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Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure

Does a process server have to be licensed in Iowa?

No. Visit ServeNow.com’s Become a Process Server page for more information.

Iowa Process Server Requirements

Original notices may be served by any person who is neither a party nor the attorney for a party to the action. A party or party’s agent or attorney may take an acknowledgment of service and deliver a copy of the original notice in connection therewith and may mail a copy of the original notice when mailing is required or permitted under any rule or statute.

Iowa Civil Procedure Note

It is a misdemeanor in the State of Iowa to knowingly resist or obstruct the service or execution by any authorized person of any civil or criminal process or order of any court. [Iowa Statuter; Chapter 719: Obstructing Justice, Section 719.1 Interference with Official Acts

Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure

Please note that lobbyists are active in the state of Iowa and laws concerning civil procedure and process serving can change. Therefore the information listed below may have been amended. For updated process serving legislation, please visit the Iowa State Legislature website.

Rule 1.302 Original notice; form and service.
A notice to the defendant, respondent, or other party against whom an action has been filed shall be serve in the form and manner provided by this rule...

  • Rule 1.302(5) Original notices may be served by any person who is neither a party nor the attorney for a party to the action. A party or party's agent may take an acknowledgment of service and deliver a copy of the original notice ... and may mail a copy of the original notice when mailing is required or permitted under any rule or statue.
  • Rule 1.302(6) If service of the original notice is not made upon the defendant, respondent, or other party to be served within ninety (90) days after filing the petition, the court, upon motion or its own initiative after notice to the party filing the petition, shall dismiss the action without prejudice as to that defendant... or direct an alternate time or matter of service. If the party filing the papers shows good cause for the failure of service, the court shall extend the time for service for an appropriate period.

Rule 1.305 Personal Service
Original notices are "served" by delivering a copy of to the proper person. Personal service may be made as follows:

  • 1.305(1) Upon any individual who has attained majority and has not been adjudged incompetent either by taking the individual's signed, dated acknowledgment of service endorsed on the notice; or by serving the individual personally; or by serving, at the individual's dwelling house of usual place of abode, any person residing therein who is at least eighteen (18) years old, but if such place is a rooming house, hotel, club, or apartment building, the copy shall there be delivered to such a person who is either a member of the individual's family or the manager, clerk, proprietor, or custodian of such place; or upon the individual's spouse at a place other than the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode if probably cause exists to believe that the spouse lives at the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode.
  • 1305(2) Upon a minor...
  • 1305(3) Upon any person adjudged incompetent...
  • 1305(4) Any person confined in a county care facility...
  • 1305(6) Upon a partnership... association... or a corporation, by serving any present or acting or last known officer thereof, or any general or managing agent, or any agent or person now authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of original notice, or on the general partner of a partner.
  • 1305(8) Upon any city by serving its mayor or clerk.
  • 1305(9) Upon any county by serving its auditor or the chair of its board of supervisors.
  • 1305(10) Upon any school district, school township or school corporation by serving its president or secretary.
  • 1305(11) Upon the state, where made a party pursuant to statutory consent for authorization for suit in the manner provided.
  • 1305(12) Upon any individual, corporation, partnership or association usable under a common name, either provided in these rules, as provided by any consent to service in accordance with any applicable statute. 
  • 1305(13) Upon a governmental board, commission, or agency by serving its presiding officer, clerk, or secretary
  • 1305(14) If service cannot be made by any of the methods provided by this rule, any defendant may be served as provided by court order, consistent with due process of law

Rule 1.306 Alternate Method of Service
Service may be made on any such corporation, individual, personal representative, partnership or association in Rule 1.305 within or without the state or, if such service cannot be so made, in any manner consistent with due process of law prescribed by order of the court in which the action is brought.
Nothing herein shall limit or affect the right to serve an original notice upon any corporation, individual, personal representative, partnership or association within or without this state in any manner now or hereafter permitted by statute or rule.

Rule 1.308 Return of Service

  • 1.308(1) Signature, fees. [court can take judicial of the signatures of sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, peace officers, bailiffs, or marshals]. All other returns... shall be proved by the affidavit of the person making the service. If served in the state of Iowa by a person other than such a peace officer... or in another state by a person other than a sheriff or peace officer, reasonable fees or mileage not to exceed those allowed under Iowa Code section 331.655 shall be taxed at all costs.
  • 1.308(2) Contents. A return of personal service shall state the time, manner, and place thereof and name the person to whom copy was delivered under Rule 1.305(1) to a person other than the defendant... it must also state the facts showing compliance with said rule.
  • 1.308(4) Proof of service. The person serving the process shall make proof of service thereof to the court promptly and in any event within the time during which the person served must respond to the process. Failure to make proof of service does not affect the validity of the service.
  • 1.308(5) By mail. Where service includes notice by mail, proof of such mailing shall be by affidavit. The affidavit, with a duplicate copy of the papers referred to in the affidavit attached thereto, shall be forthwith filed with court.

Rule 1.309 Amendment of Process or Proof of Service
The court may allow any process or proof of service thereof to amended at any time in its discretion... unless it clearly appears that material prejudice would result to the substantial rights of the ... [defendant].

Iowa Judicial Code Title 78: Chapter 12a, Process Server Act

  • Persons who are not peace officers, constables, sheriffs or lawfully appointed deputies of such officers... may not serve any forms of civil or criminal process other than complaints, summonses, and subpoenas.
  • The following persons may serve all process issued by court of this state except as limited by the aforementioned subsection:
    1. A police officer employed by any political subdivision...
    2. A sheriff or appointed deputy sheriff...
    3. A constable serving in compliance with applicable law...
    4. An investigator employed by the state...
  • Private investigators [licensed by the state] may only serve the following forms of process:
    • Petitions
    • Complaints
    • Summonses
    • Supplemental orders
    • Orders to show cause
    • Notices
    • Small claims affidavits
    • Small claims orders
    • Writs of garnishment
    • Garnishee orders
    • Subpoenas duces tecum.
  • A person serving process shall legibly document the date and time of service and his name and address on the return of service

You should contact an Iowa Process Server if you have specific questions about Process Serving in Iowa.

Process Servers in Iowa

Aristocrat Process Serving
Des Moines, IA