Requesting a drivers license renewal in Iowa is a very important procedure for motorists to maintain their driving privileges in the state. In general, this prevents licensed residents from facing any issues that may result from operating a vehicle with an expired drivers license the state. Therefore, knowing how to renew a drivers license before starting this process can help you gather the proper documentation and be mindful of which fees and requirements you will be subjected to.

As a general rule, only valid driving credentials that are set to expire soon are eligible for an IA DMV license renewal. Overall, licenses issued in the state are typically valid for a period between five and eight years. In the event that your license has been lost, stolen or damaged, you must request a replacement card instead. If renewing your driver’s license on time is not possible, be mindful that the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) offers a 60-day grace period for driving credentials, during which you can request a renewal without any penalties.

Eligibility for Drivers License Renewal in Iowa

Iowa Drivers License

Note: You can find the expiration date on the front of your drivers license.

You must meet certain Iowa drivers license renewal requirements in order to renew your credential in the state. For instance, you must hold a valid state-issued driving license, be able to pass a vision exam, and have a credential that is approaching its expiration date. On the other hand, if you wish to obtain a REAL ID-compliant license, you will need to meet stricter requirements that include additional documentation.

Instances When You Cannot Renew Your Drivers License in Iowa

There are certain circumstances where you are not able to complete a drivers license renewal in Iowa. For instance, you cannot renew your driving credential if any of the following are true:

  • The expiration date on your driver’s license is more than a year away. As a general rule, you cannot renew a license earlier than a year before it expires.
  • You have had an expired driver’s license for over one year. If you fail to renew your driving credential within the year following its expiration date, you will be required to apply for a new license, thus having to retake a knowledge and road skills tests.
  • Your license has been suspended. A suspended or revoked driving credential cannot be renewed. Instead, it must be reinstated.

How early can you renew your drivers license in Iowa?

The Iowa drivers license office allows you to renew your credential up to 30 days before its expiration date if you renew in-person. Otherwise, you may renew a driver’s license online as early as 180 days. On the other hand, if you are able to demonstrate a good reason for why your driving credential needs to be renewed earlier, you may be able to do so.

Conversely, if you are already holding an expired driving license in IA, be mindful that you need to renew it within a year after its expiration date. Otherwise, you will be required to retake both a written and a drive test to get a new license.

Iowa DMV License Renewal Options

In Iowa, you can either renew a drivers license online or in person. To learn more about these options, read the sections below.

How to Renew Your Drivers License Online

Many residents opt for renewing their Iowa driver’s licenses online due to the convenience of this method. However, it is important to note that this service is not offered to all motorists. To renew your drivers license online, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older, but younger than 70 years of age.
  • Be an Iowa resident and a U.S. citizen.
  • Hold a valid, non-commercial drivers/motorcycle license issued in IA.
  • Hold a license that expires within 180 days. If you already have an expired driver’s license, make sure that it has not been more than one year since its expiration date.
  • Have renewed your current license in person during its last renewal procedure. Licenses may only be renewed online or at a kiosk every other renewal.
  • Have made no changes to your name, gender, date of birth, endorsements, class type or restrictions.
  • Not be required to submit a vision or medical report.
  • Not have a license that is marked “Valid Without Photo.”

As long as you meet all of the requirements mentioned above, you may be eligible to complete an online drivers license renewal in Iowa by following these steps:

  1. Provide personal details about yourself and your driver’s license.
  2. Pay the applicable renewal fees.

Once you complete these steps to renew your DMV license, you will be issued a credential with a new expiration date. This new card will arrive in the mail in approximately 21 days. If your license does not arrive within that timeframe, you may call the state’s Department of Transportation to inquire about the status of your credential.

How to Renew Your Drivers License in Person

If you are not eligible to renew your driving license online, or if you would prefer to renew it in person, you can do so at any one of the several Iowa DOT branches and kiosks. To do so, you must:

  1. Go to a local county drivers license office or kiosk.
  2. Pass a vision screening.
  3. Pay the driving license renewal

After you complete the steps listed above, you will you be able to obtain a new and non-expired drivers license with an expiration date set between five and eight years in the future. However, if you are older than 67 years of age, be mindful that the IA DOT may renew your license for a shorter validity period, such as between two and seven years.

Military & Out of State Renewal in Iowa

Iowa residents who are active duty military service members and are unable to return to the state to renew their drivers licenses in person may qualify for an extension of six months. Furthermore, the dependents of military service members can receive an extension of up to five years from the date of their licenses’ expiration.

Motorists who find themselves temporarily out of state and who are unable to return to IA for renewing a driver’s license in person may also be eligible for an extension on their licenses. However, this extension cannot exceed six months.

In any case, in order to request these extensions, residents must complete a drivers license renewal form. Depending on your circumstance, you will need to fill out an “Extension of Military Service” form or an “Application for Temporary Extension of Motor Vehicle License.” Then, the proper form must be faxed or mailed to:

Driver & Identification Services
Iowa Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 9204
Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9204
Telephone: 515-244-8725
Fax: 515-239-1837

Iowa REAL ID Drivers License Renewal

What you need to renew a drivers license may change depending on whether you want to obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or a standard credential that does not comply with these federal requirements. In order to obtain a REAL ID document, you must provide proof of identity, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), state residency and legal status in the U.S. Conversely, many of those documents are not necessary for renewing a driver’s license that is not REAL ID-compliant.

Iowa Drivers License Renewal Fees

Before starting this procedure, it is important to be aware of how much it costs to renew a drivers license in Iowa. Overall, the driving license renewal fee for a regular Class C credential is $4 per year. In addition, if you renew online, you must pay a $1.50 processing fee.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.