth records in Iowa are not public information for the first 75 years of life. However, state laws allow anyone to obtain and view birth records older than 75 years for genealogical research purposes from the Iowa Bureau of Health Statistics. At the county level, the County Recorder’s Office is responsible for maintaining birth records from 1988 to date.

How Do I Obtain Birth Records in Iowa?

In Iowa, eligible persons can order birth certificate replacements or copies online via third-party vendors or by utilizing the physical visit or mail method options. The requesting party is required to deliver a completed vital record application form in person or by mail to:

Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Health Statistics
Lucas State Office Building 1st Floor,
321 East 12th Street 
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075

Note: The application must be signed in front of a Notary Public and accompanied by a photocopy of a valid photo ID and applicable payment. The standard processing fee is $15 for each copy of a record requested at the same time. However, online expedited orders may incur additional charges.

Are Iowa Death Records Public Information?

It depends on the statutory period of confidentiality. Iowa death records less than 75 years from the date on the record are restricted from public perusal. On the other hand, older death records are available to the public for the sake of genealogical research. Persons entitled to perform a death certificate search must provide a valid government-issued photo ID showing that they are one of the following:

  • A direct family member of the deceased
  • The deceased’s attorney/any authorized legal representative
  • Anyone with a certified court order. 

How Do I Find Death Records in Iowa?

In Iowa, individuals can order closed or public death records online via third-party vendors or utilizing physical visit or mail method options. To initiate a death record search by name, the requesting party must deliver a completed vital record application form in person or by mail to:

Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Health Statistics
Lucas State Office Building, 1st Floor
321 East 12th Street 
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075

Note: The application must be signed before a notary public and accompanied by a photocopy of a valid photo ID and applicable payment. The standard processing fee is $15 for each copy of a record requested at the same time. However, online expedited orders may incur additional charges.

How Do I Find Sealed Vital Records in Iowa?

At the state level, vital records, including marriage, birth, and death, are deemed private and confidential. As such, they are sealed and unavailable for public inspection. Usually, individuals can find sealed vital records in the Bureau of Vital Statistics at the particular County Recorder’s Office where the event took place. However, requesters must remember that information available at the county recorder’s office is subject to local guidelines. Thus, only publicly available data and uncertified copies of vital records are issued at the various county locations.

More often than not, uncertified copies of vital records do not include sensitive information such as financial account numbers, social security numbers, passwords, alimony, child support agreements, details of adoptionandas other extended facts related to the record in question. Persons who wish to obtain the full vital record must petition the court for a certified court order.

Iowa State Archives

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Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.

Iowa

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