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Iowa DOT temporarily waives need to renew drivers licenses and vehicle registration

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Interstate 380 — Zak Neumann/Little Village

The Iowa Department of Transportation announced it is temporarily waiving the need to renew drivers licenses and vehicle registration, after Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a “State of Public Health Disaster Emergency” on Tuesday.

Drivers with a license that expired on Jan. 17 or later do not have to renew their licenses at this time. Similarly, vehicle registration that expired on Jan. 17 or later will also remain valid.

People who are purchasing or transferring ownership of a vehicle are temporarily exempt from the requirement to obtain a title and registration within 30 days. If the person purchased a vehicle from a dealer, they do not have to obtain license plates within the 45-day period.

These exemptions will “remain in effect until the declared disaster is over,” according to the news release published on Wednesday.

IDOT spokesperson Andrea Henry said the department is “strongly encouraging” people to wait if they can regarding licenses and title, even if they need to upgrade their licenses or IDs to a Real ID.

Real ID looks nearly identical to the other driver’s license or ID card, but requires the applicant to provide certain documentation of his or her identity, such as a certified birth certificate or passport

The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, was recommended by the 9/11 Commission. The new standards created by the act are intended to help combat fraud and generally improve security.

Starting on Oct. 1, a Real ID will be needed to fly domestically, unless the person has an alternative, such as a valid U.S. passport. A Real ID will also be required to enter a federal building with security screening or certain other secure facilities.

The spread of COVID-19 had led some states to ask the Department of Homeland Security to extend the October deadline. Pennsylvania and New Jersey have both asked for an extension. Henry said that Iowa intends to do the same.

As of now, however, the October deadline remains.

For Iowans who do need to access the DOT’s services, the facilities are still open. It’s recommended that those who do need to come in schedule an appointment online or call 515-244-8725.


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