How to Get a Wisconsin Driver's Permit

The state of Wisconsin requires all new drivers under 18 to begin driving with an instruction permit, in order to practice safe driving under supervision before getting their full driver’s license. To receive the initial learner’s permit, you must follow certain steps. Here is a simple guide to getting a Wisconsin learner’s permit:

Learner’s permit

The learner’s permit in Wisconsin may only be issued to a driver who is at least 15 years and six months old, and who is enrolled in a state-approved driver’s education course. This course must include at least 30 hours of classroom time, six hours of observation, and six hours of driving training.

The instruction permit requires that drivers be accompanied at all times by a driver who is at least 21 years old, and has held a valid driver’s license for at least two years. If driving at night, the supervising driver must be at least 25. If the supervising driver is a qualified driving instructor or a parent or guardian, they may be as young as 19 years old. Drivers with the learner’s permit must complete at least 30 hours of supervised training. At least ten of those hours must be preformed at night. These hours may be recorded in the Supervised Driving Log provided by the state of Wisconsin.

The learner’s permit must be held for at least six months before a driver, who is at least 16 years old and has completed both a driver’s education course and the required 30 hours of practice, may apply for the Wisconsin probationary license.

How to apply

In order to apply for a learner’s permit, Wisconsin drivers must pass a written exam. These documents must be brought to the DMV office when taking the exam:

  • Proof of identity, such as a birth certificate or a U.S. passport
  • Completed application form that has been signed by parent or guardian
  • Proof of social security number, such as a social security card or a W-2 form
  • Proof of legal presence, such as a passport

Those who are at least 18 also need to bring proof of Wisconsin residency, such as a mailed bill, or a Wisconsin hunting or fishing license.

Drivers must also take a vision test, and pay the $35 permit fee.

Passing the exam

The Wisconsin learner’s permit exam covers all state-specific traffic laws, road signs, and other driver’s safety information. It it administered at all DMV service centers on computers. The Wisconsin DMV provides a driver’s manual which includes all the information that student drivers need to pass the written exam. Additionally, the state provides a free mobile app that includes practice questions, which can be used as many times as needed in order to gain the knowledge and confidence necessary to ace the exam. Drivers are allowed to attempt the exam up to five times in a 12-month period. After that, the DMV must give permission for the driver to attempt the test again.


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