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Wisconsin Learners Permit

Wisconsin learners permit is the first step towards achieving the drivers license, no matter hold old you are. Wisconsin driver's permit will give you the chance to practice your driving skills in a low-risk environment before you get out on the roads alone.


Learners permits are an essential part of the Wisconsin graduated license programs in all states around the country. The main reason for the existence of the graduated license systems is the fact that teenage drivers have the highest crash rates among all age groups. There are many factors that could take the blame for this, the main one being lack of driving experience and failure to treat driving with due seriousness. The Wisconsin GDL law mandates that all teenagers are to complete a state-certified drivers education program to learn the dangers of driving. In addition to this requirement, the state requires all teenagers to hold a learners permit for at least 6 months before applying for a license, giving the applicant enough time to gain some driving experience.

Applying for Learners Permit

Although the minimum learners permit age in Wisconsin is 15 and ½, you can start the application procedure once you turn 15. At this age, you can enroll and start taking a drivers education class, one of the compulsory requirements for all teenage permit applicants.

All permit applicants are required to take a written knowledge exam, otherwise known as the Wisconsin permit test, before they can be issued with a permit. The knowledge test is not hard, but you have to study if you want to pass the first time you take it. Those who are taking a drivers education course are probably already being tutored on the subject, while those who decided to skip drivers ed can grab a free copy of the Wisconsin drivers manual and use it to prepare for the test. The drivers manual provides a comprehensive coverage of the state driving rules and the questions you will encounter on the exam are based on these materials. Practice permit tests is another resource you could use, however they are not self-sufficient and you should study the book prior to taking them.

Once you are ready for the learner's permit exam, visit a local DOT office. While at the office, be prepared to do the following:

  • present proof of citizenship
  • present proof of identity
  • provide proof of name and DOB
  • complete the application for drivers license
  • pay the drivers license application fee
  • take a vision exam
  • take a written knowledge test

Applicants under 18 years of age will need to have the application co-signed by one of the parents or legal guardians. If you fulfill the above requirements and pass the tests, you will be issued with your Wisconsin driver's permit.

Learners Permit Restrictions

Although the learners permit allows you to start driving, it comes with a number of permit restrictions that must be observed at all time. The main limitation of the permit is the fact that you are not allowed to drive alone, you must always have another licensed driver supervising you at all times. The supervisor must be at least 21 years old and hold a valid drivers license for at least 2 years.

Upgrading to Drivers License

Your Wisconsin learners permit is valid for 12 months and you are expected to apply for a drivers license during this period. If you are under 18 years of age, you must hold your learners permit for at least 6 months before you can take the road test and get a drivers license. The permit holding period for applicants who are over 18 years of age is just 1 week.

If you permit is lost, stolen or gets expired, you can visit the DOT office and request a duplicate. You will not have to take the written exam when you apply for the duplicate permit, however you will still have to pay the duplicate fee.