There has been an important change to the drivers license process that all drivers in Wisconsin will encounter the next time they go to renew their license.  Residents now have the ability to choose between two types of licenses:  a regular drivers license and a REAL ID drivers license.

First - what's the difference?

Wisconsin DMV is now issuing drivers license and identification cards that meet new Federal REAL ID requirements.  While all Wisconsin license and identification cards will be valid for federal uses for the next few years, at some point before your next renewal, a REAL ID license or identification card will be required for identification at airports and federal buildings.  The cost to renew your existing license or get a REAL ID license is the same.  Currently, you can choose to apply for a REAL ID at a later date.  However, be aware that the cost of a duplicate product will apply.

So what does this mean to Wisconsin drivers who may have a license renewal coming up up in the next few years?  Well, you might as well go through the process to obtain a REAL ID drivers license now when it will only cost you the price of a normal renewal;  If you put it off, you'll end up paying additional fees to get one.

As you may have guessed, there are some additional requirements to obtain a REAL ID drivers license.   The State of Wisconsin is following the guidelines required by the Federal government in order to issue this elevated form of identification.  REAL ID applicants will need to provide one document from each of the following categories.

Name, Date of Birth, and Legal Presence:

  • Certified U.S. Birth Certificate (with raised seal - no birth registrations accepted)
  • Valid unexpired U.S. Passport or Passport Card
  • Certificate of Citizenship of Naturalization
  • Valid unexpired Permanent Resident Card
  • Valid foreign passport with Federal form I-94, arrival and departure record
  • Valid Employment Authorization Card (I-668B; I-766)

Identity:

  • Valid Driver License or ID Card
  • Social Security Card issued by the Social Security Administration
  • Government Issued Marriage Certificate of certified copy of Judgement of Divorce
  • Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization
  • Valid unexpired Permanent Resident Card

Name Change:

  • Government issued Marriage Certificate
  • Certified copy of Judgement of Divorce
  • Certified court papers
  • Valid unexpired U.S. Passport issued in your current name

NOTE:  If you do not have a passport issued in your current name, you will need to provide documents to support each change of your name from birth to the present date.

Social Security Number:

  • Social Security Card issued by the Social Security Administration
  • W-2 Form
  • Pay stub with your name and full Social Security Number listed.

NOTE:   Your name and Social Security Number provided will be verified with the Social Security Administration.

Address:

  • Wisconsin Driver License or ID Card with current address
  • A utility bill for gas, water, electric, or land line or mobile phone service - issued within the last 90 days.
  • A paycheck, pay stub, or earning statement with the employers name and address, issued within the last 90 days.
  • An account statement from a bank/financial institution or brokerage house, issued within  the last 90 days - includes savings, checking, or money market accounts
  • Current valid homeowners', renters', or motor vehicle insurance policy - dated within one year of application.

To download the forms you'll need to either renew your Wisconsin Drivers License or obtain a REAL ID Drivers License, click here.