How to Get a Work Permit in Iowa

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The state of Iowa issues two types of work permits: the child work permit for employment of minors and the temporary restricted license, which is called a "work permit" when requested for employment purposes. You apply to the Iowa Department of Labor for the child work permit and the Department of Transportation for the temporary driver's license. Apply for a child work permit after an offer of employment. Apply for a temporary restricted driver license for limited driving privileges when your license is revoked.

Child Work Permits

Iowa requires youth under age 16 to apply for and receive a work permit before beginning a job. The state requires the work permit even if the child receives no pay. Iowa child labor laws prohibit minors from working in certain occupations and restricts the hours they may work. Contact the designated issuing officer at your local school or apply at an Iowa Workforce Development Center. Employers cannot legally hire a youth under age 16 without the required work permit. The IowaWorkforce.org website provides a list of IowaWORKS centers.

Child Work Permit Application

Whether you apply at your school through the designated official or at a Workforce Development Center, you must apply in person.

  • Bring the documents required to show evidence of age. Acceptable documents are a certified copy of your birth certificate or your current passport. Written certification from your physician attesting to your age also is acceptable if other documents are not available.

  • The issuer will provide you with a Child Labor Form, or work permit, for completion by the employer. The employer must list the type of work you will perform, the hours you will work and equipment you will operate.

  • After your parent or legal guardian signs the form, return it to the issuing office for approval.

Temporary Restricted Driver License

Apply to the Iowa Department of Transportation, or DOT, for the work permit type of the temporary restricted driver license. The DOT lists seven reasons, including employment, for which it will issue the special license. The work permit license allows you to drive at specified times for the stated purpose until the license expires. Drivers under the age 18 are not eligible for the temporary restricted driver license. If your revocation is due to operating while intoxicated, or OWI, there is a waiting period to apply for the work permit and additional requirements under the state's OWI law. License revocation periods, waiting periods and requirements for installation of an ignition interlock devise vary based on the OWI offense.

Driver's Work Permit Application

Submit the "Temporary Restricted License Application" to the Iowa DOT. The DOT provides the application form on its website, where you can complete and print the form for mailing.

  • Apply for the work permit version of the temporary license by specifying **employment** as the reason you need the license.

  • Provide proof of financial responsibility, including proof of insurance and, in the case of an accident, documentation of arrangements to accept financial liability.

  • Complete the entire application if you need a work permit. Your employer will have to complete and sign Part B, unless you are self-employed.

Approval Notice and Testing

If the DOT approves your application for the driver's work permit, you will receive an approval notice in the mail. Take the notice to a driver license office, where you will take the required knowledge and driving tests. The DOT will issue a work permit after you pass the tests and pay the fees. Call the Iowa DOT at 515-244-8725 or 515-244-9124, or visit one of the DOT's driver's license stations, for additional information about the work permit and current fees.

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