Before going south . . .

OCTOBER 22, 2004

Michigan residents who leave for warmer climates during the winter should remember to renew their license plates and driver's licenses beforehand, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land said today.

Seasonal residents - commonly called "snowbirds" - should check the expiration dates of their driver's licenses and plates before leaving Michigan. That saves them the trouble of renewing while they are out of state, and helps to avoid possible late fees.

"We're always looking for ways to serve customers with greater speed and convenience," Land said. "Early renewal options can help seasonal residents enjoy their trips to the fullest. With a little planning, travelers can take care of this important business before leaving home. Snowbirds should have nothing but fun and sun on their minds when they reach their destinations."

Driver's licenses and license plates registered to an individual for certain vehicles can be renewed up to six months before expiration. Plates that can be renewed early are:

  • Individually owned or leased vehicles.
  • All pickup truck and van plates, regardless of vehicle weight.

Customers renewing plates six months early must do so at a Secretary of State branch office. They can, however, take advantage of the Department of State's online plate renewal process up to 45 days before the expiration date if a Personal Identification Number (PIN) is assigned to the vehicle and shows on their license plate renewal notice.

The law does not allow motorcycle plates or company-owned passenger plates to be renewed early. For more information on renewal options and other services, visit the Secretary of State Web site at