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
In addition, we’re expecting staff and customers to practice social distancing and mask use is expected when social distancing is not possible.
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.
Are driver’s license service centers open?
All Iowa DOT operated service centers are open by appointment only. 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. Mask use will be expected within our service centers.
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.
MY DRIVER’S LICENSE EXPIRED, WHEN DO I HAVE TO RENEW IT?
Beginning January 9, 2021, all noncommercial Iowa driver’s licenses will be subject to the expiration date printed on their license. Certain eligible CDL/CLP holders may continue to drive on an expired license under the FMCSA waiver, explained below under the CDL Holders information. All Iowa driver’s licenses have a 60-day grace period following the printed expiration date that allows it to be used for driving purposes in Iowa (Please note: temporary foreign nationals are not eligible for the 60-day grace period). If you need to renew your license, 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, such as online renewal.
It may take a few weeks to get an appointment. If you need more time to make an appointment, most license holders have the option to apply for an extension of their driver’s license. Get more information about temporary driver's license extensions.
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.
Please note that mask use will be expected within our service centers. 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, during which time you can continue to drive in Iowa. If you are not eligible for online renewal, most license holders have the option to apply for an extension of their driver’s license. Get more information about temporary driver's license extensions.
HOW DO I GET A TEMPORARY EXTENSION OF MY DRIVER’S LICENSE?
If you are unable to get an appointment to renew your license prior to its expiration or have concerns about visiting a service center during the pandemic, and you are ineligible for online renewal, you may be eligible for a temporary six-month or twelve-month extension of your driver’s license, 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 and temporary foreign nationals are not eligible for this extension. 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 (CDL and motorcycle drive tests are not available at Waukee or 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). You will also be expected to wear a mask while in the service center.
- 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 test, 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.
Due to the high volume of applications coming through, it may take at least 4 weeks to process your application to take the test at home. If you prefer, you can schedule an appointment to take the knowledge exam at a service center location.
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.
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.
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 on April 8, 2021.
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.
IS THERE ANY RELIEF FOR EXPIRATION DATES OF COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE OR COMMERCIAL LEARNER’S PERMIT?
Yes. If your CDL or CLP expired on March 1, 2020 or later, your expired license will be considered valid if you are driving anywhere in the U.S. until May 31, 2021, in accordance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidance. If your CDL or CLP expired prior to March 1, 2020, it is subject to its original printed expiration date and must be renewed. To renew your CDL or CLP, please make an appointment at any driver’s license service center.
Please note: Once your CDL or CLP has been expired for more than one year (i.e., 366 days or more), you must complete full retesting in order to renew your driving privileges. The FMCSA extension permits CDL/CLP holders whose license expired March 1, 2020 or later to continue driving validly until May 31, 2021 but does not extend the underlying expiration date for purposes of the one-year retesting requirement. In other words, if the expiration date printed on the CDL or CLP is more than one year from the date of renewal, testing will be required prior to renewing the CDL or CLP.
MY CDL MEDICAL CERTIFICATE HAS EXPIRED OR WILL EXPIRE SOON – WHAT CAN I DO?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidance
provided the following relief
regarding commercial medical certificates:
CDL or CLP holders whose medical certificate or variance expired between March 1, 2020, and May 31, 2020, were provided a temporary waiver to continue operating validly through October 31, 2020 (this relief has now expired)
- CDL or CLP holders whose medical certificate or variance expired between June 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020, were provided a temporary waiver to continue operating validly through December 31, 2020 (this relief has now expired).
- CDL or CLP holders whose medical certificate or variance expired between September 1, 2020, and November 30, 2020, will not be downgraded and may continue to operate validly through February 28, 2021.
- CDL or CLP holders whose medical certificate or variance expired on or after December 1, 2020, will not be downgraded and may continue to operate validly through May 31, 2021.
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, some federal relief has been provided for certain drivers depending on the expiration date of their Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME). Drivers whose HME expired between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, were given a 180-day extension of their endorsement, allowing them to continue to operate validly under the provisions of the endorsement for an additional 180 days after the expiration of the HME without having to complete a new TSA security threat assessment. However, the relief provided that 60 days before your 180-day extension ends, you must initiate the renewal process of your threat assessment. If you were eligible for this extension, you were sent a letter from the Iowa DOT informing you of the extended expiration date of your HME.
For example, if you hold a CDL with an HME, and your TSA threat assessment expired on December 1, 2020, the HME will now be considered valid until May 30, 2021, and you must initiate renewal of your security threat assessment no later than March 31, 2021. 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 CDL with HME, you will be required to take the Hazardous Materials knowledge test and have a valid security threat assessment, as usual.
Find additional information here.
How do I get a restricted CDL for the movement of agricultural goods during this time?
Restricted CDLs are issued to eligible suppliers or employees of suppliers of agricultural chemicals, fertilizer, seed or animal feeds. If you meet the requirements to receive a restricted CDL, you will need to make an appointment to come into a driver's license service center or visit a county treasurer’s office to get it issued. Many of the county treasurer's locations are not conducting business as usual. If you choose to go to a county treasurer location, please contact the location you plan to visit before making the trip.
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 COVID-19 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. . Trucks are still required to obey posted bridge restrictions.
This is effective retroactively back to March 16, 2020; and will last through the end date of the current proclamation, which is March 7, 2021.
How are hours of service requirements changing for those responding to the COVID-19 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?
This waiver has expired as of December 10.
Please refer to Informational Memo 20-11 and 20-12 for additional information and guidance on the impact of the end of this waiver.
If my IRP credentials expired during this time what should I do?
If your IRP credentials expired March 2020 to November 2020, you have until December 31 to renew without being assessed late-filing penalties. You are encouraged to renew as soon as possible.
Am I required to obtain a trip permit for reasons of International Registration Plan (IRP) if I am providing disaster relief?
Yes. This waiver ended as of December 10, 2020.
Am I required to obtain International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) licensing if I am providing disaster relief?
Yes, this waiver ended as of December 10, 2020.
Am I required to obtain a temporary fuel permit for purposes of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) if I am providing disaster relief?
Yes. This waiver ended as of December 10, 2020.
MEDICAL CANNABIDIOL (CBD) CARD HOLDERS
I NEED A NEW MEDICAL CBD CARD. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
As of July 1, 2020, the Iowa DOT is no longer issuing medical cannabidiol (CBD) registration cards due to changes to Iowa Code chapter 124E, the Medical Cannabidiol Act. The Iowa Department of Public Health now issues all patient and caregiver medical CBD registration cards. For more information on how to apply for approval to receive a medical CBD card, please visit the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website.
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?
There are no longer any vehicle registration or license plate extensions due to COVID-19. As during any other time, vehicles may be renewed during a three-month window around your renewal month without penalty. This includes the month prior to your renewal month, your renewal month, and the month following your renewal month. For example, a vehicle with a December sticker can be renewed in November, December or January without penalty. You must renew your vehicle registration within 30 days from the current expiration date on the registration document or sticker on your license plate.
You can renew your vehicle registration online 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 WITHOUT A DEALER TEMPORARY TAG, MOVED TO IOWA OR OBTAINED A VEHICLE IN ANY OTHER WAY, SUCH AS INHERITANCE?
There are no longer any extensions for titling and registration for recently purchased vehicles or transfers of ownership. As during any other time, you must title and register a recently purchased vehicle, a vehicle moved into Iowa or a vehicle that transferred ownership within 30 days of the purchase/transfer.
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 need to obtain license plates if I purchase a vehicle from a dealer?
If you purchased your vehicle from a dealer and obtained a temporary dealer tag on September 1 or after, you will now have 90 days (instead of the normal 45 days) to display the temporary tag before you obtain and install permanent plates. If you purchased from a dealer but did not receive a temporary tag, then you need to obtain and install your permanent plates within 30 days. If you purchased your vehicle on August 31 or earlier, your temporary tag is expired and you need to attach permanent plates. If you have applied for title and plates but have not yet received them, contact your local county treasurer’s office.
May I still purchase specialty or personalized license plates?
The Iowa DOT has continued to accept and process applications for personalized and specialty plates submitted online, as well as by mail and in our drop box at 6310 SE Convenience Blvd in Ankeny throughout the pandemic. 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 contact your local county treasurer’s office to ask about options for pick up.
MAY I PURCHASE SPECIALTY OR PERSONALIZED LICENSE PLATES AS A GIFT?
You may purchase a plate for another individual as a gift or you may purchase a plate gift certificate. Please visit https://iowadot.gov/mvd/personalizedplates/home.aspx or e-mail email@example.com for an order form and details. Due to unpredictable service interruptions for staff and county services due to COVID-19, we are unable to guarantee fulfillment of plate or gift certificate orders by a certain date, but we are processing all applications as quickly as possible and in the order they are received. If you are planning to purchase a plate or a gift certificate for the holiday season, we recommend ordering well in advance.
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
I am a motor vehicle dealer. Am I still required to notify the DOT in advance if I would like to change my hours?
Yes. You must submit a supplemental statement of changes informing the DOT of your change in hours of operation at least 10 days prior to the change. The ability to change hours of operation without advance notice was only for a limited time, which expired December 31, 2020.
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.
Voter ID requirements
My driver’s license or ID is expired. What documentation do I need for voting purposes?
- Voters requesting absentee ballots can do so with an expired license or ID, as long as their license or ID number listed on the absentee ballot request matches their voter registration records.
- If your driver’s license or ID expired anytime in 2020 (since January 1, 2020), or if it is unexpired, it is acceptable for in-person voter ID for the 2020 general election.
- The paper interim document that you receive when you renew your license or ID in-person is acceptable voter ID.
- Kiosk renewal receipts, myMVD confirmation page printouts, or paper six-month or twelve-month extensions of driving privileges are all acceptable forms of voter ID, when accompanied by the expired plastic license or ID.
- If your driver’s license or ID doesn’t have your current address, you can still use it for voter ID purposes as long as you also bring a document that proves your current address. Examples may include, but aren’t limited to, a utility bill, paycheck, etc.
- More information on voter ID can be found at: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterinformation/voterIDfaq.html