Driver’s License Examination
Vision screening (20/40 visual acuity) and knowledge tests are required to obtain a Level 1 graduated license. If the applicant is age 18 or older, he or she must pass a vision screening and knowledge test to obtain a Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP).
Teens in the graduated licensing program will take the knowledge test as part of segment 1 of driver education. Knowledge tests will be administered by the Department of State.
An original license examination without a vehicle group designation or endorsement must include a behind-the-wheel road test.
The Secretary of State may waive the requirement of a behind-the-wheel road test, knowledge test, or road sign test of an applicant for an original operator’s or chauffeur’s license without a vehicle group designation or endorsement who at the time of the application is the holder of a valid, unrevoked operator’s or chauffeur’s license issued by another state or country.
Vision screenings are required with each renewal conducted in-person.
The results of a knowledge test for an original group designation or endorsement shall be valid for 12 months.
Graduated Driver’s Licensing
Michigan has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.
At age 14 and 9 months, individuals who have completed the first segment of driver education, including 6 hours of on-the-road driving with an instructor, and pass a vision test and health standards are eligible for a learner’s license/permit.
- An individual with a learner’s license/permit may drive only when accompanied either by a licensed parent or legal guardian or, with the permission of the parent or legal guardian, a licensed driver 21 years of age or older.
At age 16, drivers are eligible for an intermediate license who have: (1) held the permit for at least 6 months; (2) accumulated 50 hours (10 at night) of parental/guardian certified driving; (3) completed segment 2 of driver education; (4) no convictions/civil infractions, license suspensions, or crashes during the 90-day period immediately prior to applying for an intermediate license; and (5) passed a road test.
- Intermediate license holders are prohibited from driving unsupervised between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless driving to or from employment.
- Intermediate license holders may not transport more than 1 non-family passenger under age 21 unless traveling to or from work, school, or a school-sanctioned event.
At age 17, drivers are eligible for an unrestricted license who have held an intermediate license for at least 6 months and completed 12 consecutive months of driving without a moving violation, an at-fault crash (even if no citation is issued), a license suspension, or a violation of the graduated license restrictions.
Throughout graduated licensing program, parents receive a separate notice of traffic offenses from the Department of State.
Driver education is required for all license applicants under age 18.
Driver’s License Issuance/Application
The application must include the applicant’s full name, date of birth, residence address, height, sex, eye color, signature, photo, and, to the extent required to comply with federal law, the applicant’s Social Security Number.
A license may not be issued to a person under 18 years of age unless that person successfully passes a driver education course and examination given by a public school, nonpublic school, or an equivalent course approved by the Department of State given by a licensed driver training school.
A license may not be issued to anyone over 18 years of age who has not held a temporary instruction permit for at least 30 days.
A student while enrolled in an approved driver education program and who has successfully completed 10 hours of classroom instruction and the equivalent of 2 hours of behind-the-wheel training may be issued a temporary driver education certificate furnished by the Department of State that authorizes a student to drive a motor vehicle when accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian. If the person is over the age of 18, any licensed adult driver may accompany them.
The Secretary of State may issue an original operator’s license and designate level 1, 2, or 3 graduated licensing provisions to a person who is less than 18 years of age and has been licensed in another state or country.
The licensee shall have his or her operator’s or chauffeur’s license, in his or her immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle.
License includes color photograph. Does not include Social Security Number.
License may also include a digitized code for voter information.
Driver’s License Renewal
A driver’s license expires on the birthday of the driver on the 4th year following issuance unless suspended or revoked.
A first operator’s license will expire on the driver’s 21st birthday. Under 21 licenses are vertical; over 21 licenses are horizontal.
A person holding a license at any time within 45 days before the expiration of his or her license may make application for a new license. However, if the licensee will be out of the state during the 45 days immediately preceding expiration of the license or for other good cause shown cannot apply for a license within the 45-day period, application for a new license may be made not more than 6 months before expiration of the license.
A person who will be out-of-state for more than 90 days beyond the expiration date of his or her operator’s license may apply for a 2-year extension of his or her driving privileges.
A member of the U.S. Armed Forces, while on active duty, may use an expired Michigan driver’s license in conjunction with his/her military papers for a period not to exceed:
- 30 days from the person’s first leave of absence following the expiration of his/her license (the leave does not have to be to Michigan; this refers to any leave of absence), or
- 30 days from the date of the person’s discharge following the expiration of his/her license.
Spouses and dependents of active military personnel are not granted the same extension allowed for military personnel. A spouse or dependent’s driver’s license expires on his/her birthday in the expiration year. The license may be renewed through the mail.
Types of Driver’s Licenses
A chauffeur’s license must be obtained to drive any size motor vehicle used as a common or contract carrier of persons or property, or if the applicant is employed for the principal purpose of driving a motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,000 lbs. or more.
Motorcycle endorsements are separate and distinct for 3-wheeled and 2-wheeled vehicle operating privileges.
Group A licenses authorize holders to drive a vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or over, provided the GVWR of any towed vehicles is 10,001 pounds or more.
Group B licenses authorize holders to drive a vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. and over, provided the GVWR of any towed vehicles is 10,000 pounds or less.
Group C licenses authorize holders to drive a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers.
Group N licenses authorize holders to drive a tank vehicle.
Group H licenses authorize holders to drive a commercial motor vehicle carrying hazardous materials.
Group P licenses authorize holders to drive school buses.
Group F licenses authorize holders to drive a vehicle with a GVWR more than 26,001 lbs. and operated near a farm.
Group R licenses authorize holders to drive a pick-up truck equipped with a fifth-wheel assembly with an attached semitrailer designed for recreational living purposes or towing an additional trailer.
Group S licenses authorize holders to drive a school bus with students aboard.