Driving in the U.S.
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How to get a Driver's License in Wisconsin
Driver's licenses in Wisconsin are issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The Platteville DMV office does not have a telephone number; you will have to visit their office to make contact with them. The general Wisconsin State DMV phone number is: 800.924.3570. The DMV office is located just off of Hwy. 151 in the Platteville Industry Park.
Using Your International Driver's License
If you are in the U.S. for less than a year and have a valid driver's license in a country that signed the 1943 regulation of inter-American automotive traffic or the 1949 Geneva Convention, you may drive legally on that license. View a list of countries authorized by the 1943/1949 convention.
When You Must Apply for a Wisconsin Driver's License
If you are in the U.S. for longer than a year (even if you do have a valid driver's license from your home country) or if you do not have a valid operator's license issued by a country referenced above and you intend to operate a motor vehicle in Wisconsin, you must obtain a Wisconsin driver's license.
Minimum Stay Requirement
Wisconsin will issue a driver's license to non-immigrant students and visitors who will have legal status in the United States for a minimum of one year and who are eligible to remain in the United States for at least 6 months at the time of applying for the license.
If You Have Never Had a Driver's License
If you have never had a driver's license even in your home country, you must first apply for the Instruction Permit at the Platteville Division of Motor Vehicles Service Center. To get this permit you are required to pass the knowledge and highway signs test and the vision screening (eye test). You can use the Instruction Permit to practice your driving skills then return to take the practical test. The Instruction Permit is NOT a driver's license.
Expiration of Wisconsin Driver's License
- For F-1 students and F-2 dependents. Expiration dates for original license are normally 2 years from your next birthday.
- For J-1 students and J-2 dependents. Expiration date for your original license will match the expiration date of your DS-2019, but no longer than 2 years (for a license) from your next birthday.
Steps to getting a Wisconsin Driver's License
Complete the application:
- If you have a social security number, you must list it. However, a social security card is not required to obtain a driver's license.
- On the form, you are asked to choose a 'category.' You are considered a temporary visitor, so check that box.
- Bring application along with the following documents to the DMV:
After presenting your documents to the DMV, you will have to take the following tests:
- Vision test
- Written test (How to prepare for the test: Study the DMV handbook.
- Practical test, often called 'behind the wheel' test
- Pay license fee. View current charges.
Buying a Car
You can buy cars from a dealership or from a personal advertisement. There are certain laws and responsibilities you have to obey when you own a car. Please remember that owning a car is expensive. You will need to be able to pay for the registration costs, monthly insurance, gas, storage over summer/winter breaks, parking, and any upkeep and repair bills. We recommend new students to wait with buying cars until they are more familiar with all the rules and regulations in the United States.
Register your car. Don't delay in registering your car. You must display license plates (permanent or temporary) within two days of purchasing a vehicle and within two days of establishing residency in the state.
Purchase car insurance. Registering and getting insurance go hand-in-hand. You cannot drive legally without insurance coverage.
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31 Means Drive (Behind K-Mart)
Mondays 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Wednesdays 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
For a list of Platteville DMV services and to verify the hours of operation, please click here.