vehicle registration

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COVID-19 – The vehicle registration waiver has expired. If your registration is due July 31 or after, you must renew your registration as required by law. You will accrue penalties as normal. You may be able to renew your vehicle registration online or by mail by contacting your county treasurer’s office. Find out more information.

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Registering a motor vehicle in Iowa

Looking for interstate registration for commercial vehicles?

Iowa law requires you to register your motor vehicle with the county treasurer's office in your county within 30 days from the date you establish residency. Iowa registration is required even though your license plates may still be valid in another state.

The following documents are required to be surrendered to the county treasurer's office:

  1. Your current ownership document (certificate of title).
  2. A completed application for an Iowa certificate of title and/or registration. The application must be signed by all owners. If there is a lien against the vehicle, it should be noted on the application.

You will want to contact your county treasurer's office for information regarding registration fees. If you move from one county to another, you must report your change of address to the county treasurer in your former county of residence within 10 days after your move so your motor vehicle registration information can be forwarded to the county where you now live.

Registering government agency & school district vehicles

Iowa Code 321.18 and 321.19 allow school districts and government agencies to apply to the Iowa DOT for title and registration of school district- or agency-owned vehicles, and to receive a permanent registration certificate and registration plates for these vehicles without charge.

Federal safety label required on all vehicles to be titled and registered

A vehicle is required to have a manufacturer's label attached to the vehicle, certifying that it meets all the federal safety standards, if the vehicle is to be titled and registered for use on a highway. If there is no manufacturer's label, the vehicle will not be titled or registered in Iowa.

The language found in Iowa Code 321.30(15) reads, "Unless otherwise provided for in this chapter, the department or the county treasurer shall refuse registration and issuance of a certificate of title unless the vehicle bears a manufacturer's label pursuant to 49 C.F.R. pt. 567 certifying that the vehicle meets federal motor vehicle safety standards."

Bonded vehicles

If your vehicle cannot be titled or registered by your 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.

Go to the bonded certificate of title page