Wisconsin Department of Transportation-Division of Motor Vehicles

This how-to guide for new teen drivers in Wisconsin will cover the basic requirements for moving through Wisconsin's Division of Motor Vehicles system. As you read, you will find a number of links that will take readers directly to the pages they reference. The best way to use this guide is to read it once for a basic understanding of the various stages of the licensure process in Wisconsin. Then, bookmark the page for future reference, coming back to it whenever you are ready to move to the next stage.

The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles requires that every minor applying for a driver's license have a sponsoring adult. A sponsoring adult is most often a parent or guardian, although there are other options if the minor is not living with a parent or guardian. This adult is extremely important to the progression of the minor. At any time during the licensure process, this adult can decide to withdraw his or her sponsorship, leaving the minor without driving privileges and without the ability to move forward in the program. Be sure to stay on your supervisor's good side.

Instruction Permit

The general timeline for driver training begins at 15.5 years old, with the instruction permit. After a sponsor is chosen, the two individuals can travel to any Division of Motor Vehicles office in the state. You can find a Department of Transportation office in your area on the Division of Motor Vehicles Service Centers by County web page.

In order to fulfill the requirements of the application, minors should refer to the application checklist found on the Wisconsin DMV Permit Requirements web page. Most of these requirements, such as bringing the minor's birth certificate or knowing your social security number, can be fulfilled easily. In addition, the minor must be enrolled in a driver education program scheduled to begin within 60 days of the permit's issuance. At the DMV, applicants will be expected to pass the knowledge test. The Wisconsin DMV website has posted the Wisconsin Motorist's Handbook. Studying beforehand is advised.

Probationary License

The probationary license grants the responsibility and privilege of driving without supervision of the sponsor. Minors become eligible after they have held the permit, without any violations on their driving record, for six months.

 There are a few major requirements that must be met prior to being issued a probationary license. The most significant of these begins with the driver's education requirement, which must be finished. They must also have completed, since the issuance of the instruction permit, at least 30 hours of driving under the supervision of a sponsor with 10 of these driving hours taking place at night. Lastly, the minor must pass a driving test. This test must be scheduled ahead of time with the DMV office. After you have completed all the requirements for the probationary license, you should Schedule a Road Test Appointment online.

The probationary license comes with certain restrictions for the first nine months. For this time period, no more than one passenger, who is not an adult or family member, may be transported in the minor's vehicle, and the minor cannot drive between the hours of 12 p.m. and 5 a.m. There are specific exceptions to this curfew, such as traveling to and from work or school. A violation of any sort can result in the extension of this period.

When you renew your license, it will convert to a full driver's license.
For more information, visit the Wisconsin DMV website for teen drivers.

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Last Updated: 04/18/2018


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