How to Get Your Wisconsin Instruction Permit

Requirements to obtain your Instruction Permit

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The journey towards getting a drivers license in Wisconsin starts with a learners permit. Officially known as an instruction permit in Wisconsin, it allows teens to practice and hone their driving skills in preparation for a Wisconsin drivers license.

The Requirements to Earn a Permit

 Wisconsin teens can apply for their permit as early as 15½ years old - but first they must enroll in a state-approved drivers education course. This course requires 30 hours of classroom time, six hours of behind-the-wheel drivers training, and six hours of in-car observation.

Everyone under 18 must meet these requirements for their Wisconsin instruction permit:

  • Be at least 15 years and 6 months old
  • Be enrolled in high school (or an equivalence program) or in a home-school program
  • Be enrolled in an approved drivers ed course and DMV-licensed drivers training school

When these requirements are met, you can head to your local Wisconsin DMV office and apply for an instruction permit.

DMV Requirements for License Application

Be sure to bring the following documents with you to the DMV:

  • A completed Wisconsin Driver License Application (Form MV3001) signed by parent, guardian, or adult sponsor
  • Proof of name and date of birth
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of Wisconsin residency
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal status
  • Social Security number (your Social Security card will satisfy this requirement and the proof of identity requirement)
  • Proof of enrollment or completion of drivers education course

You'll also be required to pass the sign and knowledge test. The test will gauge your knowledge of Wisconsin road signs, driving laws, and miscellaneous rules included in the Wisconsin Motorists' Handbook. It takes about 45 minutes to complete.

You're allowed five attempts to pass the test within a year. If you don't pass in five attempts, you'll need to get special permission from the DMV to take it again.

The knowledge exam must be taken at the DMV.

How to Graduate up to a Probationary License

Once you've received your Wisconsin instruction permit, you can start practicing for a drivers license right away! However, there are stringent restrictions when it comes to getting behind the wheel. You must have a passenger by your side who's a licensed driver with at least two years of driving experience, and they can be one of the following:

  • A licensed instructor 19 or older.
  • A parent or guardian 19 or older.
  • Any other person who is 21 or older, who has written authorization from your parent or guardian.
  • When accompanied by a parent or guardian, the only passengers allowed are immediate family members. In all other circumstances, passengers aren't allowed.

Additionally, you need to wear your seat belt and display absolute sobriety (zero alcohol in your system).

Anyone 16 or older can add a second passenger besides the accompanying person, but this passenger must be at least 25 with two years of driving experience, and they can only sit in the back seat.

When driving at night, you must be accompanied by a qualified instructor or a licensed person 25 years or older with at least two years of experience. If under 18, you need to gain at least 30 hours of driving experience, with 10 hours completed at night. This must be documented on a driving log.

After six months of holding your Wisconsin instruction permit and fulfilling your behind-the-wheel driving requirements, you can then apply for a probationary license.