Nebraska Public Records

The State of Nebraska offers robust provisions in its state laws that guarantee the public free and open access to public records.

This article details how to access Nebraska’s over 15 million publically available records, their categories, the departments that hold them, what information is contained in them, and the forms and fees required to access them.

In 1867, Nebraska began the process of officially collecting public records to cover its 93 counties. The last few decades have seen digitization take over as the primary method of public records storage. Many of these records are available online directly from the public agencies that hold them.

To learn more about Nebraska’s initiatives to maintain an open and fair government, view the Open Government section of the website for Nebraska’s Attorney General.

Public Records Laws in the State of Nebraska

The relevant statutes for public records in the State of Nebraska are Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 84-712-84-712.09. These statues outline the basic rules surrounding public records. They make the following provisions:

  • Public records are available to every interested citizen regardless of intent unless another statute prohibits its release.
  • Citizens can examine these records, make copies using their own equipment, make memoranda, create abstracts from them
  • These records will be free of charge if the individual is examining the original documents themselves.
  • In cases where a department is providing copies or gathering information from official records, such as some vital records, some fees may be applied.
  • Individuals can view public records at any time the office that holds them is open for business.

The intention behind these laws is that all public records of the state and its 93 counties and any political subdivisions should be available for inspection except under specific exemptions.

Public Records of Minutes and Voting Procedures

The Nebraska Open Meetings Act mandates that every public body or agency meeting will be open to the public. This guarantees the public their right to exercise their democratic privileges by attending these meetings and speaking at them if they choose. This act is governed by the following statutes: Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 84-1407-84-1414.

The Nebraska Open Meetings Act also guarantees that meeting minutes detailing the substance of every matter discussed, the individuals present, and any actions or motions taken at the meeting will be maintained as a matter of public record. These minutes and voting procedure records are available to anyone upon request.

Disposition Letter Archive

Disposition letters are responses to facts, circumstances, petitions, and complaints that arise under the public records and open meetings laws described above. Typically these letters respond to complaints made by the public or public agencies to the Office of the Attorney General about the implementation of public records laws.

These letters explain the facts of the complaint and the response of the Attorney Generals’ office. These letters are provided as a matter of public record and date back to 2010 in an online digital archive.

Nebraska Criminal Records

Any individual who passes through Nebraska’s criminal justice system connected with a crime, even if only alleged, acquires a criminal record. Several agencies are responsible for the information that goes into a criminal record, including the courts, law enforcement, prosecutors, and correctional departments.

These records may include the following information:

  • Name of the offender
  • Known aliases of the offender
  • Fingerprints
  • Physical description of the offender (including body markings, tattoos, and piercings)
  • Criminal charges (including pending and acquitted charges)
  • What the plea for those charges was
  • Previous arrest information
  • Offenses (allegedly) committed

Criminal records contain information from several different sources about an individual’s criminal history. Below is a breakdown of where this information comes from.

Arrest Records: Law enforcement agencies maintain arrest records. They contain information on individuals taken into custody by law enforcement agents because they witnessed their involvement in a crime, or because they believe beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual has committed a crime or is planning to commit a crime.

Arrest Warrants: Judges or magistrates issue arrest warrants in response to a law enforcement agent’s sworn statement that they possess evidence a person is involved in criminal activity. The arrest warrant will contain a name or description of the arrestee and the facts that link them to the crime.

Felony: In Nebraska, offenses fall in order of severity on a numbered scale of Class I (the most severe felony) through Class IV (punishable by 1 to 50 years in prison and/or fines of up to $25,000).

Misdemeanor: Misdemeanor offenses are measured with a numbered scale from Class I through to Class V. These offenses carry a lesser punishment than felony offenses because they have less impact on public safety and/or property and are therefore less devastating. Thus, the penalty for misdemeanors is less severe, typically resulting in a fine, forfeiture, or brief confinement.

Conviction Records: When an individual pleads guilty, is found guilty, or pleads no contest to a crime, a sentence is issued by the courts telling the punishment to be carried out. The conviction record contains information detailing the offense, how it violates the law, and its punishment.

Inmate/Jail Records: Individuals incarcerated or held in custody in any facility administered by the Nebraska Department of Corrections, county-level jails, or corrections centers of any kind will have an inmate or jail record. Prisoners and inmates are persons found guilty by judge or jury and sentenced to a term of incarceration. View the website of the Nebraska Department of Corrections.

Parole Records: When an inmate achieves early release, they come under a parole officer’s supervision until the parole’s terms and conditions are satisfied. A parole record would contain information about these terms and conditions. View the website of the Nebraska Board of Parole.

Juvenile Criminal Records: If an offender is under 18 and adjudicated (as opposed to convicted) for a crime following the same felony/misdemeanor class offenses listed above, they will receive a Juvenile Criminal Record. In the state of Nebraska, some of these records are public, and some are private.

What are the rules and statutes surrounding criminal records in Nebraska?

Members of the public can request Records of Arrest and Prosecution, also known as RAP sheets, for any individual in the State of Nebraska. This record will include all arrests in Nebraska where fingerprinting and disposition occurred.

A disposition results from an adjudication process. It can include acquittal, conviction, no charges filed, decline to prosecute, and nullified convictions such as pardons and set-asides.

Nebraska Statute 29-3523 governs the dissemination of criminal history record information. According to that statute, there is certain information that must be redacted from publically available RAP sheets, but only in certain circumstances, including the following:

  • Criminal history information will not be a part of the public record after one year from the arrest date if the prosecuting attorney determines no charges are to be filed.
  • Criminal history information will not be a part of the public record after two years from the arrest date if charges no charges are filed.
  • Criminal history information will not be part of the public record immediately upon acquittal or dismissals resulting from a hearing or the completion of drug or other approved court order programs.

What types of criminal history reports are available in Nebraska?

The Nebraska State Patrol acts as the central repository for criminal history records in the state. They do not create the information however, they are just the keepers of it. The court of record, county attorneys, and law enforcement agencies are responsible for the information that goes into these records.

The State Patrol can provide two kinds of criminal history reports:

Name Based Criminal History Report: This is the most accessible way to obtain a criminal record on a citizen of Nebraska. Provided you pay the fee, you can obtain a criminal history report on any individual. Simply fill out the request form linked below, and provide the name and date of birth of the individual you are requesting the record for.

Name and date of birth are the minimal amounts of information that must be provided, but any additional information, such as SSN, previous or maiden names, will also be helpful.

Fingerprint Based National Background Check: These records provide a criminal history check from nationwide record sources. Fingerprints are required to search the national and state criminal history databases.

Fingerprint checks cost more than name-based checks and are only available for request by the individual whose name is on the record, and they must be required by state or federal law to provide them. View a list of the authorized reasons for requesting fingerprint-based background checks.

How do I request a Criminal History Report in Nebraska?

Criminal History Reports can be requested in one of three ways:

  1. Request a Criminal History Report online: For a $15.50 non-refundable fee, interested parties can request a Record of Arrest and Prosecution for any individual in the state. You will need to provide your own legal name, address, and email, as well as the information of the person of interest and payment information to get your results. You will either receive a result within three business days or receive a “no record” response.
  2. Request a Criminal History Report in person: Fill out the Nebraska State Patrol Criminal History Record Request form. Bring that completed form, along with your $12.50 payment in the form of cashier’s check, personal check, or money order, to the Investigative Service Center, Criminal Identification Division at 3800 NW 12th Street, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  3. Request a Criminal History Report by mail: Fill out the Nebraska State Patrol Criminal History Record Request form. Mail the completed form, along with your $12.50 payment in the form of cashier’s check, personal check, or money order, to the Investigative Service Center, Criminal Identification Division, PO Box 94907, Lincoln NE 68509.

Sex Offender Registry

Under Nebraska’s State Statute 29-4002, sex offenders are legally required to register with local law enforcement agencies in order to assist these agencies in protecting their communities. The information in these records allows the public to access the information of registrants so that communities can constructively prepare themselves and the families who live there.

All sex offenders are given three days to register with the Nebraska State Patrol with fingerprints. The data displayed by the register includes the following information:

  • All available address information of the individual, including places the individual frequents.
  • All locations of employment.
  • All information pertaining to their education.
  • Documents related to travel and immigration.
  • Documents pertaining to professional certificates or licenses.
  • Addresses and/or identifiers of remote communication devices.
  • Chat room IDs, email addresses, online persona’s, etc.
  • Search consent forms signed by the individual.
  • DNA samples.
  • Finger and palm prints.

Anyone can search the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry by specifying name, region, or location. Individuals can sign up to be notified if an individual offender changes addresses or has their information updated in any way.

Nebraska Inmate Locator

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services offers an online Inmate Information Locator. Use this locator to search for inmates currently housed by the Department of Correctional Services. You can search by name or DCS ID number, or you can download all available inmate data onto your computer as a .xlsx file.

Nebraska Court Records

There are a variety of ways you can access court records in the State of Nebraska.

  1. Use eServices to access trial court information for all 93 counties across the state.
  2. Use SCCALES to access appellate court case searches.
  3. Obtain copies of sealed court records if the individual on that record is requesting.
  4. Request for typed transcripts of trials or proceedings.

All of these methods are covered below.

Trail Court Case Search

There are 93 counties across the State of Nebraska. Each county has one district court and one county court. Statewide searches of all trial courts in the state are provided by the judicial branch of the state government. The trial court case management system is called JUSTICE.

You can expect each case record to include the following information:

  • Summary of the case
  • Parties involved in the case
  • Criminal offense information (if applicable)
  • Judgments assessed and paid/costs and other financial information
  • Listings of documents the attorneys filed
  • Court hearings
  • Entered judges orders and other items in the register of actions
  • Notes by the judge (if applicable)

All case records available through the JUSTICE court case search are considered public records, and most of the documents involved are viewable as electronic files via clickable links.

There is a $15.00 charge to use the JUSTICE search portal for a search that can return up to 30 records. This is a one-time court case search, however.

If you or your organization wants to do frequent searches, you can subscribe to an account via the Nebraska government website. You will be charged $100.00 annually and can make as many searches as you want. View any of the cases returned by the search for $1.00. This includes access to digital documents pertaining to the case.

Using this service, you can do the following searches:

Appellate Court Case Search

Both the Court of Appeals and the Nebraska Supreme Court are located in Lincoln. Subscribers with a Nebraska.gov account can search both court systems at the same time. Search is available by the original trail case number or the appellate case number. It costs $1.00 to view the details of any case and its included documentation.

All case records include the following information:

  • Summary of the case
  • Parties involved in the case
  • Register of actions
  • Dispositions
  • Final, non-published opinions

All case records available through the appellate court case search are considered public records, and most of the documents involved are viewable as electronic files via clickable links.

Published opinions can be accessed via the Nebraska Appellate Courts Online Library. This repository publishes opinions from the Nebraska Supreme Court in advance as well as the minute’s lists from both the Nebraska Supreme Court and the Nebraska Court of Appeals. These documents are available in PDF format for the last 90 days.

There are four types of record provided in this online library:

  • Memos – Cases that have been disposed of by a filed memorandum opinion
  • DWO – Cases that have been disposed of without an opinion
  • PFR – Cases that are on a petition for further review
  • Date – Last updates made to the dates minutes list

How can I request a typed transcript of a proceeding or trial?

Only individuals who are party to a case, attorneys, or individuals who have a judge’s approval can request a typed or digital audio transcript of county court trials or proceedings. This information is not in the public record, and therefore cannot be published or disseminated according to the privacy of information laws.

These laws are laid out in the following statutes:

If you meet the above conditions, you can request these transcripts by clicking on the following links for district or county courts to view further instructions;

How can I obtain a sealed court record?

In this section, we will learn how to request a copy of sealed court records. Only a party to the case can request a sealed record or request that this record be released to another party.

The person whose record is sealed must be the one to fill out the form. That person can request all of the record or a portion of it, and it can be mailed or picked up. Payment is required, and it will depend on the number of pages in the record, whether you want a copy certified, and if you are asking for the copy to be mailed.

Depending on whether you are an adult or juvenile defendant, fill out one of the following two forms:

Take the complete form to the district, county, or juvenile court clerk in the county where the case is filed. The clerk will then tell you when copies will be made available and the total cost.

The following links provide contact information for the clerks of each of the branches of Nebraska’s courts:

Nebraska Vital Records

Vital records are documents about live events that are kept by a government authority. Depending on the state, vital records can include the following types of record:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage licenses/certificates
  • Separation/divorce certificates
  • Certificates of annulment
  • Death certificates
  • Records of civil union
  • Domestic partnership records

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is the umbrella department that controls the Nebraska Office of Vital Records. This department issues certified copies of vital records printed on security paper and contains a state seal. These copies are used for proof of self in obtaining licenses, passports, registering for schools, collecting retirement benefits, life insurance, or transferring property.

The State of Nebraska began keeping birth and death records in 1904 and marriage and divorce records in 1909. However, some counties have records available from before those dates.

Can anyone request vital records?

If your name does not appear on the vital certificate, you will be required by law to prove your relationship with the individual.

If you are requesting your parents’ birth certificates, for example, you will need to show your own birth certificate on which your parent’s names appear.

Another example is if you are requesting your spouse’s birth certificate, you can provide a copy of your marriage certificate on which his name will appear.

If you are a researcher looking for genealogical information, the rules and regulations are laid out in Chapter 3 of Title 174. This governs the viewing and releasing of vital records data and states that only qualifying birth and death records are available for the public to request. You must show proof that the individual died a minimum of 50 years before your request to access birth records.

The Nebraska State History Society is an excellent resource to reach out to when looking for vital records kept before 1909.

For more information on viewing vital records for the purpose of family histories and genealogies, view this webpage.

Marriage Records

You can request to receive a copy of the marriage certificates for yourself or for your parents.

Marriage certificates are only requestable by mail or walk-in. Print and complete the Marriage Certificate Application Form with the following information:

  • Grooms’ (or Party A’s) full name at birth.
  • Brides’ (or Party B’s) full name at birth.
  • Year, Day, and Month the marriage took place.
  • The name of the county where the marriage license was issued.
  • The purpose for obtaining the marriage record.
  • How you are related to the individual named on the record, if not your own.

Send the completed form, along with a $16.00 check or money order made out to ‘Vital Records’ and a photocopy of your government-issued photo ID, to the following address:


Nebraska Vital Records
P.O. Box 95065
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5065
You can also drop off all of the above in person at the following address:


Nebraska Vital Records
1033 O Street, Suite 130
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508-3621

Divorce/Annulment Records

You can request to receive a copy of the divorce certificates for yourself or for your parents.

Divorce certificates are only requestable by mail or walk-in. Print and complete the Divorce Certificate Application Form with the following information:

  • Husband’s name.
  • Wife’s name.
  • Year, Day, and Month the divorce was granted.
  • The name of the county where the divorce was granted.
  • The purpose for obtaining the divorce record.
  • How you are related to the individual named on the record, if not your own.

Send the completed form, along with a $16.00 check or money order made out to ‘Vital Records’ and a photocopy of your government-issued photo ID, to the following address:


Nebraska Vital Records
P.O. Box 95065
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5065
You can also drop off all of the above in person at the following address:


Nebraska Vital Records
1033 O Street, Suite 130
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508-3621

Birth Records

Any individual can request and obtain their own birth certificate, the birth certificate of their spouse, parent, or child. You can request birth certificates online and by mail.

Click on the Online Applications link and fill out the form. You can pay by Visa or MasterCard. You must fax or email a copy of your government-issued photo ID. Fax it to (403) 742-2385. Or attach it to an email and send it to DHHS.VitalRecords@nebraska.gov. It can take between 7 and 10 business days for the application to be processed.

If you wish to request a birth certificate by mail, print out the Birth Certificate Application form (linked below), fill it out, including in the application envelope a copy of your photo ID, a check for $17.00 payable to ‘Vital Records,’ and a stamped, self-addressed business-sized envelope. Mail everything to the following address:


Nebraska Vital Records
P.O. Box 95065
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5065
You can also drop off all of the above in person at the following address:


Nebraska Vital Records
1033 O Street, Suite 130
\Lincoln, Nebraska 68508-3621
Birth Certificate Application Links

Death Records

Death certificates can be requested for your spouse, parent, or child. You can only request a death certificate by mail or in person.

To request a death certificate by mail, fill out the Death Certificate Application Form with the following information:

  • Full name of the deceased individual. For married females, including the married and maiden name.
  • The name of the city or town in which the death occurred.
  • If the death date is known, include it, otherwise indicate the span of years during which death may have occurred.
  • How you are related to the deceased individual.
  • The purpose for which the record will be used.

Once the form is filled out with the above information, send it, along with a check or money order made out to ‘Vital Records’ for $16.00 and a photocopy of your government-issued photo-ID, to the following address:


Nebraska Vital Records
P.O. Box 95065
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5065
You can also drop off all of the above in person at the following address:


Nebraska Vital Records
1033 O Street, Suite 130
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508-3621

Nebraska Business Records

Nebraska’s Secretary of State offers several resources to search the publicly available records of businesses and corporations in the state.

Business and Corporation Search: Offers free searches of the business and corporations database. Use the search to obtain information on all business entities, trade names, trade, and service marks in the State of Nebraska. Certificates of Good Standing and copies of filed documents can also be purchased from this portal.

Access for Subscribers: If you are a subscriber of the Nebraska.gov online portal, you can purchase images of filed documents and Certificates of Good Standing here.

Online Validation of Certificate of Good Standing: Use this search tool to validate a Certificate of Good Standing. Enter the verification ID on the certificate into the search field to access validation.

Special Requests for Corporate Searches: Using this search tool, you can order records by location, keyword, registration date, date of incorporation, or entity type. Also available are record searches for registered agents in a specific location. These files are available for immediate download in CSV format. They cost $15.00 per batch of 1,000 records.

Information About New Businesses: This website provides information about forming new businesses in Nebraska, the relevant laws, and helpful hints to consider when submitting record filings.

Reservation Procedures and Name Availability: Information and procedures for registering corporate names and the availability of corporate names in the state.

Statutes Pertaining to Business Entities: Use this link to view Nebraska statutes that relate to conducting business in the state.

Business and Corporate Reporting (Annual/Biennial): information about annual and biennial reports for Limited Liability Companies, Nonprofit Corporations, and Limited Liability Partnerships.

Nebraska Property Records

Various property records are available to the public upon request. Much of this information is scattered throughout local county offices, government databases, and state archives. Requesting access to the originals of these documents can be a time-consuming task.

The National Environmental Title Research group maintains an online database of digital copies of many of the nations property data, including the following:

  • Environmental data
  • Historical aerial photographs and topographic maps
  • Property data storage such as property details, images, and parcel maps
  • Various other public records relating to properties, tax collection, and assayers

Environmental Data

Using the environmental data portal, you can search thousands of public environmental records made available from local and state governments and federal organizations. NETR online offers an easy-to-use search portal to view the contents of the database. Find information pertaining, but not limited to, the following:

  • Superfund sites
  • Suspected contamination
  • Environmental compliance
  • Environmental violation concerns
  • Permitted sources of toxic vapors

NETR online’s Environmental Records Database Viewer/Report Generator is a comprehensive database. Simply type the address, landmark, or coordinates of the Nebraska area you wish to search, and the results will be available free of charge.

Property Data

NETR’s property data portal provides information about real estate. This includes the following:

  • Property reports
  • Parcel maps
  • Document images
  • Trace ownership
  • Comparable properties locator
  • Print copies of deeds
  • Find tax information

Depending on the region, there may be fees attached to these reports. To access these reports, you will need to sign up for NETR’s online portal. Once you are signed up, you can use the search portal to select the State of Nebraska, the county, and the type of product from the above list you are searching for.

The fees for these documents are as follow:

Property Detail Report $3.50
Transfer Detail Report $5.00
Comparable Properties Report $5.00
Document Images $5.00 – $6.00 (flat-rate)
Parcel Map $3.00

Public Records

Find a variety of additional public records through NERT’s Access Public Records Online portal. Records include tax assessor records and many others.

Clicking on the above link will bring you to a page listing all of Nebraska’s counties. Click on the county you wish to search and see a list of the public records available for that state and links or contact details for requesting or viewing them.

For example, the links available for the County of Lincoln include the following

Historical Aerials

NERT’s Access Historical Aerials online portal allows you to access free digital historical and current aerial photographs, in addition to topographical maps. Historical aerial photography begins in the 1920s, and there is a tool for multi-year comparison allowing you to detect changes in Nebraska’s property.

Nebraska Historical Records

In 1878 the Nebraska State Historical Society was founded. This was an organization begun by citizens of the state who saw that Nebraska was undergoing significant changes. They have made it their mission to record the stories of the various peoples of the state.

In 1883 the organization was designated a state institution. This enabled them to receive funds from the legislature. In 1994 they changed their name to History Nebraska, and they changed from a state institution to a state agency.

Records preserved by History Nebraska are open to all interested individuals. Many of their collections are available for search online.

Search the Nebraska History Library here.

Search the Nebraska Photograph and Artifact Collections here.

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