How to Apply for a Drivers License in Wisconsin
New drivers licenses cannot be obtained online or by mail. Instead, you must apply for a new license in person at a local DMV. While there, you must pass a vision screening, a written exam and a skills test. To make sure that you are prepared, download our informative online drivers license guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to complete this application easily and quickly. In it, you will get in-depth details on how to complete other important licensing transactions, such as updating personal information on your license, renewing your license and replacing a lost one.
2. In Person at the DMV
To obtain a new drivers license at the DMV, you must submit identification documents and pass mandatory tests. A birth certificate or passport can verify your name and age, and a utility bill can prove your state residency. Generally, you must pass a written knowledge exam and a road skills test. You must also fill out a drivers license application form and pay the applicable fees. However, you may not know which forms to complete or if you are already eligible to take your exams. Arriving at the DMV unprepared may result in long wait times and potential mistakes, which could mean having to redo the process.
Wisconsin DMV drivers license applications must be submitted in person at a Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. All first-time motorists, regardless of age, must hold a probationary DMV license for two years before a full driving credential can be issued. Generally, residents as young as 15-and-a-half years of age may apply for a permit. Then, after holding a permit for a set period of time, motorists will become eligible to obtain a probationary license.
In order to apply for a drivers license in WI, motorists must submit identification documents at a DMV branch. Moreover, if you are younger than 18 years of age, you may be required to enroll in a driver education course before a license application can be submitted. As a general rule, the fees for acquiring a DMV license vary depending on the type of credential and an applicant’s age. In any case, these fees must be paid during the application process. To learn more about how to get a driver’s license in Wisconsin, read the following sections.
How to Apply for a Drivers License in Wisconsin as an Adult (18 or Older)
First-time motorists who are older than 18 years of age and applying for a new drivers license in Wisconsin will be required to hold a probationary license for two years.
On the other hand, if you have already held an out-of-state license, you may be exempt from additional testing requirements. Once all of the WI DMV drivers license requirements have been met, you will be issued with a credential with full privileges.
Wisconsin Drivers License Eligibility Requirements for Adults
Probationary DMV licenses must be held by all new motorists in Wisconsin, regardless of their age. Eligible applicants include:
- First-time drivers
- Motorists who were licensed in a foreign country
- Drivers reinstating a revoked or suspended license
- New residents surrendering out-of-state drivers licenses
- New residents with only three years of driving experience in select countries
- Motorists who are younger than 21 years of age
A probationary drivers license enhances the penalties accrued when holding the license. However, this type of credential does not restrict one’s ability to operate a vehicle during certain times.
Steps to Obtain a New Drivers License in Wisconsin as an Adult
The Wisconsin DMV issues both REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and standard cards that do not comply with these federal regulations. Starting on October 1, 2020, REAL ID cards will be required for residents to board domestic flights. Furthermore, consider the following steps to apply for a probationary license at a DMV office:
- Complete the WI drivers license application Include your Social Security Number (SSN) in the form, if applicable.
- Provide proof of citizenship or legal residency, such as a passport or a birth certificate. However, be mindful that documentation requirements for REAL ID and non-REAL ID credentials may differ.
- Submit proof of name and date of birth. The same documents for proof of citizenship may be used for these purposes.
- Provide proof of state residency, such as a paycheck or lease agreement.
- Provide one of the following:
- Proof of holding a learner’s permit for seven days
- Proof that you have passed the knowledge test and hold a foreign driver’s license
- Pass the road skills test.
- Pay for the DMV license and test fees.
If you have not previously held an out-of-state driving credential, you must first apply for a driver’s license permit. To do so, you must complete a WI driver’s license application form, submit the abovementioned identification and state residency documents and take the required tests. Once a permit has been held for seven days, you may apply for a probationary license. Then, after the probationary credential expires, you will receive a standard DMV license as part of the renewal process.
Getting a Wisconsin Drivers License as a New Resident
If you have recently moved to Wisconsin, you must apply for a new driver’s license within 60 days of establishing residency in the state. Overall, new residents must be at least 16 years of age to apply for this type of credential. When obtaining a WI license, you will need to undergo the following steps:
- Complete the Wisconsin DMV drivers license application form, which can be accessed online or in person.
- Undergo a vision and hearing screening, then have your photograph taken.
- Pass all of the applicable tests, such as the written exam and the road skills test. If you have never held a driving credential or have not held a license in the past eight years, you will be required to take all of the tests mandated by the WI DMV.
- Complete and submit a medical examination report, if applicable.
- Surrender your current out-of-state DMV license to the DMV.
- Pay the applicable license fees.
How to Get a Drivers License in Wisconsin as a Teen (Younger Than 18)
All first-time motorists who are younger than 18 years of age must obtain an instructional permit before they can apply for a new driver’s license with full privileges in Wisconsin. Once a permit has been held for more than six months and the state’s driver education requirements have been satisfied, you will become eligible for a probationary license. Only after holding a probationary credential you will qualify for a full DMV license.
Wisconsin Drivers License Requirements for Teens
Residents must be at least 15-and-a-half years of age to apply for a permit DMV license in Wisconsin. In addition to the requirements mentioned in the previous section, minors must also:
- Complete a driver education course.
- Have your instructor sign your WI driver’s license application and complete the first practical lesson within 60 days.
- Provide parental consent within the application.
- Pass the DMV vision screening, as well as the knowledge test.
- Meet the following education requirements:
- Be enrolled in a school or high school program
- Have graduated from high school or an equivalent institution
- Be enrolled in a private education program
Applicants are only eligible for a probationary driver’s license in WI if they are at least 16 years of age and have held a permit for at least six months. In addition, their driving records must have no traffic citations for six months prior to applying.
All Wisconsin driver’s license applicants who are younger than 18 years of age must complete a driver education course in order to apply for a probationary credential. As a general rule, these courses must be completed through state-approved centers. Furthermore, applicants must complete 30 hours of behind-the-wheel experience, ten of which must be conducted at night.
Steps to Obtain a New Drivers License in Wisconsin as a Teen
If you are younger than 18 years of age, you must apply for a learner’s permit in order to learn how to drive, as you will be required to pass a road skills test when requesting a full DMV license. Moreover, before you apply for a permit, you must already be enrolled in an approved driver education course. Then, you can submit the following items to the DMV in person:
- A completed WI drivers license application form. The form must include the signatures from your instructor and your parent, legal guardian or adult sponsor. In any case, the parental figure in your life will assume liability for you as a motorist, and will confirm that the information on the form is correct.
- Identification documents. However, be mindful that applicants younger than 18 years of age will not be required to provide proof of state residency.
- Proof of completed tests.
- Payment for the learner’s permit.
Once you have held a Wisconsin drivers permit for at least six months, you may apply for a probationary license. To apply in person, follow the steps outlined below.
- Complete an approved driver education course.
- Complete the required 30 hours of driving practice.
- Complete the DMV license application form. A parent, legal guardian or sponsor must sign the form confirming that you have completed the mandated hours of driving experience.
- Provide proof of identity documents.
- Pass the road skills test. Tests may be scheduled online or in person at the DMV. A DMV driver’s license test is only available to minors once the driver education course has been completed and submitted to the DMV.
- Pay for the probationary license fee and driving test fee.
Permit holders are not allowed to operate a vehicle unless they are accompanied by a resident who has a valid WI DMV license and at least two years of driving experience. In addition, the accompanying passenger must be an instructor, parent or legal guardian who is at least 19 years of age.
New probationary driver’s license holders who are younger than 18 years of age must adhere to the following restrictions for the first nine months:
- You are only allowed to carry one additional passenger alongside immediate family members or authorized adults.
- You are not allowed to drive between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. Allowances are granted to trips to or from work or school.
Wisconsin Drivers License Costs
As a general rule, the Wisconsin DMV accepts cash, checks, debits cards and select credit cards in order to applicants to pay for the drivers license cost.
If paying with a credit card, be mindful that convenience fees may apply. Consider the following fees related to new driver’s licenses in WI:
- Instructional permit – $35
- Probationary driver’s license – $28
- Regular driver’s license $34
- Road skills driving test – $15