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Wisconsin Teen Drivers

How to apply for a Wisconsin Driver's Permit & License



The Interactive Driver License Guide is a tool for teens looking for information on driver licensing requirements. This guide will provide you with a checklist of requirements, and allow you to pre-fill any required applications. Depending on your eligibility, you may be able to use the guide to electronically submit your application and schedule an appointment with the DMV for expedited service.


Instruction Permit


Anyone learning to drive a car or light truck, motorcycle or commercial motor vehicle, must obtain an instruction permit. Permits are issued at DMV customer service centers located throughout the state.


Probationary Driver License


A probationary license is a driver license issued to a new driver, valid for operation according to the restrictions on the back. A probationary license is issued for the time period ending 2 years from the applicant's next birthday. It is valid to operate automobiles, light trucks, mopeds and motorcycles. The DMV issues probationary licenses to:


  • New drivers
  • Persons with foreign or international licenses who pass the required tests
  • Persons reinstating a revoked or cancelled probationary license.
  • New residents under the age of 21 who hold a license expired for more than six months, or with less than three years of driving experience, or new residents holding an out-of-state license, but are unable to surrender it.


A probationary license differs from a regular license by the graduated license restrictions for drivers under 18. A probationary license is not an instruction permit or learner's permit. It is valid for operation within and outside of Wisconsin.


An instruction permit and probationary driver license will be suspended for six months if you receive 12 or more demerit points in 12 months. Persons who hold a probationary license are assessed double points for second and subsequent point convictions.


Regular Driver License


To get a regular license, you must:


  • Be at least 19 years old.
  • Hold your probationary driver license until you complete your first renewal, generally 2 to 3 years.
  • Wear your seat belt.
  • Maintain absolute sobriety (no alcohol).


New residents that are at least 21, who hold a valid out-of-state license (that is not expired) for more than six months and have at least three years of driving experience may obtain a regular driver license. There is no doubling of points if you hold a regular driver license and get a traffic ticket. However, your license can be suspended from two months to a year for certain violations.


Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) encourages parents to partner with teens to help you learn the basics of safe driving. National Driver Training offers a Wisconsin Online Teen Driver's Ed Program that meets all requirements set forth by the state of Wisconsin.


Download the Wisconsin Motorists' Handbook and Driving Log.