How to Apply for a Car Registration in Iowa
State law requires you to purchase a new vehicle registration in Iowa as soon as you purchase a new or used vehicle. Driving without a valid registration is against the law, so if you fail to register your vehicle, you may be subject to penalties if stopped by a police officer.
Note: While you only apply for a new DMV registration once per vehicle, you must complete the registration renewal process every year.
You must apply for a new Iowa DMV car registration in person at the Department of Transportation (DOT). The process involves gathering a few required documents, filling out an application and submitting everything to a DMV representative. To learn more about the steps you must take to obtain a registration, download our detailed registration guide.
When to Apply for a Vehicle Registration in Iowa
The most common reason why you might need to apply for a new car registration is because your vehicle came from a private seller rather than a dealer. Typically, when you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, the dealer will complete the registration process for you. However, during a private sale, you will have to complete that process yourself.
You must also obtain new IA vehicle registration records if:
- You inherited the vehicle.
- You received the vehicle as a gift.
- You recently moved from another state.
Required Documents for an Iowa Vehicle Registration
If you have never registered a vehicle before, you may be wondering, “What documents do I need to get a car registration near me in Iowa?” The first, and perhaps most important, is your vehicle title. This document indicates who the legal owner of the vehicle is.
You may also need to provide proof of address to verify that you are an Iowa resident. Acceptable documents may include a utility bill, lease or mortgage payment. If you do not have these documents on hand when applying, you may not be able to obtain your vehicle registration.
How to Apply for a Vehicle Registration in Iowa
Currently, there is only one way to obtain a DMV registration in Iowa: in person. You must visit a country treasurer office near you to submit the application. Keep in mind that the registration application process may vary depending on the county where you live.
The first step you must complete is filling out the vehicle registration application. You must provide information about yourself, your vehicle and the purchase details if applicable. Once you have all your documents and application, you must pay the vehicle registration fees. This cost will depend on the vehicle’s model year, weight and list price.
Note: You may not have to pay car registration fees depending on how you acquired the vehicle. Drivers who are eligible for a fee waiver include those who obtained the vehicle as a gift or for a non-profit organization.
Download our free, in-depth guide to find out if you qualify for a fee exemption and get step-by-step instructions on how to apply for an Iowa car registration.