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Apply for Wisconsin Drivers License

Applying for a Wisconsin drivers license may be a stressful experience if you don't know what you're doing. The application process is somewhat long, if you are applying for your first drivers license, due to the fact that you must meet all graduated drivers license program requirements. The application process requires every first time applicant to take a vision exam, a knowledge test and a driving test at the Department of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Those who currently hold a valid drivers license issued by another state or country may be able to avoid some of the tests when applying for a Wisconsin driver license.

Under 18 Years of Age

According to statistics, teenage drivers have four times as many accidents as older drivers per the same number of miles traveled. Due to this fact, the DMV has developed a number of additional licensing requirements for teen drivers, the requirements that are commonly known as Wisconsin's graduated driver license program. The program mandates that teenagers go through a multi-step licensing procedure and complete a DMV-approved Wisconsin drivers education course before being licensed.

The minimum age when you enter the program and apply for a driver's license is 15 years, 6 months. At this age, you can visit the DMV, submit your application for a Wisconsin instruction permit, take a vision exam and a knowledge test. If your paperwork checks out and you pass the tests, you are issued with a learners permit that allows you to start your driving practice.

You will need to hold your Wisconsin drivers permit for at least six months before graduating to the next step of the program - a provisional driver license. During these months, you cannot drive alone and must operate a vehicle only while being supervised by another licensed driver. Certain Wisconsin drivers permit restrictions apply to your permit at this stage, so make sure to check them out before getting behind the wheel. The DMV requires to you obtain at least 30 hours of driving experience during this stage, including at least 10 hours at night. These hours must be recorded on the log form that can be found in the drivers license handbook.

When the six months are up, you are good to schedule your driving test with the DMV. If you pass the driving test, you are issued with your first drivers license. It is marked as provisional at this point, so you will have to mind all Wisconsin provisional drivers license restrictions. You should also be aware of the fact that points for a second and every subsequent violation that you are convicted of while operating under a provisional license double, so losing your driving privilege is very easy.

The probationary drivers license must be held for at least two years before you can upgrade to a drivers license, however, most of the restrictions are lifted from your license within six months.

18 Years of Age and Older

Applying for a Wisconsin drivers license is much easier if you are at least 18 years of age since you can disregard most of the graduated license restrictions. Nevertheless, testing procedures remain the same for all first time applicants.

You should start by learning Wisconsin driving rules and you can do so by studying the Wisconsin drivers license handbook. When you think you're ready, visit the DMV, file the required paperwork, take a vision exam and a permit test. When you pass the tests, you are issued with a drivers permit and you can start preparing for the driving test.

There is no minimum amount of time that you need to hold your permit for and you can schedule the driving test whenever you think you're ready. Keep in mind that while operating under a drivers permit, you are not allowed to drive alone and must have a supervising driver seated next to you whenever you are driving.

Passing the drivers license test shouldn't be hard if you spent enough time practicing on the road. You may also want to take a driving lessons with a professional driving instructor, since you may get valuable tips to passing the road skills exam. A professional can also note the flaws of your driving skills and advise you how to correct them.

Once you pass the test, you get your Wisconsin drivers license. However, at this point, your license is marked as probationary. Don't worry, you do not need to observe the same probationary drivers license restrictions as younger drivers, however you need to remember that points are doubled for the second and every subsequent violation for those who operate under a probationary drivers license, so you must pay extra caution while driving.

The probationary license period lasts two years, once the time is up, you can visit the DMV and exchange your probationary license for a full unrestricted Wisconsin driver license.

Testing Requirements

Everyone applying for their first driver's license in Wisconsin are required to take a vision exam, a knowledge test and a driving exam. If you currently hold a drivers license issued by another state or country, you may want to contact the DMV to see if any of these tests may be dismissed.

Vision Exam

The following vision requirements must be met by all Wisconsin driver license applicants:

  • 0/100 vision or better in at least one eye
  • 20 degree field of vision from center in at least one eye

If the above requirements are not met, an applicant may be referred to a vision specialist for recommendation. Depending on the outcome, the applicant may either have a restriction places onto the learners permit or be denied the driving privilege.

Driver Permit Test

The knowledge exam, or as some of us know it, the drivers permit test, covers the state driving rules, traffic signs and safe driving practices. You are not required to know every driving law there is, no one expects you to memorize the Vehicle Code word to word, however you must know enough about Wisconsin driving rules to be able to drive safely. The drivers permit test in Wisconsin is based on the materials put forth in the drivers license handbook, so make sure to check it out while preparing for the exam.

Aren't sure whether you are ready to take the permit exam? Go ahead and take a few Wisconsin driver practice tests. They are free and cover the same topics as the real permit exam, so they can help you identify the rules you may have missed.

Drivers License Test

Taking the driving test is your way to prove the state that you have learned enough to be allowed out on the road alone, without a more experienced driver riding shotgun. The drivers test in Wisconsin is administered by the DMV and you have to schedule it well in advance if you want to get the date that is convenient to you.

Some drivers license applicants have this notion that there is some magic trick that can help them pass the driving test and they spend countless hours searching the web for tips to passing the driving exam. This is completely pointless and you should invest the same energy into driving, since driving practice is the only thing that can get you through the exam. Practice as much time as possible and you will do fine on your exam.

Required Documents

The following document must be presented in the process of applying for a Wisconsin drivers license.

  • proof of name and date of birth
  • proof of citizenship or legal immigration status
  • proof of identity
  • proof of Wisconsin residency

Those who apply for a driver's license before reaching the age of 18 years must also obtain the following:

  • drivers education certificate
  • parental consent
  • a log form for 30 hours of driving experience

Teenagers must have a parent or legal guardian to accompany them to the testing site to co-sign the application for a drivers license.