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.  


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.

I have two homes, one in Iowa and the other in Alabama. I am considered an Alabama resident. How can I obtain an Iowa Identification Card without surrendering my Alabama driver's license? I keep a vehicle in Iowa and want to register it but have been unable to do so without a Iowa driver's license or identification card.
Thank you.

Hi I lost my resident alien card in my social security card and fire how can I get an ID without proof but I know all the numbers and I need it as a for social security and my alien card number can they still look me up on file and give me it or do I still need to show proof cuz I'm waiting on a new green card to come in the mail already reapplied please help I need an ID

I am suspended I lost my wallet with all my id's and ss card can't they just run my name and picture to give me a id

What do I need to get a real ID with a gold star

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

My 95 year old mother is a resident in an Iowa nursing home. She is not mobile but has needs for a photo id. She is originally from New York where she possessed a NYS drivers license until five years ago when it expired. How can I obtain an Iowa ID card for her as she cannot go to a DMV location?

Why does a person with suspended license have to bring their social security card, birth certificate, and 2 proofs of address to get a non drivers ID when you have that person's picture on your computer (from them having a license from that county/state) and you can visually match their face to their picture and issue an ID

I’m currently living in Delaware and I’m trying to get an id here my Iowa drivers license is suspended at the moment and Id was stolen! I’m trying to get just an id and Delaware dmv is not allowing me to without Iowa hard card id!

Traveling need duplicateDL. Lost my license

We do offer ID cards for children. To build a list of documents to bring please go to

Do you offer photo ID cards for children?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Have a comment?


©  Iowa Department of Transportation.  All rights reserved.