New to Michigan
When you move to Michigan, there are a number of tasks you will need to complete with the Secretary of State (SOS) to ensure you can enjoy all the benefits of being a Michigan resident. These items include registering your vehicle, transferring your driver's license, and registering to vote. If your move is due to your new military station, you may be exempt from certain requirements because of your active duty status.
In Michigan, the office of the Secretary of State, sometimes referred to as the “DMV," is the agency that will handle your vehicle-related needs.
- Car registration and renewals.
- Driver's licensing and permits.
- License plates and handicapped placards.
- State identification cards.
The MI SOS also regulates other services within the state, such as voter registration.
Once you've officially become a resident of Michigan, you'll need to register your out-of-state car with the MI SOS. You'll need to visit a Michigan SOS office in person with all of the required documents. For more information, visit our guide to Michigan Car Registration.
If you have a special vehicle other than your standard car, such as a motorhome or off-road vehicle, you may need to go through a different registration process. More information can be found on our Special Vehicles registration page.
Mandatory Car Insurance
Before the Michigan SOS will allow you to register your vehicle, you must provide proof that you have no-fault car insurance in Michigan. You cannot use your out-of-state policy. To compare quotes and find a suitable Michigan insurance provider, visit our Car Insurance section.
In Michigan, you are not required to have your vehicle pass an emissions inspection before you can register it. If you have an eco-friendly car, you may be eligible for some incentives, such as federal tax incentives and auto insurance discounts. For more information, visit our Car Inspections and Green Driver State Incentives pages.
Once you've established residency in Michigan, you'll need to transfer your out-of-state driver's license over to the state. To do this, you'll need to visit your local MI SOS office in person and surrender your out-of-state license. For complete instructions and fee information, visit our Applying for a New License in Michigan page.
If you're a teenager, you'll need to satisfy the requirements of the Michigan graduated driver's licensing (GDL) program before you will be eligible for a full driver's license. For more information, visit out Applying for a New Teen License page.
NOTE: If you need a commercial driver's license (CDL), follow the instructions on our Applying for a New CDL in Michigan page.
If you don't need to drive in the state, you may wish to apply for a Michigan identification card. This can be used to prove your age, identity, and date of birth. For application instructions, including required fees, visit our Identification Cards page.
Once you move to another state, you'll need to re-register as an organ donor and voter, if you wish to. This can be done at the same time as applying for a Michigan driver's license, or completed as a separate transaction.
Organ Donor Registration
If you were a registered organ donor in your previous state and you want to remain a donor, you'll need to re-register with Michigan state's registry. To register and to find out more information about becoming an organ donor, visit our Organ Donation page.
If you wish to vote in the next election, you'll need to make sure you're registered to vote in your new Michigan county. Visit our page on Voter Registration for instructions.
If you're not a Michigan resident, but temporarily living in the state due to military obligations, you may be exempt from some of the state's licensing and vehicle registration requirements. For more information, visit our Drivers in the Military page.
If you're ready to make the trip to the Michigan SOS office, use our handy office finder tool.
Before you get on the road with your MI driver's license, be sure to read the DMV's driving manuals and make sure you're aware of the state's road rules: