Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Wisconsin

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Getting Your First Wisconsin License

Getting a first-time driver's license means much more than just being able to drive―it means freedom. Once you get your Wisconsin driver's license and your hands on the car keys, the world is at your fingertips.

Wisconsin REAL IDs

The Wisconsin DMV now issues federally-compliant REAL ID driver's licenses in addition to non-compliant licenses. REAL IDs allow you to use your driver's license for domestic travel and entry into federal and military buildings. For more details on WI REAL IDs, see the DMV's guide.

New to Wisconsin?

If you are new to the state, you can get a probationary driver's license as long as you are 16 years old, have a valid out-of-state license or instruction permit for at least 6 months, and have not had a violation in 6 months. Any applicant younger than 18 years old must show proof of completion for a driver's education course and behind-the-wheel training from your previous state when you apply.

If you haven't completed a Driver's Ed course, you must wait until you are 18 years old to get your probationary driver's license from the Division of Motor Vehicles, or you may go through the GDL process outlined below.

A Class D probationary license, good for 2 years from your next birthday, is issued to new residents who surrender a license equivalent to Class D.

Licensing Age Requirements

  • Instructional permit: 15 1/2 years old
  • Probationary license: 16 years old
  • Unrestricted license: 18 years old

Taking Driver's Education in Wisconsin

If you're getting your Instruction Permit, you must be enrolled in a certified Driver's Education course. Your driver's education course must include 30 hours of classroom instruction, 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training, and 6 hours of in-car observation. You can take a Driver’s Ed course in a classroom or online.

NOTE: If you're younger than 18 years old, you'll need an adult sponsor to verify your driving hours.

Getting a WI Instruction Permit

If you're at least 15 1/2 years old and enrolled in Driver's Ed, you are eligible to get your instruction permit.

Use the WI DMV's online driver license guide to fill out your application, and possibly make an appointment at your local customer service center, depending on your eligibility.

Make sure you pass your exam!

Practice makes perfect—and that goes for your permit test, too! Take an online practice test to give yourself as much prep as possible to pass on the first try.

When you're ready, visit your local customer service center and:

  • Submit a completed Driver License Application (Form MV3001), signed by your driver's education instructor and your parent, legal guardian, or other approved adult sponsor.
  • Provide proof of:
    • Acceptable identification, including proof of your:
    • Enrollment in a high school, high school equivalency program, home-based private education program, or already have earned a high school diploma or equivalent and not be a habitual truant from school.
  • Pass the:
    • Vision test.
    • Knowledge and traffic sign tests.
  • Pay the $35 instruction permit fee.

Behind-the-Wheel Training

Once you get your instruction permit, your first behind-the-wheel lesson must be conducted within 60 days. You must be accompanied at all times by someone who has at least 2 years of driving experience and presently holds a valid regular (non-probationary) license. They may be one of the following:

  • A qualified instructor 19 years old or older.
  • Your parent, guardian or spouse, 19 years old or older. You may only have other passengers if they are immediate family members.
  • Any licensed driver 21 years old or older, with written authorization from the teen's parent or legal guardian. No other passengers are allowed.

With your instruction permit, you will be required to complete 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training, 10 hours of which must be done at night. Use the Wisconsin Graduated Driver Licensing Supervised Driving Log (Form HS-303) to document your driving hours.

NOTE: Instruction permits are valid for 1 year and may be renewed if you feel you need more time to practice driving before obtaining your probationary license.

WI Probationary Driver's License

Once you're at least 16 years old, have had your instruction permit for 6 months, and have completed Driver's Ed, it's time to take your road test and get your probationary license. You cannot have had any violations for the 6 months prior to applying.

DMV.ORG TIP: Make an Appointment!

Before heading to your DMV office, make an appointment for your driving test, and make sure you have valid registration and insurance for the car you'll be testing in.

When you're ready, visit your local customer service center and:

  • Complete the Driver License Application (Form MV3001) and have your parent or guardian sign it to accept responsibility for you.
  • Turn over your instructional permit.
  • Provide acceptable identification.
    • If you wish to apply for a REAL ID-compliant license, you'll need to turn in a couple extra documents. See the DMV's guide to REAL IDs for help.
  • Submit a completed Wisconsin Graduated Driver Licensing Supervised Driving Log (Form HS-303).
  • Provide proof of enrollment in a school or technical program, or provide your diploma or GED.
  • Pass the driving skills test.
  • Pay the $28 fee for the probationary license.

Probationary License Restrictions

During this phase, you will need to adhere to the following restrictions for the first 9 months:

  • You are not permitted to drive with more than 1 passenger except immediate family or another qualified adult.
  • You may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m. unless you're driving between home, school, or work.

All restrictions will be extended if you violate them, are convicted of a moving traffic violation, or your license is revoked or suspended for any reason.

You must hold your probationary driver's license for 2 years, starting from the date of your next birthday; therefore, the earliest you can obtain your regular driver's license is 18 years old.

Regular WI Driver's License

After you've held your probationary license through its renewal cycle and have turned 18 years old, you may obtain your regular driver's license. You will need to visit your local customer service center and:

  • Turn in your probationary license.
  • Complete the Driver's License Application (Form MV3001).
  • Take a vision test.
  • Pay the $28 renewal fee. DMV service centers accept cash, checks, debit cards, American Express, MasterCard and Discover.

Follow our new Wisconsin driver's license checklist to keep track of your major steps along the way.

Other Wisconsin Teen Licenses

Moped & Motorcycle Licenses

Any driver with a regular license is allowed to operate a moped without any extra endorsement added to their license.

You must be at least 16 years old to apply for a motorcycle permit or license with the sponsorship of parents, guardians, or approved adults. To get a motorcycle permit, show proof of enrollment in a basic rider course, pass the knowledge tests, and pay the $32 fee. The permit allows for the rider to practice while completing the basic rider's course, but is not required before getting a motorcycle license. The motorcycle permit is valid for 6 months.

You can get a motorcycle license upon completion of a basic rider's course, passing the knowledge tests, a motorcycle skills test, and paying the $22 fee. Learn more on our Motorcycle License page.

Forms

MV3001
Driver License Application
DMV application for any class of an original, renewed, OR replacement Wisconsin driver's license OR instruction permit.
HS-303
Graduated Driver Licensing Supervised Driving Log
The Wisconsin DMV provides this log for you to track the required number of supervised driving hours a graduated driver's license applicant must complete.

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