Tama County adds online driver’s license appointment scheduling.

Sample of an Iowa driver's license with Real ID gold star. Image courtesy of Tama Co. Treasurer's Office.

Over the past two years, driver’s license customers throughout the state of Iowa have become accustomed to calling ahead for appointments rather than waiting in line with a number to be served.

The shift to appointment-based service began as a public health measure during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and was later instituted as a permanent statewide process by the Iowa Department of Transportation after they received positive feedback from customers.

Since that change in 2020, customers visiting the Tama County driver’s license station at the county treasurer’s office have needed to call or appear in person to make their driver’s license service appointments.

County Treasurer Amanda Kriegel announced this week that in addition to the option of making appointments by phone or in person, driver’s license customers in Tama County can now schedule their appointments online at any time.

To book appointments online, customers can visit the county website at www.tamacounty.iowa.gov/treasurer.html or the Iowa State County Treasurer’s Association’s website at www.iowatreasurers.org (click Find My County and select Tama County). Look for a button titled Book Appointment Online to find the driver’s license scheduling system.

Appointment Scheduling form.

“We’re excited to be one of the first county treasurer’s offices in the state to add online appointment scheduling for driver’s license appointments,” Kriegel said. “This brings us in line with state driver’s license stations that have been offering online scheduling since 2020 through the Iowa DOT website.”

The Iowa Department of Transportation operates 18 driver’s license service centers throughout the state in high-population areas like Marshalltown, Waterloo, and Cedar Rapids. Online driver’s license appointment scheduling has been available at those service centers on the www.iowadot.gov website, while county offices like the one in Toledo have relied on setting appointments by phone or in person.

The county will be using a scheduling service through a company called No Wait Inside. The service was contracted for two years at a price of $3,600 using federal pandemic relief funds through the American Rescue Plan Act.

As of early September, there were 11 county offices that had adopted online appointment scheduling. Tama County is one among a group that includes Dubuque, Marion, Jones, and Henry counties currently using the No Wait Inside service.

“Our hope with this addition is not only to improve the level of convenience with the appointment scheduling process but also to prepare in the event of another pandemic situation,” Kriegel said. “We now have the capability to communicate via text message if the need were to arise to call in customers one at a time from the parking lot.”

Scheduling a driver's license appointment just became easier with online booking. Photo contribution from the Tama Co. Treasurer's Office.

Customers scheduling driver’s license appointments have already begun receiving text message confirmations and reminders for their appointments, as the treasurer’s office staff have been using the new system internally since September. Kriegel said the office is noticing a decline in “no-call, no-show” situations since appointment notifications have started going out.

Although Tama County customers can use the online system to schedule appointments for most driver’s license services like renewals, address updates, or duplicate cards, other services like driver tests must still be scheduled by phone or in-person.

Additionally, those needing to complete a knowledge test on the computer as part of the driver’s license issuance process are not required to set an appointment. Knowledge tests are available first come, first served, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Real ID deadline approaching

The federal Department of Homeland Security enforcement deadline to require airline travelers to present the Real ID “gold star” indicator on Iowa driver’s licenses and identification cards is less than a year away.

The Real ID indicator will be required for people going through TSA security stops at airports and those entering federal buildings with security checkpoints.

The enforcement deadline, which has been pushed back multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set for May 3, 2023.

In a 2019 press release, the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) detailed additional guidelines and information regarding the Real ID process that remains in effect today.

To get a Real ID marked card, Iowans will need to visit any Iowa driver’s license issuance location and bring documents that prove their identity, social security number, Iowa residency, and proof of legal name changes – if their name is different from the name on their identity document. To build a list of documents to bring with you, visit https://iowadot.gov/mvd/realid/success.aspx.

Travelers who do not have a Real ID may use another form of acceptable documentation, such as a valid passport or military ID. For a complete list of acceptable IDs, go to www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification. A Real ID also will be required to gain access to secure federal facilities, including military bases, nuclear facilities and some federal offices starting May 3, 2023.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act complies with the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.

The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes, such as at airport security checkpoints.

The Tama County driver’s license station is located at the treasurer’s office in the County Administration Building at 104 W State St. in Toledo. For questions, call the office at 641-484-3141.