Probationary driver license requirements

​(en español)

Drivers under the age of 18 who have completed a driver education course, behind the wheel training and 50 hours of supervised driving are eligible to take a road test. 

Road test appointments can be made online.

​Probationary driver license

A probationary license is a driver license issued to a new driver, regardless of age. It is valid for operation according to the restrictions on the back.

The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues a probationary license to new drivers, persons with a driver license from another country who pass the required tests, persons reinstating a revoked or canceled probationary license and new residents who surrender a license that is expired for more than six months, or who have less than three years of driving experience in the United States, its territories, or Canada, or who are under the age of 21.

The main difference between a probationary license and a regular license consists of the restrictions listed on the back. A probationary license is not an instruction permit or learner's permit. It is a valid driver license for operation within and outside of Wisconsin.

With a probationary license, demerit points double for moving traffic convictions after your first conviction. Your license will be suspended for six months if you accumulate 12 or more points within a 12-month period.

Probationary licenses are issued to expire two years from the applicant's next birthday. For example, if a new driver is 16 years old on the date they obtain their probationary license, the earliest that license would expire would be on their 19th birthday.

The expiration date of a license for a non-immigrant foreign visitor will depend on the applicant's length of authorized stay.

Probationary license requirements

Wisconsin residents UNDER 18 years of age may obtain a probationary driver license if they fulfill the following requirements:

  • Are at least 16 years old.
  • Have passed an approved driver education course.
  • Have an adult sponsor.
  • Complete a Wisconsin Driver license Application form MV3001 – including your Social Security number.
  • Provide proof of U.S. citizenship, legal permanent resident status, conditional resident status or temporary visitor status.
  • Provide proof of name and date of birth​.
  • Provide proof of identity​.​
  • Have held an Instruction Permit for at least six months.
  • Have been violation free for six months.
  • Have 50 hours of driving experience (10 of which must be at night).
    • ​Instruction permits issued before July 11, 2021 are required to have 30 hours of practice with 10 hours being at night
  • ​Are enrolled in a school program or high school equivalency program and are not a habitual truant, or have graduated from high school or been granted a declaration of high graduation equivalency, or are enrolled in a home-based private education program.
  • Pass the driving skills test.
  • Pay the necessary fees.

In addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, you:

  • Must maintain absolute sobriety while driving.
  • Must wear your seat belt.

The following restrictions are in effect the first nine months and can be extended until you are 18:

  • You can drive alone, but you are limited to only one passenger other than your immediate family or a qualified adult.
  • No driving between midnight to 5 a.m., unless traveling between home and school or work.
  • The restrictions above can be extended if you get a traffic ticket, your probationary license is suspended or revoked or you are in violation of the above restrictions.

Wisconsin residents 18 years of age and older are eligible for a probationary driver license if they fulfill the following requirements:

Visitors, students and members of the Armed Forces not wishing to establish Wisconsin residency​

Visitors to Wisconsin (at least 16 years old) who do not plan to establish permanent residency, and members of the Armed Forces and their families living in Wisconsin but with permanent residence elsewhere, are not required to obtain a Wisconsin driver license. However, they must have a valid license from their home jurisdiction to operate a motor vehicle in Wisconsin.

If Wisconsin residency is established, the person must obtain a Wisconsin license within 60 days. Eligibility requirements are the same as those for a native Wisconsin resident.

Visitors and students from other countries

Visitors and students from out of the country who are in Wisconsin for more than twelve months and plan to operate a motor vehicle in Wisconsin, must obtain a Wisconsin license. Eligibility requirements are the same as those for a native Wisconsin resident.

Foreign motorists from France, Germany or the Republic of Korea (South Korea) who apply for a class D Regular Wisconsin driver license may be eligible to have the knowledge and skills tests waived. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has reciprocal agreements for driver licensing with these countries.

For more information:

EmailWisconsin DMV email service​​​