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.
Instruction permit (temps)
Anyone learning to drive a car or light truck (Class D), motorcycle (Class M) or commercial motor vehicle (Classes A, B and C) must first obtain an instruction permit. Permits are issued at all Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) service centers located throughout the state, except express offices.
Note: DMV customer service centers accept cash, checks, debit cards and the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Debit cards will be processed as credit. For online transactions, we accept most credit and debit cards and ACH (Automated Clearing House) from your checking or savings account.
All instruction permits have photographs
All instruction permits, including those issued to persons under the age of 18, will require a photograph of the customer. However, photo exemptions listed under Section Trans. 102.03(2) (e.g. customer is out-of-state at the time of issuance, religious convictions, temporary disfigurement) will apply.
To obtain an original (first) Class D instruction permit, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- Be at least 15 years and 6 months of age.
- Provide proof of U.S. citizenship, legal permanent resident status, conditional resident status or temporary visitor status.
- Provide proof of name and date of birth.
- Provide proof of identity.
- Provide proof of Wisconsin residency if you are 18 years of age or older.
- Provide your Social Security number (you can fulfill your proof of identity requirement by presenting your Social Security card).
- If under 18 years old, you must be enrolled in a certified driver education program. Your license application (MV3001) must be signed by the instructor in the proper certification area and your first behind-the-wheel lesson must be conducted within 60 days of the date signed on MV3001.
- If you wish to renew your permit, you must provide one
of the following:
- If you have not completed your driver education course and are still activity engaged, your driver license application MV3001 must be signed by the instructor in the proper certification area and your first behind-the-wheel lesson must be conducted within 60 days of the dated signed on the MV3001.
- If you have completed your driver education course, you must provide proof of completion. This course completion is generally submitted electronically by the school. If not, the school will provide you with a paper course completion that you will need to present at the DMV.
- If under 18 years old, you must have the signature of a parent, step-parent or other adult sponsor, or file proof of insurance under certain conditions.
- If under 18 years old, you must be enrolled in a school program or high school equivalency program, have graduated from high school or have been granted a declaration of high school graduation equivalency, or be enrolled in a home-based private education program, and not be a habitual truant.
- Pass the appropriate knowledge tests, sign and vision tests.
- Pay the appropriate driver licensing fees.
- Complete an application for a license - form MV3001.
To apply for a motorcycle instruction permit (Class M), you must fulfill the following requirements:
- Be at least 16.
- If under 18, have sponsorship of a parent or guardian and show proof of that you completed an approved driver education course.
- If under 18, show proof of enrollment in a basic rider course, pass the appropriate knowledge tests, and pay the required fee.
If you wish, you could then be issued a motorcycle instruction permit to practice riding while completing the basic rider course. Upon successful completion of the basic rider course, the Class M can be added to your Class D license by paying a prorated fee.
If you are older than 18, you must pass the appropriate knowledge test and pay the required fee. You would then be issued a motorcycle instruction permit to practice driving prior to taking the motorcycle skills test. You are eligible to take the motorcycle skills test the same day the permit is issued, provided a test appointment is available.
If you are 18 or older and first complete the motorcycle basic rider course, you are not required to obtain a motorcycle instruction permit unless you will do any on-street practice riding. Upon successful completion of the basic rider course, the Class M can be added to your Class D license by passing the motorcycle knowledge test and paying a prorated fee.
Depending on which instruction permits or licenses the motorcycle applicant has, additional tests (such as a Class D knowledge test, highway signs test or vision screening) may be necessary.
To apply for a commercial learner permit (CLP) to learn to operate a commercial motor vehicle, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- Hold a valid Class D driver license.
- Complete MV3230, Commercial Driver Certification: Tier of Operation.
- Present your valid Federal Medical Card (if required).
- Provide proof of citizenship or legal status in the U.S.
- Pass the appropriate knowledge tests and pay the required driver licensing fees.
You must hold the CLP for 14 days prior to taking the road test(s). Use your CLP to practice driving with a qualified instructor or CDL driver holding a valid license at or above the level of your permit. Your CLP will be valid for 180 days. If applying for a CLP renewal you may be required to re-take knowledge exams, depending on how many times you have renewed your CLP. Re-testing is required every other time a CLP is renewed (not counting the original issuance).For more commercial driver information visit www.cdl.wi.gov.
In addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, a driver with an instruction permit has the following restrictions:
- You must maintain absolute sobriety. You cannot have any alcohol in your system at any time, no matter what your age.
- You must wear your seat belt.
- You must hold your instruction permit at least six months before you can get a probationary license if you are under 18 years old. If you are 18 years old or older, you must hold your instruction permit at least seven days before you can get a probationary license.
- You must have received no traffic tickets for six months prior to applying for a probationary license if you are under 18 years old.
- Demerit points are doubled for every traffic ticket after your first.
- Your instruction permit will be suspended for six months if you receive 12 or more points within a 12 month period.
- You must wear protective headgear and eye protection if operating a motorcycle with a motorcycle instruction permit.
Periods of validity (Class D and M)
A Class D instruction permit is valid for 1 year. Motorcycle permits are valid for 6 months. An instruction permit can be renewed within 8 years of its expiration. Re-testing is not required unless the period of expiration exceeds 8 years. Those under 18 years of age must show proof of enrollment or completion of a certified driver education course to renew an instruction permit. Driver licensing fees.
Driving in other states
Permit holders who wish to operate a motor vehicle in a state other than Wisconsin are required to abide by the rules of the states in which they travel.
Restrictions for persons operating with an instruction permit
Applicants operating with a Class D instruction permit must be accompanied by a driver with at least two years licensed driving experience who currently holds a valid regular (not probationary or occupational) license. The accompanying driver must occupy the passenger seat beside the applicant and be one of the following:
- A qualified instructor age 19 or older, or
- A parent, guardian or spouse, age 19 or older. In addition, immediate family members of the applicant may ride in the back seat, or
- A person 21 years of age or older. If the permit holder is under 18 years old, the accompanying licensed person is required to have written authorization from the minor's parent or guardian prior to the operation of the vehicle.
Note: If you are at least 16 years of age, in addition to the licensed accompanying driver, one other licensed person 25 years of age or more with at least 2 years driving experience may occupy a seat in the vehicle other than the front seat.
If you operate a vehicle during hours of darkness, you must be accompanied by a qualified instructor or a licensed person 25 years of age with at least two years of licensed driving experience occupying the seat beside you.
Drivers under 18 years of age must have driving experience to obtain a probationary license
If you are under 18 years old and have an instruction permit, you will need at least 30 hours of driving experience, 10 of which must be during hours of darkness, before you can qualify for a probationary driver license. Download a driving log to help you document your driving experience.
Persons operating with a motorcycle instruction permit must wear approved protective headgear and eye protection. No passengers are allowed unless the passenger has at least two years of licensed experience and holds a Class M license. No operation is permitted during hours of darkness unless accompanied by a person 25 or more years old with at least two years licensed experience and holds a Class M license.
Persons operating a commercial motor vehicle with an instruction permit must be accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or older who holds the appropriate class of license and endorsements.
Driver licenses and ID cards are mailed
WisDOT began "central issuance" of all driver licenses and ID cards in the spring of 2012. All products are mailed from one production facility. Customers leave the DMV Service Center with a paper receipt that is valid for 45 days. The receipt, including your photo, is acceptable photo identification for voting and serves as your license or ID until your card arrives in the mail.
Please note that the receipt is not acceptable as proof of identity for a Social Security Number replacement card. If you want to request a Social Security Number replacement card, please wait for your license or ID card to arrive in the mail before visiting a Social Security office.
Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Phone: (608) 266-2353
Last modified: March 3, 2015
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