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Vehicle registrations need to be renewed regularly. Many states require vehicle owners to renew their registrations every year, although some states offer the option to purchase registrations that last for two years or longer. Most states allow you to quickly renew your car registration online, but you should be aware of the information you will need to provide, the necessary fees and the acceptable methods of payment to ensure a smooth transaction. Our online guide can help you prepare all the required documents and fees so that you can renew your vehicle registration as smoothly and quickly as possible. In it, you will also discover all the steps needed to replace a lost registration and to update your name or address with the DMV.

2. By Mail

Some vehicle owners may prefer to renew their auto registrations through the mail. Certain states will allow their residents to apply by mail, but vehicle owners may need to meet certain eligibility requirements to submit their request. Additionally, the ways in which you may pay your renewal fee are limited to check or money order, and you may experience processing delays due to the time it takes the postal service to deliver your application. Furthermore, you may risk losing your application or registration tags in the mail, adding to the wait time.

3. In Person at a DMV Office

Renewing your vehicle registration in person at a DMV office is an option if you cannot or prefer not to apply by mail or online. Typically, the DMV will issue your new registration credentials after receiving payment. However, certain states may require you to wait to receive your renewed registration documents in the mail. While visiting a DMV office in person may provide you with more personalized attention, it often involves long waits. Additionally, the office hours of many DMV locations can interfere with your work schedule.


You are responsible for completing an Iowa car registration renewal every year. Thus, you are required to obtain a new registration sticker and replace the old one displayed on your license plates. If you do not complete this procedure during the appropriate timeframe, you will be subject to consequences from law enforcement officials, and you will need to pay a penalty fee. On the other hand, you can avoid these consequences by understanding how to complete a DMV car registration renewal.

In general, you can choose to complete an IA DMV registration renewal online, in person or through the mail. Regardless of the method you choose, you must ensure that you request your renewal within the three-month period surrounding your expiration date. This includes the month prior to your renewal month, your renewal month and the month following your renewal month. In any case, you must also be prepared with the appropriate information and documentation required for the renewal. To learn more about when and how to renew car registration in Iowa, read the sections below.

Requirements for Car Registration Renewal in Iowa

You must be eligible to complete a DMV vehicle registration renewal in Iowa by meeting a few requirements first. For instance, general requirements include being an IA resident, having all the necessary information and documentation available and being within the three-month timeframe surrounding your expiration date.

Make sure that you are aware of your expiration date month so that you can renew before you have an expired auto registration. If you renew after your grace period ends, you will be required to pay a late penalty fee.

What do you need to renew your car registration in Iowa?

To renew car registration online, in person or by mail, you must be prepared by having certain documents and information on hand. Overall, the motor vehicle registration renewal procedure requires you to provide information such as your license plate number, the designated PIN from your renewal notice and/or the audit number from your previous renewal receipt. Also, you must submit an accepted method of payment to pay for the renewal fees.

Iowa Vehicle Registration Renewal Notice

A vehicle registration renewal notice will be sent to you from the county treasurer one month prior to your credential’s expiration date. This notice contains information about your renewal date and what your DMV registration renewal fees will be. The document will also contain a PIN that can be used during online renewals, if you are eligible for this online procedure.

Iowa Car Registration Renewal Notice Lost or Not Received

Having an auto registration renewal notice is not a strict requirement for filing this request in Iowa. However, this document serves as a helpful reminder for when to renew, and it contains information that can help your process go smoothly.

It is your responsibility to be aware of when you need to renew a car registration in IA, regardless of whether or not you receive a notice in the mail. Although many residents receive this notice, there is a possibility that you will not receive one. Also, if you have a lost car registration renewal form, you can still complete the renewal without issue.

Iowa Car Registration Renewal Options

In Iowa, you have three options for where to renew car registration. Generally, you can complete your vehicle registration renewal online, through the mail or in person. To learn more about each option, read the sections below.

How to Renew Your Car Registration Online

Requesting an Iowa DMV registration renewal online is a convenient option, as the entire process can be completed anywhere that internet access is available. Most residents can use the state’s online renewal portal as long as they received a notice containing a PIN. To do so, residents of the following counties must process their online renewal through that specific counties’ website:

  • Buchanan
  • Clayton
  • Dickinson
  • Floyd
  • Iowa
  • Johnson
  • Linn
  • Montgomery
  • Polk
  • Pottawattamie
  • Poweshiek

Completing your renewal online is generally very fast and simple. You can check your DMV registration renewal status and process the renewal by following these steps:

  1. Provide your license plate number and PIN or audit number
  2. Confirm that all information shown is correct
  3. Pay the DMV registration renewal fees
  4. Print your receipt

After you have completed your application, your renewed registration will be processed and mailed out within 24 business hours.

How to Renew Your Car Registration by Mail

Knowing how to renew a car registration through the mail is important if you do not want to file a request online or in person. To complete a mail-in renewal, you must follow the instructions provided on the notice you have received and send in the necessary documents and fee payment to your local county treasurer’s office.

How to Renew Your Car Registration in Person

An in-person IA motor vehicle registration renewal can be completed by any resident. To renew a vehicle registration in person, you must visit your local Iowa county treasurer office and:

  1. Provide your renewal notice or previous registration receipt.
  2. Pay the applicable renewal fees.

Once you have followed those steps, the county treasurer office staff will provide you with your renewed registration documents and license plate sticker decal. Ensure that you immediately replace your old documents and license plate sticker with your new ones.

Military & Out of State Vehicle Registration Renewal in Iowa

You will be required to renew a car registration even if you are located outside of Iowa. Fortunately, you can complete your renewal online or through the mail if you are unable to visit your local county treasurer’s office. Plus, you have a total of three months surrounding your renewal date to complete the renewal without facing any penalties. If you are a military service member, you may opt to keep your home state’s registration documents or obtain new ones in IA.

Iowa Vehicle Registration Renewal Fees

There are car registration renewal costs in Iowa that you must be aware of before you begin your registration renewal. However, it is important to understand that those fees vary greatly from county to county in Iowa. To learn which DMV renewal registration fees you are responsible for paying when you renew, speak with a representative at your local county treasurers office.

Note: Regardless of your county of residence, you will be charged a late penalty fee of $5 or 5 percent of your renewal fee (whichever is higher) if you fail to renew your registration before the end of your grace period.

Last updated on Friday, December 14 2018.

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