- Location: Iowa
Renewing Your License in Iowa
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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.
Your Class C non-commercial operator's license or Class D non-commercial chauffeur's license is valid for five years if you are between the ages of 18 and 70. Drivers younger than 18 or older than age 70 are issued licenses for two years.
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. In some cases, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) allows drivers to renew their licenses up to one year before the expiration date. However, you will need to explain why you are requesting an early renewal.
NOTE: To learn how to renew a commercial license, visit our CDL section.
Your driver's license expires on your birthday. 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. There are no late fees for renewing past your license expiration date, but 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.
Due to security concerns, online driver's license renewals are not an option for drivers in the state.
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 six months by mailing or faxing an Application for Temporary Extension to:
- Office of Driver Services
- Iowa Dept. of Transportation
- P.O. Box 9204
- Des Moines, IA 50306-9204
- 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 written test if your license has been expired for more than 60 days or was suspended.
- Take a driving test if your license has been expired for more than one year or was suspended.
- Pay the license renewal fee of $20 for a five-year license. For drivers younger than 18 or 70 and older who are issued a two-year license, the renewal fee is $8. Credit card or debit card payments will not be accepted.
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 SectionArticles