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Vital Records

Requesting a Certified Copy of an Iowa Birth, Death, or Marriage Certificate


Certified copies of birth, death and marriage can be obtained from this office once entitlement has been proven. Call the office to verify your entitlement to the record. 

Marriage Application and License fee is $35.00.

Unwed births prior to July 1995, all adoption records, and all legal name changes must be obtained from the State Department of Health. (515) 281-4944. See link below.

Vital records are available at the Recorder/Registrar's office for the years 1880 - 1920 and 1942- current. The State Health Department has the records for 1921-1941.

Requesting a Certified Copy of an Iowa Birth, Death, or Marriage Certificate

Printable forms link to the State of Iowa page

In Iowa, official registration of births, deaths, and marriages began July 1, 1880. All original records that have been registered are on file with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Records. Statewide record searches are available from the state registrar. Local registrars are located in county recorders offices and maintain records of birth, death and marriages that have occurred in that county. County registrars, however, do not have code authority to have on record: single-parent births prior to July 1, 1995; adoptions; any record ordered seal by a court of law; or birth, death, and marriages between the years 1921 to 1941.

All applications for certified copies of vital record events must be in writing and completely identify the record, as well as satisfactorily 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.

Application for a certified copy requires a fee of $15 for the record search and includes one certified copy. Each additional copy of the same record is also $15. If the record is not located, the applicant receives a notification to that affect. The $15 fee is retained for the search. Fees are payable by check or money order made out to the issuing registrar's office (i.e., Iowa Department of Public Health for state-certified, county recorder's office for county-certified).

State Certified Copies

Certified copies of birth, death, or marriage certificates may be obtained from the state office of vital records by telephone, in-person, or through a postal service. Fees are payable by check or money order made out to the Iowa Department of Public Health. In-person requests may also be paid in cash. Requests for the purpose of family history take at least 60 days, regardless of the method of request.

By Telephone:

For general information or to order a certified copy by telephone using a credit card, call 515-281-4944. An additional $5 fee is charged for the expedited process of credit card usage. The state vital record operator lines are available from 7:00 am to 4:45 pm, Monday through Friday, except for state-observed holidays.


Walk-in service is available for in-persons at the state vital records office between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for state-observed holidays. The office is located at the address listed below, just inside the main north entrance and to the left of the main lobby. The Lucas building is the first state office building east of the state Capitol building, on the south side of Grand Avenue. Written applications must be satisfactorily completed and signed. Applicants must also provide photo identification. Copies may either be picked up after two days or mailed to an entitled person.

Postal Service:

Written request and fees may be mailed to the address below. Requests must state the relationship to the person named on the record and the purpose for the copy. Filled requests may take up to 30-45 days, depending on mail service.

Iowa Department of Public Health
Bureau of Vital Records
Lucas State Office Building, 1st Floor
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075

114 E. 6th St.
Carroll, Iowa 51401

The Recorder's Office is on the Southeast corner of the main floor of the Courthouse

Phone: 712-792-3328

[email protected]

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Ashten Wittrock
County Recorder