Michigan DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ

Drivers preparing to apply for their Michigan state driver’s license are required to know all of the information contained within the official Michigan DMV handbook. However, you are also free to peruse the following FAQ for a preview as to what you can expect. You may also want to consider studying for your written test with a practice test designed to mimic the experience. This could greatly increase your chances of passing on the first try.
How old do I need to be before I can apply for a driver’s license in Michigan?
In Michigan, you need to be a minimum of 14 and 9 months old in order to be eligible to apply for your provisional driver’s license.
What do I need to bring with me when I apply for my Michigan license?
You will need to come prepared to prove your identity, your date of birth, your social security number, and your residency using government-approved documents. Acceptable options for identity proof include a certified copy of your birth certificate, a United States passport, a military ID card, or a report of consular birth abroad. You can prove your residency by showing a pay stub, a rental agreement, proof of enrollment in a Michigan school, or a utility bill. If you are under the age of 18, you will also need to bring one of your parents or legal guardians with you, as they will need to sign your paperwork. They may also be asked to show government-approved ID at the time you apply.
Do I need to pass a physical in order to get my Michigan driver’s license?
No. No physical will be required. However, you will be required to pass a vision test. You’ll also be asked basic questions about your health at the time of application.
Does Michigan have a graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) program? What are the different levels I should know about?
Yes. Michigan is one of a great many states that have decided to adopt a graduated driver’s licensing program. This is the best way to ensure that young first-time drivers receive all of the training they need to become responsible, capable drivers later in life. Young drivers earn different level licenses as they meet certain milestones and age criteria.
  • You are eligible for your Level 1 license at 14 years and 9 months old
  • You are eligible for your Level 2 license at 16 years old
  • You are eligible for your Level 3 license at 17 years old
Does Michigan require young drivers to take driver’s ed?
Yes. Driver’s ed is mandatory in the state of Michigan. However, it is split up into two separate segments that are undertaken at different times. The first segment must be completed successfully before you obtain your Michigan learner’s permit and start driving under supervision. The second segment can only be completed after you’ve successfully earned your Level 1 license, as well as completed your supervised driving hours. Segment 1 consists of 24 hours of classroom instruction (up to 2 hours per day) and 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training. There is also a required written test that you must pass. Segment 2 is less involved and consists of an additional 6 classroom hours followed by another written test.
Do I need to have car insurance in Michigan?
Yes. You are required by law to be covered by car insurance regardless of the level of your Michigan driver’s license. At Level 1, the driver is required to be covered under the insurance of the licensed adult they’re driving with. Usually this will be a parent, but if it’s not, then it’s important that arrangements be made. Starting at Level 2, drivers will be required to show proof of insurance in order to upgrade their license.
When will I need to renew my Michigan driver’s license?
A standard Michigan driver’s license will expire every 4 years on your birthday. However, if you are under 21 years of age, your license will expire on your 21st birthday regardless of how long you’ve had it. While it’s always a good idea to take responsibility for knowing when your license expires, you will also receive a notice in the mail from the Michigan Secretary of State about 45 days before your expiration date.
What are my options for renewing my Michigan driver’s license?
Your options as to how you can renew your license will be covered in the renewal notice you receive in the mail. They vary according to certain criteria, including how long it’s been since you last renewed. You must renew in person at a DMV field office at least once every 8 years. You may also be able to renew your license online or by mail. (Please note drivers that hold an enhanced driver’s license are never eligible for renewal online.)
What if my license is expired or suspended? How do I get it renewed?
If your Michigan license is allowed to expire, you will need to pay a $7 late fee in order to have it reinstated. However, if your license has been expired for 4 years or longer, you will also need to retake both your written driver’s knowledge test and your road test. If your license is suspended, then you will not be able to renew your license until you’ve satisfied the attached conditions – paying fines, resolving legal issues, etc.
What if my license is lost or stolen? What should I do?
Michigan does not require residents to report the loss of their state driver’s license or permit to law enforcement or authorities. However, it is strongly recommended as it helps to protect you against any identity theft attempts. You can obtain a new license either online or in person, providing you hold a standard driver’s license. Please note that you cannot use the online option if your license is expired, if you’ve had a change of address within the last 10 days, or you’ve either renewed or requested a duplicate within the last 4 weeks.
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