Iowa Background Checks and Public Records

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The State of Iowa

Iowa is situated in the midwest part of the United States. Three major rivers – Mississippi, Missouri, and Big Sioux – are bordering the state. Though it’s the 30th most populated state, the population of Iowa is significantly outnumbered by hogs and chickens. The state’s population constantly fluctuates because of its neighboring states. So, when conducting background checks, you might want to check the neighboring states as well.

Iowa is considered to be an agricultural center of its neighboring states. It’s the largest corn producer in America, and it also has a high production of soybean and cereal. Though initially considered an agricultural state, its economy has transitioned and diversified. 

Counties in Iowa

Black HawkDecaturIdaMononaTaylor
BremerDes MoinesJacksonMontgomeryVan Buren
Buena VistaDubuqueJeffersonO’BrienWarren
CarrollFloydKeokukPalo AltoWebster
Cerro GordoGreeneLinnPolkWoodbury

Where To Get Public Records In Iowa

The Iowa government designates lawful custodians to public records. Hence, there is no single repository of these reports and information.

The Department of Public Health, for instance, is responsible for vital records, including relevant information on filed birth, death, marriage, and divorce incidents. Some data can also be acquired from the county registrar where the event occurred or the case was filed.

If you need arrest records, criminal records, or inmate records, the Iowa Department of Public Safety manages these. These records entail a detailed report of any encounters with law enforcement, as well as specific incarceration details. 

Court records could include case files, allegation records, court orders, affidavits, witness documentation, and the like. These records are handled by the Iowa Judicial Branch. For administrative records, however, you may need to coordinate with the State Court Administrator.

Iowa maintains a statewide website for real estate documents, including land and deed records. For property tax records, the county-level tax assessors keep these. 

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Iowa

The Iowa Open Records Law governs public record information within the state. They’ve also created the Iowa Public Information Board for rigid enforcement of the law. 

Though public records could pertain to any information including all those acquired by government agencies, there are several exemptions like trade secrets, specific prison procedural processes, and certain financial information. The assigned government body could deny requests; however, one can file for reconsideration within 30 days after the denial date. If the request is approved, you could get the records within 10 business days.

The processes vary per department, though most records are now made available online. Should a written request be needed, you could send it via mail, email, or in-person. Some agencies also allow requests over the phone. 

For more convenient processing, you may always utilize a third-party people search engine.

Iowa Background Check Reports

Though Iowa doesn’t currently implement ban-the-box laws, the state strictly adheres to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The official processor of Iowa background checks is the Division of Criminal Investigation. Though there are several other purposes of a background report, it’s most commonly used for pre-employment screening. 

Anyone, even non-residents, could request Iowa criminal background checks – name-based or fingerprint-based. In-depth criminal background checks are more strict and more complicated. You will also need to acquire a signed waiver from the person being checked and are responsible to inform them of the results.

If no signed waiver is presented, you could request a limited criminal history record check. However, this report would only indicate whether the person has a criminal history or none. 

To request a background check, you could download and fill out the Criminal History Request Form and Criminal History Billing Form. You could send these via mail, email, fax, or in-person. You could also utilize a trustworthy third-party site for faster processing.

Iowa Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Iowa Background Checks

How far back does a background check go in Iowa?

For a criminal background check, typically they will only go back 7 or 10 years. In general, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation keeps records until a person is 80-years-old or until their death. 

How do I find someone's criminal record in Iowa?

To obtain someone’s criminal record in Iowa, you must submit a request with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. The basic information you will need to provides includes the person’s full name, DOB, gender, and Social Security Number. 

If you need to get someone’s criminal history quickly, utilize a third-party online background check service like Kiwi Searches

Are divorce records public in Iowa?

Divorce Records in Iowa are public record. However, sensitive information and certified document may be excluded. Only interested parties may request divorce records with the county clerk where the divorce was filed. 

How do I find court records in Iowa?

To find information about court cases, visit You will be able to search the Appellate Court and the Trial Court. If you need further assistance, you can contact 1-800-532-1174 or