Getting an Iowa Drivers License
Think you’re ready to get your Iowa drivers license? If you’ve had your Iowa instruction permit for at least 12 months, it’s time to prepare for the next step. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Iowa Drivers License Requirements
Did you know that there are two drivers license options for Iowa teens? As part of the graduated licensing program, Iowa offers an intermediate license for teen drivers, but some teen drivers may qualify for the Iowa minor school license.
Most Iowa teens will follow the traditional licensing path by getting their intermediate Iowa drivers license. To get your intermediate license, you must be at least 16 years old and have held your instruction permit for at least 12 months, with a clean driving record for at least 6 consecutive months before applying for your intermediate license. You must have completed an Iowa-approved drivers education course, and in addition to any behind-the-wheel you had during that course, you must have logged 20 hours of supervised driving (two of which must have been at night).
When you’re ready to get your Iowa intermediate license, you’ll need to contact your nearest drivers license issuance site to schedule your road test. As with your Iowa instruction permit, your parent or guardian must provide written consent for you to apply for your instruction permit. They can download and complete the Parent/Guardian’s Written Consent Form (Form 430018), but they must have that form signed by a notary public. It may be easier to just bring them with you when you go to take the test!
The Iowa minor school license offers specific driving privileges to students who may need to drive to school and school activities. To get your Iowa minor school license, you must:
- Be at least 14 1/2 years old.
- Complete an Iowa-approved driver education course.
- Hold an instruction permit and a clean driving record for at least six consecutive months immediately before applying for your minor school license.
- Live 1 mile or more from the school you are enrolled in, unless a special need exists. If you have more than one residence, where you live is the location you reside the majority of the time.
- Have your school superintendent, principal, or school board chair AND your parent or guardian sign Affidavit for School License (form 30021)available at any drivers license issuance site.
Along with providing your completed Affidavit for School License, you may be required to complete a drive test at the drivers license issuance site.
How the Iowa Intermediate License Works
Once you’ve gotten your Iowa intermediate license, you’ll enjoy some new behind-the-wheel freedom. You’ll be able to drive without adult supervision between the hours of 5:00 AM and 12:30 AM, or at any time with adult supervision. There are some other restrictions.
- You’re not allowed to use a cell phone, smartphone, tablet, or other electronic communication or entertainment device while driving. This doesn’t apply to equipment permanently installed in your vehicle.
- If the back of your license says you have a passenger restriction, for the first six months you have your intermediate license, you cannot carry more than one minor passenger that is not a relative when driving without adult supervision. A relative means someone that is your brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister, or another minor living in your household.
- You are not allowed to carry more passengers than the number of seat belts in your vehicle, even when driving with adult supervision.
If you’ve received your Iowa minor school license, you’ll be allowed to drive without adult supervision between 5:00 AM and 10:00 PM to do the following:
- Drive from your home to your school(s) of enrollment or school sponsored activities using the most direct and accessible route. Activities must be at the school(s) you are enrolled in.
- Drive to a school that is not your school of enrollment to participate in extracurricular activities conducted at that school under a sharing agreement with your school of enrollment.
- Drive to and from your home to the closest school bus stop.
- Stop for fuel while on route or at the closest filling station off route.
With an Iowa minor school license, you’re not allowed to carry more than one minor passenger who is not a relative if you’re driving without adult supervision. You’re also not allowed to drive to a school other than your own, unless your school has an extracurricular sharing agreement with that district.
Getting Your Full Unrestricted Iowa Drivers License
Your Iowa intermediate license converts to a full unrestricted license when you turn 18 (provided you don’t do anything that will cause you to have your license suspended). If you want to get your unrestricted license before that, you’ll need to meet a few requirements. You must have your intermediate license for 12 months before you can apply, and you must maintain a clean driving record over the course of those 12 months. In addition, you must log 10 hours of supervised driving while you hold your intermediate license, with two of those hours occurring at night.