Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Wisconsin driver licenses and identification (ID) cards

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) began mailing all driver licenses and ID cards in 2012.

What does central issuance mean?

All products are mailed from one production facility. This is done for two reasons:

  1. REAL ID, (a federal law) requires substantial changes in security features on the card and in facilities that produce cards. Wisconsin cannot meet these requirements issuing driver licenses and IDs over-the-counter.
  2. Mailing all products helps prevent and detect fraud and identity theft by requiring a valid address and allowing extra security precautions to be taken prior to issuing the actual product. Delivery by mail is consistent with other documents, such as credit cards, car titles, birth certificates and passports.

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

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

Will I be issued a temporary license or ID card?

Paper receipt example now provided by the Wisconsin DMV
Paper receipt example now
provided by the DMV

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

Note that the receipt is not acceptable as proof of identity for a Social Security Number replacement card. If you want to request a Social Security Number replacement card, wait for your license or ID card to arrive in the mail before visiting a Social Security office.

Driver license and ID cards have a new look.

New drivers license sample being provided by the Wisconsin DMV
New driver license example now
provided by the Wisconsin DMV

Previously issued Wisconsin drivers license
Previously issued Wisconsin
drivers license

 Wisconsin driver licenses and ID cards have been redesigned. The background security design line work looks different, and includes an image of the Wisconsin State Capitol. In addition to the primary portrait, there are two "ghost images," one color and one laser-engraved. The back of the products include a 2D bar code with printed data from the front of the card, and the writable surface for an anatomical gift statement is still available. A sample of the new style license is shown here at the left.

Additional images of licenses and ID cards

REAL ID-compliant driver license and ID cards - first issued January 14, 2013

REAL ID non-compliant driver license and ID cards - first issued spring 2012

REAL ID non-compliant driver license and ID cards - first issued September 2005

Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (608) 266-2353

Last modified: January 14, 2013
BDS/QIS/DRE

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