Do You Fly? You’ll Want an Iowa License with Real ID
If you regularly fly, you'll want to get an Iowa drivers licence that is considered a Real ID. As far as the police officer stopping you for a traffic violation, your current license is fine. When it comes to the TSA security official looking over your boarding pass, your regular Iowa license won't be fine after October 1, 2020.
That's because the feds passed The Real ID Act focusing on anti-terrorism, fraud protection and security specific to the production of drivers licences and ID's that control access to federally regulated commercial aircraft, federal facilities that require an ID to enter and nuclear power facilities. Reading between the lines, they want to make it harder for someone to make a false or fake ID. They also want to double check that the person who has The Real ID is who he or she says he is.
To see if your Iowa Drivers License is a Real ID or not, look in the upper right hand of the card. If it has a yellow star you've got a Real ID compliant license. If not, then you do not.
Obtaining a Real ID compliant license or ID in the State of Iowa is essentially the same process as getting your first license. You need a document that proves your date of birth and lawful presence, like a birth certificate. You need a document that proves your Social Security number, like a Social Security Card. You need documents that prove your Iowa residency and street address, like a bill, vehicle registration information etc. You can do this when you're renewing your license, or if your renewal date is after October 1, 2020, you can get a replacement license.
The cost of getting a Real ID compliant license is the same as renewing your license, and if you're replacing your license, that's the same $10 charge it always has been.
Do you have to get a Real ID compliant license or ID? No. That said, even if you rarely fly, or don't have business at federal facilities that require you to show an ID, why risk it? There might be that time you have to fly, or wind up at a federal building where they want to see an ID. I'd rather not subject myself to the extra screening and hassle when I need The Real ID vs. the hassle of showing up at a driver's license service center and just getting the updated ID.
The Iowa Department of Transportation recently posted this handy graphic on their Facebook page:
You can access the web page on Real ID and Iowa licenses and ID's here.