Wisconsin Driver's License Renewal

Wisconsin Driver’s License Renewal: A Complete Guide

by Zutobi · Updated Jan 03, 2022

Is it time to renew your license? It may seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is everything you need to know to make your Wisconsin driver’s license renewal smooth and painless.

When Do I Need to Renew My Driver’s License?

In Wisconsin, a driver’s license is valid for eight years and expires on your birthday. You will receive a courtesy reminder in the mail 45 to 90 days before it expires.

The Wisconsin DMV let’s you renew your license up to a year before it expires. If you have a permit or a probationary license, you can renew it up to 90 days before it expires.

What is the Grace Period for an Expired Driver’s License in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin does not have a grace period for an expired driver’s license. If you are caught driving with an expired license, you face fines of $100 or more and potential jail time. And the penalty goes up based on how long it is expired and how often you are caught.

How to Renew Your Wisconsin Driver’s License

You can renew your license in person at any Wisconsin DMV Customer Service center, and the state also piloted an online renewal program on May 11, 2020.

You may qualify to renew your standard or REAL-ID online if:

  • You are under 65
  • Your license is unexpired or expired for less than a year
  • Your license is not currently suspended, revoked, or canceled
  • Your photo on file still meets DMV photo standards
  • You have not changed your legal name and have no medical restrictions to update in the system.
  • If you are under 18, you have a licensed adult willing to sponsor your online renewal.

We’ll go through two different alternatives below.

Online Renewal

  1. Review the Wisconsin DMV license renewal page information to make sure there are no new changes to their pilot program.
  2. Have the following handy:
    1. Your driver’s license number
    2. Your social security number
    3. Date of Birth
    4. Zip code
    5. If you are under 18, have an adult handy to sponsor you. They will need to provide their license number in the process.
    6. A valid credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express)
  3. Follow the prompts. The online renewal program will lead you through the process step by step.
  4. Pay the required fees. There will also be a 2% convenience fee on top of the regular fees.
  5. Print out the PDF receipt. It will work for voting and as a valid license until your new one comes in the mail. You will need an Adobe 6.0 reader or higher to view and print the receipt. If you do not have a printer, you can contact the DMV communication Center for assistance at (608) 264-7447.
  6. Your license will come by USPS mail within ten days.

Renewal in Person

  1. Gather Your Documents.
    1. Proof of Identity, if you can not provide your current license
    2. Proof of Name change, if applicable
    3. Proof of Legal Status, if you are not a US citizen
    4. Print and complete Form MV3001 to save time
  2. Locate a convenient DMV Customer Service Center. Make sure to check available hours, wait times, and if an appointment is necessary.
  3. Have a new photo taken
  4. If you have not had a valid license for more than eight years, you will need to retake the written and driving exams. Plan for at least 45 minutes for testing. If you can not complete the tests before closing, you will have to make another trip to complete the process. Pass your renewal exams on the first try with Zutobi’s amazing study program.
  5. Take a Vision Test
  6. Take a medical exam, if you have a disability that could make it difficult to drive safely. You may also be asked to perform a written or driving exam.
  7. Pay the required fees.
  8. Receive a paper receipt that will act as a temporary license. Your driver’s license will arrive in the mail within 10 days.

Wisconsin Driver’s License Renewal Fees

At the time of writing, these are the license renewal fees in Wisconsin:

  • An eight-year renewal fee is $34 dollars
  • Instruction permit renewals are $35
  • Drivers over 65 can renew for free
  • Skills exams cost $15 if they are not canceled 24 hours ahead of time
  • If you renew online, there is a 2% convenience fee
  • If your license is expired, there is an additional $5 late fee

If you are upgrading to a REAL-ID at the same time as your renewal, then there is no additional fee. If you upgrade later, a $14 duplicate card cost will apply.

Do I Need a REAL-ID in Wisconsin?

It depends – starting Oct 1, 2021, a standard driver’s license will not qualify as your federal id. If you plan to board a plane or enter a US military base (or various other government facilities), you will need a federally approved ID to do so. You can use a passport or other federal id, but a REAL-ID can be a handy alternative.

That’s It!

That’s everything you need to know about renewing your driver’s license in Wisconsin. We hope this guide has helped you understand the process and the steps you need to complete to make your visit at the DMV a success!

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