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How to Renew a Driver License in Michigan

You will need to perform a Michigan drivers license renewal each time your license is due to expire in the near future. Typically, you must renew drivers license privileges every four years and the expiration date falls on your birthday. You should never drive without renewing drivers license privileges if they are expired, as it is illegal to do so. You can renew your driver license at a Secretary of State (SOS) office. The Michigan SOS department has early renewal options if certain circumstances apply to you in state or out of state. Learn how to renew drivers license credentials in the following sections.

Michigan DMV License Renewal Requirements

To renew your Michigan drivers license, you will need to present your existing license or an accepted proof of identity. Renewing drivers license privileges requires proof of four things: your Social Security Number (unless you have a letter of ineligibility), your legal presence in the U.S., your identity and your Michigan residency.

Renew Drivers License Online in Michigan

“Can you renew your license online in Michigan?” is a common question from drivers in the state. They are informed that a drivers license renewal online is possible to perform. An online drivers license renewal requires them to prove their citizenship and they must also know their Social Security Numbers, driver’s license numbers, birth date and eye color. Online driver’s license renewal is available if a driver’s last renewal took place in person. However, the online option is not yet available for enhanced driver licenses.

You must also pay a driving license renewal fee, which you can do with a Visa, MasterCard or Discover credit or debit card.

Note: You cannot renew your drivers license online twice in a row.

Renewing Michigan Drivers License Privileges in Person

It is also common for drivers to wonder where to renew drivers license credentials in person. Michigan DMV license renewal takes place in local Secretary of State offices. You are required to renew your driver’s license in person if you have a commercial, temporary, minor restricted or enhanced driving license. You will also have to renew in person in the following cases:

  • If you renewed your last license online or by mail
  • If you have experienced physical or mental health problems that could affect your driving
  • If you changed your address with the SOS in the last 10 days
  • If the SOS does not have your Social Security Number on file
  • If more than four years have passed since your last renewal

Further, you must renew your drivers license in person every eight years in order to take a current photo. This is why you cannot renew your drivers license online twice in a row.

If you are renewing drivers license privileges in person, then you should be prepared to take a vision exam and have any corrective lenses on hand if needed. You will also need to bring your driver’s license or other identification and payment for fees.

Renewing Michigan Drivers License Privileges by Mail

Michigan DMV license renewals can also be done by mail. To renew your driver license by this method, complete the renewal notice sent to you in the mail, update your address (if necessary), include a check, money order or credit card information and mail the packet back to the SOS.

What if you do not renew an expired drivers license in Michigan?

Driving with an expired drivers license in Michigan is illegal and if you are caught you will be subject to one or more fines. Expired drivers license punishments include fees assessed for two consecutive years, with the second fee issued to you on the anniversary of the first. There is also a late fee to renew your drivers license at an SOS office if your license is already expired.

Michigan Drivers License Renewal for Military Members

Renewing Michigan drivers license credentials is an important consideration for military members stationed outside of the state. If you are a military member set to be stationed outside of Michigan, then know that you can renew your credentials up to 12 months before it is due to expire. You can perform a drivers license renewal online (if you did not perform your last renewal online) or by mail if early renewal is not possible, unless your license is more than four years past its expiration.

Military members may drive with an expired drivers license if they have military papers, but only until 30 days after your first leave of absence following the expiration or 30 days after your discharge, whichever comes first.

You may also renew your license by mail if you are a spouse or dependent of an active military member stationed outside of Michigan. However, drivers license renewal privileges are not as extensive. Whereas military members may renew up to four years past the expiration of their license, spouses and dependents must renew by the exact expiration date.

Renewing Your Michigan Drivers License While Out of State

You do not have to be a military member to renew your driver license while out of state. Your renewal options are as follows:

  • You may fill out a driver license renewal application online or complete and send one by mail.
  • You may acquire a special extension permit, which allows you to legally drive for 180 days after your regular driver’s license expires.

The first option for renewing your drivers license may be preferable if you are only outside of the state of Michigan for a short time. The second may be preferable if you are outside the state temporarily but for a longer period of time. However, there are certain conditions for renewing your license online or by mail, so you should be sure that you meet them before attempting to renew through these methods.

Renewing Early - Out of State

If you will be out of state when your standard or enhanced license is due to expire, then you should visit a Secretary of State office to renew it before you travel. An MI drivers license renewal may occur up to 12 months early if you will be unable to renew it on time for any reason. Eligible motorists may also renew their standard driver's license online through ExpressSOS up to 12 months early.