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Motorcycle License in Iowa

Iowa truly offers some of the most distinct Midwestern landscapes in the country. Imagine riding your motorcycle down the road, with nothing but the big, blue sky above and the gold and green of cornfields to your left and right.

If you'd like to make this daydream a reality, keep reading for more information on how to get your motorcycle license or endorsement in the Hawkeye State.

New to Iowa?

If you just moved to Iowa and already have a motorcycle license/endorsement, you can transfer your credentials. Just go to your local Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) driver licensing office and:

  • Provide proof of your:
  • Surrender your out-of-state motorcycle license/endorsement.
  • Pass the following exams:
    • Vision test.
    • Written knowledge test.
    • Motorcycle road skills test (if your out-of-state license is expired).
  • Pay the appropriate motorcycle license or endorsement fee.

Eligibility for Iowa Motorcycle Licenses

To be eligible to receive an Iowa motorcycle license or endorsement, you must:

  • Meet the minimum age requirements:
    • Motorcycle permit: 14 years old.
    • Motorcycle license: 16 years old.
    • Motorcycle endorsement: 16 years old.
  • Earn an Iowa motorcycle permit.
  • Complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) education course as part of the IA Motorcycle Rider Education (MRE) program.
    • This course is required for applicants younger than 18 years old.
    • Regardless of age, completion of a motorcycle education course will waive the motorcycle road skills test.
  • Pass the on-road skills exam IF you didn't take a MSF motorcycle education course.
  • Pay all the applicable IA motorcycle license or endorsement fee.

IA Motorcycle Permits

The first step to getting your IA motorcycle license/endorsement, is to earn your motorcycle instruction permit. In order to do this, you'll need to go to your local MVD licensing office and:

  • Provide proof of your:
  • Take a vision test.
  • Pass the written exams* for:
    • Standard (Class C) driver's license IF it's your first license of any kind.
    • Motorcycle license.
  • Pay the appropriate motorcycle permit fee.
    • Fees vary based on the type of license you're applying for.

You'll then receive your IA motorcycle instruction permit! Your permit will be valid for up to 4 years—note that it cannot be renewed.

Holding a motorcycle permit means you can enroll in an MSF course and practice riding your bike under certain restrictions, as discussed below.

*NOTE: Everything you need to study for the written knowledge tests is in the Iowa motorcycle manual. You can also ensure you're fully prepared by taking an online practice test.

Permit Restrictions

Now that you have your Iowa motorcycle instruction permit, you're probably excited to get out on the road and ride. However, you'll need to keep certain restrictions in mind when you practice riding with an Iowa motorcycle instruction permit.

While riding with a motorcycle permit, you must always be accompanied by either:

  • A parent, guardian, or member of your immediate family who holds a motorcycle license/endorsement and is at least 21 years old.
    OR
  • An adult with a valid motorcycle license/endorsement who's at least 25 years old.
    • Permit holders between 14 and 17 years old must have their parent or guardian's written consent.

The person supervising you must be:

  • Able to see and hear you at all times.
  • On or in a motor vehicle.

Getting Your Iowa Motorcycle License

When you're ready to apply for your Iowa motorcycle license or endorsement, visit your local Motor Vehicle Division licensing office and provide the following:

  • EITHER:
    • Certificate of MSF course completion (required if you're younger than 18 years old).
      OR
    • Written proof that you passed the Iowa MVD's motorcycle road skills test.
      • Contact your local MVD office for details on scheduling a motorcycle skills test.
  • Proof of your:
  • Payment for your motorcycle license or endorsement fee.

You'll then receive your official Iowa motorcycle license!

The expiration on your Iowa motorcycle credentials are as follows:

  • Motorcycle endorsement: Expires at the same time as your standard, Class C, driver's license.
  • Motorcycle-only license: Assigned a random expiration date, between 5 years and 8 years.

IA Motorcycle Education

Taking an Iowa motorcycle education course can be very helpful (and for some, mandatory) while applying for your Iowa motorcycle credentials.

As mentioned before, if you can provide a certificate of MSF course completion, the IA Motor Vehicle Division will waive the on-road motorcycle skills test.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has established course curricula with the Iowa MRE program for all levels of experience. The courses aimed at beginners will teach you things like:

  • How to turn and shift.
  • Communicating and sharing the road with other drivers.
  • Finding the safest path for travel.
  • Dealing with emergency situations.

To learn more about Iowa's Motorcycle Rider Education Program, or if you're interested in registering for a course, take a look at the MVD's motorcycle education guide.

Fees for Iowa Motorcycle Licenses

The fees associated with getting a motorcycle license or endorsement in Iowa are as follows:

  • Instruction permit—Varies based on license type:
    • Motorcycle endorsement permit—$2 per each year that your existing IA license is valid.
    • Motorcycle-only license permit—$14 flat fee.
  • Motorcycle endorsement—$2 per each year that your standard license is valid.
  • Motorcycle-only (Class M) license—$6 each year the license is valid.

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