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How to Get a New Driver License in Michigan

A Michigan drivers license is required for residents who wish to operate a vehicle in the state. Obtaining a new drivers license is a common goal for teen drivers and adults who have either never held a license or have held an out-of-state license. A drivers license is awarded to teen drivers who complete Level 1 of the three-level Graduated Driver Licensing program as well as adult drivers who hold a temporary permit and pass all required testing. Drivers licenses are issued by Michigan Secretary of State offices. Learn how to obtain a drivers license in Michigan by viewing the sections presented below.

Michigan DMV Drivers License Required Documents

DMV drivers license applications cannot be processed without proper supporting documentation. Applicants should have all drivers license information ready before they visit their local Secretary of State (SOS) office. Every MI drivers license application must be accompanied by documents that prove the following:

  • The driver’s Social Security Number or proof of ineligibility
  • The driver’s legal presence in the United States
  • The driver’s identity
  • The driver’s Michigan home address

Additionally, all teens getting drivers license approval for a level 2 license must bring their level 1 learners license, a Certificate of Completion for a Segment 2 drivers education course, a Driving Skills Test Certificate and a parent, guardian or trusted adult to co-sign.

Michigan Drivers License Eligibility

To correctly complete drivers license applications, here are other standards that must be met. To get drivers license approval for a level 2 license, applicants must meet a few standards. If a teen wants to apply for drivers license privileges, he or she must:

  • Be 16 or more years old.
  • Have held a level 1 learners license for more than six months.
  • Have passed a visual examination, proving that he or she can see well enough to drive without restrictions.
  • Meet all medical, physical and mental standards.
  • Have completed Segment 2 of a certified drivers education course and received a Certificate of Completion upon passing the course.
  • Pass a driving skills test.
  • Be able to prove his or her legal presence in the U.S.
  • Have completed 90 days without having his or her license suspended, being convicted for an infraction or getting into an accident in which he or she was at fault.
  • Have an adult co-sign the application, declaring that the teen has driven the minimum 50 hours and 10 hours driving during the night.

For teens, how to apply for drivers license level 3 privileges requires being at least 17 years old and having held the level 2 license for more than three months. Level 3 Michigan drivers license applicants must also have gone 12 months without an at-fault crash, suspended license or moving violation.

How to Get a Drivers License in Michigan

After learning the requirements to get a drivers license online and meeting all prerequisites, applicants should visit an SOS office to obtain the license. The SOS offers drivers license services and representatives will receive all proper documentation and fees from you. Level 3 licenses are mailed to teen drivers automatically at no charge once they turn 17, if they have met all requirements. When teens apply to get an MI drivers license for level 2, they (along with their parent or guardian) already sign up for automatic level-3 licensing once all conditions are met.

Note: The Michigan Department of State may reject any documents you provide to prove your identity, legal presence, etc. In such cases, you should ask what other documents would be acceptable.

If you hold a DMV drivers license from a state other than Michigan (or from Canada), the process for applying for a license is slightly different. To get your new drivers license, bring documents proving the main four elements listed above, take a vision exam, get a new photograph taken and provide payment for applicable fees. Upon completion of the application, your Michigan drivers license will be sent to you by mail. In the meantime, you will be presented a temporary operator’s permit, which works as a temporary drivers license to allow you to operate a vehicle in the state.

Note: There is no drivers license cost for level 3 licenses. However, you will have to pay a fee for a level 2 license or an 18-and-up license.

Michigan New Drivers License Restrictions

Getting a drivers license in Michigan comes with certain conditions or restrictions — at least for teens. For example, teen drivers with a new level 2 drivers license are not allowed to use a cell phone while driving. This includes making and receiving calls. Additionally, level 2 driver license holders cannot drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless they are accompanied by a parent, guardian or approved licensed adult over 21 years old, or unless they are driving to or returning from work or an authorized activity. Level 2 driver license holders also may not drive with more than one passenger under 21 years of age in the vehicle, unless necessitated by work, or unless the passengers are family, or unless a parent, guardian or approved adult is also in the vehicle.

Getting a drivers license means following all corresponding restrictions. If you are found guilty of violating the level 2 drivers license restrictions, or you are given a ticket because of violating restrictions, the Michigan Department of State becomes responsible for reexamining if you are fit to drive in the state. Punishments vary depending on the violation, however, it is entirely possible to have your new drivers license suspended for a full year. Consequently, your ability to progress through the Graduated Drivers Licensing program will be significantly delayed.

Teens with a level 3 drivers license do not face any restrictions imposed by the state. The level 3 MI DMV drivers license amounts to a regular adult license, and teen drivers with a level 3 license have full driving privileges.

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