COVID-19

Public Response

 

DOT Facilities

Are Iowa DOT facilities closed?

Iowa DOT rest areas, garages, weigh scales, and administrative offices remain open. Iowa DOT operated driver’s license service centers are open by appointment only.

Visitors to all facilities (with the exception of rest areas) will be asked a series of questions to evaluate their risk of exposure to COVID-19 and exposure to others in that facility before they are allowed to enter.

 

What are you doing to increase the safety of your facilities?

To reduce the chance of contamination, staff have increased cleaning and sanitization procedures in all our facilities, with extra attention to facilities that serve the public and high-touch areas. Visitors to all facilities (with the exception of rest areas) will be asked a series of questions to evaluate their risk of exposure to COVID-19 and exposure to others in that facility before they are allowed to enter. In addition, we’ve been implementing actions that encourage our staff and customers to practice social distancing


Rest Areas

Are Iowa DOT rest areas closed?

All Iowa rest areas remain open at this time. To reduce the chance of contamination, staff have increased cleaning and sanitization procedures in all our facilities, with extra attention to high-touch areas.

However, welcome centers may be closed. Please visit Travel Iowa’s webpage for more information.

 

I’m interested in providing meals to commercial truck drivers. How do I go about doing that?

We have determined a process for those interested in providing meals for drivers. Guidelines are available here. For safety and other considerations those events will need to take place at one of our state scale facilities and cannot be conducted at rest areas. 


Driver's Licenses

Are driver’s license service centers open?

Iowa DOT operated service centers are currently open by appointment only to maintain proper social distancing recommendations. Walk-in customers will not be served. We are doing our best to accommodate everyone who needs an appointment but due to demand you may have to schedule several weeks out. Use online service selector tool to determine if there are other ways you might be able to receive service. If you must make an appointment and one is not available, we encourage you to check back often. To be able to maintain social distancing guidelines, please limit the number of people you bring with you to your appointment or they may be asked to wait outside of the service center.

Customers who do not have access to the internet or English is not their primary language may call 515-244-8725 to set up an appointment at their preferred location.

Please note that driver’s license and ID services are also conducted at county treasurer’s offices. Many locations are closed or are not conducting business as usual. It is suggested that you contact the location you plan to visit before making the trip.



How do I make an appointment?

Use our online service selector tool to make an appointment or determine if there are other ways you might be able to receive service. We are doing our best to accommodate everyone who needs an appointment but due to demand you may have to schedule several weeks out. Therefore, we encourage you to take advantage of alternate services offered to you through the online service selector tool. If you must make an appointment and one is not available, we encourage you to check back often.

If your license expired during the COVID-19 emergency and you are not eligible for online renewal, most license holders have the option to apply for an extension of their driver’s license. This will extend your driver’s license expiration date six months from the date printed on the card, giving you more time to make an appointment at a service center to renew. To apply fill out this form. Extensions will be processed within 7-10 days. You will be required to carry the paper granting you the extension with your expired plastic driver’s license in order to be valid. Please note that CDL holders, are not eligible for this extension. In addition, this extension is for driving privileges only. There is no guarantee that entities will accept an expired license for ID purposes, even if we grant an extension.

Please note that all customers entering a DOT service center for an appointment will be asked a series of questions to evaluate their risk of exposure to COVID-19 and exposure to others being served. If it is determined that there may be a heightened risk for the customer to be served, they will be asked to delay services to a later date. In addition, to be able to maintain social distancing guidelines, please limit the number of people you bring with you to your appointment or they may be asked to wait outside of the service center.


I’m having a difficult time making an appointment at a driver’s service center. What do I do?

We are continually working to open up more appointment times, but recognize that in order for us to follow social distancing protocols we may not be able to serve all customers as quickly as they may need service. Therefore, we suggest that you use our online service selector tool to determine if there are other ways you might be able to receive service, like online renewal.

If your license is expired, or about to expire, it is important to note that Iowa law states you have 60 days past the expiration date to renew your license. If you are not eligible for online renewal, most license holders have the option to apply for an extension of their driver’s license. This will extend your driver’s license expiration date six months from the date printed on the card, giving you more time to make an appointment at a service center to renew. To apply fill out this form. Extensions will be processed within 7-10 days. You will be required to carry the paper granting you the extension with your expired plastic driver’s license in order to be valid. Please note that CDL holders, are not eligible for this extension. In addition, this extension is for driving privileges only. There is no guarantee that entities will accept an expired license for ID purposes, even if we grant an extension.


Are you offering drive tests at this time?

All drive tests (Commercial drivers, Non-commercial drivers, and motorcycles) are now being conducted in all DOT operated facilities except for Fort Dodge, and Des Moines River Place. Drive tests are being conducted by appointment only. Walk-in customers will not be served. Use our online service selector tool and choose “testing” from the drop down menu to walk you through the steps on how to receive service and make an appointment. If you must make an appointment and one is not available, we encourage you to check back often.
For drive tests involving staff entering vehicles:

  • You are required to provide and wear a face mask during your drive test that cover your mouth and nose (homemade cloth masks are fine)
  • Answer health screening questions to determine your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • We will take your temperature. 
  • Have a clean automobile that is safe for our staff to enter
  • Understand that we will wipe down touchpoints with sanitizing wipes (door handles).

Please note that commercial drive tests may be conducted without staff entering the vehicles. Iowa DOT staff will wear appropriate PPE as they are conducting drive tests.
To be able to maintain social distancing guidelines, please limit the number of people you bring with you to your appointment or they may be asked to wait outside of the service center.


How can my teen get their permit?

Teens getting their driver’s instruction permit now have the option to take the web-knowledge test that is required to obtain the permit at home. Their parent will need to apply to administer the test and the student will need to have an electronic device connected to the internet. After the teen passes the knowledge they will still need to make an appointment to come into a facility to be issued their permit, we will not take walk-in customers at this time. We are continually working to open up more appointment times, but recognize that in order for us to follow social distancing protocols your appointment may be several weeks out. If you cannot get an appointment immediately, we encourage you to check back often.

You can find more information on the Skip the Trip program here.

How can my teen move from a permit to an intermediate license or from an intermediate to a full license during this time?

Teens in Iowa moving from a learner’s permit to an intermediate driver’s license or from an intermediate to a full driver’s license now have an option to receive those cards remotely without having to come into an Iowa DOT driver’s service center. A parent must complete the remote consent form online. Once a completed form is received, Iowa DOT staff will contact the family to answer some questions and complete the process over the phone. The child will receive their license in the mail, just as they would have done if the family had come into a service center.

If you chose to come into a service center, you must make an appointment. We will not accept walk ins at this time. We are continually working to open up more appointment times, but recognize that in order for us to follow social distancing protocols your appointment may be several weeks out. If you cannot get an appointment immediately, we encourage you to check back often.

 

I need to get a REAL ID gold star on my license. Can I do that at this time?

The deadline for REAL ID enforcement has been moved back to Oct. 1, 2021, in addition TSA has announced that they temporarily will accept expired driver’s licenses as proof of identity in order to fly. Therefore, we suggest that you wait to come into a service center if you are wanting to get a REAL ID only. However, if you have other services you also need to receive at the time you will need to make an appointment, we will not accept walk ins at this time. We suggest that you use our online service selector tool to make an appointment or determine if there are other ways you might be able to receive service.


Driver's Education

What if my child needs to start driver’s education, but has not yet been able to receive their instruction permit?

We are temporarily waiving the requirement that a student possess a valid instruction permit prior to beginning a driver’s education course. If a student has taken and passed the instructional permit knowledge test, through our Skip the Trip at Home program, they can begin the classroom portion of driver’s education. However, no behind-the-wheel instruction can be conducted without first obtaining an instruction permit.  Prior to beginning the classroom course, the driver’s education instructor will verify that the student passed the knowledge test, which can be done by providing the emailed test results a student receives after successfully completing the Skip the Trip permit knowledge test at home. This waiver will end 90 days after the end of the Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, which is currently October 23.

Each school and private driver’s education company is responding to COVID-19 in their own way, including offering virtual classroom instruction, so please contact your school to discuss driver’s education options.

 

If I’m a parent can I teach my child driver’s education at home?

Iowa law specifies that parent-taught driver’s education is only available for parents who have homeschooled their children during the previous year through the present year (Iowa Code section 321.178A). To be eligible for the parent-taught driver’s education program, the teaching parent must be providing competent private instruction pursuant to Iowa Code sections 299A.2 or 299A.3, which does not include taking classes or learning online through accredited public or private school programs.

If you are seeking options for your child to obtain driver’s education during COVID-19 school closures, we encourage you to contact your school district, or a nearby private driver's education provider to discuss the options available during this time.


CDL Holders

DOES THE WAIVER OF DRIVER’S LICENSE EXPIRATION APPLY TO MY COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE OR COMMERCIAL LEARNER’S PERMIT?

Yes. Governor Reynold’s emergency proclamation provides that for ANY driver’s license expiring January 16, 2020 or later, the expiration date will not be enforced during this declared disaster. If your commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP) expired on January 16, 2020 or later, you can continue to operate validly in Iowa.

Additionally, if your CDL or CLP expired on March 1, 2020 or later, your expired license will also be considered valid if you are driving out-of-state until September 30, 2020, in accordance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidance.

MY CDL MEDICAL CERTIFICATE HAS EXPIRED OR WILL EXPIRE SOON – WHAT CAN I DO?

Customers who are currently required to provide the DOT with an unexpired medical examiner’s certificate will not have their CDL downgraded if their medical certificate expired between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020. In other words, if you currently hold a CDL or CLP, and our medical certificate or medial variance expires during this time, you may continue to operate validly in your current license class through September 30, 2020. This in accordance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidance.

School bus drivers should check with their school’s administration for any school-related medical certification requirements during this time.

Find additional guidance on CDL’s from FMCSA here.

I NEED TO RENEW MY TSA Threat Assessment for My CDL HAZARDOUS MATERIALS ENDORSEMENT (HME). HAVE ANY REQUIREMENTS CHANGED?

Yes. A driver whose Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) expires between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020 is allowed a 180-day extension of their endorsement. This means that you may continue to operate validly under the provisions of the endorsement for an additional 180 days after the expiration of your current HME without having to complete a TSA security threat assessment. However, 60 days before your 180-day extension ends, you must initiate the renewal process of your threat assessment.

For example, if you hold a CDL with a Hazardous Material Endorsement, and your TSA threat assessment expires on April 15, 2020, the HME will now be considered valid until October 12, 2020, and you must initiate renewal of your security threat assessment no later than August 13, 2020. Due to the evolving public health situation and circumstances, some enrollment centers may close for a period of time to ensure the safety, health and wellness of staff and the public. Applicants planning to visit an enrollment center should use the “Find an Enrollment Center” feature to determine if the center is open, its hours of operation, and if appointments are required. Note: this exemption does not apply to CDL holders seeking to obtain a new HME.

When you wish to renew your HME, you will be required to take the Hazardous Materials knowledge test and have a valid security threat assessment, as usual to renew your CDL with HME.

Find additional information here.

How do I get a restricted CDL for the movement of agricultural goods during this time?

 

Restricted CDLs issued to eligible suppliers or employees of suppliers of agricultural chemicals, fertilizer, seed or animal feeds can be obtained remotely during this emergency period. If you are in need of a restricted CDL please contact our CDL Program administrators at cdl.program@iowadot.us. Please provide:

  • The driver’s license number
  • Duration of the first restricted CDL period of validity (60-90-180 days)
  • The intended restricted CDL start date.
  • If you’ve have had a restricted CDL before:
  • Is there a Driver Self-Certification on file? If not then complete and send the form to cdl.program@iowadot.us
  • If you are a nonexcepted interstate driver you need to provide DOT a valid medical certificate to CDL.MedCert@iowadot.us. Find more information here
  • Phone number for follow up and payment information. We can process payments via credit or debit card.

Find more information on restricted CDLs here


Motor Carriers

Is there a place to get information about how I can receive motor carrier services during this time?

Yes, please go to https://iowadot.gov/mvd/vmcs-services for information about your options for receiving motor carrier related services.

How are weight limits changing for those responding to the disaster?

On non‐interstate roads only, motor carriers hauling vaccines, antivirals, prescription drugs, protective equipment, other necessary medical assets, food, medical supplies, cleaning products, other household goods, agricultural supplies and commodities (including, but not limited to, livestock, raw milk, and crop supplies), or any other goods and supplies necessary to respond to this public health disaster and its economic effects may exceed the weights listed in Iowa Code 321.463 by 12.5% without a permit, so long as they don’t exceed 20,000 pounds on an individual axle, and their total weight does not exceed 90,000 pounds. This change remains in effect until the end of the emergency, currently July 25. Trucks are still required to obey posted bridge restrictions.

On interstate roads only, trucks hauling divisible loads of the same materials listed above may operate on the interstate with a gross weight over 80,000 pounds when operating under a special permit issued by Iowa DOT. Permits will be issued for free and only for loads related to the public health disaster. Permits can be obtained by visiting our website at: https://iowadot.gov/mvd/motorcarriers/Oversize-Overweight-Trip-permits. Please select the emergency interstate permit on the application page and fill in your truck details to obtain your free permit. This change remains in effect until the end of the emergency, currently July 25.

How are hours of service requirements changing for those responding to the disaster?

Motor carriers transporting vaccines, antivirals, prescription drugs, protective equipment, other necessary medical assets, food, medical supplies, cleaning products, other household goods, agricultural supplies and commodities (including, but not limited to, livestock, raw milk, and crop supplies), or any other goods and supplies necessary to respond to this public health disaster and its economic effects or passengers responding to or affected by Covid-19 are temporarily waived from following hours of service requirements both in Iowa and the United States by declaration from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Am I required to register my vehicle under the International Registration Plan (IRP) during this time?

For commercial vehicles traveling in and through the state of Iowa the requirement to register your vehicle under IRP, providing the vehicle is not already registered under IRP, as long as the vehicle is registered in one of the 48 contiguous states, the District of Columbia, or a province of Canada has been waived until May 27. You will not be assessed late penalties during the disaster period.

If my IRP credentials expired during this time what should I do?

Your previous IRP credentials, even if expired will remain valid and you will not be assessed any late fees until the declared disaster has ended.

Am I required to obtain a trip permit for reasons of International Registration Plan (IRP) if I am providing disaster relief?

For commercial vehicles traveling in and through the state of Iowa for the purpose of providing direct COVID-19 assistance to all counties of the state, you are not required to obtain a trip permit for IRP reasons until the declared disaster has ended.

 

Am I required to obtain International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) licensing if I am providing disaster relief?

For commercial vehicles traveling in and through the state of Iowa for the purpose of providing direct COVID-19 assistance to all counties of the state, the requirement to obtain IFTA licensing has been waived until May 27, to the extent the vehicle is not already licensed under IFTA.

Am I required to obtain a temporary fuel permit for purposes of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) if I am providing disaster relief?

For commercial vehicles traveling in and through the state of Iowa for the purpose of providing direct COVID-19 assistance to all counties of the state, you do not need to obtain a temporary fuel permit until the declared disaster has ended.


MEDICAL CANNABIDIOL (CBD) CARD HOLDERS

I NEED A NEW MEDICAL CBD CARD. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

Customers who need a new patient or caregiver CBD card should visit our service selector tool and choose “Cannabidiol card” from the drop down menu to issue the medical CBD card to you through the mail, if possible. If this is not possible, we will work with you to determine the best way to issue your card.


Vehicle Registration, License Plates, and Titles

Is there a place to get information about how I can receive motor vehicle services during this time?

Yes, please go to https://iowadot.gov/mvd/vmcs-services for information about your options for receiving motor vehicle related services.

What do I do if my vehicle registration or license plates are expired?

If your registration was due on Jan. 31 through June 30, you are not required to renew at this time and will not be assessed any penalty for failing to renew. Your new expiration date will be considered Jul. 28 and you will have a grace period for the month of August. If you do not pay your registration on Aug. 31 or before you will begin accruing late penalties, beginning Sept. 1. You will not be assessed late penalties for the months of Feb., Mar., Apr., May, Jun., Jul., and Aug.

If your registration was due Dec. 31, 2019 or before your registration is not covered by the emergency waiver. You will accrue penalties as normal, throughout the emergency period.

Please note, you can renew your vehicle registration on-line by following the instructions on your renewal notice. Please contact your local county treasurer’s office to ask about additional options for conducting business at this time.

What do I do about a title and registration if I recently purchased a vehicle or transferred to a new owner?

If you purchased, transferred, or brought a vehicle into the state, including CMVs subject to apportioned registration on or after Feb. 16, 2020, you do not need to apply for a title and registration within 30 days.

If the purchase or transfer occurred between Feb. 16 and March 15, 2020, please check here to determine your deadline to apply for a title and registration and when late penalties will begin to be assessed.

If the purchase or transfer occurred on or after March 16, your new deadline to apply for a title and registration is Aug. 24

We also recognize that you or the dealer may be waiting for title documents from other states that have suspended operations.

Title and registration transactions are done through your local county treasurer’s office. Please contact your local county treasurer’s office to ask about options for conducting business at this time.

Do I still need to obtain a salvage certificate of title for a wrecked or salvage vehicle within 30 days?

Vehicle rebuilders; persons engaged in the business of buying, selling, or exchanging vehicles of a type required to be registered in the state; or insurers are not required to obtain a salvage certificate of title within 30 days, during the disaster emergency in Iowa, which currently extends to July 25.

Do I need to obtain license plates if I purchase a vehicle from a dealer?

If you purchased a vehicle from a dealer on or after Feb. 1 and obtained a temporary license plate, you may continue to use the temporary plates past the 45-day issuance period.

If you obtained the temporary license plate from a dealer between Feb. 1 and March 15 please check here to determine when you need to switch to permanent plates.

If you obtained the temporary license plate on or after March 16 you will need to affix permanent plates by Sept 8.

License plate transactions are conducted through your county treasurer’s office.  Please contact your local county treasurer’s office  to ask about options for doing business at this time.

 

May I still purchase specialty or personalized license plates?

The Iowa DOT is still accepting applications for personalized and specialty plates submitted on-line, as well as by mail and in our drop box at 6310 SE Convenience Blvd in Ankeny.  If your chosen personalization is available and approved, your plates will be manufactured and delivered to the county treasurer's office in the county where you live. You will be notified when the plates are ready. Please reach out to your local county treasurer’s office to check availability and when pick up will be available.  


Persons with disabilities parking products

How do I get a persons with disabilities parking permit?

There are three different parking products offered to persons with disabilities:

  • Designated license plates
  • Removable windshield placards
  • License plate stickers
 

Persons with disabilities license plates can be ordered online and will be available at your local county treasurer’s office. While most county treasurer’s offices are not open for in-person business, they are accepting and processing requests. Please contact your local county treasurer’s office to ask about options for receiving the license plates.

 

Removable windshield placards or license plate stickers are typically available from our service center at 6310 SE Convenience Blvd. in Ankeny. For the health and safety of our staff and customers we are accepting appointments at the Ankeny location via appointment only. You can make an appointment by visiting https://iowadot.gov/mvd/other-appointments. You can also request persons with disabilities placards or license plate stickers via mail or email. Please complete the Persons with Disabilities Parking Permit Application and mail it the to the Iowa DOT 6310 SE Convenience Blvd, Ankeny, IA 50021 or email to vscusto@iowadot.us.

 

Motor Vehicle Dealers

I am a motor vehicle dealer. Am I still required to notify the DOT in advance if I would like to change my hours?

No. You can change your hours without advance notification until Dec. 31, 2020.


Vehicle Inspections

Are you currently conducting vehicle inspections?

We are conducting inspections at this time. However, for the protection of the health and safety of our staff and customers, prior to the inspection we will ask pre-screening questions to determine your risk of exposure to COVID-19, will limit the number of persons present during the inspection, complete the inspection at an agreed upon location, and may request to receive all needed documentation via email ahead of time for review. Inspections include Iowa Assigned VIN’s, Bond Title Inspections, Salvage Vehicle Theft Exams, VIN Verifications, and OOS Registration only / State of Washington Salvage vehicles.


Traffic Volumes

 

How has the public’s response to COVID-19 changed traffic volumes?

A report on how traffic volumes in Iowa have changed due to COVID-19 is available here. New reports will be posted daily around mid-day.

 

Auto dealers

Do licensed auto dealers need to maintain certain business hours during the COVID-19 emergency?

No, dealers in Iowa are exempt from filling required business hours during the declared disaster.


Road Construction

How has the COVID-19 situation impacted road construction projects?

Many people are heeding the advice to stay home to reduce the spread of COVID-19. That means fewer drivers on the road. For construction and maintenance activities, less traffic allows us to close more lanes than we normally would or shift what we would normally do overnight to daytime work without causing major impacts. Tasks can be completed in daylight, rather than artificial lights which allows for better visibility. This shift may also allow us to complete some construction projects quicker than originally anticipated.

We do know that the reduction in traffic volumes also means a reduction in gas tax revenues which fund construction projects. At this point, it is too early to tell how that reduction in funding will impact future traffic projects. For now work will continue on the projects in process. We are constantly monitoring the situation and will make adjustments to planned projects if changes become necessary due to funding considerations.

What are you doing to keep road workers safe during this emergency?

Road construction and maintenance are considered essential occupations, therefore workers in these areas are continuing to work during this time to keep people moving through Iowa. However, we are working with DOT staff and our construction partners to assure that they are following state and federal guidelines regarding the reduction in the spread of COVID-19. In addition, if we do have a report of a worker that has tested positive for COVID-19 we are collaborating to make sure we are taking measures to reduce additional exposure to the virus for those on that jobsite.


State of Iowa COVID-19 website

How to DISCOVER THE LATEST RESOURCES, MAPS, AND INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) OUTBREAK IN YOUR COMMUNITY?

Visit the Iowa COVID-19 website, which provides information, maps, and resources about the coronavirus response in your local area. View the current status of confirmed cases here.