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 include births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths that are recorded on registers, certificates, and documents.

In obtaining a copy of a vital record through the Vital Records Section, an application form must be filled out and submitted along with a personal check or money order made payable to the Iowa Department of Public Health. The request form can be downloaded from the website of the Vital Statistics Division or obtained directly from such office. Written requests for certified copies of birth, death, fetal death, marriage, and all vital records will not be accepted if they do not 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.

Vital records that are available in the said office and in the county clerk’s office only cover specific dates. For instance, records of birth that date back to July 1880 up to present are the only birth records available from such agencies. Each copy of a birth record costs $15. For marriage and divorce records, only those recorded from 1880 to present are available. A copy of a marriage certificate is $15 whilst a copy of a divorce decree costs around $6 depending on which county the divorce was granted. For divorce records, it is advised that you contact the Clerk of the District in the county where the divorce was filed and settled. Death records that are only obtainable are those documented from 1880 up to present and a copy of such is worth $15. However, records prior 1904 do not include parents’ names. State law restricts access to the registrant and family members, genealogists representing the family, or others with a tangible interest.

The processing time for records requests is 4 to 6 weeks depending on what method is utilized. There are several ways on how you can obtain vital records. You can get a copy of vital records in the State of Iowa in person, via phone, mail, or online. If you want to apply for a copy in person, you can go to their office directly along with the aforementioned requirements and 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 get government records in an expedited and convenient way, then pull a quick online record review. For the public’s convenience, the State’s Bureau of Vital Statistics which operates under the Department of Public Health has interlinked with VitalCheck, an independent company that provides the same service as that of the Vital Statistics Office but through the Internet. However, an additional fee is necessary if you choose to make use of VitalCheck. In such case, you can resort to other independent online record providers if you want to cut costs. There are other online providers proffering the same service but only for a minimal to no fee. Just see to it that you perform a background check on the independent online record provider you are eyeing for to ensure accurate and comprehensive results.

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