Skip to main content
Iowa Judicial Branch
Main Content

Iowa offers admission without examination (referred to as “admission on motion”) for attorneys licensed in another state or the District of Columbia who can demonstrate a prolonged period of the regular practice of law without significant character or fitness problems. 

To be admitted, applicants must:

  • Have been admitted to the bar of any other state of the United States or the District of Columbia,

  • Have practiced law five full years while licensed within the seven years immediately preceding the date of the application and still holds a law license, and

  • Meet the character and fitness requirements contained within Iowa Court Rule 31.12.

An applicant is not eligible for admission on motion if:

  • The applicant is currently subject to lawyer discipline in another jurisdiction,

  • The applicant failed the Iowa bar examination within the five years of the date of the application, or

  • The applicant has failed five or more bar examinations.

Application Process

In order to start the filing process to be admitted on motion to the State of Iowa, you should:

  1. Prior to submitting the application, pay the $900 application fee on the Iowa Court Commission website:  That system accepts credit card and e-check payments.  Please print the payment confirmation page and attach it to the application materials mentioned in item 2 below.

  2. Submit the Application for Admission Without Examination (click link to access) and accompanying attachments (Certificates of Admission and Regular Practice) to:

    Office of Professional Regulation
    Judicial Branch Building, Second Floor
    1111 East Court Avenue
    Des Moines, Iowa 50319

  3. Complete the NCBE’s online character and fitness investigation (Opens a New Window) and file it with the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

  • From this link, the applicant selects Iowa as the jurisdiction to which he or she is applying.  On the next page, click on the NCBE Account Login button and either log in with your credentials or create an account.

  • Pay the separate investigative fee to the National Conference of Bar Examiners at the time the NCBE application is filed. Do not send a copy of the application to the Office of Professional Regulation.

For other questions on admission on motion, please review Iowa Court Rules 31.12 and 31.13 (Opens in New Window)

© 2024 Iowa Judicial Branch. All Rights Reserved.