Click here to ask your driving related question.

Ask a driving related question on AnswersforDrivers.com.

Frequently Asked Questions - Wisconsin Teen Driver

The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the following requirements for obtaining an Instruction Permit:

Instruction Permit
• You must be at least 15 years and 6 months of age.
• You must pass the knowledge and highway signs tests and vision screening.
• You must have completed or be enrolled in an approved behind-the-wheel driver education course, which begins within 60 days of the date your driver education instructor certifies your application.
• You must have an adult sponsor sign the application and the signature must be witnessed by either a notary public or an authorized DMV employee.
• You must pay the permit fee of $35.

The Instruction Permit is valid for 12 months and can be renewed by paying a renewal fee of $35.

The Wisconsin DMV requires applicants to provide proof of U.S. citizenship or legal presence, proof of name and date of birth, proof of identity and proof of Wisconsin residency by submitting the following documents:

Proof of Citizenship or Legal Status in the United States
• U.S. state or local government-issued certificate of birth (must be a certified copy) (Birth registration and hospital certificates are not acceptable). (Puerto Rican birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010 will not be accepted).
• Valid U.S. passport
• Valid foreign passport with appropriate immigration documents or accompanied by I-94 arrival and departure record
• U.S. Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561)
• U.S. Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570)
• Valid Department of Homeland Security (DHS) United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) I-551 form, resident alien registration card issued since 1997. (Non-expiring I-551 documents issued from 1977 to 1989 are acceptable).
• Valid DHS/USCIS Temporary Resident identification card (I-688)
• Valid DHS/USCIS Employment Authorization document (I-688B or I-766)
• Valid DHS/USCIS Refugee Travel document (I-571)
• DHS/USCIS Notice of Action (I-797)
• DHS/Transportation Security Administration (TSA) transportation worker identification credential
• U.S. Department of State reception and placement program refugee assurance form including I-94 arrival and departure record
• Documentary proof as specified in the Wisconsin Legislature Statute 343.14(2)(er) that is approved by the appropriate federal authority:

o Valid foreign passport containing valid non-immigrant visa and I-94 arrival and departure record
o Valid foreign passport containing expired non-immigrant visa and I-94 arrival and departure record
o Pending or approved application for asylum in the U.S.
o Valid re-entry into the U.S (Refugee status I-327 or I-571)
o Pending or approved application for temporary protected status in the U.S.
o Approved deferred action status or pending application for adjustment of status to legal permanent resident or conditional resident status

Proof of Name and Date of Birth
• Certified Wisconsin birth certificate
• Certified birth certificate from another U.S. state or territory or certificate of birth abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State (FS-545 or DS-1350) (Canadian birth certificates are not accepted and Puerto Rican birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010 will not be accepted).
• Current U.S. passport
• Valid foreign passport with I-551 or I-94 arrival and departure record
• Valid Wisconsin driver license or identification card with photo and signature issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT)
• Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551)
• I-94 arrival and departure (Parole or Refugee version) with reception and placement program assurance form and a letter from the sponsoring agency and MV3002
• U.S. Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561)
• U.S. Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570)
• Temporary Resident Card or Employment Authorization Card (I-688, I-688B or I-766)
• Native American Identification Card issued in Wisconsin by a federally recognized tribe
• Court order with court seal related to the adoption or divorce of the applicant or to a name or gender change including the applicant’s current full legal name, date of birth and the applicant’s prior name (Does not include abstract of criminal or civil conviction).
• U.S. armed forces identification card, Common Access Card of DD-2 form
• TSA Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC card)

Proof of Identity
• Valid Wisconsin or out-of-state driver license with photograph (Canadian driver license not accepted).
• Original Social Security card
• Military discharge papers including Federal DD-214
• U.S. Government and Military Dependent ID Card
• Valid Wisconsin or out-of-state ID card with photograph (Canadian ID card not accepted).
• If you are under 18, your parent or legal guardian must have a valid Wisconsin driver license or ID card to confirm your identity
• TSA Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC card)

Proof of Wisconsin Residency (Must include name and Wisconsin street address)
(Documents listing P.O. box or commercial receiving agency as applicant’s mailing address are not acceptable)
• Employee photo identification card issued by current employer containing employer’s name, address and telephone number
• Paycheck, paystub or earnings statement with your name, Wisconsin address, employer’s name, address and telephone number issued within the last 90 days
• Utility bill for water, electricity, gas or landline telephone serviced issued within the last 90 days. (Electronic copies are acceptable)
• Cell phone bills (Electronic copies are acceptable)
• Account statement from Wisconsin bank or financial institution issued within the last 90 days (Electronic copies are acceptable)
• Certified school record or transcript that identifies applicant by name, shows current address and issued within the last 90 days for most recent school period
• Mortgage documents for residential property located in Wisconsin
• Community based assisted living residential contracts
• Current valid homeowner, renter or motor vehicle insurance policy dated within one year of application
• Government issued correspondence issued within the last 90 days from a federal, state, county or city agency
• Department of Corrections documentation (Letters from probation/parole agent on letterhead issued within the last 90 days)
• College enrollment documentation or Form 2019, Certificate or Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status with current Wisconsin address
• Photo identification card issued by a Wisconsin accredited university or college that contains:

o Date of issuance
o Signature of student
o Expiration date no later than two years after date of issuance
o University or college ID (Must be accompanied by a separate document proving student’s current address, housing contract or lease

• Valid Wisconsin fishing or hunting license

Temporary visitors must have legal presence documents authorizing a minimum stay of one year with at least six months remaining to obtain a driver license.

When applying for an instruction permit or driver’s license, you will need to do the following:

• Fill out the Wisconsin Driver License/Identification Card Application (Form MV3001).
• You must have an adult sponsor to accept liability for your driving actions if you are under 18. Your sponsor must be your parent, stepparent, legal guardian or the sponsoring family parent of a foreign student. If you do not live with a parent or legal guardian, other approved adults include a grandparent, aunt, uncle, foster parent, sibling who is 18 years or older or a spouse who is 18 years or older.
• You must submit proof of enrollment in a certified driver education program and your license application must be signed by the instructor within 60 days of the issuance of your permit. If you wish to renew the permit, you must provide proof of completion in a certified driver education program if under age 18.
• You must be enrolled in a high school or equivalency program or have graduated from high school or have attained an equivalent degree.

Any adult who signs up as a sponsor may withdraw sponsorship by completing Form MV3118 and mailing it to the DMV in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has a Parent-Teen Safe Driving Contract available on their website that covers the following rules for teen drivers:

• Not to driver after using drugs or alcohol
• To always wear a seatbelt
• Never use a cell phone when driving
• To respect weather and road conditions
• Not to leave the scene of an accident without permission of police officers
• Inform parents about all tickets and accidents
• To abide by all restrictions that come with a permit or probationary license

The parents should outline the consequences if the teen driver breaks the rules of the driving agreement. Parents should promise to help the teen become a responsible and safe driver by conducting practice sessions.

As of December 1, 2010, all Wisconsin drivers are prohibited from text messaging while operating a motor vehicle. This is a primary offense, which means that a driver can be pulled over solely on the basis of violating the text messaging law. The penalties include the following:

• First Offense—A fine ranging from $20 to $400
• Second Offense—A fine ranging from $200 to $800

The ban prohibits writing or sending text messages, not reading or receiving them. Drivers who are distracted by text messages that interfere with their ability to drive safely may be subject to penalties under the Wisconsin distracted driving law and the penalty is a fine of $173 and four points against your license.

The State of Wisconsin has the following requirements to obtain an Intermediate License:

Probationary License
• You must be at least 16 years old.
• You must have proof of completing an approved driver education class
• You must have had an Instruction Permit for a minimum of six months
• You must have accumulated 30 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience, with 10 hours completed at night.
• You must not have any moving traffic violations resulting in a conviction for the six months prior to the date of application for a probationary license.
• You must have your parent or adult sponsor certify the completion of 30 hours of driving experience (10 at night).
• You must pass a driving skills test.
• You must pay the license fee of $28.

The Probationary License expires two years from your next birthday and you can renew it up to 90 days before it expires. Upon renewal you will be issued a regular license that will be valid up to eight years.

The State of Wisconsin requires driver’s to complete a state-approved driver education course that includes the following:

• 30 hours of classroom instruction
• 6 hours of actual driving
• 6 hours of observing another driver

The topics included in the driver’s education classroom portion include traffic laws, driving in severe weather conditions and identification of highway road signs.

Before applying for a permit or license, you should study the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Motorists’ Handbook, which covers the following topics:

• The Driver License
• The Instruction Permit
• The Probationary License
• Keeping the Driver License
• Driver License Renewal
• Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Requirements
• Before You Drive
• Rules of the Road
• Traffic Signals
• Traffic Signs
• Pavement Markings
• Other Lane Controls
• Metered Ramps
• Communicating
• Adjusting Speed
• Winter Driving
• Adjusting to Traffic
• Cushion of Space
• Inattentive Driving
• Be in Shape to Drive
• Drinking and Driving
• Other Drugs and Driving
• Health
• Rules For Driving Roundabouts
• General Rules About Traffic Lanes
• Turning
• Right of Way
• School Buses
• Parking
• Safe Driving Tips
• Speed Limits
• Seeing Well
• Emergencies
• What to Do in Case of a Crash

The handbook can be found online at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website or at any local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) service center.

The State of Wisconsin has the following restrictions:

• Instruction Permit Restrictions
• You must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is one of the following categories:

1. A qualified driving instructor who is 19 years or older (Up to three other students may ride along if the car is equipped with dual controls).
2. A parent, guardian or spouse who is 19 years or older (Your immediate family members may ride along in the back seat).
3. A person who is 21 years or older (If you are under 18, this individual must be designated in writing by your parent or guardian prior to accompanying you while driving a vehicle).
4. If you are at least 16 years old, in addition to the licensed accompanying driver, one other licensed person 25 years or older with at least two years of driving experience may occupy a seat in the vehicle other than the front seat.

Probationary License Restrictions
• If you are under 18, for the first 9 months you will have the following restrictions:

1. From 5 am to midnight, you can drive alone and travel anywhere. Any number of your immediate family members and the following people can ride with you:

• One person who holds a valid regular license with at least two years of driving experience
• A qualified driving instructor or spouse 19 years or older
• A licensed person who is 21 years or older
• One other person

2. From midnight to 5 am:

• If driving between home, school and/or work, you can drive alone. The same people as listed above can ride with you. If driving anywhere else, you must have one of the following people seated beside you:

o A parent or guardian
o One person who holds a valid regular license with two years of driving experience and who is a qualified instructor or spouse 19 years or older or a person who is 21 years or older

You can have any number of immediate family members and one other person ride with you. Restrictions will be extended by six months if:

• You are convicted of a moving traffic violation (including failure to fasten seat belt)
• You violate any of the restrictions
• Your license is revoked or suspended for any reason

The State of Wisconsin requires drivers to pass the following tests:

The Knowledge Test and Highway Signs Test
• The written knowledge test and the highway signs test is administered at most DMV service centers on a computer touch screen. The test includes multiple-choice questions about Wisconsin traffic laws and highway signs. You must correctly answer 20 out of 25 questions to pass each test. Both tests are available in English, Chinese, Hmong, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Somali and Spanish.

Vision Screening
• You must have a visual acuity of 20/40 in both eyes, with or without using corrective lenses and a horizontal temporal field of vision of 70 degrees or more from the center in each eye. If you cannot meet these requirements, you will be referred to a vision specialist for testing.

The Road Test
• During the road test, the examiner will be grading you on some of the following:

1. Approaching and completing a turn
2. Approaching intersections
3. Driving in a business or residential area
4. Changing lanes
5. Roadside stop and start
6. Parallel parking
7. Backing up

You must score 80 out of 100 points to pass the test.