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Iowa Driver's License Renewals for Temporary Visa Holders - October 5, 2017

Iowa Department of Transportation recently changed the procedure for license renewals for persons with temporary visas. The ability to obtain a driver’s license is often a reason people want to file visa applications with premium processing. We explain the Iowa procedure below, but please note that some states will not grant driver’s licenses with extension of status receipts. These procedures only apply in the state of Iowa.

The new Iowa DOT procedures are as follows:

  • As always, you should bring proof of your status in the form of an approval notice, I-797A or I-94.
  • If your status is expired you should bring a receipt of the extension request.
  • DOT staff checks the federal SAVE database.
    • If your status cannot be confirmed immediately in SAVE, they will scan your documents and send a request to DOT headquarters for further inquiry.
    • You should request the office’s number so you can call to see if your status has been verified. Some offices will request your phone number and call you. Unfortunately, some will say that you are not qualified for a driver’s license and give the impression that you will never be qualified. This is likely incorrect. Please call us if this occurs.
  • SAVE verifications are usually cleared within a few minutes, but if not, typically in less than 5 days.
    • If SAVE recognizes the 240-day work extension that many temporary work visas receive upon filing an extension, DOT will issue the driver’s license for 240 days.
    • If SAVE does not recognize a 240-day extension (usually this happens for spouses of temporary visa holders), DOT will issue a 60-day temporary license until the extension is approved.

This blog is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the blog. The blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.