Iowa Birth Certificate Exchange Offered for Small Certificates Issued from 1993-2009

OTTUMWA-The Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Health Statistics is taking steps to exchange any newborn birth certificate issued from May 1993 to October 2009, where the birth certificate is a small wallet-size card. The newborn birth certificate wallet cards issued during this time period did not contain enough vital record information to be used for identification purposes, essentially making them less valuable for the purpose they are intended to be used for.

The newborn birth certificate wallet cards were issued from May 1993 to October 2009, and after the birth of a child in Iowa. The birth certificate wallet card was printed as a perforated attachment to a larger document. The newborn birth certificate wallet card measures 2 5/8 inches by 4 inches. The entire document that parents received measures 3 ½ inches by 8 inches.


Example of wallet sized birth certificates.

Example of wallet sized birth certificates.

The newborn birth cards may be exchanged by mail or in person with the Bureau of Health Statistics, 321 E. 12th St., Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.  They will be exchanged at no cost to the entitled customer.

The following steps must be taken to expedite the exchange of the newborn birth certificate wallet cards:
• Download the Application for Certified Copy of Iowa Vital Record from;
• Open Application for Copy of Birth Certificate link and print document;
• Complete the application, including notarized signature;
• Return application, copy of driver’s license and original newborn birth certificate wallet card in person or by mail.

Due to the number of certificates to be replaced, it is expected to take four to six weeks to receive the replacement birth certificate via mail. In-person requests will be completed in a timely manner and in the order they are received.  The Vital Records clerk will instruct you on the process to pick up the new certified copy and provide the time frame in which the copy will be ready.


The Wapello County Recorder’s Office may assist in the exchange described above.  The office will exchange the copy at no fee if the customer presents the original certified copy.  If they are not able to process the exchange, they can forward the application to the State Vital Records Office for the customer.  For births from 2005 to 2009, the County Recorder’s Office can exchange the original wallet sized birth certificate for a person born in any county in Iowa.  For births from 1993 to 2004, they can only exchange them if they are in the physical records in the office.


Exchanges that are able to be handled locally, at the Wapello County Recorder’s Office, will take much less time than the normal four to six weeks.  Same day service is possible if the exchange can be processed within the office.


Customers who have questions regarding the exchange process may call the Wapello County Recorder’s Office at 641-683-0046 or email at