Iowa DOT's easy-to-obtain ID card protects your identity and is valid nationwide

ID composit_older driverYou may have recently heard of community identification card programs being implemented to assist individuals in obtaining cards specific to a geographic area.  But did you know that every Iowan already has access to a low-cost, universally accepted, and easy-to-obtain ID card issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation?

Most Iowans already know that their state issued driver’s license can be used as an ID. But what about those who can’t or don’t want to obtain driver’s license?


The Iowa DOT offers ID cards at any of the 100 driver’s license issuance locations across the state.

Obtaining a state-issued ID card is simple and the process for obtaining a community ID card mimics the same process the Iowa DOT uses. All you need to do is bring a few documents with you. State issued IDs offer card holders the convenience of being honored not only locally, but on a national and international level.

Your identity is safe with an Iowa DOT-issued ID card. The security of every citizen’s identity is a priority for the Iowa DOT. Before we issue an ID card, the Iowa DOT checks several national databases that verify the person’s identity to make sure that person is who they say they are. All issuance staff members are trained to authenticate identity documents and to identify fraudulent documents. The Iowa DOT also uses technology to check the photo of the person applying for an ID card against photos we have on file, as another step to verify the identity of the person applying for a new ID. The plastic ID card is sent to the applicant once the identity has been verified and proven to be genuine. The plastic card produced by the Iowa DOT contains multiple, sophisticated layers of security that help to prevent effective counterfeiting, and that are lacking in community ID cards.

Iowa DOT identification cards are valid for eight years and are available for $1 per year. 

Easy access for audiences with special needs and considerations

_1126622The Iowa DOT understands that the decision to stop driving is a difficult one for many older Iowans. The need to maintain proof of identity continues even when driving ends. The Iowa DOT strives to make the transition as easy as possible by allowing Iowa seniors who already have an Iowa driver’s license to seamlessly switch to a state-issued ID card. 

Once you have had a driver’s license, your identity has already been established and is on record. To get an ID, simply surrender your license and replace it with a state-issued ID at any driver’s license issuance location. There is no testing or additional proof of identity or residency required.  If you voluntarily surrender your license and driving privilege or if your license is suspend because you have been determined to be an unsafe driver there is no cost to switch from a driver’s license to an ID.

At the Iowa DOT, we strive to serve the homeless, people in poverty or transition, and new immigrants.  We work with homeless individuals to establish a shelter or other community service center that can serve as a residential address until permanent accommodations are made. A new immigrant that has lawfully entered the United States typically has all of the immigration documents needed to obtain either a driver’s license or state-issued ID.  The only additional step is to simply present two documents which show the residential address. This is the same process as any other applicant.

Our online resource helps applicants assure they are presenting the correct documents.  The Iowa DOT also works with local immigrant support groups to provide education and information on how to obtain state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards. 

Enhancing access to state-issued driver’s license or ID cards is extremely important to the Iowa DOT. It is our vision to be smarter, simpler, and customer driven. What does that mean to you? We’re here to provide you with the identification card you need to live and work in Iowa, and verify your identity in the U.S. and beyond.  


Hi Kipp - I have forwarded your question to our Driver Services group. Someone will be reaching out to you. Thanks!

To surrender your driver's license to get an accepted legal ID, is the deadline to do this the date of your driver's license expiration?

Rosemary - I'll have someone reach out to you directly on email. Thanks!

I cannot go in person to get an ID card due to mobility problems. Can the DOT use a photo they have on file from when I had a drivers' license?

My son, 16, has lost his driving privilege (revoked) for just under a year. Can we surrender his current license at a DMV location and receive a state ID that he can use until his license is reinstated? He will need an ID for travel.

My drivers license is suspended, not expired. How can I get a picture ID with a star on it?

Jim Duncan

Hello - I have passed your question to our customer service reps. Someone will be reaching out to you directly. Thanks!

I have a valid Iowa DL but my wallet was stolen along with my Social Security card. I have no other identity records on hand. How on Earth do I solve this dilemma? I cannot get one identity document without some form of the other documents....

Hi Laura - one of our customer service reps will reach out to you directly about this. Thanks!

My mother is elderly and no longer driving. Her Iowa driver's license has expired. We are looking to get her Iowa Identification card. She has difficulty with mobility, has many chronic health problems, and would be very difficult for her to get to a DMV location. Is there a way she can get an ID without coming into a DMV location?
Thank you

Can y’all please respond to these other comments? I think it’s really important. DOT please pay somebody to do this

How does a
homeless person in Davenport Iowa receive an ID to stay in a shelter

Good morning, Jon -Hello - I have forwarded your comment to our driver readiness staff and someone will be reaching out to you. Thanks!

Good afternoon.

I only have an expired DL currently. The last time I went to get it renewed I was informed I would have to retake the driving test as I was using a walker that day. I should-have, but didn't request a state ID instead and now I am unable to physically go to any DL Location. I need a State Issued ID but am not able to physically go to a facility to get one due to my disability. What options are available?

Kevin - I forwarded your questions to our Driver and Vehicle Services teams. You should be hearing back from them soon. If you would like to call on Monday to speak to someone, the number is 515-244-8725. Our customer service reps are available 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thanks.

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