Instructional Permit

What do I need to have an instructional permit issued?

Once you pass the written exam either with us or at a local DMW, you will need to provide ONE of the following documents if you are considered an international visitor:

  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State (Form FS-240, DS-1350 or FS-545)
  • Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550, N-570 or N-578)
  • Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560, N-561 or N-645)
  • Unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), including an I-94 with attached photo stamped "I-551 Temporary Proof of Lawful Permanent Resident" or a foreign passport stamped "Processed for I-551"
  • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766)
  • Record of Arrival and Departure (I-94) stamped "Refugee" or "Asylee"
  • Unexpired foreign passport accompanied by an I-94 Record of Arrival/Departure

The Iowa DOT will not issue a DL or ID if your immigration document shows your remaining status is less than 30 days.The Iowa DOT uses SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) to verify immigration status. If your personal information has changed or if the information on your immigration document is not correct, you will need to correct your immigration records. To begin this process, make an appointment with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office at or call its national customer service center at 800-375-5283.

Next the Iowa DOT will require a document that contains your current name and Social Security number (SSN).

One of the following documents will suffice:

  • Social Security card
  • W-2 form
  • Social Security Administration 1099 form
  • Non-Social Security Administration 1099 form
  • Pay stub
  • IRS form 1095-A, 1095-B, or 1095-C
  • Bank statement
  • Military document
  • Any other document listing your name and your full Social Security number (not just the last four digits)
  • I am not authorized for employment. (You do not have to document a SSN, but the Iowa DOT will verify your USCIS number. Make sure you are not authorized for employment. If you are eligible for employment but do not have a SSN, you are required to obtain and present one.)

The Iowa DOT will electronically verify your name, date of birth and SSN with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Make sure your document is up to date and accurate to avoid delay. If you need to correct or update information at the SSA, do so several days before you apply for a DL or ID card. For information on how to do this, visit Your SSN will not be listed on your DL or ID. The Iowa DOT will assign you a unique DL or ID number.

Next, you will need to establish that you live here.

To establish Iowa residency and residential address, you must bring TWO printed documents that show your current name and current Iowa residential address. 

The address must be a physical address where you reside and not a post office box. 

Select TWO documents you will use.

  • Iowa voter registration card
  • Valid Iowa vehicle registration certificate
  • Valid insurance card or certificate of coverage (life, health, auto, homeowner's or renter's)
  • Second valid insurance card or certificate of coverage (different than the first)
  • Utility hookup or bill (water, gas, electric, or garbage removal)
  • Second utility hookup or bill (different than the first)
  • Telephone hookup, service agreement or bill (landline or mobile)
  • Statement from a financial institution (bank, credit union, or other financial institution)
  • Second statement from a financial institution (different than the first)
  • Credit, debit, or charge card statement
  • Iowa residential mortgage, lease or rental agreement (lease and rental agreements must include the landlord's name and contact information)
  • Application for homestead tax credit for Iowa residential property
  • Application for military tax credit for Iowa residential property
  • Valid real estate tax statement or receipt for Iowa residential property
  • Pay stub from your employer
  • Current school enrollment papers for a dependent child in an Iowa public or private school
  • A federal, State of Iowa or local government document (such as a receipt, license, permit, assessment, or other document)
  • Second federal, State of Iowa or local government document (different than the first)
  • An envelope, box, postcard or magazine that includes a postmark or stamped date
  • Iowa DL or ID card that has not been expired for more than one year

Documents must be originals or certified copies and unexpired, unless otherwise noted. Staff will verify all documents presented.The checklist provides guidelines that may not cover every individual situation. The Iowa DOT reserves the right to reject unverifiable documents and request additional documents or investigate documents presented.

I know this is a lot, but if you review this carefully, you will not have any problems at the local DMV stations.

IMPORTANT: Most Iowa DOT locations and courthouse require you to schedule an appointment for your visit. Many times the appointments can take 2 – 3 weeks depending on the location.