How to Get a Driver’s License in Iowa

The best part of being an adult is being able to drive yourself. When you get a driver’s license, you do not have to depend on anyone for transportation. The first part to being able to drive is to get your license and for that you will need to fill out a lot of forms, give tests and learn driving related information.

License Requirements

Sure, you have been counting the days till you can get a driver’s license and become completely independent. Here are the basic requirements for getting a driver’s license in Iowa –

  • If you are 14 years old, then you have to appear for the Graduated driver licensing system. You will need a parental permission and must qualify written knowledge test and vision test to appear for this examination.
  • If you are 16 years old, then you should have completed Classroom education along with driver training. This will enable you to get an intermediate license. You can use this license to drive without your parents’ supervision but only during fixed hours.
  • If you are 17 years and you have had a conviction and accident free driving record for one year, then you get the full license.

Here is a guide to help you through the process of getting a driver’s license –

License Process– Whether you are a teenager or an adult applying for a driver’s license for the first time, you know about the licensing process so that you are aware of what you must expect.

 Types of License – There are four types of license issued by the Department of Transportation, Iowa –

o Class C Operator
o Class D Non-Commercial Chauffeur
o Commercial Class A, B or C (CDL)
o Class M (for motorcycle)

Class C type of license is for passenger vehicles with gross weight not exceeding 16,000 pounds. If your age is below 18, then you also have to complete GDL (Graduated Driver’s License) that includes Iowa Driver’s Permits and intermediate license. This is mandatory for getting full license.

 Taking Driver’s Education Course – The second mandatory step is to take the Driver’s education course but only if you are below 18 years of age. People older than 18 years need not take this course but it will be better if they undergo training.

 Test – The applicants must qualify a test to be able to apply for the license. The details of the test will be available in the Iowa Driver’s Manual. You can also appear for Iowa DOT Practice Tests. These tests will greatly enhance your chances of qualifying the examination for obtaining a driver’s license. It is better to practice and be prepared rather than fail to qualify the examination and wait for a period before you appear again.

To appear for the test, you must locate the Driver’s License Station in your county, where the test will be conducted.

There will be two kinds of test – written and driving. You have to qualify for both tests. For the driving test, you have to demonstrate your capability to drive and handle a car efficiently. Make sure that your car is insured as required under the State law. Also insure the car, even if you are a new driver, as car insurance is mandatory under Iowa State Laws.

Please note that when you are applying for the test, the following will be needed –

o Proof of Social Security number and identity;
o Proof of Residency;
o Qualifying vision examination
o Pay License Cost of $20 by either cash or check.

For New Residents having Out of State Driver’s License – For new residents having an out-of-state driving license, a driving test is not essential. You can exchange your existing license for an equivalent Iowa Operator’s license. But, you still have to pass a driving test. The other formalities as to make an appointment and the type of driving test will be the same. Find out the DOT Office Location of your county when you make the appointment.

Make sure that your vehicle is in good condition. The examiner will inspect your car’s safety equipment, proof of insurance and registration. Ensure that all these are in order before you apply for the license.

License Validity – If you qualify all the examinations, you will obtain your driver’s license for five years. For obtaining the five-year license, you will have to be 18 years or above. Drivers, 70 years and above, are issued license for only two years.

There is no limit to the number of tests you can give if you fail in your attempts. There is no extra charge for re-attempts too. The DOT examiner will only recommend more practice before you schedule an appointment for re-test. This is why practice tests are essential. They are not necessary but recommended as they help you get your license much more quickly.

Take Free Practice Test Now

Iowa DMV Practice Test – Quiz 1 (Signs)
Iowa DMV Practice Test – Quiz 2 (Signs)
Iowa DMV Practice Test – Quiz 3 (Rules)
Iowa DMV Practice Test – Quiz 4 (Rules)
Iowa DMV Practice Test – Quiz 5 (Rules)
Iowa DMV Practice Test – Quiz 6 (Rules)
Iowa DMV Practice Test – Quiz 7 (Rules)



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