New to Iowa

SUMMARY: New Iowa Residents

If you've recently moved to Iowa, you'll need to remember to complete a number of transactions with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish residency in the state—these include registering your vehicle, obtaining a driver's license, and registering to vote.

This page will help you transfer everything to your new address, including your voter and organ donor registration.

Iowa State Departments

When you think of motor vehicle and licensing services, chances are you think about the DMV. Several states, however, do not call their motor vehicle and drivers services offices the DMV.

In Iowa, the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of the Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for the administration of motor vehicles and licensing.

Additionally, there are other agencies you may deal with during your tenure in Iowa:

  • Secretary of State: Oversees voter registration and elections.
  • Department of Natural Resources: Handles boat licensing and registration.

Register Your Car in Iowa

If you're new to the state, you have 30 days from when you become a resident to register your vehicle with the IA DOT. For more information please refer to our Car Registration in Iowa page.

Just Moved?

Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.

Register a Special Vehicle

If you own a special interest vehicle, such as a recreational vehicle (RV) or something you drive off-road, the registration process is a little different. Find out more on our guide to Special Vehicles in Iowa.

Car Insurance

Changing states presents an excellent opportunity to find a new auto insurance policy or provider. You may find that your previous coverage is no longer the best option for you. Check if you're getting the best value by visiting our Car Insurance in Iowa page.

Required Car Inspections

There are currently no statewide emission inspections required in Iowa, but the state may offer some green driving incentives. Find out more on our Car Inspections page.

IA Driver's Licenses & ID Cards

To drive legally in Iowa, you'll need to transfer your out-of-state driver's license to the Iowa DOT. You'll have to visit your local IA DOT office with various documents and payment for your IA driver's license. For more information, visit our page about Applying for a New License.

If you're a teenager, you'll need to meet the state's graduated driver licensing (GDL) requirements before you will be eligible for a provisional or full privilege driver's license in Iowa. See our page on Applying for a New Teen License for more information.

NOTE: If you need a commercial driver's license (CDL) in Iowa, visit our Applying for a New CDL page.

Identification Cards

If you don't drive but need some form of identification, you can apply for an ID card from the IA DOT. You can find out how to get one on our Iowa Identification Cards page.

Voter and Organ Donor Registration in IA

A couple of things that may be easily forgotten are your voter and organ donor registrations. Your registration information for these two important things must be updated whenever you move.

  • Visit our Voter Registration page and register to vote in Iowa before the next election date.
  • Visit our Organ Donation in Iowa page to add your name to the state's registry.
    • This may also be done when applying for an Iowa driver's license (see “IA Driver's Licenses & ID Cards" above).

Out-of-State Military Members in Iowa

If you're only in Iowa temporarily to fulfill your military obligations, you won't need to transfer your driver's license or car registration to the state, as long as you remain a resident of your home state.

For some helpful information that may apply to both you and your spouse/dependents, visit our Drivers in the Military page.

DMV Office Locations & Resources

Use our handy DMV Office Finder tool to locate your closest Iowa DOT office.

Also, before you get on the road in your new town, read through the DMV's helpful manuals and make sure you're aware of all the state's road rules:

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