Vital Records


In Iowa, official registration of births, deaths, and marriages began July 1, 1880. Original records that were registered are on file with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Health Statistics. Statewide record searches are available from the state registrar. Local vital records registrars are located in county recorders' offices, where records of births and deaths that have occurred in that county are maintained. Marriage records are maintained in the county where the license to marry was obtained. County registrars are not authorized by law to have records of single-parent births prior to July 1, 1995; adoptions; delayed registrations; legal changes of name; fetal deaths (stillborns); any record ordered sealed by a court of law; or birth, death, and marriages between the years of 1921 to 1941. Per Iowa law, information about a specific record is not available over the telephone or by prepared lists. Iowa law provides for public viewing in the county where the record is maintained, or certified copies issued to entitled persons.

Applications to search for a vital record event for the purpose of obtaining a certified copy must be in writing, completely identify the record, and establish entitlement to the record being requested. Entitled persons include the person named on the record or that person's spouse, children, legal parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, or legal representative or guardian. Legal guardians and representatives must also provide additional proof of guardianship or representation. Applicants must be 18 or older. Requests must include the applicant's current government-issued photo identification, except if by mail, a clear photocopy of the I.D., and the applicant's signature signed in front of a notary public or in the presence of an Iowa Registrar of Vital Records.

PAYMENT: A non-refundable $20 fee is required to search for a record and includes one certified copy if the record is located. Each additional copy of the same record is $20. Fees are payable in U.S. funds by check or money order to the issuing registrar's office. Checks must be drawn from the applicants' account; money orders must be in the name of the applicant. Fees must be paid at the time of the application (Iowa Constitution, Article VII, Section 1).




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