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LICENSE CHANGE: Renewals Valid Up To 8 Years

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Some Iowa drivers will have a surprise when they renew a driver`s license after Jan. 1, 2014. New legislation allows the Iowa Department of Transportation to transition from driver`s licenses that are valid for five years to driver`s licenses that are valid for eight years.  The change should save customers time and money.

The change won’t apply to everyone at first. During the five year transition period new licenses and renewals will be randomly assigned lengths of five, six, seven or eight year periods.  The idea is to spread the renewals over an eight year period.

The yearly fee for licenses will not change. The basic yearly fees remain $4 per year for a noncommercial license, $8 per year for a commercial driver`s license, and $2 per year for a motorcycle endorsement.

The new legislation requires that a license issued to a customer younger than 72 cannot exceed the driver’s 74th birthday. At age 72, licenses shift to two-year renewal periods.

Licenses issued to minors and drivers who are temporary foreign nationals are not included in the transition. They have shorter renewal periods.

Identification cards will not be included in the phased-transition. All identification cards issued after Jan. 1, 2014, will be valid for eight years and the fee will be $8.

The Iowa DOT reports significant swings in its annual renewal volumes – from as high as 530,000 renewals in some years to as low as 275,000 in others.  These swings increase wait times for customers and strain resources.  Once fully implemented, this plan will result in license renewal volumes will be roughly equal each year at 260,000 license renewals annually.

The DOT says the change should increase customer service, save customers about $3.4 million annually in reduced time and travel to receive services, and save the Iowa DOT about $1.8 million annually in resources and production costs.