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How to Apply for a New Driver's License in Wisconsin

Getting drivers licenses in Wisconsin is a privilege available only to eligible residents, if they want to legally operate motor vehicles on public roads in the state. New drivers license applicants must provide necessary documentation and pay applicable fees. Additionally, applicants have to pass a series of exams: vision test, written drivers test and a road test.

Did you know? Beginner drivers license applicants usually fail the written test on their first try. Therefore, they should get prepared by taking our practice driving tests.

How to Apply for a Wisconsin Driver's License:

  • Visit a WI DOT location.
  • Present the required documentation.
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Pass the written drivers test.
  • Pass a road test.
  • Pay the WI drivers license fees.

Continue reviewing the sections below for further information on getting drivers license in Wisconsin.

Types of Drivers Licenses in Wisconsin

Before applying for drivers licenses in Wisconsin, driving applicants should familiarize themselves with the different types of licenses they can apply for. Several drivers licenses are issued to qualified applicants, including the following:

  • Class A, B and C Commercial Drivers License (CDL) - Issued to drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles.
  • Class D drivers license - Issued to drivers who operate regular motor vehicles.
  • Class M motorcycle license - Issued to drivers who operate motorcycles.

First-Time Driver (Under 18) in Wisconsin

First-time Wisconsin drivers license applicants who are 15-and-a-half years of age need to begin by applying for the first stage of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program - the instruction permit for driving. To go through the DMV drivers license program, minors need to meet the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (DOT) requirements at every stage, which will vary for each driving credential.

For more information, visit our Learner's Permit page.

Wisconsin New Drivers (Over 18)

Getting a regular Class D drivers license in Wisconsin requires applicants to be at least 16 years of age, pass a series of exams, provide the necessary documents and pay the applicable fees.

WI Driver's Study Guide and Driver's Practice Test

Wisconsin drivers license applicants must pass a written drivers test in order to obtain driving privileges. To do so, they may study from the Motorists' Handbook and practice their knowledge with our driving practice tests. These DMV license tests offer the chance to preview the type of questions they will have to answer on the official Wisconsin written test.

How to Apply for Drivers Licenses in WI

Getting drivers licenses in Wisconsin is a process that must be conducted at a WI DOT office. New drivers license applicants will have to gather and provide the following documentation:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship.
  • Proof of name and date of birth.
  • Proof of identity.
  • Proof of Wisconsin residency.
  • Proof of Social Security Number.

WI Drivers License Eligibility Requirements

Wisconsin residents who want to apply for drivers licenses must be at least 15-and-a-half years of age and meet the other WI DOT requirements, such as: present the required documentation and pay the applicable fees. Additionally, state drivers license applicants will have to pass three examinations: vision, written and road skills. Fulfilling these requirements will certify that the applicant is a safe and responsible driver.

WI Written/Driving Test

A crucial part of the drivers license application process is the Wisconsin written test. The driving license written test consists of questions taken from the Wisconsin Driver Handbook's sections on traffic laws and road rules. Get prepared for the written knowledge exam by taking our practice driving tests, which contain questions similar to those you will have to answer.

WI Driving Test

The Wisconsin road skills test examines the drivers license applicant's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely and responsibly. This DMV drivers license test includes the following select maneuvers:

  • Following other traffic.
  • Changing lanes.
  • Passing other vehicles.
  • Backing up the motor vehicle.
  • Knowing how to parallel park.
  • Making a U-turn.
  • Stopping the vehicle and pulling it over to the side of the road.
  • Turning left or right.
  • Moving from a parked position onto a roadway.

New Wisconsin Resident

New Wisconsin residents need to apply for drivers license privileges at a WI DOT office within 60 days of establishing residency if they want to drive within the state. Applicants who have either a valid or expired out-of-state license to drive need to surrender it and take a vision exam. They also need to retake the written and driving exams if their out-of-state drivers license has been expired for more than eight years.

Once you establish Wisconsin residency, you need to title and register your vehicle at the nearest WI DOT office. If you already had an out-of-state auto registration, you need to present it the moment you apply for one in Wisconsin.

Replace Drivers License in Wisconsin

If you have a damaged, stolen or lost drivers license, you need to apply for a drivers license replacement at the nearest WI DOT office. Find out how to replace drivers licenses by following this link.

Locate a DMV in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has its own branches throughout the state where you can resolve your driving issues. Search through our WI DOT locations page to find phone numbers, addresses and working hours.

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