Renewing Your License in IowaPage Overview
The law requires all drivers have a legally valid license before getting behind the wheel.
Proof of financial responsibility is also required for all drivers. In most cases, purchasing a car insurance policy is the easiest way to satisfy this requirement. Visit our Insurance Center for more information on choosing a policy that fits your needs.
The Iowa Department of Transportation has begun a process of transitioning from a license validity period of 5 years to one of 8 years. During this transition, the DOT will randomly assign expirations of licenses from anywhere between 5 years and 8 years, with the end result being that by December 31, 2018, all Iowa licenses will be issued for a period of 8 years.
If you are 72 years old or older, your driver's license will be valid for 2 years.
Visit the DOT's license renewal page for current validity periods issues based on your age.
If you're not sure your license is still valid, you can request a copy of your driving record or check the listed expiration date. You may renew up to 30 days before your license expires; in some cases, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) allows drivers to renew their licenses up to 1 year before the expiration date. However, you will need to explain why you are requesting an earlier renewal.
NOTE: To learn how to renew a commercial license, visit our CDL section.
Your driver's license expires on date listed. However, it is still considered valid for another 60 days after that. This is to allow you plenty of time to make the trip to the nearest DOT or County Treasurer's location to renew your license.
If your license has expired, you'll need to complete the renewal process as soon as possible. You will be ticketed if you're caught driving with an expired license.
To determine if your license is expired, request a copy of your driving record or look at the listed expiration date.
You can see if your license has been suspended by requesting a copy of your driving record. If your license has been suspended, you will need to take the knowledge test, driving exam, and vision screening. You will also need to pay a reinstatement fee and show proof of your financial responsibility, such as an SR-22. Depending upon the reason for your suspension, you might find your insurance premiums have been raised. Comparing insurance rates can help you find a new policy if needed.
Our section on suspended licenses has additional information on this topic.
If you've lost or misplaced your driver's license, check out our page on Replacing a Lost License for more information about how to request a duplicate license.
You may renew online if eligible. Have your driver's license number and credit card at the ready.
If you are unable to renew your license in person because you are temporarily residing outside the state, you can request a license extension for up to 6 months by mailing or faxing an Application for Temporary Extension of Motor Vehicle License (Form 430027) to:
- Office of Driver Services
- Iowa Department of Transportation
- P.O. Box 9204
- Des Moines, IA 50306
- Phone: (515) 244-8725.
- Fax: (515) 239-1837.
In most cases, drivers are required to renew their license in person. To renew your driver's license, you'll need to complete the following steps:
- Visit the nearest driver's license station. Call ahead to confirm business hours, since smaller locations may not be open Monday through Friday.
- Complete a vision screening.
- Take a driving test if your license has been expired for more than 1 year.
- Pay the required license renewal fee:
- Class C operator's license: $4 (per year fee)
- Class O non-operator's ID card: $8.
For a full list of license types and fees, visit the DOT's license fee page.
While it's easy to renew your driver's license, it's important not to forget to keep current on your driving skills, as well. Taking a supplemental traffic school course can help improve your knowledge of the rules of the road while possibly lowering your insurance rates. If your current policy doesn't offer a discount for taking such a course, consider shopping our Insurance Center for one that does.Other Topics in This Section