Polk County Recorder

Frequently Asked Questions (Birth)

  • I was not born in Polk County.  How can I get a copy of my birth certificate?

    The Iowa Department of Public Health has birth certificates for all Iowa births. Their phone number is 515-281-4944. For births outside of Iowa, you will need to contact the vital records department in the state of your birth.

  • Can I get my birth records if I was born overseas?

    Birth records of persons born in foreign countries who are citizens at birth may write to: Passport Services Correspondence Branch US Department of State 1111 19th Street NW Suite 510 Washington DC 20522-1705

  • How do I get my birth certificate?

    To obtain a copy of your birth certificate, you could come into the office or write to us. First, however, you’ll want to make sure we have your birth certificate. If you were born in Polk County, your parents were married at the time of your birth and you were not adopted, we should have your record. We also have single parent birth's after July of 1995. We will not have your birth certificate if you were born in the years 1921 through 1941. If you come into the office, we’ll have you fill out an application, look at your I.D. and collect a $20.00 fee. We’ll get it ready while you wait as long as you’re here before 4:00 p.m. If you write to us, give us your name, date of birth, place of birth and both parents’ names including mother’s maiden. Tell us what you need the birth certificate for, and be sure to sign your request*. Enclose a $20.00 fee in the form of a cash, check or money order please. Once we receive your request, we’ll mail it out the following day.

    *All signatures must be notarized. If the request is by mail, the applicant must sign in front of a Notary Public and include a clear photocopy of the applicant's current government-issued photo identification.

  • What if I don't have an I.D.?

    You'll need to bring two forms of some kind with your signature on it. Examples: income tax return, job application, social security card, court papers, etc.

  • What's the difference between a certified copy and an uncertified copy?

    A certified copy has what most refer to as the “raised seal” and states that the copy is a true and correct reproduction of the original record. An uncertified copy or a “plain” copy has no seal or verbiage indicating authenticity. An uncertified copy also has a stamp noting “not for legal purposes”.

Contact Us

Polk County Administration Building
111 Court Avenue Ste 250
Des Moines, IA 50309-2251
Phone: 515-286-3160
Fax: 515-323-5393
Email: info@polkrecorder.com