How To Get A Motorcycle License In Iowa

Beast Riders is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Riding your motorcycle down the road can be very peaceful and refreshing, but it can also be illegal if you do not have a license.

This will undoubtedly complicate things as you can get pulled over and fined if you do not have a motorcycle license while driving your motorcycle.

Due to each state’s different rules and regulations, it can be quite difficult to manage which state requires what. For this reason, I will be talking about how to get a motorcycle license in Iowa.

The entire process is pretty easy to understand; all you need to do is visit your DMV, fill out an application, and provide some documents. Then you must pass a couple of tests and a safety course to earn your motorcycle license.

If you want to learn more about this entire process, keep reading the article. I will go through all the requirements and things you need to be aware of when getting a license in Iowa.

Motorcycle License Requirements In Iowa

Wondering when you can get a motorcycle license in Iowa? Read my guide to learn

Before you can start to apply for a motorcycle license, you need to do your research. More often than not, each state has its own set of rules regarding age and the type of license you can get.

Iowa is no different, which is why you should start with the following:

Knowing Your Age

Depending on your age, you may be required to provide different documents. While the entire process stays the same, your requirements change slightly, as does the type of license you get.

Age 14 And Below

If you are below the legal age, you will have to provide the following pieces of documents:

  • A document that proves your identity.
  • A document that proves your place of legal residency.
  • Your ID card, which should show your social security number.
  • A document that outlines your legal presence.
  • A document signed by your parents and or legal guardian allowing you to apply.

Age 18 And Above

If you are at or above the legal age, you will have to give this set of documents at the DMV:

  • Identity Proof.
  • Proof of legal residency.
  • Your ID card, which should show your social security number.
  • Proof of your legal presence.
  • Your current marital status.

Types Of Motorcycle Licenses

There is only one type of license that operates in the state of Iowa. You must acquire it to ride your motorcycle on public roads.

That being said, if you are underage, you can opt to get a permit which acts as a sort of license.

Motorcycle Riding Permit

This permit is for people below the age of 18. It allows them to ride a motorcycle, but certain actions vary depending on age.

Minors above 16 but below 18 must be accompanied by a licensed rider. Minors below 16 are not allowed to carry passengers or ride after sunset.

Motorcycle License

This is a standard motorcycle license with no restrictions. It allows riders to ride their motorcycles without restrictions and does not limit their passengers.

How To Apply For Your Iowa Motorcycle License

By this point, you should know which license is a good fit for you. Now, I will highlight the main steps you need to fulfill if you want to get a motorcycle license in Iowa.

Step 1: Get A Driver’s License

The first step to getting a motorcycle license is a driver’s license. If you already have a driver’s license, that is good.

If you do not, then you will have to follow the following steps to get one:

  • Getting a driver’s license is quite similar to getting a motorcycle license.
  • The first thing that you need to do is provide proper documents to the DMV.
  • These documents are mostly the same that have been mentioned above.
  • You must ensure that you have not been canceled or suspended/revoked in any other state.
  • You can then pass a series of tests; a vision test, a written test, and a driving test.
  • Once you have passed all the tests, all left is to pay the fees and get your license.
  • You will be handed a temporary license and be mailed the permanent one.

Step 2: Testing For Your Motorcycle License

To prove to the state that you can drive a motorcycle, you need to pass a series of tests that show the state that you are not a danger to the public and can be allowed to ride a motorcycle.

1. Vision Test

The first test you will have to take is quite simple as it involves only being able to see.

Doctors will assess your vision to see if it is fit for riding a motorcycle. You will need at least 20/40 vision to pass this test.

If you do not pass, you can get glasses or contacts from a licensed specialist and reappear for the test again.

2. Motorcycle Written Test

You need to be at least 14 years old if you want to proceed with the written test phase of getting your motorcycle license.

This test will consist of 25 questions in total. These questions will be based on the rules of the road and basic motorcycle safety mentioned in the Iowa state manual.

You will need to pass at least 20 questions if you want to move on to the next phase.

3. Motorcycle Road Test

The final test you will have to pass is the driving test which tests all your motorcycle riding skills.

You will have to carry out a series of maneuvers and skills, which must be properly displayed to prove that you can safely ride a motorcycle.

These include cone weaving, stopping, sharp turns, quick stops, U-turns, and obstacle swerves.

Step 3: Collecting Your Paperwork

Once you have given all of the tests, you can go back to the DMV and collect all your documents.

You may be asked to fill out a survey or an application in order to receive your license.

Make sure all of your documents are accounted for; otherwise, you may have issues in the future.

Step 4: Go To Your Local Driver’s License Office

Now that all of the main tasks have been carried out, all that is left is to pay the fees.

Depending on the tests that you give, you will have to give different fines. At the end of the entire process, you will have to pay for the license application.

Once all the payments have been made, a temporary license will be issued. You’ll get your permanent license through mail within 1 to 2 weeks.

Ways To Get A Motorcycle Endorsement In IA

If you have a license, you can opt for the motorcycle endorsement.

Here is how you can go about it.

Step 1: Apply For An Endorsement At The DMV

The first step is to go to the DMV and apply for an endorsement. You will have to apply the same range of documents as listed above, along with your current driver’s license.

Step 2: Pass The Tests

You will then have to pass the same three tests as mentioned above; the vision test, written test, and screening test. This, along with paying the fees, should enable you to get your motorcycle endorsement.

Step 3: Carry Out A Safety Course

You can also opt to take a state to approve safety course as well. This will cause the above-road test to be waived in favor of the course, saving you some time.

It is to be noted that these state-approved courses can cost a lot and their cost varies depending on where you get them from.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Long Will It Take To Get A Motorcycle License In Iowa?

If you are applying as a minor, you need to hold your instruction permit for at least 12 months before you can apply for an intermediate license.

If you are above 18, you will have to wait at most 21 days before you get your permanent license in the mail.

Q2. How Much Will It Cost To Get A Motorcycle License In Iowa?

The cost of the license itself should run you around $6 a year, but this is just for the license. You will have to pay an additional amount of cash for taking test application tests.

You may have to pay even more if you end up taking a specialized course that has varying costs throughout the state.

Q3. Should I Have A License To Ride A Motorcycle In Iowa?

You need to have a license if you want to get the best experience of driving your motorcycle. Failure to ride on public roads with a license will get you in trouble with the police.

If you get pulled over, and you do not have a license, then you will have to give a fine at a minimum.

You may also be interested in my article: Iowa Motorcycle Helmet Laws


Getting a license in the state of Iowa can be a very fun experience. However, there is no doubt in my mind that the entire process can be confusing if you do not know what exactly you need to do.

With so many different documents and processes, it can be hard to manage all the things needed to get your motorcycle license.

Luckily for you, this article should have given you all the knowledge necessary on how to get a motorcycle license in Iowa.

This should make the entire process a lot easier and help you manage what documents you need to bring and who to give them to.

Recent Posts