Iowa motorcycle licenses allow you to legally operate both two-wheeled and three-wheeled vehicles on public roads. But first, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that you pay a fee, pass the appropriate tests and provide certain documents proving your eligibility to receive this license.

To drive a motorcycle before getting your license, you can take a training course. A permit is also available if you already have a driver’s license but want to practice with a motorbike. Now, if you’re still new to motorcycles, driving, and Iowa or all three in general here’s a short guide on how to get a motorcycle license in Iowa.

Required Documents

To get a motorcycle license in Iowa, you must first provide proof of your age, residency, and identity. Your proof of residency can come in the form of a utility bill or a copy of a lease, while your proof of identity can be in the form of a valid I.D. card, driver’s license, or a passport.

For proof of age, you must have a birth certificate or a passport. If you have a driver’s license or a non-driver I.D. card, you must present a certified copy of your driving record, which can be obtained from the Iowa DOT.

Required Tests

Before you can get your motorcycle license, you must pass a vision exam, a motorcycle road sign exam, and a basic motorcycle licensing knowledge exam. Along with passing the tests, you must also pass a hands-on handling test, which will determine your ability to safely ride a motorcycle.

If you have a motorcycle license from another state, you may take a knowledge test instead of the motorcycle road sign exam. You may also take both tests if you’d prefer.

To help prepare for the motorcycle licensing knowledge test, you can study the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) motorcycle instruction manual, which includes information on traffic laws and common motorcycle safety hazards.

You can also take an Iowa Motorcycle Rider Education course, which will help you get the DMV motorcycle permit you need to ride on the streets and the I-PASS permit you need to ride on the interstates. This course costs about $25.

Applying as Non-Resident

If you moved to Iowa from out of state, you may apply for an Iowa motorcycle license immediately upon establishing residency. In this case, you will be required to provide a completed Application for Iowa Non-Resident Driver License and Non-Resident Identification Card (Form SF-1296). You will have to pay a $23 fee to get this license.

If you have a valid out-of-state motorcycle license, you may exchange it for a new Iowa license as long as you have taken the knowledge exam and passed the hands-on test. Be sure to bring your out-of-state driver’s license, an Application for Iowa Non-Resident Driver License and Non-Resident Identification Card (Form SF-1296), and a completed Iowa Non-Resident Affidavit (Form SF-1298).


Remember, you have to be at least 16 years old to get your Iowa motorcycle license. If you are younger than 18, you will have to hold the license for at least 30 days before you can ride independently. When you get your motorcycle license, you will get a license card and a motorcycle endorsement, which will allow you to ride bikes on Iowa’s roads.

If you are interested in motorcycles, beginner essentials, and more, you’re in the right place. Beginner Riders is a blog run by Garrett Fleck, who loves motorcycles. His goal is to inform people about motorcycle riding and help them get started. You can find the best motorbikes of the year or the best starter motorcycles. Keep browsing to learn more!