Active duty military personnel

Commercial driver license (CDL) waiver​ | Dealer and salesperson licenses | Driver license renewal | Duplicate driver license | Insurance information | License plate renewal | Medical report | Motor carrier fees and reports​ | Special license plates | Suspended or revoked license reinstatement​​

​​While you're on active duty​​​​

When the U.S. is involved in a military conflict, anyone who is a member of the military and stationed outside of Wisconsin on active duty can still conduct business with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The following modified driver licensing and registration procedures apply to military personnel on active duty.

​​​Driver license renewal

Under Wisconsin Statutes ​343.​20(4)​, any license issued to a person on active military duty does not expire. Your license will expire 30 days after you return to Wisconsin or 90 days after discharge from active duty, whichever is earlier.

You can either renew your driver license through the mail or have the DMV put a notation on your driving record to extend your license expiration date until you are no longer on active duty or return to Wisconsin.​

Renew by mail​

You may renew by mail by completing an application and mailing it to the DMV along with other renewal materials (see out of state driver license and ID card renewals​ for more information). Please note that the late fee will be waived if your license has expired because you are on active duty.

Extend your driver license expiration date

To have your driver license expiration extended until you are no longer on active duty or return to Wisconsin, you will need to send a signed statement that includes your name, date of birth, current Wisconsin address and your temporary mailing address. The statement may be submitted by you, a relative or friend and should indicate that you are on active duty.

Fax the statement to (608) 261-8201 or mail it to:

​WisDOT - Division of Motor Vehicles
Driver Eligibility Unit
P.O. Box 7995
Madison, WI 53707-7995

DMV will place a notation on your driver record indicating that your license will expire 30 days after your return to Wisconsin or 90 days after your discharge. A copy of your driving record with this notation will be mailed to you at the temporary mailing address that you provide to us. You must carry this record with your expired Wisconsin license. You will not be issued a new license.

Within 30 days of your return to Wisconsin, you will need to visit a DMV customer service center to renew. If you will not be returning to Wisconsin within 90 days of your discharge from active duty, you should renew by mail following the instructions above.

Duplicate driver license

If you have lost your license and it has not expired, you may complete an application and submit it through the mail (see lost or stolen driver license or identification (ID) card while out-of-state​ for the application, instructions and more information). A duplicate cannot be issued for an expired driver license.

Commercial driver license (CDL) waiver​

If you have a military license issued by any military facility that allows you to operate a military commercial vehicle, there is the possibility that you can use it to obtain a Wisconsin commercial driver license (CDL). This process allows you to obtain a CDL and have the skills exams waived due to your experience and training with these vehicles in the military. You must still pass the knowledge test. You must be a Wisconsin resident in order to be eligible for this waiver. This waiver does not cover Hazardous or School Bus endorsements. See transferring your military license to a Wisconsin commercial driver license ​for more information. 

Accidents without insurance 

We ask all parties involved in an accident to provide motor vehicle insurance information. If you receive a request for this information, you or your designee must complete the form provided and return it to the DMV.

If we do not receive the form or proof that you are on active military duty, we may send an Order of Suspension. If we receive proof that you are on active military duty, we will postpone the Safety Responsibility process until 30 days after you are discharged from active duty or return to the United States.

If you do not comply with the above requirements, your suspension will remain in effect until you are able to show proof of insurance or financial satisfaction or damages caused by the accident, and pay your reinstatement fee.​

Write to us at:

WisDOT - Division of Motor Vehicles
Uninsured Motorist Unit
P.O. Box 7983
Madison, WI 53707-7983

​​Suspended or revoked license reinstatement​

If your operating privilege is suspended, revoked or disqualified, you will need to reinstate it. Check your driver license status to know if your license is valid, suspended, revoked or disqualified.

Reinstate online

You may be able to use our online application to reinstate your driving privilege. Check your eligibility for reinstatement of your Wisconsin driving privilege.

  • If you are eligible for online reinstatement, you are required to pay the reinstatement fee using a credit or debit card

Reinstate by mail

If you are not able to reinstate using the online application, you may mail your reinstatement fee, payable by check or money order (do not send cash) to:

WisDOT - Division of Motor Vehicles
Driver Information Section
P.O. Box 7983
Madison, WI 53707-7983

  • Make checks payable to Registration Fee Trust
  • Be sure to include your full name, date of birth and current address

Reinstate by someone else

If your license is suspended, you, a relative or a friend, can reinstate at a DMV customer service center and pay the reinstatement fee when you are eligible. Your driving record will be updated on the computer. No new license will be issued.

If your license is revoked, you, a relative or a friend, may reinstate at a DMV customer service center when you are eligible by:

  • Filing proof of financial responsibility (SR22 filing from your insurance agent). An SR22 is not required if you were revoked for a first offense of operating while intoxicated (OWI) or noncompliance with an assessment or driver safety plan.
  • Completing an application for reinstatement
  • Paying the reinstatement fee

Your driving record will be updated on the computer. No new license will be issued. You may go to a DMV customer service center for a new license when you are able and apply for a replacement license.

If you are required to file proof of financial responsibility (SR22) and your insurance is cancelled while you are on duty, we must suspend your license again. To reinstate it, submit a new SR22 and reinstatement fee. If you know that your insurance is being cancelled and you surrender your license before we receive the cancellation, your license may be reinstated without a fee when we receive a new SR22.

Confirming your status

After the suspension or revocation period is over and you have paid your fees, you can confirm that your Wisconsin driving privilege is valid by:

Medical re​​port

There are medical standards that all driver license holders must meet. Some medical conditions require periodic monitoring by the department. If you receive a request for a medical report from the department and you are on active duty, return the request, and no licensing action will be taken. This may be done by someone else, if you are unable. Indicate that you are on active military duty, and we will send another form at a later date. Indicate the anticipated end date of your tour, if possible.

If you have questions about a medical condition, medical report or filing for a school bus physical while you are on active duty:

Write: 

WisDOT - Division of Motor Vehicles
Medical Review Unit
P.O. Box 7918
Madison, WI 53707-7918

License plates and vehicle registration

Active-duty military members are eligible for the following in connection with license plates and vehicle registration. The military member should be prepared to present a military ID, or copy of orders. If someone is completing the transaction on behalf of the member, they should explain that the person is on active duty. Some special plates require documentation of specific military service or military-connected disability.

  1. License plate renewal. Vehicle registration renewals may be completed by the military member, a relative or a friend. Options for renewing include online​, mail and in-person.
  2. Refund of fees. Upon entering the military, a member may request a refund of the unused portion of a registration fee.
  3. Pro-ration of registration renewal fees for non-operation. Ordinarily, renewal fees for a registration period must be paid for the entire registration period, generally twelve months, unless the vehicle has not been operated at all during the entire period. A military member on active duty may receive credit for periods of non-operation of less than twelve months.
  4. Temporary license plates while on leave from the military. While on leave for up to 30 days, a military member may obtain a temporary license plate for any vehicle owned by or designated by the member. The member need not register the vehicle and the temporary plate is issued at no charge.
  5. Special​ license plates. Special plates​ signifying military affiliation, including a plate authorizing parking in disabled parking spaces, are available to members with qualifying military service. The member need not be currently on active duty to be eligible. A surviving spouse is also eligible for military affiliation plates, except for the disabled veteran parking plate and the Wisconsin National Guard plate.

Dealer and salesperson licenses​

Send us a letter stating that you are on active military duty and indicate how you want your license to be handled. We can:

  • Extend salesperson licenses
  • Transfer dealer licenses
  • Hold your dealer's license number until you reapply should you choose to suspend operation
  • ​Extend Buyer Identification Card (BID) expiration dates

Motor carrier fees and reports​

Collected International Registration Plan (IRP) fees from Wisconsin-based carriers will be refunded if you let us know that your vehicle will not be operating in Wisconsin because you are on active military duty.

Late filing fees are waived for owner operators who indicate they’re on active duty. Charges for reinstating a fuel tax license may also be waived if a carrier failed to file reports because of active duty. A refund may also be requested for multiple trip oversize/overweight permits for the months that a trucker is unable to use a permit because of active duty.

Special license plates

You, a relative or a friend may change your military group or personalized plates to regular plates free of charge. We will hold your special plate for you until the end of your active military duty.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

​Driver Eligibility Unit
Email Wisconsin DMV email service​
Phone (608) 264-7447