Renewing Your License in Michigan
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You must have a valid license to drive within the state. So, be sure to keep track of when your license expires. You can renew your license up to one year in advance of its expiration date.
Of course, you can't drive without having the proper insurance. Visit our Insurance Center to look for providers, and find the best rates.
Renew your standard operator license every four years by either of these options:
- By mail
- In person
Commercial drivers should consult our Renewing Your CDL article to learn how to handle their situation.
If you need to check the status of your license, you may purchase a copy of your driver record.
While it's illegal to drive on an expired license, you can renew it up to four years after its expiration without having to repeat the licensing process. Just follow the same procedure as those with current licenses, but be prepared to pay an additional fee of $7 for being tardy. You may verify your license status at any time by obtaining a copy of your driver record.
Suspended license issues can be perplexing. If you're confused about your license status, you can always check on it by obtaining a copy of your driver record. Also, since your insurance premiums will likely go up, it's a smart idea to browse through our Insurance Center to find the most affordable rates.
Visit our Suspended License page to learn how to reinstate your license and the fees involved.
See our Replacing a Lost License page for instructions on how to receive a duplicate license.
About 45 days before your license expires, you should receive a renewal reminder notice from the Secretary of State (SOS) office. The notice will tell you if you can renew by mail or in person. You don't need to have the reminder notice with you when renewing in person.
If you didn't receive a renewal notice―or if you believe the SOS is incorrect about not permitting you to renew by mail―contact the SOS at (888) SOS-MICH. The notice is sent to your last address on file with the SOS.
Since the SOS doesn't offer an online renewal option, you must renew either in person or through the mail.
The SOS will let you know if you qualify to renew by this method. However, you won't be able to renew this way if:
- Your license has expired.
- You don't have a Social Security number.
- You're on the sex offender registry.
- You renewed by mail last time.
- You have to make any changes to your name or license type.
- You need to make a restriction or endorsement change.
- You experienced a physical or mental condition in the past six months that interfered with your ability to safely drive (including loss of consciousness).
If you meet the mail renewal conditions―and you have at least two weeks before your license expires to allow for handling―you can renew by:
- Filling in your eye color, height, and weight on the renewal form.
- Indicating any address changes.
- Providing your Social Security number.
- Including your fee payment of $18 (checks, money orders, and major credit cards accepted).
Then, mail everything to:
- Michigan Department of State
- 7064 Crowner Dr.
- Lansing, MI 48980-0001
You'll receive your new photo license in the mail in about two weeks.
Members of the Military
If you're enrolled in the military, refer to our Drivers in the Military article for renewal information regarding your situation.
Should you be outside of the state when your license expires, you can request a 180-day extension of your license or attempt to renew by mail (if permitted). See the SOS page regarding this situation for complete details.
When you come to a SOS branch office to renew your license, be ready to:
- Take a vision test.
- Supply your Social Security number.
- Provide your license or some other acceptable proof of identification.
- Pay the $18 fee.
If you weren't issued a Social Security number, you must instead show a letter from the Social Security Administration confirming that fact, and also provide acceptable proof of your legal presence in the country.
Members of the Military
Those enrolled in the military should refer to our Drivers in the Military article for renewal information regarding their situation.
If you're away from the state when your license expires, you can request a 180-day extension of your license or attempt to renew by mail (if permitted). See the SOS page regarding this situation for complete details.
Things can change a lot between license renewals, and it's important to keep your driving knowledge current and your skills sharp. Taking a traffic school course is an easy way to accomplish this, and doing so may even save you money on your insurance premiums. Ask your provider if you qualify, or check our Insurance Center to find a new carrier.
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