Drivers Permits in Michigan
Learning how to drive is an exciting experience, so let's take a look at how the process begins; namely, how to obtain your Michigan learner's license.
We'll cover the process for drivers under the age of 18 first, which follows the Graduated Driver License program, and then we'll move on to Michigan drivers over the age of 18 who need temporary instruction permits.
To apply for your Level 1 license, you'll need to be at least 14 years and nine months old. You must also have passed the Segment 1 driver education course. As part of the class, you must pass the written test, which will quiz on different aspects of driving.
DMV.org provides practice tests to further help you prepare. You can also study the What Every Driver Should Know manual which contains 40 multiple-choice questions based on information found in the manual.
When it's time to apply, you'll do so at a Secretary of State (SOS) branch office. You'll be asked to:
- Your Social Security card.
- Successfully complete a vision test.
- Present your course completion certificate.
- Answer some general health questions (in regards to being fit to safely operate a vehicle).
A parent, legal guardian, or another adult who will be responsible for you must sign your application.
Fees and Appointments
Your learner's license costs $25, and you don't need an appointment to apply for it.
Regulations and Waiting Periods
After gaining your learner's license, you may drive with a licensed parent, legal guardian, or a designated adult who is over 21.
The permit is good for 180 days. You must allow at least 90 days to pass between the time you complete Segment 1 and start with Segment 2. You'll also need at least 30 hours of driving time with a licensed parent or guardian.
Applying for your Level 2 intermediate license means you must now take a road test. Because the Secretary of State no longer administers or sets the fees for the road tests, you'll need to contact a certified private examiner for a test date and specific fees.
The road test consists of three parts: a vehicle inspection, a drive through a closed course, and a 30-minute open-road test. You can prime yourself for these tests with the Road Skills Test Study Guide.
If you pass, gather up the following and get your intermediate license:
- Your Level 1 Learner's License.
- Your Segment 2 Certificate of Completion.
- The Road Skills Test endorsement.
- Your parent's, legal guardian's, or responsible adult's signature on the application certifying that you've had at least 50 hours of driving practice.
- The $25 driver license application fee.
Regulations and Waiting Periods
With the intermediate license you can drive unsupervised between 5 a.m. to midnight, but you'll need supervision to drive from midnight to 5 a.m. unless you are driving to or from work.
Michigan offers another type of permit, the Temporary Instructing Permit (TIP). These permits are for individuals 18 and over who fit one of the following criteria:
- Haven't completed a Graduated Driver License Program.
- Have a U.S. issued driver's license that's been expired for at least four years.
- Have an expired foreign-issued license.
- Have never been issued a license.
If you're in one of these categories, you'll need to have a TIP for at least 30 days before you can apply for your driver's license. With this permit, you'll be allowed to practice driving with an adult licensed driver. A TIP will expire in 180 days from its issuance.
To apply for a TIP, head to a branch office where you'll need to:
- Pass the vision test.
- Pass the written test.
- Present your Social Security card.
- Present proper proper identification; the SOS is very specific about acceptable ID.
You don't need to make an appointment, and the permit costs $25.
For more information on how to proceed with obtaining your license, please visit our Applying for a New License section.
To replace a lost permit, go to a branch office with proper identification. A parent, legal guardian, or another adult who will be responsible for you must be present and sign the form. Replacement permits are issued for free.
Michigan is currently proposing two different kinds of driver's licenses:
- An upgraded "standard" driver's license, which will include additional safety features and act as a passport alternative for domestic air travel once the federal REAL ID Act takes effect.
- An enhanced driver's license, which will act as a passport alternative for travel to and from Canada and other Western Hemisphere countries under the federal Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).
If either or both of these proposed licenses become realities, there may be "driver permit" versions as well; however, until that time, it's best to check Michigan's Enhanced Driver's License Web page for updates.
Other Topics in This Section
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- Drivers Training Requirements: Do You Have to Enroll in Drivers Training?
- How to Choose a Drivers Training Program
- Who’s Required to Take Drivers Training
- Transferring a Learner Permit to a New State
- Teen Driver Safety: Seat Belt Use
- Graduating From a Drivers Permit to a Restricted Drivers License
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