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?
- 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
Wisconsin driver license and ID cards issued Fall 2015
Beginning Fall 2015, Wisconsin's new driver license and ID card design provides the most advanced security features currently available in the United States.
Sample cards starting Fall 2015
What will you notice about your new card?
- 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 3, 2023, the new deadline for this Federal requirement.
Notifications printed on Wisconsin Driver Licenses and ID Cards that are required by state and/or federal law:
STAR in the upper right corner of the card indicates that the card is
compliant with Federal
REAL ID Act requirements
NOT FOR FEDERAL PURPOSES indicates that the card is
not compliant with Federal
REAL ID Act requirements
LIMITED TERM indicates that the license or ID card holder is a non-immigrant (Temporary Visitor) with legal status in the United States
NON-DOMICILED indicates that the CDL license holder is a non-immigrant (Temporary Visitor) with legal status in the United States
How are these cards more secure?
Sample under 21 cards starting Fall 2015
- Cards have a detailed black and white photo laser-engraved onto a very high-quality polycarbonate card.
- Photo is fully integrated with a solid card, not layered.
- Process produces two high-definition, high-contrast images, making the card much more difficult to counterfeit.
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.
Wisconsin driver license and ID cards issued March 2012 to October 2015
Wisconsin driver license and ID cards issued September 2005 to 2012
- Some cards issued September 2005 to 2012 will remain valid through 2020
Sample cards issued September 2005 to 2012
Wisconsin will have three cards in circulation until older cards expire
Three sample cards currently in circulation