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.
- Operator's license (Class O)
- Chauffeur's license
- Moped license
- Commercial License (CDL) A, B, and C
NOTE: If you are younger than 18 you must enroll in a driver's ed course and participate in Michigan's Graduated Driver Licensing program.
A chauffeur's license is required for:
- Bus or school bus drivers
- Taxi or limousine drivers
- Anyone employed for the purpose of operating a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or more
- Anyone operating a vehicle as a carrier of passengers or as a common or contract carrier of property
Younger than 18―Driver education is mandatory.
18 and older―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.
Michigan's What Every Driver Must Know, a 130-page 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.
Applicants 18 or older can take the test at any Secretary of State (SOS) branch office.
Applicants younger than 18 will take the test as part of Michigan's Segment 1 driver education class, through any state-approved school.
If You're 18 or Older
- 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
After passing you'll be issued a Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP), valid for 180 days. You must hold the permit for a minimum of 30 days before taking the road test.
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 in one of many languages.
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.
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.
You must set an appointment with a state-approved third-party testing office.
If You're Younger Than 18
- Provide a valid Michigan Level 1 license that you've held for a minimum of 180 days.
- Bring a Segment 2 Driver Education completion certificate.
- Be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to sign the certification statement on your driving skills test score sheet, verifying that you completed 50 hours of supervised driving, including a minimum of 10 hours at night.
- Provide proof of car insurance and registration for your test vehicl.e
- Bring cash or check to pay test fees (because road test fees are not regulated by Michigan's Department of State, fees will vary).
If You're 18 or Older
You must bring:
- A current Michigan temporary instruction permit that you've held for a minimum of 30 days (this 30-day mandate may be waived if you were previously licensed).
- 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.
The skills test certificate is valid for one year. You must take the written and road tests again if you allow it to expire.
If You Fail
You must wait 24 hours before testing again.
Your permanent license will arrive within two weeks.
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.
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We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.