Iowa veterans can add ‘veteran’ designation to driver’s license
AMES — A new Iowa law began today, allowing military veterans to have a “veteran” designation put on their driver’s license or nonoperator identification card.
The Iowa Department of Transportation is implementing the law nearly six months earlier than is required, to demonstrate the state’s support for its veterans.
To get the designation, an honorably discharged veteran must present a copy of their DD 214 or applicable discharge document to their county Veterans Affairs office.
That office will complete an Iowa DOT form and confirm the applicant’s veteran status, which authorizes the Iowa DOT to place the designation on the individual’s DL or nonoperator ID.
Veterans must take the completed form to any Iowa DL issuance location and request the veteran designation be added to his or her DL or nonoperator ID card.
Veterans may expedite the process by bringing a completed application form (downloaded from the veterans website at va.iowa.gov) with them to the county Veterans Affairs office, along with a copy of their DD 214.
Iowa law only allows the designation to be added when a DL or nonoperator ID is first issued or when it is renewed.
The law does not allow the designation to be added on a duplicate card issued between renewals.
Iowa veterans who currently hold an Iowa DL or ID card should be aware that they cannot add the designation to their current DL or nonoperator ID until it is time for their next renewal.
Iowa law allows a DL or nonoperator ID to be renewed 30 days before it expires, but if special circumstances are demonstrated that show it would be impractical to wait until then and that good cause exists to renew earlier, Iowa law allows DLs and nonoperator IDs to be renewed up to one year before the expiration date.
Gov. Terry Branstad signed Senate File 2112 into law on April 19, 2012; it requires the veteran designation provision of the law to be implemented by July 1, 2013. The designation on Iowa drivers licenses and nonoperator IDs is a voluntary initiative designed to assist Iowa veterans.
“Thousands of businesses throughout Iowa and the United States, including restaurants, hotels and even home improvement stores give discounts to veterans,” said Mark Lowe, Iowa DOT Motor Vehicle Division director.
“Some of those businesses require proof of veteran status. Iowa legislators responded to the veterans’ needs and authorized the DOT to include veteran status on DLs and nonoperator IDs so they don’t have to carry official military papers to prove their veteran status.”