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New Wisconsin Drivers License

Which License is for you?

There are several types of driver’s license programs that residents over the age of 16 may apply for in the state depending on their age and driving needs. Each type of license has a specific set of requirements and steps in order to be legally allowed to operate a motorized vehicle on roadways. These license groups include:

  • A probationary license is issued to all new drivers of any age before they may graduate to a full privileged class D operator’s license. The license is issued for a two year time period.
  • Class D operator’s license – this license is for cars, SUVs and light trucks under 26,001 pounds and is the license residents use for daily personal use. This program begins with an instructional permit for new drivers.
  • A commercial license is issued to all adults as part of a work requirement or for those wishing to operate a commercial vehicle for a living.
  • A Motorcycle license may be obtained for drivers wishing to operate a motorcycle or moped on roadways.

What are the Requirements for getting a License?

All new drivers must meet the following qualifications in order to receive a class D operator’s license:

  • All new drivers must be at least 16 at the time of application.
  • One valid proof of citizenship or legal presence in the US.
  • One proof showing your full legal name, date of birth.
  • One proof of identity and signature which is most commonly a signed social security card.
  • One proof that you are a legal resident of Wisconsin.

Drivers under 18 must also show proof that they have successful completed driver’s education and have an adult sponsor sign their application. New drivers of any age must take the required drivers license tests and pass with acceptable scores and meet the physical and mental requirements for operating a vehicle.

  • The final requirement will be to take a photograph and pay the associated licensing fees of $35 in the form of check, cash or money order.

What Tests do I need to get a License?

  • A vision exam is administered to all new drivers either at the DMV or by a physician in advance.
  • The written test is given on touch screen computers and consists if 50 multiple choice questions regarding traffic signs and laws in the state. You must answer 40 out of 50 correctly to pass.
  • The road skills test is given to all new drivers to prove your ability to safely handle a vehicle and properly drive on roadways.

Taking a Drivers Education Course

Driver’s education is required for all new drivers under the age of 18 wishing to apply for an instructional permit. You must be enrolled or have completed the course when you apply. It is a mandatory requirement that drivers education be completed for minors to apply for a probationary license.

Preparing for the Written Test

Preparing for the written test can be easy with the correct study materials. Be sure to obtain a copy of the Wisconsin Motorists Handbook in advance to understand the traffic signs and laws you must know to pass. In addition, cheat sheets and practice tests offered by will help assure a passing grade on the first try.

You must be prepared to correctly answer 40 out of 50 questions on the computerized test so use your materials wisely and study each day until you test.

Scheduling an Appointment

You must schedule an appointment in advance to take your driving skills test by using the online services or calling your DMV branch.

What to Bring on Test Day

On written test day you will also be applying for your permit or license so you will need the following:

  • Your signed application and minors must have a parent present to sign as well.
  • All of your required documentation. This will include proof of residency in the state, citizenship or legal presence in the US and identity. You must also bring your social security number and proof of identification that will include your full legal name, date of birth and signature.
  • Minors must also bring a completed drivers log signed by a supervising driver and proof they have completed a driver’s education course.
  • All new drivers will need the appropriate fees in the form of a check, money order or cash.

For the road skills test you will need your valid permit, proof of insurance and registration for the vehicle you are using for testing. In addition a $25 testing fee is required at this time.

Costs of a Drivers Test

New drivers will be expected to pay the $15 dollar skills exam fee at the time of testing. The cost of the written and vision exam are included in the $35 licensing fee.

Taking the Written Test

The written test is now administered at most DMV service centers using touch screen computers. As you answer each question, you will be instantly notified of a correct or incorrect answer and given feedback on the answer you gave to help in the ongoing learning process. You will take the test both when you apply for a learners permit and again when you obtain your provisional license but test questions are randomized so you may not see the exact same test twice. The test takes most new drivers approximately 45 minutes to complete though there is not set amount of time required.

You will find the test consists of 50 multiple choice questions and you must correctly answer 40 questions to pass. Study your learning materials such as the Wisconsin Motorists Handbook and cheat sheets from if you wish to receive a passing score on your first try. In addition, use your practice tests to assure you are as prepared as possible for the testing process.

Taking the Driving Test

The skills test is a driving exam given to all new drivers seeking a probationary license. A licensed examiner will accompany you on roadways in a vehicle you provide and grade your alertness, ability to make smart decisions and the way in which you communicate with other drivers on roadways. You will be tested on both your ability to control the vehicle and your knowledge of traffic signs and laws.

Before the exam can begin you must provide proof of registration and valid insurance for the vehicle and the car must pass the safety inspection. If you fail to bring these proofs or valid permit to the test or the car doesn’t meet standards you will be asked to reschedule when you can meet requirements so be prepared in advance.

Know your traffic signs and laws well by studying learning materials in advance and practice as much as possible with your learners permit if you wish to pass on your first try.

Renewing your Wisconsin Drivers License

Who needs to renew their license?

Probationary license drivers must renew for the first time after two years. All standard operators licenses expire every 8 years after that. If you wish to continue operating a motor vehicle you must renew your license by its proper expiration date.

How do I renew my Wisconsin License?

The way in which you may renew will be mentioned in the renewal letter and may include by mail, online or in person. You must meet specific criteria to qualify for online or mail renewal.

What tests do I need to take to renew?

During renewal you may need to retake one or all of the tests. This may include a vision exam, written tests or driving skills test. Be sure to study ahead of time if required to retest.

Preparing to renew my WI license

If you are required to bring in specific proofs, be sure to check the website for a list of approved documents and gather together ones necessary for renewal in advance. In addition if you must retake the vision test bring your correct lenses or contacts to the DMV. If you must retake the written or skills exams make sure you obtain learning material such as the cheat sheets offer by in advance to assure you will pass the test.

What is the cost to renew my license?

Cost of renewal for a standard driver license is $34 and those that fail to renew before they birthday expiration must pay an additional late renewal fee of $5.

Steps to renew your license

You will receive a renewal notice in the mail 45 days before your license expires reminding you to renew on time and instructing you of the requirements you will be expect to fulfill for renewal. To renew your license in person you must:

  • Fill out a renewal application which can be downloaded and printed to complete in advance.
  • Complete any additional requirements the state has specified you must do. This can include recertifying your proofs of citizenship or legal presence and residency. You may be asked to prove identification again as well. If your license has not yet been upgraded to the REAL ID standards you will need additional requirements which may include a mandatory social security card and proof of signature.
  • You may be requested to take one or all of the tests again. Most commonly the vision test must be done periodically and can be done at the time of renewal. In some cases you must retake the written and/or skills test as well. Be sure to study for these tests in advance.
  • Have your photo retaken and pay the $34 renewal fees by check/money order or cash.

Getting a Wisconsin Learners Permit

Who needs a learners permit?

New drivers of any age wishing to operate a motor vehicle on roadways must first obtain a learners permit and meet the specific requirements before moving on to a probationary license.

How old must I be to get a learners permit?

You must be at least 15 years old at the time you submit an application.

Requirements for getting a learners permit

All new drivers in the state must begin their specific licensing program with a learners permit and this may be done by applying and meeting the following requirements:

  • Drivers over the age of 18 must fill out an application, take the written and vision tests and receive a passing score. In addition, all fees must be paid at the time they receive a permit.
  • Drivers under age must be at least 15 ½ years old at the time of application, take the vision and written tests and receive a passing score. In addition they must show proof that they have completed or are currently enrolled in an approved driver’s education course and have a parent or approved adult sponsor sign the application in front of a notary or DMV clerk.

All new drivers must bring the appropriate required documentation which will include proof of citizenship or legal presence in the US and residency in the state. In addition, proof of birthday, age and signature are also required.

Driving with a WI learners permit

Each new driver working with a learners permit must log at least 30 hours of supervised driving time in the drivers log located in your Wisconsin Motorists Handbook. Ten hours must be of time driven at night. Those who have taken drivers education may count up to five hours of behind the wheel practice time with an instructor on the log as well. The new driver may practice on roadways as long as they are accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian or adult driver over the age of 21 years old at all times. New permit holders are not permitted to drive between the hours of midnight and 5am except for emergencies and only if accompanied by your supervising driver.

Cost of a learners permit

A regular learner’s permit will cost $35

Steps to getting a Wisconsin learners permit

To obtain a learners permit, follow these steps at your local DMV branch office:

  • For adults, visit your DMV with a completed and signed application. Bring required proofs of identity including full legal name, date of birth and signature. In addition bring your proof of residency in the state and citizenship or proof of legal presence. Also needed, will be your signed social security card.
  • Complete the vision exam and written knowledge test with a passing score
  • Take your photograph and pay the learners permit fees with cash, check or money order

Minors complete the same steps only a parent or guardian must also accompany them and sign the application in front of a DMV clerk or have the application signed in advance in front of a notary. In addition, proof of completion or enrollment in driver’s education will also be needed.

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The DMVCheatSheets Guarantee

If you don't pass your written test we will REFUND you 100% of your purchase with us.

Study Material Available