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  • Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Michigan

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    You'll be applying for a new driver's license if you are a first-time driver, or you have just moved to Michigan.

    1) Choose Your License

    NOTE: Teens should read our applying for a new license for teens section to learn about specific requirements for teens.

    2) Take a Driver's Education Course

    If you're obtaining a Class D license for the first time, you should give some thought to enrolling in a driver education class. Although not required, it's a sound idea to take a supplemental course such as the one offered by our sponsor before you take the written exam.

    3) Prepare for the Test

    Michigan's What Every Driver Must Know, a manual, will be a great source for information before taking the written test. After studying it and, perhaps, enrolling in a supplemental driver's course, you'll want to see if you're prepared by taking a few practice tests.

    4) Locate a DMV Office

    Applicants can take the test at any Secretary of State (SOS) branch office.

    5) Make Test-Day Preparations

    You must:

    • Provide proof of identity.
    • Provide either your Social Security number or a letter from the Social Security Administration verifying your ineligibility.
    • Provide proof of residency.
    • Pass a vision test and meet the Secretary of State's designated health standards

    6) Take the Written Test

    After studying What Every Driver Must Know you'll visit any SOS branch office to take the exam.

    After passing you'll be issued a Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP), valid for 180 days.

    NOTE: Hearing-impaired applicants can request a sign language interpreter or bring one they know. Applicants with a poor grasp of the English language can use a spoken language interpreter and/or request a printed translation of the written exam.

    7) Get a Car

    Somewhere down the road you'll need a car to take Michigan's road test. Having a car will allow you to practice on your own, giving you valuable driving experience.

    Shop for used cars that are practical and reliable. Before you buy, order a vehicle history report. These reports will show any reported accidents, a salvage title, odometer fraud, and flood damage.

    8) Get Car Insurance

    Car insurance, regardless if you only hold a permit, is mandatory in Michigan. You can compare rates at our Insurance Center; free quotes can tell you if you are paying too much for your current coverage.

    9) Take the Driving Test

    You must set an appointment with a state-approved third-party testing office.

    You must bring:

    • A current Michigan temporary instruction permit.
    • Proof of car insurance and registration for your test vehicle.
    • Cash or check to pay test fees (because road test fees are not regulated by Michigan's Department of State, fees will vary).

    New residents holding a driver's license from a different state DO NOT have to submit to a road test.

    NOTE: Hearing-impaired drivers may use sign language interpreters during the road test. And applicants who don't understand English have the option of using an interpreter.

    Once You Pass

    Bring your signed skills test certificate to any SOS office, where you'll be issued a temporary license.

    Non-Citizens

    You are allowed to drive in Michigan as long as your license, from your native country, remains valid. An International Driving Permit is strongly suggested because it acts as a translation for your information, but these documents are not required.