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Applying for a Michigan New Driver’s License – Under 18

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All Michigan residents must obtain a drivers license 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. First-time driving applicants who are younger than 18 will need to complete a drivers permit application.

Did you know? New drivers who prepare for the DMV written exam are overwhelmingly more likely to pass the test on the first try. Our DMV practice tests will help you feel confident and ready for exam day.

How to Apply for a Michigan Learner's Permit:

  • Be at least 14 years and nine months old.
  • Provide proof of completing Segment 1 of Driver Education.
  • Present the required documentation.
  • Pass the written DMV exam.
  • Obtain written parental consent.
  • Pass a vision screening.

Applying for an MI Learner's Permit

New drivers applying for a learners permit in Michigan will have to progress through what is known as a Graduated Driver Licensing program before the issuance of a full driver's license. The process consists of three different stages: A Level 1 License (DMV learners permit), Level 2 License (intermediate license) and Level 3 License (full driver's license).

What is the Graduate Driver Licensing Program in Michigan?

Before being eligible for a full Michigan driver's license, driving applicants must fulfill certain requirements in order to advance to different stages of the graduate driver licensing program. The graduated driver licensing requirements consist of the following:

  • The Level 1 License, or learner's permit.
  • The Level 2 License, or intermediate driver's license.
  • The Level 3 License, or standard driver's license.

The list of requirements for progressing to the next driver's license stage include but are not limited to: passing the written driver's exam, a behind-the-wheel driver skills test, a vision screening and completing driver's ed. Depending on your driver's license level, certain restrictions concerning driving hours and passengers in which you are allowed to transport also apply.

How to Get an MI Learners Permit

Learners Permit Requirements in Michigan

To obtain the initial MI learning permit, or Level 1 License, driving applicants must fulfill the following rules and requirements:

  • You must be at least 14 years and 9 months of age to apply.
  • Pass a Segment 1 of drivers ed.
  • Pass a written knowledge exam and a vision screening.
  • Present documents that confirm your identity, Social Security Number, legal presence in the U.S. and Michigan state residency.
  • Turn in written Parental Consent.

Preparing for a Michigan DMV Written Exam

Before you can get a drivers permit in Michigan, you must pass a state written knowledge exam. The DMV written exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions, and you are required to answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly to receive passing score. The written driver's exam is used to test your knowledge on Michigan traffic laws and safe driving practices. Drivers younger than 18 will take the written exam as part of the Segment 1 driver education class and do not have to visit an SOS office.

New drivers can benefit by using our practice tests to prepare for the exam. The questions found in our DMV practice test are similar to the ones that will be featured on the official exam and can help new drivers get familiar with the content before taking the actual test.

Note: Driving applicants 18 years of age or older who have never held a Level 1 License will be administered the written driver exam at an SOS office when applying for a Temporary Instruction Permit. For your convenience, click here to locate the SOS branch nearest you.

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MI Drivers Education

Before obtaining a DMV learners permit, new drivers in Michigan must complete a Segment 1 driver's ed course (link to new page). Segment 1 of the driver education course must consist of a minimum of 24-hours of classroom instruction, six hours of behind-the-wheel experience, four hours of in-vehicle observation of fellow students and successful completion if the written driver's exam. Segment 2 of the driver education course should be taken prior to the road skills test in order to receive a Level 2 License. Segment 2 driver's ed consists of a minimum of six hours of classroom instruction.

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Michigan Learners Permit Restrictions

New drivers with a Level 1 License permit for driving are only permitted to drive with a licensed parent, legal guardian or designated passenger who is at least 21 years of age. Cell phone use is not permitted unless necessary to report an emergency situation.

Michigan Provisional Licenses

A Level 2 License, or provisional driving license, is the second stage of the Graduated Licensing Program in Michigan. Before submitting a provisional license application, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 16 years of age.
  • Qualify for and successfully complete Segment 2 of Driver Education, which consists of six hours of classroom instruction and a written exam.
  • Complete a driving log demonstrating 50 hours of behind-the-wheel experience, 10 of which must have been conducted at night.
  • Have held a Level 1 License for at least six months.
  • Remain accident and violation free for at least 90 days before applying for an intermediate driver's license.

Once you fulfill all of the requirements to receive a Michigan Level 2 License, or provisional driving license, the next step is to take your road skills test at a state-approved third-party testing organization. During the driving skills test, driving applicants must demonstrate their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle while obeying road rules and traffic signs.

Note: In order to qualify for Segment 2 of Driver Education, you must have completed at least 30 of the 50 required hours of behind-the-wheel experience, including at least two hours of night driving, and held a valid Level 1 License for at least three consecutive months.

MI Provisional License Driving Restrictions

Michigan drivers with a Level 2 intermediate license must abide by the following restrictions:

  • May not drive between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., except when driving to or from a place of employment or other authorized school, sport or religious activity, or when accompanied by a parent, guardian or designated licensed driver 21 years of age or older.
  • May not transport more than one passenger who is younger than 21 years of age, unless the additional passenger is an immediate family member and the driver is going to or from a place of employment or other authorized school, sport or religious activity, or when accompanied by a parent, guardian or designated licensed driver 21 years of age or older.

Replacing an MI Learners Permit

If your Michigan state learners permit becomes lost, stolen or damaged, you must visit a branch office to request a learners permit replacement. Note that you will be required to present an original document to show proof of identification and submit payment for replacement fees.

Locate a Michigan DMV

If you need to speak to a DMV representative or find the nearest MI SOS office, you will find useful contact information here.