Just like cars, trucks and trailers, motorcycles must also be registered with your local county treasurer. The process of motorcycle registration or titling a motorcycle in Iowa is typically the same as that of a car.

Registration is important because it helps the police and other law enforcement officers to identify the owner of a certain vehicle or motorcycle. If your motorcycle is registered and it is stolen or missing, it can be traced easily because of its unique license plate number that was given out when you registered it.

You will face a fine if you fail to comply with Iowa’s motorcycle registration regulations.

How to Register

The process of motorcycle registration in Iowa is typically similar to registering a vehicle. However, the exact process varies depending on how you acquired your motorcycle.

  • If you are trading in your old bike for a new one, you can transfer license plates from your old bike to your new one. Most dealers will handle all the paperwork for registration on your behalf during time of purchase.
  • If you are trading in a used vehicle for a new motorcycle, you will receive a temporary “Registration applied for” permit to use until your new license plates are sent by the DMV.
  • If you have bought a used bike from a private seller, the seller needs to complete the appropriate sections of the title. Make sure he discloses the odometer reading and any damage or previous history of repair. Then you will be required to take the completed paperwork to your local treasurer’s office. At county treasurer’s office, you will be required to complete the title and registration application.

If you are from out-of-state, you must get motorcycle registration within 30 days of obtaining Iowa residency. You will need to visit any county treasurer’s office to do so.

If you wish, you can apply for personalized license plates. Extra money is paid for these types of licenses that support the Iowa’s Motorcycle Rider Education fund.

For more information about motorcycle registration in Iowa, contact the Iowa Motor Vehicle Information Center through phone at (800) 532-1121.

Registration Renewal

Regardless of your actual birth date, your bike’s registration will expire at the end of your birth month every year. You will receive a renewal notice when your registration is about to expire. Your renewal notice will tell you how to renew your registration. You can renew your registration online, if the notice says so. Be ready to pay any other additional fee of this service.

To receive a renewal notice, make sure your county treasurer’s office has your mailing address in file. If you change your address, notify your county treasurer’s office immediately (within 10 business days).