Wisconsin driver licenses and identification (ID) cards

​The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) mails all driver license and identification (ID) cards from one production facility.

How long will it be before I get my permanent card in the mail?

You should receive your driver license or ID card within 10 business days. All undeliverable mail is returned to DMV.

Will I be issued a temporary license or ID card?

Paper receipt​​
Paper receipt

  • You will leave the DMV customer service center​ with a paper receipt valid for 45 days.
  • The photo receipt is acceptable photo identification for voting and serves as your license or ID until your card arrives in the mail.
  • Customers who renew an existing license or ID card will also leave the DMV customer service center with their expired (or soon to be expired) card, invalidated with a hole punch by the DMV processor.

NOTE: The receipt is not acceptable as proof of identity for a Social Security Number replacement card, if applying in person at your local Social Security office. If you plan to request a Social Security Number replacement card, please wait for your driver license or ID card to arrive in the mail before visiting a Social Security office. You may be eligible to apply for a Social Security Number replacement card online.

Wisconsin driver license and ID cards issued Spring 2023

Beginning Spring 2023, Wisconsin's new driver license and ID cards have updated security features, including:

    • A distinct ‘flipping effect:’ Looking at the embossed feature just above the ribbon, when angling the card one way, you see the secondary photo. While at another angle you see the month and year of birth. 
  • Transparent windows visible on the card’s right edge and back bottom edge. Wisconsin is the first to have this unique security feature. 

  • The familiar orange DONOR dot is now nestled in the larger sugar maple leaf which you can feel. 


Who gets a new driver license/ID card?
  • All Wisconsin driver license/ID cards will be valid until their expiration date. Persons with expiring cards will be notified as usual to renew. The process does not change. There is no need to come in early to get a new product.
  • Use the interactive Driver License Guide for a personalized check list of documents needed and help with forms.

Features on Wisconsin cards beginning Fall 2015:

  • Contains black and white photos
  • Features a beautiful rendition of the Wisconsin State Capitol building, the Wisconsin State flag and a Sugar Maple leaf
  • Text "Not for Federal Purposes" is printed on non-REAL ID compliant cards in compliance with Department of Homeland Security REAL ID regulations.

​Wisconsin DMV issues REAL ID compliant products (marked with a µ) in accordance with the federal Real ID Act of 2005. If you plan to fly within the U.S., visit a military base or other federal buildings, the Department of Homeland Security will require identification that is REAL ID compliant (or show another acceptable form of identification, such as a passport) beginning May 7, 2025, the new deadline for this Federal requirement.

  • ​A STAR in the upper right corner of the card indicates that the card is compliant with Federal REAL ID Act requirements​

A star indicates card is compliant with federal REAL ID requirements 

  • NOT FOR FEDERAL PURPOSES indicates that the card is not compliant with Federal REAL ID Act requirements

The words not for federal purposes indicates card is not compliant with federal real id requirements 

  • LIMITED TERM indicates that the license or ID card holder is a non-immigrant (Temporary Visitor) with legal status in the United States

Limited term indicates the card holder is a temporary visitor with legal status ​​

  • NON-DOMICILED indicates that the CDL license holder is a non-immigrant (Temporary Visitor) with legal status in the United States

Non-domiciled indicates the CDL license holder is a temporary visitor with legal status 

Sample cards under 21 Fall 2015​​
Sample under 21 cards starting Fall 2015

  • UNDER AGE 21 The noticeable vertical format on cards for those under age 21 continues and incorporates blue/red color themes for rapid visual recognition. Cards for those over age 21 are horizontal and have a blue/gold theme. ​

      Sample cards issued March 2012 to October 2015. Some may remain in circulation through end of 2023.Sample cards March 2012 to October 2015     ​​   

EmailWisconsin DMV email service​​​