The Iowa Department of Transportation is implementing the new program for the drivers license issuance. Most of the rules and procedures remain the same - you still need to jump through all the hoops before you get your Iowa driver's license, however starting April 19 you will not get the license on the spot at the DOT office.
Previous Licensing Procedure
Up until April 19, 2010, if you were over 18 years of age, you could have just walked into any Iowa drivers license office, present proper documents, take the written permit test, then the driving test and get the drivers license on the spot right after passing the drivers exam. There were a few additional steps for teens who also had to take a drivers education course according to the state's graduated license law.
Iowa Driver's License Today
The licensing procedure itself does not change and you still have to go through the same testing if you are looking to obtain a brand new drivers license (by the way, you may want to take some practice tests before you go in for the real exam). However, once you pass the tests, you are only given a temporary license which is valid for 30 days. The real license will be mailed to you within 2-3 weeks of you passing the exams. If you do not receive it in the mail, make sure to contact the DOT office before your temporary license expires.
Why Is It Done
The whole country is slowly merging to the centralized drivers license production system, when driver licenses are not printed at the individual DMV offices, but are mass produced at the central location. The system is currently used by 20 states, amongst which are Texas, Oregon and Minnesota. This approach allows to reduce the possibility of the identity fraud in a number of ways.
First of all, producing driver licenses in a centralized location allows the DOT to use more sophisticated production equipment. The outcome is the Iowa drivers license that is much harder to fake as opposed to the regular licenses. The more complex is the technology used during the production process, the harder it is to reproduce.
The second reason for this procedure is the fact that now the DOT has more time to run the document check on every license applicant. Up until now, the license could be issued in the matter of hours and the person walked out with a brand new valid ID. Today, the DOT will run more thorough checks on all would be drivers, which should definitely reduce the number of fraudulent license applications.