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How to Get Your Wisconsin Drivers License

Applying for a drivers license is a major milestone for any teen. While the process may not be as quick or as easy with adult applicants, teenagers in Wisconsin don't need to worry. So long as you demonstrate confidence, knowledge of the road, and good driving behavior, you'll soon get your hands on a Wisconsin drivers license. Take these steps and get on the right track towards earning your full unrestricted license by age 19.

Step One: The Instruction Permit

At the age of 15½, teens in Wisconsin can apply for an instruction permit (also referred to as a driving permit or learners permit in other states). All applicants are required to take a state-approved drivers education course, which includes 30 hours of classroom instruction, six hours of behind-the-wheel drivers training, and six hours of in-car observation time.

Everything covered on the exam can be found in the Wisconsin Motorists' Handbook. Review the handbook, or take a few practice tests to prepare for the exam.

Don't forget to bring the following documents to the DMV:

  • Proof of identity (such as a certified birth certificate) and Social Security number
  • Proof of residency in Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin drivers education certificate from your driving course
  • Verification of enrollment in school, high school diploma, or GED
  • A completed Wisconsin Driver License Application (Form MV3001) signed by a parent or guardian
  • Permit fee

Once you have all that, you'll get your permit! However note the following restrictions: you must have zero alcohol in your system and wear your seat belt at all times.

Step Two: The Probationary License

A Wisconsin probationary license is a limited version of the full drivers license. It allows you to gain valuable on-the-road experience (with strict limitations) and practice safe driving skills.

To earn a probationary drivers license as a teen, you must hold an instruction permit for at least six months. Within this time, you need to follow these requirements to qualify:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have an adult sponsor
  • Pass an approved drivers education course
  • Be free of any traffic violations for six months
  • Accumulate 30 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience, with 10 of those hours completed at night (this should be documented on a driving log)
  • Be enrolled in school or have graduated from high school

Every time you drive, you must be accompanied by someone who has at least two years of licensed experience and a valid drivers license. That person must be in the passenger seat next to you and meet one of the following requirements.

  • A qualified instructor who is over 19
  • A parent, guardian, or spouse who is over 19
  • Someone who is 21 or older (in this case, the person must have written permission if the permit holder is under 18)

After passing the road test, you'll earn a probationary license!

Step Three and Beyond

Once you turn 19, your probationary license will be upgraded to a full Wisconsin drivers license if the following conditions are met:

  • Your probationary license has been renewed (this usually takes two or three years)
  • You maintain a clean driving record free of any seat belt or alcohol violations

Congrats and safe driving!

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