Birth, Death, Marriage

A certified copy of a birth, death or marriage record may be obtained from the county in which the birth or death occurred, and where the marriage license was applied for (this is not always the county where the couple was actually married).

If a child was adopted, or if the child was born before July 1, 1995 and the parents were not married at the time of the child’s birth, the record must be obtained from the Iowa Department of Public Health in Des Moines.

Documentation needed to apply for a certified copy, when applying from either the county or state office:

  • Application form, signed in a front of a Notary Public
  • Clear photocopy of your identification (i.e. driver’s license)
  • $20 cash, check, money order or credit card to County Recorder or Iowa Department of Public Health, if application sent to Des Moines.
Marriage Licenses

You may apply for a Marriage License at any County Recorder/Registrar in Iowa as long as the ceremony is to be performed in Iowa. Marriage applications are accepted in Shelby County between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 p.m.


A Marriage License may be applied for in person or by mail:


If applying in person:

  • The parties to be married and one witness (all must be 18 years or older) must appear in person
  • All three people must present photo identification (driver’s license, state ID, or passport)
  • $35 application fee, which includes the cost of a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate
  • Payable in cash, by check, money order or credit card, payable to Shelby County Recorder

If applying by mail:

  • The signatures of the parties to be married and one witness (all must be 18 years or older) must be notarized by a Notary Public in the state in which it was signed
  • Photo identification is preferred but not required
  • $35 application fee, as stated above

In Shelby County, the marriage license is issued after a three (3) business day waiting period. Either of the parties to be married is requested to pick up the marriage license, unless they authorize in writing someone else to pick it up. Once the license is picked up, the actual marriage may occur. The license must be picked up within six (6) months of the date of application; once it is picked up, it is good forever.


The officiant is responsible to return the Certificate of Marriage to the Recorder/Registrar within fifteen (15) days of the marriage. The individuals are reminded to sign their names as it will be after marriage; all signatures must be in black ink, as per state regulations. After the Certificate is received by the County Recorder/Registrar and placed of record, a certified copy will be mailed to the couple at the address provided by the couple.


Iowa Department of Public Health

Birth, Death, Marriage Documents

Marriage Certificate Application

 > Birth Death Marriage