MVD banner

Iowa driver's license renewal and extensions

Renewing your Iowa driver's license or ID card
There are three ways to renew your driver's license or ID card: online, in-person, or at a kiosk.

Online renewal checkmark
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may renew your driver's license or identification (ID) card online and skip a trip to the driver's license issuance location. You will need your current driver's license or ID card and a credit or debit card at your fingertips to complete the process. Fees will include your driver's license or ID card renewal fee plus a $1.50 online processing fee.

In-person renewal checkmark
You can renew your driver's license or Identification card at any one of Iowa's 100 issuance sites.

At a kiosk checkmark
You can renew your driver's license or Identification card at any one of Iowa's 24 kiosks.

Expiration dates
Your license expires on the expiration date printed on the license. The license is valid for driving for an additional 60 days after the expiration date. After 60 days from the expiration date, you may be ticketed for driving with an expired license. (If you are a temporary foreign national, you are not entitled to the 60-day grace period.)

After one year following expiration, you will be required to take the knowledge test and drive test. If you plan to travel or rent a car during the 60-day grace period, you should renew your driver's license; some entities may not recognize the grace period. You may renew your driver's license 30 days before its expiration date. If you demonstrate a good cause exists to renew earlier, you may renew your driver's license up to one year before the expiration date. You must pass the vision screening each time you renew your license.

transition from a five- year to eight-year driverís license renewal process.
Watch videos to learn more about Iowa’s
transition from a five- to eight-year
driverís license renewal process.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, and continuing through Dec. 31, 2018, Iowa will transition from a standard five-year license term to an eight-year license term. During this time, Iowa driver's licenses will be issued with a randomly assigned expiration date between five and eight years, as shown in the chart below.

Expiration dates will be limited according to age as shown in the chart below.

Age Expiration date
Younger than 17 years and 11 months Two years
Older than 17 years and 11 months through 66 years Five to eight years
(selected randomly)
67 years Five to seven years
(selected randomly)
68 years Five to six years
(selected randomly)
69 years Five years
70 years Four years
71 years Three years
72 years Two years
73 years Two years
74 years and older Two years

Iowa nonoperator's ID cards will be issued with an expiration date of eight years.

Licenses issued to persons under the age of 18 or persons who are temporary foreign nationals are not eligible for licenses with an expiration date between five and eight years. These individuals will be issued driver’s licenses with shorter renewal periods set by Iowa law.

Electronic renewal notifiction sign upElectronic renewal notification
Receive an email reminder to renew your driver's license or identification card.

Real ID
If you want a REAL ID-marked card, you must complete a new application (assisted by the driverís license issuance site representative) and present proof of identity. Regardless of whether you have held your driverís license or ID card for a short time or many years, the same provisions apply.

To assist Iowans gather the necessary documents, there is a list of acceptable documents available on the Internet (Proof of Identity), or you can call 515-244-8725 to listen to a recorded message.

Temporary extension
If you are temporarily out of state, are unable to renew your driver's license in person and do not meet eligibility to renew online, you may apply for a temporary extension not to exceed six months. Please note: If you are eligible to renew your license online, you may not be eligible for a temporary extension. A request for extension must be made within 30 days before or 60 days after the expiration date. The request must also be in writing by mailing or faxing an Application for Temporary Extension of Motor Vehicle License to the Iowa DOT's Office of Driver Services. You must provide an out-of-state address and/or out-of-state fax number.

Temporary extension for military personnel
An extension of operating privileges may be given to military personnel who cannot return to Iowa to renew their driver's license in person and do not meet eligibility requirements to renew online. The extension is valid until six months following separation from active duty.

Iowa law also provides for an extension to dependents of active military personnel. This extension is valid for five years from the expiration date of the license. A copy of the dependent's military identification must accompany the written request.

A request for an Extension for Military Service may be faxed or mailed to:

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

How to get a ďveteranĒ designation on your driverís license or nonoperator identification card

Attention iconAttention! Legislation passed in 2016 will allow you to add the veteran designation to your driver's license or ID card by presenting your DD214 directly to staff at any driver's license issuance site, without first going to your county Veterans Affairs office for authorization and approval of the Iowa DOT application form. The Iowa DOT is in the process of developing guidance and training for issuance staff to implement this, to assure that all staff handling this function understand how to properly authenticate valid discharge documents to correctly determine honorable discharge status and status as a veteran. Driver's license issuance sites will begin directly accepting these applications Aug. 1, 2016. Your patience is appreciated as staff completes this training. In the meantime, you may continue to follow the current process, which will also remain an option after Aug. 1, 2016.

Honorably discharged veterans are eligible to have a “veteran” designation placed on their driver’s license or nonoperator identification (ID).

Sample driver's license showing Veteran designation

The veteran designation is a completely voluntary initiative designed to assist Iowa veterans. There are thousands of businesses throughout Iowa and the United States, including restaurants, hotels and even home improvement stores that give discounts to veterans. Some of those businesses require proof of veteran status. The veteran designation on a driver's license or ID card allows you to be quickly identified as a veteran, eliminating the need to carry official military papers for these purposes.

To be authorized to get the veteran designation placed on your driver's license or ID card, you must first present a copy of your DD 214 or applicable discharge document to your county Veterans Affairs office. That office will confirm your veteran status and complete the required Iowa DOT application form. Take the completed form with you to any driver's license issuance location. The veteran designation will be added to your driver's license or ID card when it is issued.

If you are applying for a new license or ID or are renewing a previous one, all usual fees apply.  If you are requesting a duplicate or adding the veteran’s designation to your current DL or ID, there will be a fee of $10.

To expedite the authorization process, you can also bring a completed Iowa DOT application form with you to the county VA office, along with your DD 214. The application form must be certified by the County Veterans Affairs Office or the Iowa Department of Veteranís Affairs. Find a County Veterans Office near you..