Iowa Permit Requirements

When applying for an Iowa driver permit with Motor Vehicle Division, it is important to know the permit rules.  Make sure you have the met the MVD requirements and that you have the necessary documents ready.

Many teenagers want to start driving as soon as possible, and the state of Iowa is one of the few in the country that allows citizens to receive a permit at the age of 14. Iowa also offers a Minor School License, which allows drivers to drive to and from school only, starting at age 14 ½.

Documentation and Procedure to Get a Iowa Permit

To receive a permit, the state still requires that a parent or legal guardian sign a Written Consent Form https://forms.iowadot.gov/FormsMgt/External/430018.pdf before the permit is issued. Other documentation you will need includes:

  • a form of identification, such as a valid passport or original birth certificate
  • proof of Social Security number with your Social Security card
  • proof of residency in the form of school enrollment documents such as a class schedule or report card.  Your parent’s ID is also acceptable when they sign the Written Consent Form.   

The Iowa written permit test requires knowledge of the rules of the road and the ability to properly identify road signs. The test consists of 35 multiple choice and true/false questions. You must get 80 percent of the questions right in order to pass the test, which would require 28 correct answers. Once you have passed the written permit test and a short vision exam, you are free to drive a vehicle under adult supervision after paying the $6 fee to receive your permit.

Iowa permit laws require the permit driver to drive under adult supervision. This adult supervision is defined as being a family member who is at least 21 years old or a non-family member that is at least 25 years old. Driving with someone outside of your family also requires written permission from a parent or guardian. Permit drivers in Iowa are not allowed to use any electronic communication while driving, and they can't have more passengers than the number of seat belts in the vehicle.

The Next Steps for Iowa Permit Holders

For a permit holder to receive a full license in the state of Iowa, they must follow the graduated licensing system.  An intermediate license in Iowa requires you to be at least 16 years old, hold a permit license for one year with a clean driving record in the last six months, and complete a state approved driver's education course. Additionally, drivers must log at least 20 hours of supervised driving with your permit, with at least 2 hours of driving after dark.  The intermediate license allows you to drive without adult supervision between 5 AM and 12:30 PM, but you can't carry more than one minor passenger that is not a relative for the first six months.

The next step of the graduated licensing system is to upgrade to a full license. A full license can be obtained by anyone that is at least 17 years old once they have held their intermediate license for 12 straight months while maintaining a clean driving record and completed at least 10 hours of adult-supervised driving. All of these restrictions for a full license are not required for anyone over 18 years old.