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New drivers licenses cannot be obtained online or by mail. Instead, you must apply for a new license in person at a local DMV. While there, you must pass a vision screening, a written exam and a skills test. To make sure that you are prepared, download our informative online drivers license guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to complete this application easily and quickly. In it, you will get in-depth details on how to complete other important licensing transactions, such as updating personal information on your license, renewing your license and replacing a lost one.

2. In Person at the DMV

To obtain a new drivers license at the DMV, you must submit identification documents and pass mandatory tests. A birth certificate or passport can verify your name and age, and a utility bill can prove your state residency. Generally, you must pass a written knowledge exam and a road skills test. You must also fill out a drivers license application form and pay the applicable fees. However, you may not know which forms to complete or if you are already eligible to take your exams. Arriving at the DMV unprepared may result in long wait times and potential mistakes, which could mean having to redo the process.


An important part of getting an Iowa drivers license is understanding what the steps and requirements are ahead of time so that you can arrive at the Iowa license issuance site completely prepared. Understanding drivers license information such as what you need to get your license is essential in order for you to have a smooth and stress-free experience.

Iowa has a graduated license system for drivers younger than age 18. The graduated system includes two initial levels that must be completed to help young drivers gain experience before they obtain a full license: instruction permit and intermediate license.

There are specific drivers license requirements that must be met in order for each step to be achieved, including being of a certain age and completing different procedures. However, if you are 18 years of age or older, you can obtain a full license immediately as long as you are eligible for licensure. To learn more, read the sections below.

How to Apply for a Drivers License in Iowa as an Adult (18 or Older)

You can apply directly for a full Iowa DMV license if you are 18 years of age or older. This is because adults do not need to participate in the graduated licensing system. Applying for the license must take place at an Iowa license issuance site because getting a drivers license online is not an option in the state of Iowa. You must be eligible for a Class C DMV drivers license before you can obtain one without going through the graduated license system. This means that you must be at least 18 years of age and able to pass vision, knowledge and road tests. Also, you must not have been found incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle due to a mental or physical disability.

If you are going to obtain an Iowa new DMV license, you must follow a procedure. The steps that you must follow include:

  1. Visiting an Iowa license issuance location.
  2. Presenting documentation to verify identity, date of birth, Social Security number and Iowa residency.
  3. Passing a vision screening.
  4. Passing a written knowledge exam.
  5. Passing a driving skills exam.
  6. Paying the $4 license fee.

Note: If you are wondering where to get a drivers license, the answer is that you must visit an Iowa license issuing site in-person. There are a wide variety of different locations across the state, so you can select the office that is most convenient for you to visit.

Getting an Iowa Drivers License as a New Resident

Getting a new license at an Iowa drivers license services site is a requirement if you recently became an Iowa resident. To get your new Iowa license, you must surrender your out-of-state license, take a vision test and provide proof of your identity, Social Security number and Iowa residency. If you are between the ages of 16 and 18, you must ensure that you meet all licensing requirements and pass any applicable written and driving tests, as well.

How to Apply for a Drivers License in Iowa as a Teen (Younger Than 18)

As a minor applying for a drivers license, you have to follow a specific set of rules as part of the graduated licensing system. You must get a learners permit first and upon completion of a drivers education course, you can obtain an intermediate license. Then, after holding that license for a period of time and accumulating driving practice hours, you can finally obtain a full license.

Iowa Drivers License Eligibility Requirements for Teens

To get an intermediate license, you must meet the following drivers license eligibility requirements:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Complete an Iowa-approved driver education course.
  • Hold a valid instruction permit for at least 12 months.
  • Maintain a clean driving record for at least six consecutive months before applying.
  • Complete 20 hours of driving practice with your permit, including at least 2 hours at night.
  • Obtain written consent from a parent or legal guardian.

Then, to complete a drivers license application for a full license, you must:

  • Be at least 17 years old.
  • Hold a valid intermediate license for at least 12 months.
  • Maintain a clean driving record for at least 12 consecutive months before applying.
  • Complete 10 hours of driving practice with your intermediate license, including at least 2 hours at night.

To get a new Iowa drivers license before you are 18 years of age, you must pass an Iowa-approved driver education course. Once you have completed the course successfully, you will be presented with a certificate that you must present to the driver license issuance site in order to obtain your license. Drivers education is not required for anyone 18 years of age or older.

Applying for a New Drivers License in Iowa as a Teen

If you are curious about how to get an Iowa drivers license, you must note that getting a learners permit is the first step. To get your permit, you must be at least 14 years of age and you must present acceptable documentation and written consent from a parent or legal guardian. Then, you must pass the vision and written tests and pay the $6 permit fee.

Once you have held your instruction permit for 12 months and have met the other eligibility requirements, you can obtain your intermediate license. To do so, you must:

  1. Visit an Iowa license issuance location.
  2. Present documentation to verify identity, date of birth, Social Security number and Iowa residency.
  3. Present your instruction permit.
  4. Present an Iowa-approved drivers education completion certificate.
  5. Present Parent’s/Guardian’s Written Consent Form (form 430018), signed by parent/guardian.
  6. Paying the $8 license fee.

You can then get a full license as long as you are at least 17 years of age and you have held your intermediate license for at least 12 months. To do so, you must:

  1. Visit an Iowa license issuance location.
  2. Present documentation to verify identity, date of birth, Social Security number and Iowa residency.
  3. Present your intermediate license.
  4. Paying the $4 license fee.

Iowa Drivers License Costs

Below you will find the drivers license costs that you must pay when you apply for a license or permit:

  • Instruction Permit: $6
  • Class C – Operator: $4 per year
  • Class C – Minor’s Restricted License: $8
  • Replacement License: $10
Last updated on Tuesday, December 4 2018.

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