Iowa birth certificate exchanges offered

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Last week, the state released news regarding Iowa birth certificates that were issued between May 1993 and October 2009.

     The Iowa Department of Public Health is offering an exchange program for newborn birth certificates issued in that timeframe, where the birth certificate is the size of a wallet-sized card. Those smaller cards did not contain the necessary information people need for identification purposes, essentially making the smaller certificates useless.

     According to Jones County Recorder Sheri Jones, those birth certificates that were issued in 1993-94 do not contain the child’s parents’ names on the wallet-sized birth certificate.

     “I’m not sure why,” she said.

     As for why the smaller birth certificate was issued during the 1993-2009 timeframe, Jones said that is just what the Department of Health did at the time.

     As to the importance of the missing information, Jones said you need to have your birth certificate when applying for a passport. If your parents’ names are not listed, that could be a problem.

     Other pieces of information that is not included on the smaller birth certificates include: time of birth, length and weight, and city or hospital the child was born in.

     “There is a lot more specific information on the larger certificates,” explained Jones.

     Through this birth certificate exchange program, there are several steps one can take to correct the situation. First, download a copy of the Application for Certified Copy of Iowa Vital Record from Open the link and print the document to fill out my hand. The application has to also be notarized before you mail it into the state. You must also relinquish the original wallet-sized birth certificate, mailing that along with a copy of the person’s driver’s license, if applicable. The application could be notarized at the Recorder’s Office or any local bank.

     The state stresses that due to the number of Iowa birth certificates that will have to be replaced through this mail-in process, it could take four to six weeks until the official birth certificate is mailed back to the owner. The new birth certificate will be the official, full-sized piece of paper many are familiar with.

     Jones said this exchange program only applies to Iowa birth certificates.

     If you need assistance, you can also contact the Recorder’s Office at the Jones County Courthouse in Anamosa, 319-462-2477.

     “Our office can try to assist to expedite the process or help you go through Des Moines,” offered Jones.

     Jones also suggests people contact the county in which their child was born for help as well. Jones started receiving phone calls immediately after the information about the birth certificate exchange program hit the airways.

     There is no cost to have your birth certificate exchanged, other than minimal postage to mail to Des Moines. Unfortunately, this cannot be done online.

     “There is no timeframe for when this has to be completed,” said Jones. “Not that I’ve been made aware of.”


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