Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Acceptable documents for proof of citizenship or legal status in the United States (U.S.)

The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is issuing driver licenses and ID cards that meet new federal REAL ID requirements. While all Wisconsin licenses and ID cards are valid for federal uses for the next few years, at some point a REAL ID license or ID card will be required for identification at airports and federal buildings.

The following documents are acceptable proof of U.S. citizenship, legal permanent resident status, legal conditional resident status or legal presence in the U.S. Documents presented as proof must be original. Photocopies are not acceptable. The expiration date of the driver license or identification card product will match the date the documented legal presence expires (up to an 8-year renewal cycle). Applicants who are not U.S. citizens must present their legal presence documents every time they apply for a product.

For REAL ID compliant cards:

  • Valid U.S. passport or passport card.
  • U.S. State or local government issued Certificate of Birth. (Wisconsin will not accept Puerto Rican birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010 in line with Puerto Rico’s law as of October 30, 2010. More information at: www.pr.gov).
  • Consular report of birth abroad.
  • Valid I-551, permanent resident card (issued by the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. citizenship and immigration services). Non-expiring I-551 (issued 1977-1989) cards are acceptable.
  • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization (federal form N-550).
  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (federal form N-560).
  • Employment Authorization Document.
  • Unexpired foreign passport with a valid unexpired U.S. visa affixed accompanied by the approved I-94 form documenting the applicants most recent admittance into the U.S. (Note: If you recently entered the U.S. and were not issued a paper I-94 form, visit www.cbp.gov/I94 to print your electronic I-94 before applying for immigration or public benefits, such as a driver license, identification card or a Social Security number.)

Additional acceptable documents for non-compliant cards

Everything from the above list: or,

  • Valid foreign passport with appropriate immigration documents, which shall include or be accompanied by federal form I-94, arrival and departure record. NOTE: The appropriate immigration documents determine legal presence, not the passport itself.
  • Valid Temporary Resident ID card (federal form I-688).
  • Valid employment authorization document (federal form I-688B or I-766).
  • Valid refugee travel document (federal form I-571).
  • Notice of Action (federal form I-797). Document must provide conclusive proof of legal presence and be accompanied by other supporting documentation.
  • TWIC Card – Transportation Worker Identification Credential (issued by the Department of Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration).
  • Reception and placement program assurance form (refugee version) with an I-94 arrival and departure record.
  • Documentary proof specified in s.343.14(2)(er), Stats, that is approved by the federal authority:
    1. Valid foreign passport containing a valid non-immigrant visa & I-94, arrival and departure record.
    2. Valid foreign passport containing an expired non-immigrant visa & I-94, arrival and departure record.
    3. Pending or approved application for asylum in the United States.
    4. Valid re-entry into the United States in refugee status I-327 or I-571.
    5. Pending or approved application for temporary protected status in the United States.
    6. Approved deferred action status (including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program) or a pending application for adjustment of status to legal permanent resident status or conditional resident status.

The department will decline to accept any document presented if it has reason to suspect its authenticity. Questionable documents may require additional review.

Minimum stay requirement: Temporary visitors must have legal presence documents authorizing a minimum stay of:

  • 1 year with at least 6 months remaining (if applying for a driver license).
  • 6 months with at least 3 months remaining (if applying for an ID card).
Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (608) 266-2353

For more information:

Last modified: January 28, 2014

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