Drivers Permits in Iowa
For young drivers, applying for an instruction permit is the first step to earning full driving privileges.
- At 14, you may apply for an instruction permit that allows you to practice driving with your parent or guardian, a family member over 21, a driver education course teacher, or a driver over 25 if you have the written permission of your parent or guardian.
- At 16, you can receive an intermediate license that allows you to drive during designated hours without supervision if you have completed the necessary classroom education and driver training requirements.
- At 17, you can receive a regular Iowa driver's license if you've kept a clean driving record for at least 12 consecutive months. If you've been in an accident or received a traffic ticket, however, you'll need to attend a remedial driver improvement interview with an Iowa Department of Transportation representative and your parent or guardian before you can receive full driving privileges.
If you wish to apply for an instruction permit, you must visit your nearest driver license station. No appointment is necessary, although you may want to call ahead to confirm the station's business hours.
Bring the following:
- Proof of your identity, such as your original birth certificate and your school photo identification card.
- Verification of your Social Security number.
- Parent's Written Consent to Issue Privilege to Drive or Affidavit to Obtain Duplicate License (Form #430018), if your parent or guardian is not accompanying you to the testing station.
Before you can receive your instruction permit, you will be asked to complete a vision screening and a written knowledge test that measures your understanding of safe driving practices.
To prepare for the written knowledge test, you can download a copy of the Iowa Driver's Manual. The Iowa Department of Transportation also has an online practice quiz available, and DMV.org provides additional practice tests, too.
The fee to receive an instruction permit is $6. Your permit will be valid for four years and may be renewed if necessary.
A school license is a special type of Iowa driving permit that allows teen drivers to drive to and from school without supervision.
It is typically only available to teens who live at least one mile away from their school and have had an instruction permit for at least six months without being involved in a motor vehicle accident or receiving a traffic ticket.
If you want to apply for a school license, you must visit submit the Affidavit for School License (Form #430021). You'll also be required to complete a driving test at your nearest driver license station.
The fee for a school license is $8. Your school license will be valid for two years and may be renewed if necessary.
If you are at least 14, you can apply for a motorcycle instruction permit to learn how to safely operate a motorcycle. A motorcycle instruction permit allows you to operate a motorcycle if you are being taught by a licensed motorcycle driver who is within sight or hearing distance.
You do not need to have a regular driver instruction permit to apply for a motorcycle instruction permit.
To receive a motorcycle instruction permit, you'll need to visit your nearest driver license station and successfully complete a vision screening and written knowledge test. To prepare for the written knowledge test, you can download a copy of the Iowa Motorcycle Operator Manual.
The fee for a motorcycle instruction permit is $8. Your motorcycle instruction permit will be valid for four years. After the permit expires, no renewals are allowed.
If your instruction permit or school license is lost, damaged, or stolen you must visit your nearest driver license station to obtain a duplicate. There is a $3 replacement fee and you will need to bring two forms of identification.
To reduce the risk of identity theft, the Iowa Department of Transportation encourages drivers to report a missing license or permit to local law enforcement officials.
Other Topics in This Section
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- Drivers Training Requirements: Do You Have to Enroll in Drivers Training?
- How to Choose a Drivers Training Program
- Who’s Required to Take Drivers Training
- Transferring a Learner Permit to a New State
- Teen Driver Safety: Seat Belt Use
- Graduating From a Drivers Permit to a Restricted Drivers License
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