Getting a Driver’s License

Driving in the United States

All drivers must have a valid driver’s license to operate an automobile, motorcycle or moped with an engine over 49cc. A person can obtain a driver’s license at the age of 16. Driver’s licenses, motor vehicle registrations and titles for automobiles, motorcycles, trucks,recreational vehicles and mortiorized boats are available through the Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division. The website, which answers questions on all related driving subjects is: http://www.iowadot.gov/.

You may also call toll free in Iowa 1.800.532.1121.

A driver’s license is also the major form of official identification in the U.S. Sometimes if you write a check or use a credit card, you will be asked for your driver’s license.

Obtaining a Driver’s License in Iowa:

If you have never been licensed, you must:

  • Present acceptable proof of identity and proof of residence.
  • Not be canceled, suspended, or revoked in any state.
  • Provide proof of Social Security.
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Pass all applicable written test(s).
  • Pass driving test.
  • Pay applicable fees.

If you were not born in the United States or are not an American citizen you must:

  • Present acceptable proof of identity and proof of residence.
  • Not be canceled, suspended or revoked in any state.
  • Provide proof of Social Security. If you are a temporary foreign national not authorized for employment, verification of a Social Security number may be waived for a non-commercial driver’s license or an ID card. You must, however, present your immigration documents so the Iowa DOT can record the USCIS number in lieu of the SSN.
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Pass all applicable written test(s).
  • Pass all applicable driving test.
  • Pay applicable fees.

SUMMARY

A list of acceptable documents for identification can be found on the Department of Transportation (DOT) Web site at www.iowadot.gov. In summary, in order to receive your Iowa Driver’s License you must pass a vision test, written examination and driving tests and pay a fee.

The written examination is based on information in the Iowa Drivers’ Manual, which is available from any license branch. See: http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/driverslicense/default.htm for branch sites.

Written examination:

All exams are computerized, and the DOT provides the test in the following languages:

  • Albanian
  • Arabic
  • Bosnian
  • Burmese
  • Cambodian 
  • Chinese
  • English 
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew 
  • Hmong
  • Italian 
  • Korean 
  • Laotian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian 
  • Somali 
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

source: Iowa DOT

If your language is not represented, you must call your local driver’s license facility and schedule a time to come in with an interpreter.

Driving Test

You can bring your own interpreter for your practical driving test. They must be at least 16 years old. Your approved driving instructor can be your interpreter.

You will need to arrange your own interpreter and pay any fees that they charge. Interpreters do not go in the car during the driving test. They are just there to explain the test giver’s instructions. You are expected to know enough English to understand and obey the instructor’s basic directions.

International Driving Permit

International Driving Permit is an internationally recognized document which proves that you hold a valid driving license in your current country of permanent residence. The permit gives license details in several languages. If stopped by the police, you need to show both your valid driver’s lines and international driving permit. But note: The International Driving Permit does not take the place of a driver’s license: To obtain an International Driving Permit in the United States, you must have a valid American Driver license. The American Automobile Association issues the permits. There is a charge and you have to provide two photographs.

It is suggested that you obtain an international Driving Permit from your country of residence before visiting or moving to the U.S.

Licenses and ID cards issued to temporary foreign nationals must be limited to the period of time the foreign national is authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to stay in the country, not to exceed two years. There must be at least 30 days of status time remaining. See http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/driverslicense/default.htm for more information.

Getting a Driver’s License

Driving in the United States

All drivers must have a valid driver’s license to operate an automobile, motorcycle or moped with an engine over 49cc. A person can obtain a driver’s license at the age of 16. Driver’s licenses, motor vehicle registrations and titles for automobiles, motorcycles, trucks,recreational vehicles and mortiorized boats are available through the Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division. The website, which answers questions on all related driving subjects is: http://www.iowadot.gov/.

You may also call toll free in Iowa 1.800.532.1121.

A driver’s license is also the major form of official identification in the U.S. Sometimes if you write a check or use a credit card, you will be asked for your driver’s license.

Obtaining a Driver’s License in Iowa:

If you have never been licensed, you must:

  • Present acceptable proof of identity and proof of residence.
  • Not be canceled, suspended, or revoked in any state.
  • Provide proof of Social Security.
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Pass all applicable written test(s).
  • Pass driving test.
  • Pay applicable fees.

If you were not born in the United States or are not an American citizen you must:

  • Present acceptable proof of identity and proof of residence.
  • Not be canceled, suspended or revoked in any state.
  • Provide proof of Social Security. If you are a temporary foreign national not authorized for employment, verification of a Social Security number may be waived for a non-commercial driver’s license or an ID card. You must, however, present your immigration documents so the Iowa DOT can record the USCIS number in lieu of the SSN.
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Pass all applicable written test(s).
  • Pass all applicable driving test.
  • Pay applicable fees.

SUMMARY

A list of acceptable documents for identification can be found on the Department of Transportation (DOT) Web site at www.iowadot.gov. In summary, in order to receive your Iowa Driver’s License you must pass a vision test, written examination and driving tests and pay a fee.

The written examination is based on information in the Iowa Drivers’ Manual, which is available from any license branch. See: http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/driverslicense/default.htm for branch sites.

Written examination:

All exams are computerized, and the DOT provides the test in the following languages:

  • Albanian
  • Arabic
  • Bosnian
  • Burmese
  • Cambodian 
  • Chinese
  • English 
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew 
  • Hmong
  • Italian 
  • Korean 
  • Laotian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian 
  • Somali 
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

source: Iowa DOT

If your language is not represented, you must call your local driver’s license facility and schedule a time to come in with an interpreter.

Driving Test

You can bring your own interpreter for your practical driving test. They must be at least 16 years old. Your approved driving instructor can be your interpreter.

You will need to arrange your own interpreter and pay any fees that they charge. Interpreters do not go in the car during the driving test. They are just there to explain the test giver’s instructions. You are expected to know enough English to understand and obey the instructor’s basic directions.

International Driving Permit

International Driving Permit is an internationally recognized document which proves that you hold a valid driving license in your current country of permanent residence. The permit gives license details in several languages. If stopped by the police, you need to show both your valid driver’s lines and international driving permit. But note: The International Driving Permit does not take the place of a driver’s license: To obtain an International Driving Permit in the United States, you must have a valid American Driver license. The American Automobile Association issues the permits. There is a charge and you have to provide two photographs.

It is suggested that you obtain an international Driving Permit from your country of residence before visiting or moving to the U.S.

Licenses and ID cards issued to temporary foreign nationals must be limited to the period of time the foreign national is authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to stay in the country, not to exceed two years. There must be at least 30 days of status time remaining. See http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/driverslicense/default.htm for more information.