Apply for a Michigan Drivers License
Applying for a Michigan drivers license may be a very confusing process, mostly due to the fact that the state has a complex graduated drivers license program that involves applying for three different types of licenses. Slap a temporary instruction permit, a probationary drivers license and a regular Michigan driver's license on top of that and you have a bunch of confused drivers license applicants. Reading the official driver license book makes things a little clearer, but you still have to sift through a lot of information before you find out what application procedure you are to follow. We hope that this article will make the process of applying for a Michigan driver's license a little less painful for you.
Driver License - Under 18 Years of Age
Should you choose to apply for a Michigan driver's license before reaching the age of 18, you're in for a very long run. Everyone who applies for a license at this age needs to follow Michigan's graduated driver's license program and that means going through a number of intermediate stages before you are issued with a full unrestricted drivers license.
You can enter the program once you reach the age of 14 years, 8 months. Your first step will be signing up for a segment 1 Michigan driver's education course. Once the course is completed, you can visit one of the Secretary of State's offices, take a vision test and submit your application for a drivers license. You do not need to take a permit test at the SOS since you will take the knowledge exam as part of your segment one driver education course. If the paperwork checks out and you meet minimum vision requirements, you are issued with a Michigan level 1 driver's license.
Although called a drivers license, this is not a real license in the full sense of the word and it's more like a learners permit. Your Michigan level one license restrictions do not allow you to drive alone, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years of age or a license parent/legal guardian. You must hold a level one license for at least six months before you can go ahead and apply for a level two drivers license. During this period, you must complete a segment two drivers education course and at least 50 hours of supervised driving with parent, including 10 hours at nighttime.
If the above requirements are met, you are good to schedule your driving test. Drivers testing is conducted by third party testing centers, not the SOS, so you will need to find a testing site near you. If you pass the driving test successfully, you are provided with a receipt to take down to the SOS, where you submit an application for a Michigan level 2 drivers license
A level two drivers license is quite an upgrade from a level one license, but it still doesn't grant you full driving privileges, you must still watch our for those Michigan level two license restrictions. You will automatically advance to a level three Michigan driver's license when you reach the age of 17, provided you have held a level two license for at least six months and your parents granted authorization for this automatic upgrade at the time when you submitted your application for a level two drivers license. If no such authorization was granted, you will have to have your parent come to an SOS office with you and sign an authorization form. A level three license grants you full driving privileges.
If all of the above does not scare you, make sure to check out Michigan probationary license conditions as well.
Driving License - 18 Years of Age and Older
Thankfully, the matter of applying for a Michigan driver license is much simpler if you are already 18 years of age, since you do not need to follow graduated license rules. You will need to start by applying for a Michigan temporary instruction permit first. To do so, visit a local SOS office, take a vision exam and a permit test, submit the required paperwork and have your picture taken. If the paperwork checks out and you pass the tests, you are issued with a temporary instruction permit.
Your Michigan temporary instruction permit allows you to practice driving under supervision of a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age. You must hold your temporary permit for at least 30 days before you can schedule a drivers test, but you can wait longer, since your temporary permit is valid for six months.
When you are ready, visit a local drivers testing station and take a drivers license test. If you pass, you are given a receipt that you take back to the SOS where a temporary license is issued. Your real Michigan drivers license is sent to you in the mail.
Probationary Drivers License
You have to keep in mind that all first time licensees are issued with a Michigan probationary license for the first three years. During the probationary period, the SOS will closely monitor your driving performance and if you are convicted of a traffic violation, you may be called in for reexamination. Committing too many offenses during the probationary license period will see your driving privilege withdrawn.
The following testing requirements will need to be met during the process of applying for a Michigan drivers license.
You will need to fill in a basic health questionnaire at the time when you initially submit your application for a level one drivers license or a temporary instruction permit. If you have certain health issues, you may be required to undergo a complete medical.
Seeing well is very important when you are operating a moving vehicle, so you will be required that you meet minimum vision standards before you are issued with a license to get behind the wheel. If corrective lenses, such as glasses or contact lenses, are needed to pass the test, your driver’s license will show you must wear them while driving. If you fail the vision test, your eye-care specialist must complete a vision statement documenting that you meet the vision standards.
Drivers Permit Test
If you are under 18 years of age, you take the permit test as part of the segment one drivers education course, so you do not need to worry about this one.
If you are applying for a Michigan temporary instruction permit, you will have to take a written knowledge exam at the SOS. The Michigan temporary instruction permit test covers the state driving rules and safe driving practices and is based on the information that is contained in the Michigan drivers manual. If you want to see whether you are ready to take the real permit test, go ahead and take a few Michigan practice driver tests.
Drivers License Test
This is the final test that you take in the course of applying for a Michigan drivers license and probably the one that is feared the most. Drivers license tests in Michigan are performed by third party testing sites that must receive approval from the SOS. You have to schedule the test in advance and you must bring your own vehicle, so keep that in mind. You should also shop around before settling on a specific site since prices are not set by the SOS and can vary greatly.
There is one way to guarantee that you pass your drivers license test and that is practicing for as many hours as possible with as many different people as you can get to supervise you.
When you pass the test, your driving examiner will issue you with a receipt to take down to the SOS where you can submit your application for a Michigan drivers license.
Here a list of documents that you must present no matter what type of drivers license you are applying for:
- Social Security Number
- proof of citizenship or legal presence
- proof of identity
- proof of Michigan residency
In addition to these, you will be required to provide the following documents when applying for each specific license type:
- Level 1 License - segment one drivers education certificate (green certificate) and aparental consent form
- Level 2 License - segment two drivers education certificate (white certificate), log form for 50 hours of supervised driving, a receipt for passing the drivers test and parental authorization
- Level 3 License - no additional documents required
As you can see, applying for a Michigan drivers license is much easier if you are at least 18 years of age, so if you have the option of waiting until you reach this age, we advise that you do so, it will save you both time and money.