There are different types of licenses for drivers under age 18. Driving is an adult responsibility that teens need to take seriously to keep you and others safe and protect your privilege to drive. The Graduated Driver License (GDL) program in Iowa is a system designed for drivers under age 18. GDL includes 3 steps that provide experience to improve driving skills. These steps include: Instruction Permit, Intermediate License, and Full License.
How do I obtain an instruction permit?
- Be at least 14 years old
- Pass the knowledge and vision exam. There are 3 options for administering the knowledge exam. Schedule an appointment at a service center location, take the knowledge exam at home, or at school if available.
- Parent or guardian must provide written consent, either in-person at a drivers license issuance site, or complete the Parent's/Guardian's Written Consent Form (form 430018) and bring it with you when you come in to get your permit issued.
- Primary form of identification, proof of residency, and proof of Social Security number.
What can I do with the instructors permit?
Teens holding a valid instructors permit can drive at any time with adult supervision. Adult supervision means your parent, guardian, custodian, an immediate family member at least 21 years of age, a driver education instructor, or a person at least 25 years old with written permission from the parent, guardian, or custodian. All supervising adults must hold a valid driver's license.
What can't I do with the instructional permit?
- Drive without adult supervision
- Use a cellular phone, tablet, or any other electronic communication or entertainment device while operating a motor vehicle.
- Carry more passengers than the number of seat belts in the vehicle, even in the presence of adult supervision.
- Drive a commercial motor vehicle, with a vehicle weight rating of 16,001 lbs or more, or a motorcycle.
How to Move to the next step: Intermediate License?
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Complete National Driver Training's Online Iowa Driver's Ed program approved by the state of Iowa.
- Must hold a valid instruction permit for a total of at least 12 months and maintain a clean driving record for at least six consecutive months immediately before applying for an intermediate license.
- Your parent or guardian must provide written consent, either in-person at a driver's license issuance site or complete the Parent's/Guardian's Written Consent Form (form 430018)
- Complete 20 hours of supervised driving including any driving you completed in National Driver Training's Online Iowa Driver's Ed program. At least 2 of those hours must be at night.
Your permit may be suspended if you are convicted of a moving traffic violation, such as speeding, reckless driving, failure to obey a traffic signal, or are involved in a crash that you caused or contributed to.
- First conviction, violation, or crash: Your permit could be suspended or you may receive a safety advisory letter.
- Second conviction, violation, or crash: Your permit will be suspended for 30 days.
Any time you have a conviction, violation, or crash, your six-month period to have a clean driving record will start over.
An intermediate license is an important step on the road to obtain a full license. This license gives you more driving freedom and also more responsibility. Know how to keep you and others safe, and protect your privilege to drive.
How do I get an Intermediate License?
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Complete National Driver Training's Iowa Online Driver's Ed program.
- Have had an instruction permit for a total of 1 year and a clean driving record for at least 6 consecutive months immediately before applying for your intermediate license.
- You may be required to complete a driving exam at the driver's license issuance site if your driver's education instructor feels it is necessary, or if you completed the Online Driver's Ed program.
- Your parent or guardian must provide written consent.
- Available at age 17
- Must meet all conditions of intermediate license.
- If you are under the age of 18, your parent or guardian must provide written consent.
- Full driving privileges with no restrictions.
- For drivers under age 18 or 21, the license will have the words "under eighteen" or "under twenty-one".
If you are 17 and meet all the conditions of the intermediate license, you can get your full license by visiting a driver's license issuance site.