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How to get an Iowa Driver's License

Iowa Drivers License
  • Iowa Driver's License Guidelines
  • How to Prepare for the Written Exam
  • Required IA and Paperwork

IA Drivers License Rules and Requirements

Find out the steps to get your IA drivers license, pass your DMV written test, replace your out-of-state license and the required paperwork to bring to the DMV office to get your driver's license.

Try Sample Test!

All applicants need to be familiar with the Iowa Driver's Manual. Think you know the material? Take our DMV practice test now and test your driving knowledge.

Get your IA Driver's Permit

If this is your first driver's license, you will need to apply for an Iowa learners permit which requires a written exam on traffic signs, motor vehicle laws and safe driving techniques.

Once you receive a valid learners permit, you will then need to pass a road skills test and vision test to receive an IA drivers license.

Applicants under 18 must have held a learners permit for 6 months before taking the road skills test.

Prepare for the Written Knowledge Test

The Iowa DMV requires that all applicants must pass a written exam on traffic signs, motor vehicle laws and safe driving techniques. If you fail the exam, some states require you to wait until at least the next day to take the test again and charge a re-examination fee.

All new drivers are encouraged to study for this driver education exam so you don't miss the opportunity to get your learners permit as soon as you reach the approved age. Online practice tests are available that provide real sample questions from the DMV Exam - Take the Iowa practice test now and test your driving knowledge.

New Iowa Residents

New residents with an out-of-state license must obtain an Iowa after 30 days of establishing a permanent residence in IA. When heading to the DMV, be sure to bring the license from your former state as you will be required to surrender it in order to obtain the new license.

The vision test is required to change a valid out-of-state license to an IA driver's license; however the written exam and road skills test may be waived at the discretion of the examiner.

If your out-of-state driver's license is expired, you may be required to apply for a license as a new driver and pass all required testing.

International Drivers

If you have a valid international driver's license you may drive in Iowa if your license from your home country is valid. If you have an international license it must be carried with your home country license at all times.

Driver's Licenses issued to temporary foreign nationals will be limited to the period of time the foreign national is authorized to be in the United States, not to exceed two years.

Permanent resident foreign nationals should bring their Permanent Resident Card (I-551) to be issued a full term Driver's License.

Required Paperwork

Before you head to the Iowa DMV Office, make sure you have all of the following required documents to get your driver's license:

On the Road

Once your licensing requirements have been met, you will receive your new:

  • Restricted Driver's License (15 years to 17 years of age) valid for 2 years.
  • Full Driver's License (17years of age and older) valid for 5 years.

Remember... the safe operation of a vehicle requires practiced skill, knowledge, and a respectful understanding of the limitations imposed by the other drivers and the environment.

Iowa Driver's License Resources

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