Special Licenses in Iowa

Special Driver's Licenses in Iowa

The Iowa Department of Transportation's (DOT) Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) offers different license classes and endorsements specific to certain types of vehicles.

On this page you'll find an overview of some of the license classes available to you.

For information about standard driver's licenses, please visit our pages on the following topics:

Iowa Commercial Driver's License

You'll need a commercial driver's license to drive:

  • Heavy-weight vehicles.
  • Vehicles designed to carry a large number of passengers.
  • Vehicles transporting hazardous materials.

The specific class of CDL you apply for and any additional endorsements you hold will determine exactly what type of vehicle you can drive and which types of driving professions you can have.

For more information about applying for a commercial driver's license, please visit our Applying for a New CDL in Iowa page.

School Bus Drivers

To drive a school bus in Iowa, you'll need to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL) with passenger and school bus endorsements. This means you must complete all of the standard CDL licensing requirements, including passing additional knowledge tests on how to safely transport passengers on a school bus. An air brake endorsement is also needed if you plan to drive a bus equipped with air brakes.

You'll generally need to:

  • Pass a school bus knowledge test.
  • Pass a driving skills test in a school bus.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Maintain a clean driving record.
  • Become trained and certified as a school bus driver.

For more information, please contact the Iowa DMV.

Obtaining a Chauffeur's License in Iowa

If you wish to drive a shuttle or taxi in the state of Iowa, you will need to have a Class D driver's license. This is also known as the noncommercial chauffeur's license. If you obtain an "Endorsement 3," you are legally allowed to drive any passenger vehicle that carries fewer than 16 passengers.

  • A Class D driver's license is valid for:
    • A minimum of 5 years, if you are between 17 years and 11 months old and 69 years old.
    • 4 years, if you are 70 years old.
    • 3 years, if you are 71 years old.
    • 2 years, if you are 72 years old or older, or have a diagnosed medical condition that may affect your ability to drive safely.
  • Your license expires on your birthday, but you have up to 60 days after this date to renew, without having to retake the knowledge test.

The fee for a Class D license is $8 per year.

Chauffeur's Instruction Permit

If you are studying for your Class D IA driver's license, you may apply for a chauffeur's instruction permit. This permit allows you to practice driving any vehicle that requires a Class D license, as long as you are accompanied by someone who has a Class D license or CDL valid for that type of vehicle. You must be at least 18 years old to receive a chauffeur's instruction permit.

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