Central Issuance

Issuance Questions


Why did the Iowa DOT make this change?

The Iowa DOT made this change to better protect Iowans against identity theft and fraud. The existing “over-the-counter” process does not provide an opportunity before issuance to determine if an individual has a driver’s license (DL) or identification (ID) card in other names or to prevent the use of a false or nonexistent address. Under central issuance, an individual’s photo is compared to others on file before a DL/ID card is issued.

If there is a “hit” that indicates the individual has a DL or ID card in another identity, an Iowa DOT motor vehicle enforcement investigator will review the photos and application to determine if the DL/ID card should be issued or if it should be held as the product of fraud or identity theft. Because the DL/ID card will be mailed to the address given, and because the address must be authenticated, the opportunity for a person to use a false or nonexistent address will be eliminated.

Central issuance also helps prevent theft of printers and materials used to make DLs or IDs, by placing everything in a single, heavily secured facility, rather than 100 locations throughout the state, and makes it more difficult to forge or tamper with DLs or IDs by producing DLs and IDs that have additional and more sophisticated security features.

How is this more secure than handing me a DL or ID?

It is difficult to misuse a validly issued DL or ID because the photo makes it hard for another person to pass it off as his or her own. Iowa’s new DLs and IDs increase that difficulty by including multiple photos on the face of the card. The real risk is that a person will get a DL or ID that has his or her photo on it, but is in another person’s name or a false name. Central issuance reduces that risk, by preventing forgery and tampering and by preventing DLs and IDs from being handed to identity thieves. As a result, Iowans are better protected from identify theft and other fraud, as well as from drivers who are not legally authorized to drive.

When will the central issuance process begin?

The transition from the over the counter to central issuance process is currently scheduled to take April 19, 2010.

Where will the cards be produced and shipped from to Iowans?

The DL and ID cards will be produced at a facility in the United States by an experienced issuance firm that has secure facilities and processes, and employs persons that have undergone rigorous background checks.

What will change for Iowans with this new central issuance program?

The only change is that individuals will leave a DL station or county issuance site with a temporary document valid for 30 days, and then receive their new DL/ID card by U.S. mail within two weeks. Everything else remains the same, including the fee.

What will the temporary document look like?

This temporary document will be issued on security paper and will contain the same information as the final DL or ID, two photos of the customer, and several security features recognizable to law enforcement and other officials. It will include an expiration date that is 30 days from the date of issuance. More information about temporary documents is available in the Iowa DOT’s "Iowa Driver’s Licenses and Identifications Cards" brochure on the Iowa DOT’s Web site

Does central issuance affect both driver’s licenses and identification cards?

Yes. It affects all DL and ID cards.

How much more will this cost?

There is no increased cost to individuals.

My DL or ID card is good for a few more years. Do I need to do anything now?

No. Central issuance does not affect the validity of any current, valid DL or ID card.

How will the DL or ID card be mailed so that it is not obvious there is a card inside and the card is not visible from the outside?

The card will be mailed in a regular envelope through the U.S. Postal Service, similar to the way a credit card is mailed. The envelope will be unmarked and will not suggest or reveal the contents. Before going to the U.S. Postal Service, it will go to a facility where it will be mixed with other general mail for delivery to the post office.

How long will it take to get my DL or ID card in the mail?

You should receive your DL or ID card within two weeks. If it has been more than 21 days and you have not received your DL or ID card, you should contact the Office of Driver Services at the toll free number listed on your temporary document. Staff in the Office of Driver Services will then confirm the location of your card and, if not held for investigatory reasons, mail the card to an appropriate address.

What happens if the post office is unable to deliver my DL or ID card?

If the U.S. Postal Service cannot deliver your DL or ID card to the address you provided, it will be returned to the Iowa DOT. The Iowa DOT will hold the card pending contact from you indicating you did not receive the card. Again, if it has been more than 21 days and you have not received your DL or ID card, you should contact the Office of Driver Services at the toll free number listed on your temporary permit or ID card. Staff in the Office of Driver Services will then confirm the location of your card and, if not held for investigatory reasons, mail the card to an appropriate address.

Do I have to pay extra for the temporary document?

No. There is no additional charge for the temporary document. It is included in the issuance or renewal fee for a DL or ID card.

Does the temporary document expire?

Yes. The temporary document will be valid for 30 days from the date of issuance.

If my temporary document is lost/destroyed/put through the washer/eaten by the dog/etc., can I get another one?

Yes. There will be no charge for a duplicate temporary document.

Will businesses accept the temporary document as identification for cashing checks, buying alcohol or tobacco products, entering gambling facilities, etc.?

Each business must decide if the temporary document will be accepted. However, our review indicates this has not been a problem in the 22 states that currently use central issuance. The Iowa DOT is actively working to educate entities that require presentation of DLs or ID cards for business purposes so that Iowa’s temporary document will be recognized and accepted when issuance begins. Temporary document holders should keep their temporary document until they receive their new card.

Will the Social Security Administration, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other government agencies accept the temporary document as identification?

More than 60 percent of the DLs and IDs issued in the United States are distributed by states that use a central issuance system. U.S. federal agencies are very familiar with the temporary document, but to again ensure that Iowa’s temporary documents will be recognized and accepted when issuance begins, the Iowa DOT is also working to educate federal entities that require presentation of DLs or ID cards, including TSA. (This effort will also extend to airlines flying out of airports based in and near Iowa.) Samples of the temporary documents will be provided to these agencies and businesses. Again, temporary document holders should keep their temporary document until they receive their new card. At this time, TSA officials have reviewed the temporary document and have indicated that it will be acceptable proof of identity for persons traveling through federally regulated airports.

Can I live at one location, but have my DL or ID card mailed to another location if I have problems receiving my mail at my residential address?

Yes. Although you must still provide a valid principal residence address when you apply for a DL or ID card, and that principal residence address must appear on the face of the DL or ID card that is issued to you, the DL or ID card may be mailed to a different mailing address if you provide a mailing address at the time of application that is different than your address of principal residence. If you do provide a mailing address that is different than your principal residence address, you should make sure that it is a mailing address you can continue to use, as the Iowa DOT will continue to use that as your mailing address for future mailings and notices unless and until you advise the Iowa DOT that it has changed.

What if it appears that my DL or ID card will not arrive before my temporary document expires? Do I have to come in to get another temporary document?

In cases in which issuance or delivery of the DL card has been delayed for reasons other than investigation of fraud or identity theft, the Iowa DOT may print and mail to you a new temporary document good for an additional 30 days, to allow for proper issuance and delivery of the DL card. When issuance of the DL card is delayed for reasons related to investigation of fraud or identity theft, issuance of a new temporary document will be at the discretion of the Iowa DOT according to the circumstances. A second temporary document will not be issued for an ID card.

What happens if the DL or ID card material or production is defective? Will the card be replaced at no cost?

If the card material or its production is defective, the Iowa DOT will replace the card at no cost to you, and will also provide an additional temporary document to allow for issuance and delivery of the replacement card at no cost to you. Please bring the defective card to a DL station or participating county issuance site to apply for a replacement. These instances are expected to be minimal, as the central issuance firm will be using higher quality print equipment and new material that is more flexible and less prone to breakage than material used in the production of current DLs or ID cards.

How may I contact the Iowa DOT?

Call:
   800-532-1121 - Toll-free in Iowa
   515-244-9124 - Local Des Moines
   515-244-8725 - Local Des Moines
E-mail:   ods@dot.iowa.gov

Updated: April 2, 2010