Drivers Permits in Michigan
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed office locations, extended license and registration expiration dates, and/or limited the transactions they are processing. If possible, residents should use the SOS' online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the SOS' most recent updates for the latest information.
Getting Your Michigan Learner's Permit
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 17 years old.
Your first milestone on your path to your Michigan driver's license is to obtain your Level 1 Michigan learner's permit from the Secretary of State (SOS).
Michigan REAL ID Driver's License
The Michigan SOS has begun issuing federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses. As of October 1, 2021, the REAL ID will function as federal identification for domestic travel and entry into federal and military buildings—a standard license will not after this date.
All newly issued licenses in Michigan are now automatically REAL ID-compliant—simply follow the steps below. Renewals have the choice to maintain a standard license or upgrade to a REAL ID or enhanced license. Learn more at our renewals guide.
New to Michigan?
If you are new to the state and wish to transfer your out-of-state learner's 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 two 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 permit 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 permit 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.
Applying for a MI Learner's Permit
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 your:
- identity (e.g. certified birth certificate, Michigan driver education certificate, school ID).
- Legal U.S. presence and/or citizenship.
- Social Security number (Social Security card, W-2, 1099).
- Michigan residency—2 documents (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 Permit Test 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 test.
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.
Practice Makes Perfect!
Studying the Michigan Driver Manual is a great start toward acing your permit test, but it's not the best way to learn. Instead, prepare with an online practice test that mimics the format of the actual exam and includes multiple-choice questions and answers to test how much you've studied!
Michigan Learner's Permit Driving Restrictions
With your Level 1 learner's learner's, 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 permit is damaged, lost or stolen:
- Go to a SOS branch office.
- Provide all documents mentioned above.
- Pay the $9 duplicate learner's permit fee.
For more information, please refer to our Replacing a Lost License in Michigan page.
Your Next Step: Get Your Level 2 Intermediate Driver's License
Getting a Michigan learner's permit 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.