In Iowa, the car is the king of the road and the vast majority of people in the state choose driving as their main form of transportation. That means that for driving-related matters, like driving record lookups or vehicle registration renewals, it is necessary to visit the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT). The MVD is essentially Iowa’s version of what many other states call their Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Let’s take a look at some of the services the Iowa MVD offers residents.
You can get both non-certified and certified copies of your driving record online through the MVD’s website. Non-certified driving records that you want to just view online are completely free. You’ll just need to provide some personal information, such as your name, Social Security Number, and driver’s license number. You can also get non-certified driving records through third-party databases like SearchQuarry.com
Certified driving records can also be purchased online for a small fee. If you need your driving record for employment, housing applications, or legal matters, then you should opt for a certified copy.
If you are new to Iowa, you are required to register your vehicle within 30 days of establishing residency. You cannot register your vehicle online through the MVD. Rather, vehicles are registered through the county treasurer’s office. Each county sets its own registration fees, so the amount you pay will vary depending on which part of Iowa you live in. Keep in mind too that if you move counties you won’t have to re-register your vehicle, but you will have to notify your new county treasurer of the change within 10 days of your move so that your registration can be updated. You can find your county treasurer here.
New Iowa residents can get an Iowa driver’s license pretty easily. For those who have never held an Iowa MVD driver’s license before, it will be necessary to visit an MVD office in person and present proof of identity, residence, and Social Security number. You will also need to pass a vision test and, in some cases, you may need to pass a written and/or driving test. You will also need to pay the necessary licensing fees. You cannot have had a license from another state that was revoked, canceled, or suspended.
The rules for transferring a valid license from one state to Iowa are exactly the same as for those who have never had a license before. The only difference is that those who are simply transferring an out-of-state license to Iowa will not have to pass a written or driving test.
Those who are under 18 may have to complete Iowa’s graduated licensing program. Iowa residents who are at least 14 can get a driving permit, while those who are 16 can get an intermediate license. Permits and intermediate licenses include a number of driving restrictions, such as driving curfews, passenger limits, and zero tolerance for distracted driving. A full license can be received at age 17 at the earliest.
If you simply need to renew your Iowa driver’s license, then doing so is usually pretty easy and straightforward. You can renew your drivers license online so long as you meet the eligibility requirements. For example, you cannot renew a commercial driver’s license online, you must be over 18 and under 70 years of age, and your driver’s license must not have been expired for more than a year. You can find a full list of online license renewal eligibility requirements on the MVD’s website.
If you don’t meet the online renewal requirements, then you will have to visit a license issuance site or kiosk. There are more than 100 of these sites and kiosks located across the state, so finding one shouldn’t be too difficult.
Nobody likes waiting in line at the MVD, which is why it’s good to know that a lot of services can now be completed online. As mentioned above, you can request your driving record online and, in most cases, renew your driver’s license through the MVD’s website. While you cannot apply for or renew a commercial driver’s license online, commercial driver’s will appreciate knowing that they can request/track oversize permits and apply and pay for IFTA/IRP online.
Other online services offered through the Iowa MVD include changing the address on your license, ordering specialty license plates, paying civil penalties, and completing a driver’s license practice test. You can also check the status of your specialty license plate order online, sign up for license renewal reminders, and check what the reinstatement requirements are for a suspended license. The MVD has information online about traffic schools, which could help you remove points or lower your premiums. The Iowa DOT’s forms and manuals, including the driver’s manual, motorcycle manual, and CDL manual, can also be downloaded from the MVD website.