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How to Apply for a New Driver's License in Michigan

Obtaining a Michigan drivers license is mandatory for all residents who want to legally drive on public roadways. An MI DMV drivers license grants drivers permission to operate a motor vehicle within the state, and it can also be presented as an official identification document. In order to get a new drivers license, driving applicants must first pass a drivers ed course. Drivers wanting to obtain a full Michigan driving license must present specific documentation and fulfill a number of other requirements set by the MI Secretary of State (SOS) office.

Did you know? A majority of new drivers fail the written driving test on the first try. Increase your chances of passing the written drivers test by studying with our DMV practice exam.

How to Apply for a Michigan Driver's License:

  • Visit an MI SOS location.
  • Provide proof of completing two segments of driver education instruction.
  • Present the required documentation.
  • Pass the written DMV exam.
  • Take and pass the driving test.
  • Pass a vision screening.
  • Pay Michigan driver's license fees.

The topics below cover what Michigan residents need to know about getting drivers license privileges.

Types of Drivers Licenses in Michigan

The first step to obtaining a Michigan drivers license is filling out a drivers license application. Qualified driving applicants can apply for any of the following driving licenses:

  • Operator learners license - issued to teen drivers for the purpose of operating a non-commercial vehicle, under certain restrictions.
  • Operator drivers license - issued to drivers for the purpose of operating a non-commercial vehicle.
  • Motorcycle license endorsement - issued to drivers for the purpose of operating a motorcycle.
  • Class A, B or C commercial drivers license (CDL) - issued to drivers for the purpose of operating commercial vehicles.
  • Moped license - issued to drivers for the purpose of operating a moped (if they do not have a valid license to drive and are at least 15 years of age).
  • Chauffeur's license - issued to drivers for the purpose of operating a bus, school bus, taxi, limousine, delivery vehicle or any other occupational vehicle for financial gain.

First-Time Driver (Under 18) in Michigan

Residents must obtain a drivers license in MI to operate a motor vehicle within the state. In order to get a new drivers license, driving applicants must meet all of the requirements outlined by the Michigan Secretary of State. Requirements for obtaining a Michigan drivers license include passing a written knowledge exam and road test, as well as gathering documents that show proof of identity, Social Security Number, legal presence in the United States and in-state residency.

For more information, visit our Learner's Permit page.

Michigan New Drivers (Over 18)

Before being eligible for a full Michigan drivers license, residents who have never been licensed before must take a written driver's test, as required by the Michigan SOS.

MI Driver's Study Guide and Driver's Practice Test

State drivers license applicants who want to prepare for the written driver's exam can benefit from taking a practice permit test. Our Michigan DMV practice test can be used as a study guide, as it features questions and topics similar to the ones you will encounter on the official DMV exam.

How to Apply for Drivers Licenses in MI

Residents applying for drivers licenses in MI must visit a local SOS branch to present the necessary documentation. New drivers license hopefuls are required to present the following documents:

  • Proof of identity.
  • Proof of Social Security Number.
  • Proof of Michigan residency.
  • Proof of legal presence in the U.S.

MI Drivers License Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a Michigan DMV drivers license, driving applicants must be at least 18 years old. Along with providing the proper documentation, new drivers must also demonstrate their understanding of traffic laws and safe driving habits by passing a written driver's exam, a driving skills test and a vision screening. Driving applicants who are at least 17 years of age, have held a Level 2 provisional license for at least six months and have been accident and violation free for 12 consecutive months also qualify for full driver's license privileges.

MI Written/Driving Test

All drivers must receive a passing score on the written driver's exam and successfully complete a driving skills test to be granted an MI drivers license. Taking a practice permit test is one of the best ways to prepare, as a DMV practice test can help you know what to expect on the actual written exam.

MI Driving Test

The driving license skills test is administered by approved public and private third-party testing organizations. During the Michigan driver's test, DMV license applicants will have to demonstrate their ability to safely perform driving maneuvers on both a closed course and on the open road. You will have to apply safe driving skills in the following environments:

  • Urban roads.
  • Expressways.
  • Rural highways.
  • Residential areas.

Passengers are not allowed to participate in your license to drive skills exam, unless you require an interpreter. Minors must have a parent or legal guardian present throughout the exam. The driving applicant is responsible for providing a vehicle that is fully insured, registered and in safe working order.

New Michigan Resident

You must transfer your out-of-state drivers license as soon as you establish state residency in Michigan after your move. You can obtain your Michigan state drivers license at a Secretary of State office after you pass a vision test and pay a fee. You will be required to present proof of identity, residency, Social Security Number and legal presence in the U.S. If you were previously licensed in another state, the MI SOS will obtain your past driving record. New Michigan residents will also have to show proof of transferred car insurance and car title.

Replace Driver's License in Michigan

The SOS makes it easy to request a duplicate drivers license if yours was lost, stolen or damaged. In most cases, you can apply for an MI replacement drivers license online when you provide the last four digits of your Social Security Number, your date of birth, your eye color and your drivers license number. If you have a temporary license, an enhanced license, a minor restricted license, or you have renewed your license in the last month or changed your address in the last 10 days, then you must visit the nearest Michigan SOS branch to get a duplicate driving license. For more information about obtaining a drivers license replacement and the fees associated with this service, click here.

Locate a DMV in Michigan

Find SOS offices in your area by visiting our MI DMV locations page. For your convenience, you can review a selection of different office branches in your area, while obtaining important contact information.

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