Getting Your Wisconsin Drivers License: Requirements & Steps
Wisconsin Driver's License

Getting Your Wisconsin Drivers License: Requirements and Steps

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Jan 06, 2022

Getting your Wisconsin driver’s license is fairly simple – as long as you know what you’re doing. You must be at least 15 years and 6 months old to begin the process. Like many states, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has implemented the Graduated License Program to keep young drivers safe. All drivers are required to complete the GDL to get their license, regardless of age. 

Step 1. Instruction Permit

If you’re under 18 years old, you’ll need to satisfy the following requirements to start the process of applying for your permit:

  • Must be at least 15 years old and 6 months
  • Must be enrolled in driver education
  • Must have adult sponsor
  • Must be currently in high school or graduated with diploma or GED

When ready, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Visit your local Wisconsin  DMV service center. You’ll need to schedule an appointment here.
  2. Fill Driver License Application. Driver license form MV3001 will need to be completed at the DMV or in advance.
  3. Provide documentation.
  • Proof of name 
  • Proof of birthdate
  • Proof of residency (if over 18)
  • Verification of high school enrollment (if under 18)
  • Social security number
  1. Pass knowledge and sign tests. The knowledge and sign test is one of the hardest parts of getting your Wisconsin driver’s license. There are 50 questions on the exam. You must score an 80%, or answer 40 questions correctly, to pass.
  2. Pass vision test. You will need to establish an eyesight of 20/40 or better and a 70-degree field of vision to pass.
  3. Pay permit fee. The DMV accepts cash, checks, debit card, and credit cards.

After you’ve received your permit, you will be subject to the following restrictions:

  • Must be accompanied by a qualified instructor, parent, guardian, or spouse that is 19 years or older in the passenger seat. You may also drive with a licensed adult who is 21 years or older. 
  • Must maintain sobriety at all times
  • Must always wear a seat belt

Step 2. Wisconsin Probationary Driver’s License

To gain your probationary license in Wisconsin, you must be at least 16 years old and have completed the following requirements:

  • Hold your permit for at least six months (7 days if over 18)
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have an adult sponsor (if under 18)
  • Successfully complete driver education course
  • Accumulate 30 hours of behind the wheel experience, with 10 of those occurring at night

A probationary license serves as a limited license, allowing you to operate a motor vehicle within and outside of Wisconsin. Obtaining your probationary driver’s license is similar to getting your permit. You’ll be required to visit the DMV with proper documentation and proof that you’ve completed the criteria above. Afterwards, you’ll be asked to pay the license fee. It will expire two years from your next birthday. 

Probationary License Restrictions

Once you receive your probationary license, you’ll be allowed a bit more freedom on the road. However, there will still be quite a few restrictions placed that will be mandatory for you to follow. After nine months of violation-free driving, these restrictions will be lifted.

  • Maintain sobriety at all times
  • May only drive with one other passenger
  • Are not allowed to drive between 12am and 5am, unless travelling between school, home, and/or work

Step 3. Full Wisconsin Driver’s License

Once you turn 18, you’ll be eligible for your full Wisconsin driver’s license. If you started the GDL while you were over the age of 18, you’ll be eligible once your probationary license expires. You’ll just need to maintain a clean driving record. At this point, you’ll be completely free of restrictions and allowed to operate your motor vehicle without limitations. 

To upgrade to an unrestricted license, visit your local Wisconsin DMV with proof of name, birthdate, and identity. Then you’ll be prompted to pay the driver’s license fee.

That’s It!

That’s all there is when it comes to getting your driver’s license in Wisconsin. While you’re on your path to gaining full driving privileges, be sure to check our guide early and often to avoid mistakes throughout the process. 

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