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    Getting Your Michigan Learner’s License

    In an effort to reduce the alarming number of accidents involving first-time drivers, Michigan has implemented a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. Under the Michigan GDL, teens are required to achieve certain age and experience related milestones until they reach 18 years old.

    Your first milestone on your path to your Michigan driver’s license is to obtain your Level 1 Michigan learner’s license from the Secretary of State (SOS).

    New to Michigan?

    If you are new to the state and wish to transfer your out-of-state permit to Michigan, you must provide proof that your Driver’s Ed instruction received in your previous state meets Michigan's minimum standards, which are:

    • 30 hours of classroom instruction.
    • 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training.

    The GDL mandates that the course be completed in 2 segments. For more information, please see the Driver’s Ed section below. You will also need to take the Original Operator License Test at the Secretary of State office.

    Driver’s Ed in Michigan

    The curriculum for Driver’s Ed in Michigan is divided into 2 segments and is required for all drivers under 18 years old. In order to enroll in Driver’s Ed, you must be at least 14 years and 8 months old. Prior to taking your written test, you need to complete Segment 1 of an approved Driver’s Ed course.

    Segment 1 of Driver’s Ed includes:

    • 24 hours of classroom instruction.
    • 6 hours of behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction.
    • 4 hours of observation time in a training vehicle.
    • Segment 1 written test.

    Once you have completed Segment 1 and held your Level 1 Michigan learner’s license for a minimum of 3 months continuously, you can begin Segment 2 of Driver’s Ed.

    Segment 2 of Driver’s Ed must include:

    • 6 hours of additional classroom instruction.
    • Segment 2 written test.

    For more information, please refer to our Driver’s Ed in Michigan page.

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    Apply for a Michigan Learner’s License

    To apply for a learner’s license, you must be at least 14 years and 9 months old, and your parent or legal guardian must accompany you to your local SOS office with the following documents:

    • Proof of identity (e.g. certified birth certificate, Michigan driver education certificate, school ID).
    • Proof of Social Security (Social Security card, W-2, 1099).
    • 2 proofs of Michigan residency (Michigan high school report card, current paystub, bank statement 90 days old or less).
    • Segment 1 Driver’s Ed completion certificate.

    For more information about these required documents, please refer to the Secretary of State's list of acceptable proofs.

    Taking the Written Exam in Michigan

    If you are a Michigan resident who has completed Segment 1, your driver’s education certificate of completion exempts you from taking the original operator license test. Your Segment 1 knowledge exam doubles as your learner's permit exam.

    If you are a new Michigan resident with an out-of-state driver’s education certificate, you will be required to complete the original operator license test. You will need to:

    • Pass the 40-question test.
    • Pay the $25 fee.

    Once you’ve passed the test, you’ll be issued your level 1 learner’s license. You must hold your permit for at least 3 months before you can move on to Segment 2 of your Driver’s Ed course.

    Michigan Learner’s License Driving Restrictions

    With your Level 1 learner’s license, you may only drive with a licensed parent/guardian or designated licensed adult who is 21 years old or older. You’ll have to wait for your Level 2 intermediate license to go any further in the GDL program.

    Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements

    In addition to the 6 hours required in your Driver’s Ed course, you’ll also need to complete:

    • 50 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel driving.
    • 10 hours of night driving as part of your overall hours.

    Your parent or legal guardian must certify that you completed these hours. You may download the Michigan Driving Skills Study Guide (Form SOS-360) that contains a log to record your hours.

    Replacing Your MI Learner's Permit

    If your learner's license is damaged, lost or stolen:

    • Go to a SOS branch office.
    • Provide the documents mentioned above.
    • Pay the $9 duplicate permit fee.

    For more information, please refer to our Replacing a Lost License in Michigan page.

    Your Next Step: Get Your Level 2 Intermediate License

    Getting a Michigan learner’s license is an exciting time for any teen. Please don’t let your excitement get in the way of safety and good judgment. When you’re on the road, always be aware of the distractions and conditions around you. That way, our roads will be safer for everyone.

    Your next step in the Michigan GDL is to get your Level 2 intermediate license. For more information, please visit our MI Teen Driver’s License page.

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