The application process to get an Iowa driver’s license is as follows:
- Study for the written test. Click here for the Iowa Driver’s Manual
- Pass the written test and a vision test at the Driver’s License Department of the Bremer County Courthouse (415 East Bremer Avenue, Waverly)
The hours of the Driver’s License Department are 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on Monday-Friday. You can begin the test between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. You can call the Driver’s License Department with questions by dialing 9-352-0164 from any on-campus phone or 319-352-0164 from any cell phone. The written test is free and you must take the following documents with you:
- Passport (with I-94)
- Social Security Card
- Wartburg ID card.
- If you pass the written test and vision test, you are eligible to receive either a temporary instructional permit until you are ready to take the driving test or you can schedule a test with a police officer right away. The instructional permit costs $6. You must pay with cash or check (no credit/debit cards accepted). The permit is not a license. The permit allows you to drive only if there is a licensed driver in the car with you.
- Practice driving with a licensed driver.
- Schedule an appointment at the Bremer County Courthouse to take the driving test.
The hours for driving tests are 8 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Monday-Friday (weather permitting)
An appointment is required to take the driving test.
- Take the driving test at the Bremer County Courthouse at the scheduled time. You must have a friend loan you their car for this test and you must have paper proof of insurance for that car. You must arrive with them to the court house or they must leave the car (and insurance documentation) there for you to use beforehand since you cannot drive their car alone to the courthouse before you take the test. You will also take another vision test at this time. You will need the following documents with you again:
- Passport with I-94,
- Social security card
- Wartburg ID
- Instruction permit
- Insurance card for the car you plan to drive at your driving test (Bremer County does not provide you with a car for the test)
- If you pass the driving test, you can apply for a driver’s license. The license costs $20. You must pay with cash or check (credit/debit cards not accepted). You will receive a temporary license at the time of application your permanent driver’s license card will be mailed to you in approximately two weeks. International student licenses are valid for either 2-years or until the end of your degree or OPT (as listed on your I-20), whichever comes sooner.
State Photo IDs
Instead of always carrying your passport to identify yourself (for flying domestically or to enter establishments serving alcohol), international students can apply for an Iowa State ID card. The card can be applied for at the Drivers License Office, costs $5, and requires the same immigration documentation as a driver’s license.
Registering Cars On-Campus
Students must register with Campus Security any vehicle they bring to campus, regardless of the duration. Failure to register will incur an additional $10 fine for each ticket and the student isn’t even eligible to appeal the ticket until he or she registers. The parking regulations can be found online.
Car Insurance: A Must
Car insurance is required in the state of Iowa and inexpensive liability insurance is available from many local providers. Drivers that are stopped by police are always asked for their driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance so it is important that students have all of these in their car when they are driving. If you buy a car be sure to purchase car insurance to avoid a fine when you are stopped and, most importantly, to protect yourself from financial ruin if you are the cause of an accident. A basic car insurance policy (liability insurance) can be set up with a local provider using automatic payments from a credit or debit card and drivers should be sure to always keep their address updated with their insurance provider so that they receive the updated proof of insurance paperwork that needs to be in the car at all times.
Registration, Plates, and Stickers
If you are an owner or a new buyer of a car you must make sure that it is registered with the State and that proof of this registration is in your car at all times. If drivers are stopped, police officers will ask for registration papers and check plate numbers and stickers to make sure they have not expired. To register a car or update your mailing address associated with that registration, visit the local DOT office closest to you (for Waverly it is the Bremer County Courthouse). Fees for registration and new plates generally run around $50 depending on the car and each year plates will need updated registration stickers. Drivers need to remember that the deadline to pay for updated registration stickers is their birthday the cost for these annual registration stickers can be from $50 to several hundred dollars depending on the value of the car. Student that move to a new town in Iowa after registering their car in Waverly can update their mailing address and registration by visiting any Iowa DOT office. Students who move to another state have 30 days to register their cars in that state at the motor vehicle office in the new town they are living.