In obtaining vital records in the State of Iowa, there are two agencies where you can go. You can request access of vital records either from the Department of Public Health specifically the Vital Records Division or from the District Clerk’s office where the vital event transpired. All state agencies and institutions are held responsible for the public according to the Public Records law This means that records made and maintained by such agencies are public and are accessible by any member of the public in need. Free Iowa Public Records Search include births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths that are recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. |
In requesting a copy of any vital record, an application for must be filled out and acquiesced together with the corresponding fee required for a particular vital record. Such application form can be downloaded from the Department’s website or obtained directly from the said office. Additionally, a personal check or money order should be made payable to the state’s Department of Public Health. Written requests for certified copies of vital records will not be accepted unless they include a clear photocopy of the applicant's current government-issued photo ID and the applicant's notarized signature.
Vital records that are only available are those vital events that date back to 1880 up to present. For birth records, marriage certificates and death records, a processing fee of $15 is required for each. However, death records recorded before 1904 do not contain the parent’s name. For divorce decrees, requests for such cost $6 depending on which county the divorce was filed and approved. You can obtain divorce records from the District Clerk’s office in the county where the divorce was approved. The law of the State of Iowa restricts access to the person in the certificate and family members, genealogists representing the family, or others with a tangible interest such as in background checks.
The typical processing time for requests of such vital records takes four to six weeks dependent on the method used. Methods for obtaining records can either be in person, via phone, mail, or online. If you want to apply for a copy of a vital record in person, you can go to either the Department of Health’s Vital Statistics Division or to the District Clerk’s office in the county where the vital event took place. You have to bring with you all the requirements mentioned above and expect that the results will be mailed to you the following business day.
In appealing for a copy of vital record, you can also call the Vital Statistics Division. Their phone number can be obtained from the website of the Department of Public Health. The turnaround time for requests via phone is 7 to 21 days depending on the volume of requests in their office. If your request is returned to you via regular mail, expect that this will take 5 days before you receive it. This goes for mail requests as well as mail orders take 5 business days to reach the Vital Records Office, and an additional 5 business days to be returned to you. However, the turnaround time for such requests depends on the volume of requests and may take up to 20 business days. The only requests accepted by mail are genealogy requests. Such requests require a minimum of 30 business days processing.
If you want to acquire vital records fast, then you can choose the online method. For the public’s convenience, Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Vital Records has partnered with an independent company called VitalChek. An additional fee is charged by VitalChek for this service though, and all major credit cards are accepted. But if you wish to obtain government records for free, you can resort to other independent online records providers available all over the web. Like VitalCheck, these online service providers also have their own database containing all government records in the state. However, in lieu of the usual days to weeks processing fee, such records providers can give you the results in just a matter of minutes. With such, you get to save time, money, and effort.
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