Motorcycle License in Wisconsin
It may be cheesy to say, but there's nothing quite like cruising around Wisconsin on a motorcycle.
Of course, you'll only be able to do so with the proper license, which you have to get through the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV)—a subset of the WI Department of Transportation (WisDOT).
New to Wisconsin
Congratulations on your move to the Badger State!
You have 60 days to transfer your out-of-state license after moving to Wisconsin.
The process for an out-of-state motorcycle license is the same as transferring a regular out-of-state license. You can check out all of the details in our Wisconsin driver's license guide.
WI Motorcycle License Eligibility
To qualify for a WI motorcycle license, you need to:
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Applicants under 18 years old must:
- Have a sponsor sign off on your permit/license.
- Pass tests for:
- Road signs.
- This will earn you a WI motorcycle permit.
- Pass a road test.
- May be waived by completing an education course.
- Provide proof of your:
- Date of birth.
- Social Security number.
- Wisconsin residency.
- The state provides a list of acceptable documents.
- Pay the proper licensing or permit fee.
Typically, a motorcycle license will be one in the same with your regular WI driver's license, allowing you to drive:
- Light trucks.
It is possible to apply for a motorcycle-only license in Wisconsin. If you're interested in that specialized document, contact your local DMV service center for more details.
Otherwise, read below for the full information on how to check off each of these steps toward a regular motorcycle license.
Motorcycle Permits in Wisconsin
First thing's first: you'll have to earn your WI motorcycle permit before obtaining your full license. You'll need to be at least 16 years old to be eligible for a permit, and meet the state's other motorcycle license eligibility requirements.
Applicants under 18 years old must:
- Have a sponsor sign off on your permit/license.
- Check out details on young driver sponsorship on the DMV's website.
- Complete a Driver's Ed course.
- Show proof of enrollment in/completion of a basic motorcycle rider course.
To get your permit, visit a nearby Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles office, and:
- Bring your current, valid Wisconsin driver's license.
- Pass a knowledge test.
- This should take about 45 minutes.
- Take a vision test.
- Complete a road signs test.
- Pay the $32 motorcycle permit fee.
Follow all of the permit-specific rules (described below) while you practice, and enjoy yourself. Once you learn to ride a bike, they say you don't forget!
Getting a permit is a great first step, but there are special regulations that apply to this part of the licensing process.
Motorcycle permit holders in Wisconsin must:
- Wear a helmet and eye protection.
- Be accompanied at all times after dark by a motorcycle license holder who:
- Is at least 25 years old.
- Has held their license for at least 2 years.
Wisconsin motorcycle permits are valid for 6 months. You can renew your permit twice, for an additional 6 months.
If you renew your permit twice, you'll need to bring in proof of enrollment in or completion of a basic motorcycle rider course before you'll be allowed to get your full license.
WI Motorcycle Skills Test
Only one thing stands between you and your motorcycle license: the skills test.*
To take it, schedule an appointment with a Division of Motor Vehicles office that offers the on-road motorcycle exam.
Make sure to bring the following with you:
- A motorcycle.
- An approved helmet.
- Eye protection.
- The $15 skills exam fee.
If you don't pass right away, that's okay! You'll be able to retake the test. Make sure to ask DMV employees for more information about a waiting period before you can try the exam again.
If you fail the skills test 2 times, however, you'll have to pass a Basic RiderCourse before you can be eligible for a WI motorcycle license.
After passing the exam, you'll be free and clear to collect your motorcycle license—congratulations!
*NOTE: Successful completion of the Basic RiderCourse will allow you to waive the skills test. For more, check out our section on WI Motorcycle Education Courses.
Getting Your WI Motorcycle License
Once all of your tests have been passed and fees have been paid, getting your WI motorcycle license is easy. Before doing anything else, make sure you're at least 16 years old meet the motorcycle license eligibility guidelines laid out above.
Simply visit your local DMV office and bring:
- Your valid Wisconsin driver's license.
- Your motorcycle permit.
- Proof that you passed your skills test, or a waiver for passing your Basic RiderCourse.
- The appropriate motorcycle license fee.
At this point, you should be issued your motorcycle license. The only thing left is to ride off into the sunset!
WI Motorcycle Education Courses
There are several paths you can take toward a Wisconsin motorcycle license. If you don't want to go through the DMV for the entire process, you can take a motorcycle education course.
While there are several educational levels to choose from, the Basic RiderCourse is the DMV's recommended choice of motorcycle instruction, and includes:
- 5 hours in the classroom.
- 10 hours on a motorcycle.
The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles has a list of available motorcycle education courses. Make sure to ask about the cost for taking a course when you call for information.
The Basic RiderCourse is required if you:
- Are under 18 years old.
- Have renewed your motorcycle permit more than 2 times.
- Have failed the motorcycle skills test 2 times.
If none of these situations apply, you can still take the course. If you successfully pass the on-road test, you can skip out on taking the skills test through the Division of Motor Vehicles.
You'll receive a skills test waiver from your course, which you'll have to bring into the DMV, along with everything else to get your motorcycle license.
Motorcycle License Fees in WI
The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles charges the following for motorcycle licenses and related services:
- Motorcycle permit (valid for 6 months): $32.
- Skills exam: $15.
- Original motorcycle license: Up to $22.
- Fee is prorated based on the expiration date of your current license.
- Motorcycle license renewal (valid for 8 years): $18.