Iowa Driver Licensing Law

Obtaining an Iowa Instruction Permit

Fourteen-year-olds with consent of their parents are eligible to apply for an Instruction Permit in Iowa. The applicant must bring proof of identity, proof of residency, and verification of their Social Security number and will then be required to pass vision and knowledge tests.

The permit must be held for six months and has the following restrictions:

  • All driving must be supervised and can only be supervised by a licensed parent or guardian, immediate family member over 21 years of age, a driver education instructor, or a driver older than 25 with written permission from a parent or guardian.
  • The number of passengers is limited to the number of seatbelts in the vehicle.
  • Permit holders must complete an Iowa-approved or comparable driver education course.
  • During this time, the driver must complete 20 hours of supervised driving practice, with two of the hours being at night.
  • Driver may not use a cell phone, smartphone, tablet, or other electronic communication or entertainment device while driving. This does not apply to equipment permanently installed in your vehicle.

The driver must hold an instructional permit for at least 12 consecutive months and maintain a clean driving record for at least six consecutive months immediately before applying for an intermediate license.

Minor School License

Iowa residents holding an instruction permit may apply for a minor school license after turning 14 years and six months old. Applications must have six consecutive months without a driving infraction and live one mile or more from the school. The school superintendent, principal, or school board chair and parent or guardian must sign an Affidavit for school lincense. The driver's license station may require completion of a driving test.

  • License holders may drive without adult supervision from home to school or to school-sponsored activities using the most direct and accessible route. Activities must be within the school district lincensee is enrolled.
  • License holder may not drive outside the hours of 10PM and 5AM.
  • License holders may not carry more than one minor passenger that is not a relative without adult supervision.

Obtaining an Intermediate License

Once all the conditions of the Instruction Permit have been met and the permit holder has turned 16 years old, he or she will become eligible for an Intermediate License. Like the Instruction Permit, the Intermediate License requires written consent from a parent or guardian.The applicant must complete an Iowa-approved driver education course and have had an instruction permit for one year and a clean driving record for at least six consecutive months immediately before applying.

Requirements of the Intermediate License include:

  • License holders may drive without supervision from 5AM to 12:30AM. Between those hours, a licensed parent, guardian, immediate family member over 21 or designated adult over 25 is required. A waiver is required for driving in the restricted time when going to and from work or school-related activities.
  • The number of passengers is limited to the number of seatbelts in the vehicle.
  • During this period, the driver must complete 10 hours of supervised driving, with a minimum two hours practice at night.
  • The Intermediate License must be held a minimum of one year and will remain in effect until the holder has been issued a full license. The full license may be obtained upon the driver's 17th birthday.

Penalties for Traffic Convictions, Violations, or Crashes

  • First: license may be suspended or licensee may recieve additional restrictions, including but not limited to additional passenger restrictions and reductions on hours of operation without supervision.
  • Second: Licensee's license will be suspended for 30 days.

Any time you have a conviction, violation, or crash, your 12-month period to have a clean driving record will start over. Any time your license is suspended or revoked, your 12-month period to hold an intermediate license will start over.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.