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Welcome to Iowa! As a new resident, you'll enjoy a high quality of life, family-centered communities, and a strong economy. Each year, thousands of people discover that Iowa is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
As a new Iowa resident, the first thing you'll want to do is get your Iowa driver's license and register your vehicles here. If you have lived in Iowa for more than 30 days, registered to vote, accepted a permanent job, or have children who attend an Iowa public school, you are considered an Iowa resident for licensing and registration purposes.
If you are in the military, you are not considered a resident. You can still claim residency in your home state.
Driver's license stations are available in each county and most are open during regular business hours. Generally, no appointment is necessary unless you need to take a supervised driving test. You'll need to bring proof of identity and verification of your Social Security number to apply for your license. While several different forms of documentation are considered acceptable, photocopies or faxes of the original documents are not allowed.
You are required to register your motor vehicle in the appropriate county within 30 days of establishing residency. Vehicles are registered at the County Treasurer's office. You'll need to bring your current certificate of title and a completed application for an Iowa certificate of title and registration. Don't forget to also obtain Iowa car insurance.
Employment opportunities abound here. While Iowa was once primarily an agricultural state, the economy has evolved to include careers in areas such as insurance, health care, financial services, and information technology.
Many world-renowned companies have decided to take advantage of all Iowa has to offer. Pella Corporation, Maytag Corporation, and John Deere are some of Iowa's top manufacturing employers. Meredith Corporation, Principal Financial Group Rockwell Collins, Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance, and Lee Enterprises also employ large numbers of Iowans.
To assist job hunting residents, the Iowa Department of Economic Development has created a website that allows for convenient keyword searches of available employment opportunities within the state. If you don't see what you're looking for, you can post your resume to allow interested employers to contact you directly with positions that match your skills and qualifications.
For years, Iowa has been recognized for its commitment to educational excellence. Iowa's high school graduation rate is 84%, well above the national average. High school students have the second highest SAT scores in the nation and ACT scores that rank them among the top seven states.
Iowans who wish to obtain a post-secondary education have many choices available. Iowa's regents universities have received national recognition for their outstanding academic programs. For example, the University of Iowa is well-known for its achievements in business, journalism, and creative writing. Students who seek a smaller and more intimate experience can choose to attend one of Iowa's private colleges or universities.
Because learning is a lifelong process, working Iowans can develop new skills through continuing education opportunities at Iowa's many community colleges. Distance-learning classes are also available through the Iowa Communications Network, a fiberoptic communications network that connects all 99 counties.Cedar Rapids Museum of Art is home to the largest collection of Grant Wood paintings in the world. The Des Moines Art Center, home to an impressive collection of contemporary art, was designed by noted architects Eliel Saarinen, Richard Meier, and I.M. Pei. Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center offers Iowa residents an opportunity to see noted Broadway productions in an elegant setting.
Throughout the year, Iowa communities hold many special events to celebrate the arts. For example, Iowa City's Iowa Arts Festival provides musical entertainment, an outdoor art gallery, and a number of family-centered recreational activities. The Des Moines Arts Festival was recently recognized as one of the top arts festivals in the nature and features work by 150 professional artists from all over the country. Davenport's Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival showcases live performances by some of the nation's top jazz bands.
Sports fans will be pleased to learn that Iowa is home to Arena football, International Basketball League games, AAA baseball, and Junior A hockey. The Cedar Rapids Kernels, Des Moines Menace, and Des Moines Buccaneers are some of the more popular local teams. Of course, there are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy high school and college athletics.
Coralville's Coral Ridge Mall is Iowa's largest mall. Featuring more than 120 stores, a 1,000-seat food court, an antique carousel, a childrens' museum, and an NHL-size ice arena, Coral Ridge Mall remains one of Iowa's premier entertainment destinations. For your convenience, there's even a kiosk offering brochures, maps, and other area tourist information.
During the summer months, RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) is a popular topic of conversation among Iowa residents. A seven-day bicycle ride spanning more than 450 across the state, RAGBRAI has the distinction of being the oldest, longest, and largest touring bicycle ride in the world. Nearly 10,000 people participate in this incredible event each year, and towns along the official RAGBRAI route often organize special events to welcome riders.