If you have lost your car registration in Iowa, it is imperative that you replace it immediately. According to state laws upheld by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), a car registration must remain in a vehicle at all times. A car registration not only helps law enforcement identify the owner of the vehicle, but also helps them obtain additional details on the vehicle. Although it may seem like a small issue, this oversight can come with big fines from your county. As such, getting a replacement should be a top priority. Keep in mind that a registration card and sticker are different and may entail different procedures to replace.  

Obtaining a new IA copy of your vehicle registration requires an in-person visit to your local county treasurer office. After presenting a few documents to locate your vehicle records, you can complete the application and submit the request. For detailed information on the process to obtain a duplicate registration, review the sections below.

When do you need to get a copy of your vehicle registration in Iowa?

One of the most common reasons why people replace a car registration in Iowa is because they have misplaced it. If you lose your registration, you are unable to operate your vehicle until you obtain a replacement. Iowa law requires motorists to always have proof of registration on hand while driving or risk costly penalties. You may also need to replace your registration if it is damaged beyond legibility. If a registration suffers water or another type of damage that makes it illegible, it no longer serves its purpose. A car registration replacement is also necessary if your vehicle documents are stolen and you have no proof of registration or ownership. In this case, you should also file a police report.

How to Obtain a Replacement Vehicle Registration in Iowa

The methods of replacing a DMV lost registration in Iowa are limited. While this may vary by county, most counties in Iowa only offer the service in person. In addition, it is important to know that registration cards and stickers are different. Although you typically receive both at the same time when you obtain or renew a registration, you will need to indicate which one you need to replace.  

How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Person

In most counties in Iowa, such as Polk, Linn and Dickinson, you must obtain their DMV copy of registration in person. The first step in completing this task is locating your local country treasurer’s office. Most county websites have a directory of offices in the area with an address and hours of operation. Once you locate your local office, it is best to call ahead. This will help you:

  • Ensure that the office offers DMV registration replacement
  • Gain information on what you will need to bring.
  • Schedule an appointment for your visit, if possible.

Once you arrive to the county treasurer’s office, you will typically fill out a IA replacement vehicle registration application. It will require you to provide personal information such as your full name, address, date of birth and driver’s license information. To locate vehicle records, you will also need to provide vehicle details. This includes the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), your license plate number, vehicle model and year. After completing the application, you must pay the fee and submit the required forms.

Depending on the county office, you may receive your DOT duplicate registration on the same day or within a few weeks. Moreover, it is common practice for DOT offices to mail the duplicate document at the address on file. As such, be sure to double-check this information or provide an alternative address if necessary. This may require a change-of-address application, but this varies by county.

Iowa Stolen Car Registration Requirements

Realizing someone has stolen your car registration in Iowa can be unsettling. A car registration is an important document that includes personal information. In the wrong hands, it can be used to commit fraud, identity theft and a series of other crimes. With this in mind, it is imperative that you file a police report as soon as you are aware of the theft. Police departments often provide several ways for residents to report a crime. Some have online reporting services in which residents list the date and time of the crime as well as details of the incident. From there, an office may contact the victim and follow up on the report. Other departments may require residents to stop by in person to report the stolen vehicle registration.

The Iowa Department of Transportation does not require motorists to file a police report for a stolen car registration. However, it is in the best interest of the motorist to do so to avoid any sort of fraud.

Iowa DMV Sticker Replacement

If your lost car registration papers also include a registration sticker, it is important that you request a duplicate. Just as for DMV duplicate registration cards, motorists must visit their local country treasurer’s office to request the duplicate. The process involves the following:

  • Filling out an application – Typically, this requires you to provide personal information as well as vehicle details. Fields include full name, address, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), model year and make.
  • Presenting the necessary documents – You must bring in your current registration card, if available, to present the county treasurer’s office. If you need a registration and sticker replacement, you must indicate that on the form.
  • Paying the fee – County offices typically accept several forms of payment including cash, credit cards and checks for the replacement sticker fee.

Iowa Vehicle Registration Replacement Fees

Iowa residents must pay a fee to replace their lost car registration sticker or card. The fee may vary slightly by county. The fees are as follows:

  • The cost for the replacement registration is $3.
  • The cost for the replacement validation sticker is also $3.
Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.