This Step: Get a Drivers License
Get a Drivers License in Iowa
Applicants 18 and older can apply for a full license by following the designated steps below. Minors must still follow the GDL program.
GDL Eligibility Requirements For Teens Younger than 18
When you turn 16, you can apply for an intermediate license as long as you have met all the conditions of your instruction permit. In addition to what’s covered in Step 4, you must:
- Have held the instruction permit for a minimum of six months
- Have no accidents or violations for the six consecutive months that immediately precede when you apply for an intermediate license
- Have not allowed the permit to expire or be withdrawn during the above-mentioned six-month period
When you turn 17, you can apply for a full license when you have met all the conditions of the intermediate license. From more on graduating from an intermediate to a full license see the last step on this page.
A) Make an Appointment at the IA MVD
Your last hurdle before getting your Iowa drivers license is to pass a road test at a nearby IA MVD drivers license office. Look online for a nearby branch and call to inquire about making a road test appointment.
Find Your Local MVD Office
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B) Take the Road Test
When heading to the IA license office you must be accompanied by a licensed driver. Be sure you bring the following to your appointment:
- Certification of Iowa residency
- A vehicle in safe operating condition along with its current registration receipt and proof of liability insurance
- Written consent from your parent or legal guardian* (if you are younger than 18)
The vehicle you bring for the road test will be inspected by an examiner before your exam begins. Be sure safety equipment such seat belts, lights turn signals, horn, brake lights, tires, windshield wipers and more are in optimal working condition or you won’t be allowed to take the test.
*You have two options when it comes to providing written consent:
- Your parent/guardian accompanies you to the Iowa drivers license station to sign a consent form before an examiner
- Your parent/guardian signs the Parent’s Written Consent to Issue Privilege to Drive or Affidavit to Obtain Duplicate License Form #430018notary public, and then you can present the completed and notarized form to the examiner (that way your parent/guardian won’t need to go with you to the drivers license station)
Get Your Iowa Driver's License
Once you pass the road test, you’ll receive an intermediate license with the words “under eighteen” printed on it. You must hold this license for the next 12 months and abide by the following conditions in order to graduate to a full drivers license. With an intermediate license you may:
- Drive without supervision from 5 a.m. to 12: 30 a.m.
- Drive between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. only with a parent, guardian, family member older than 21 or a designated adult older than 25; with a waiver, you can also drive to and from work or extracurricular school activities
- Keep your number of passengers limited to the number of seat belts in your vehicle
You must also log 10 hours of supervised driving, including a minimum of two hours driven between sunset and sunrise. As long as you meet all these conditions and stay accident- and violation-free for the 12 months immediately preceding your application for a full license, you can graduate. You will need to provide the state with written consent from a parent or guardian.
Full Drivers License
Applicants 18 years old and older will receive a full license after passing the road test. If you are moving your way up through the Graduated Driver License program, you can obtain a full license once you turn 17 (as long as you have met the conditions above.
A full license grants you full driving privileges with no restrictions. You will see printed on it either “under eighteen” or “under twenty-one” if applicable.