If your vehicle cannot be titled or registered by a county treasurer because you do not have the proper title documents, you may be able to file a bond as a condition of obtaining a title and registration plates. However, a vehicle issued a junking certificate cannot be reinstated through the bonding procedure unless the vehicle is 25 years old or older, (Iowa Code 321.24)  

How to apply for a bonded title

To apply for a bonded title, submit the online Application for Registration and Bonded Certificate of Title form or print the application form and mail it along with the documents listed below to Iowa DOT's Office of Vehicle & Motor Carrier Services, P.O. Box 9278, Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9278. If you have any questions, please call 515-237-3110 or email

If you are not using the online process to submit your documents, please make sure to submit the following required supporting documents with your application to avoid processing delays:

  • A printed Application for Registration and Bonded Certificate of Title form, completed and signed.
  • A copy of any proof of ownership documents received at the time the vehicle was acquired (bill of sale, canceled check, certificate of title, junking certificate, etc.)
  • Photographs of the following: front and side of the vehicle, the public VIN plate affixed to the vehicle, and the manufacturer’s federal safety label attached to motor vehicle that are 1968 or newer.

Once we have received your request for a bond, we will:

  1. Determine whether there is an active title record or junking certificate record on file for the vehicle in the state of Iowa. If a record is found, we will notify the owner listed on the record by first-class mail, at the last known address, that an application for a bonded certificate of title has been received. The notice shall include a statement in which the owner listed on the record may claim the vehicle or waive any further claim. If we do not receive a response from the owner listed on the record within 10 days after the date of the mailing or we receive a waiver of further her claim to the vehicle, we will process the bond.
  2. Determine the current value of the vehicle and require that a cash bond or surety bond, based on one and one-half times the current value of the vehicle, be filed with us as a condition of issuing a certificate of title and registration receipt. The bond paper showing the current value of the vehicle and the amount of the bond will be sent to you to be completed and signed by you and your surety company representative. The signed bond must be returned to the Office of Vehicle & Motor Carrier Services. Cash bonds may be deposited with the state and are held for three years on a noninterest-bearing basis, or you may purchase a surety bond from a bonding company licensed to conduct business in the State of Iowa. Fees to obtain a surety bond through a bonding company are set by the company. Please refer to the bonding company for the fee to obtain your surety bond.
  3. The Office of Vehicle & Motor Carrier Services may require the owner to produce the vehicle for an inspection with an investigator with the Bureau of Investigation & Identity Protection. If this is necessary, you will be contacted by an Iowa DOT representative to schedule the inspection.
  4. Hold the bond for three years, after which time the bond will expire and there is no requirement for a bond.


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