Frequently Asked Questions
Resources & ServicesBirth Records Marriage Records & Applications Death Records Passports Forms Recreational Vehicles Real Estate Documents & Recording Fees Transfer Tax Calculator Hunting & Fishing Licenses Military Records Index Books History of the Recorder's Office FAQ Department Home
Do you have property abstracts on file?
No. Abstracts are not filed in our office.
Does your office handle Divorce Records?
No. The Wapello County Clerk of Court can help you with divorce records. You may contact them at (641) 683-0060.
How do I add or take somebody off the title of my property?
You can file a deed in our office. We do not have blank forms available in our office. Many people have a lawyer create one, or you can get one online or some office supply stores have the form for purchase. All documents recorded must meet Iowa document formatting standards.
What are your hours of business?
General office hours are 8:00 am-4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Recording Documents: Cash, Check, Credit Card or Money Order
Passports: Check or Money Order; Credit Card allowed for acceptance and photo fees only
DNR Transactions: Cash, Check, Credit Card, or Money Order
Vital Records: Cash, Check or Money Order
Where are you located?
Wapello County Courthouse
101 W. 4th St.
Ottumwa, IA 52501
Who can get a copy of a Military Record?
Veterans and next-of-kin of deceased veterans have full access to the record. Next-of-kin includes the un-remarried widow or widower, son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister of the deceased veteran. For more information, please contact our Veterans Affairs Department at (641) 684-8079.
Can I get my birth record 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 can come in person or apply by mail. We should have your record if you were born in Wapello County, your parents were married at the time of your birth and you were not adopted. We also have single parent birth's after January 1 of 1987 through present day. We may not have your birth certificate if you were born in the years 1921 through 1941. If you apply in person, you will need to fill out an application, bring your photo I.D., and $15.00 cash/check. If you apply by mail, complete and sign* the Vital Record Application. Please enclose the $15.00 fee in the form of cash, check, or money order. Once we receive your request, we’ll mail it out the following business 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.
I was not born in Wapello 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 or go to https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/index.htm
What's the difference between a certified copy and an uncertified copy?
A certified copy has what most refer to as a “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”.
Can a marriage license be applied for in Wapello County if the marriage ceremony is to take place in a different county?
Yes, the license is valid in any county in the state of Iowa. It is not valid outside of Iowa.
Can we change our names through marriage?
Yes. In fact, a marriage provides the opportunity to legally change your name. Because of this, it is important to complete the application correctly and in full. Do not use initials or nick names unless you wish them to become your legal name.
Do we need a blood test to get married?
What is the legal waiting period for remarrying after a divorce?
None. A marriage can take place at any time once a divorce is final. However, you may not apply for the marriage license until the divorce is final.
Who is legally able to perform a marriage ceremony in the state of Iowa?
A leader of a religious institution or an Associate District or District Judge. The fees and availability for each Judge may vary. For more Officiant Information click here.
How long does it take to get a passport?
Processing times can vary depending on workload and occasional unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters.
For more information on passports and/or processing times please go to: www.travel.state.gov
What are your hours of business?
Passport appointment times are from 8:00 am - 4:15 pm Monday through Friday. Passport appointments are recommended, please call our office at (641) 683-0045 to schedule an appointment.
Do we process licenses for the DNR?
The Recorder’s Office processes transactions for the Department of Natural Resources. This includes: boat, snowmobile, ATV & ORV titles/registrations. Also included is hunting and fishing licenses, deer and turkey tags.
For more information, go to www.iowadnr.gov.