Getting a Temporary Restricted License (TRL)


Who Needs a TRL?
Many persons need a temporary restricted license (TRL) to handle life's daily responsibilities- getting to and from work and school, getting groceries and other necessary errands. Public transportation may not be close by. Taxis are expensive, and rides from friends may not be reliable. Not every person who needs a TRL will be able to get one and the law in this area is complex. A person who needs to get a TRL is well advised to talk to a lawyer for help in this process

A TRL can only be used for driving to and from specific places at specific times. You have to prove that you have a job you need to travel to, or that you need health care, access to education or substance abuse treatment. You cannot use a TRL to drive to go shopping, to go out to eat or to travel for fun. You may or may not be able to use the TRL to take your children to places they need to go (such as school, activities, etc.). Be prepared to have another plan for transportation if your request is denied. Unfortunately, it is not possible to get a TRL to operate a commercial vehicle.

The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) is usually the final authority on whether you can get your license back, even if you lost it as part of a court proceeding.

Here are some suggestions for how to find out if you qualify for a TRL.
Know the status of your license. Pay attention to whether your license or your driving privileges have been:


Each of these means something different. Each can have a big impact on whether or not you can get your license back, or if you can get a TRL. These sanctions can occur for many different reasons. Some of the more common reasons are explained below.

SUSPENDED LICENSE: You lose permission from the IDOT to drive for a certain period of time. This is often due to a Driving while Under Influence (DUI) charge (sometimes called OWI-Operating While Intoxicated) or other traffic-related violations or false use of a license. Your license may also be suspended if you have unpaid court fines, penalties, surcharges or court costs.

REVOKED LICENSE: The IDOT has terminated your permission to drive because you have been convicted of a certain crime. These include a felony involving a car, failing to stop at an accident, lying about who owns a car, two convictions for reckless driving, drag racing or creating a police chase. Certain drug offenses will also cause a license revocation.

BARRED LICENSE: The IDOT and courts have decided that you are a "Habitual Offender" due to many legal violations involving a motor vehicle, including Driving While Suspended, Revoked or Barred. If you receive a bar, you have the right to a hearing and will probably need an attorney to help you at the hearing. A barred license can last from 1 to 6 years..

Can I apply for a TRL any time my license is suspended?

No. A TRL is not always an option. You should call the IDOT if you are not sure whether you can get a TRL. For example, a TRL is not available when a person's license has been suspended for unpaid child support.

Two common situations where a TRL is available are:

  1. License suspended because of nonpayment of court fines
  2. License suspended because of an OWI

How do I apply for a TRL?

You can try to obtain a TRL in one of two ways:

  • The process begins by sending a request for an interview with a driver's license hearing officer.
  • The request is to be mailed to the Office of Driver Services, Iowa Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 9204, Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9204.
  • You will have to show a good reason for needing the temporary license (for example you need it to drive to work, school, medical appointments, etc.)
  • You will also have to show hardship or no alternative form of transportation and proof of financial responsibility if your license was suspended due to nonpayment of court fines resulting from a traffic conviction.
  • If the hearing officer approves your application, the officer will send you Form 430100 to fill out and return to the Office of Driver Services.
  • A link to the form, Application for Temporary Restricted Licsense can be found on the IDOT website:
  • You may have to get statements from third parties depending on your reason for needing the temporary license.
  • You will also have to:
  1. Give the make and model of all vehicles to be operated under the temporary license
  2. File proof of insurance, if required by your situation
  3. Pay a civil penalty
  • If the application is granted and all of the requirements have been met, you have to pay for and take a driver's license exam.

If you pass the exam, the last step is to pay reinstatement and license fees.

Can I Drive and Pay Off My Fines with an Installment Agreement?
There is a new Iowa law that may help you get your driving privileges back while you make payments on your court fines, penalties, surcharges or court costs and/or the IDOT civil penalties. This new law is found in Chapter 210B of the Iowa Code. This law allows you to make an installment payment agreement through the county attorney's office or the Centralized Collection Unit of the Iowa Department of Revenue. If you successfully make a payment agreement, the IDOT will restore your driving privileges. If you don't stay current with your monthly payments, your driver's license will be suspended again.

Installment agreement plans are not available in all of Iowa's counties. First, you need to contact your local county attorney's office to find out if they offer "210B" installment payment agreements. If your county does not offer an installment payment agreement, you may be able to get one in another county or through the Centralized Collection Unit of the Iowa Department of Revenue. If you qualify to make an installment payment agreement, you must carefully follow all instructions and complete any paperwork requested by the county attorney, the county attorney's designee, or the employee of the Centralized Collection Unit. The final agreement will be in writing and you must carefully follow the agreement. Missing or late payments can result in cancellation of the payment agreement and suspension of your driving privileges again.

Last Review and Update: Jul 18, 2011

Contacting the LiveHelp service...