Tuesday May 5, the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced they would be temporarily waiving road test requirements for teens that have successfully completed other requirements. This is one of two changes, which will go into effect May 11.

The first allows drivers to renew their driver's licenses online.

Due to COVID-19 closures, 80,000 people with expired licenses have received extensions. Those extensions, with late fees waived, expire July 25, 2020.  To qualify, you have to be between the ages of 18 and 65 and have no medical restrictions or changes in vision.

Those who renew online, receive a printable confirmation email to use until their new card arrives by mail within 10 days. The $34 renewal fee remains the same. After the next normal renewal cycle of eight years, customers need to visit the DMV for a new photo to complete the renewal.

The second change waives the road test for new drivers who complete the required training and have their parent or guardian sign the road test waiver. The criteria these drivers must meet to be granted a probationary driver license in Wisconsin include:

  • They must hold an Instruction Permit  (Learners Permit) violation free for at least six months prior to testing
  • They must have completed driver education classes
  • They have completed behind-the-wheel training with a licensed instructor
  • They have completed at least 30 hours of driving with their parent/sponsor and their sponsor signs the road test waiver

The DMV said the move was made out of a need to safely address a backlog of demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. State officials estimated there is a backlog of 16,000 road test requests; 10,000 of those will be eligible for the road test waiver.

"We know this is a right of passage but because of the training requirements that are in place for drivers under the age of 18, nearly 98% of these drivers pass their road tests on their first or second try. This tells us the training is effective and they are prepared to drive safely," said Kristina Boardman, a DMV administrator.

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