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Wisconsin Driver's License and State ID

It is a good idea to have a driver’s license or state issued ID while living in the United States, regardless of whether you will be driving.  You will likely need one for activities like cashing checks, enrolling in a cell phone plan and opening a bank account.

Driving in the U.S.
You are legally allowed to drive in the United States with your driver’s license issued in your home country for a period not exceeding one year from the date of your arrival. You may drive a personal or rental car.

We recommend you obtain an international driver’s permit from your home country before arriving in the United States or attach an English translation to your national driver’s license.

You may apply for a Wisconsin driver’s license at any time, either right away or after driving on your international license for one year. Please keep in mind you will likely need to take a driving test to obtain this license.

Obtaining a Wisconsin State ID or Driver's License
Wisconsin state IDs and driver’s licenses are obtained at the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In order to obtain an ID, you must go to the DMV in person. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time, as there may be a long wait.

The DMV office nearest to the UWM campus is located downtown:
  • 819 N. 6th St #190, Milwaukee, WI 53203
  • 414-266-1000
  • Hours of Operation: Check the DMV website for the most up-to-date information.
In order to obtain a Wisconsin State ID, be sure to bring the following documents to the DMV:
  • Proof of identity: UWM Student ID, passport, I-20, and I-94.
  • Proof of Wisconsin residency: a piece of mail with your current name and Wisconsin address.
  • Your U.S. Social Security card (if you have one).
For information on obtaining a Wisconsin Driver’s license please visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Website.