FAQ
Driver's License and State ID
What types of driver's licenses does Michigan issue?

License types

Michigan issues two types of driver's licenses: operator and chauffeur.

  1. An operator's license is what most residents mean when they use the term "driver's license." An operator's license allows you to drive passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating capacity of less than 26,000 pounds.

  2. A chauffeur license is required if you have been hired to:

    • Transport passengers or property, merchandise or goods for display, sale or delivery; or

    • Operate a motor vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or more; or

    • Operate a bus or school bus; or

    • Operate a taxi or limousine

    You will need a chauffeur license with the appropriate commercial driver license (CDL) endorsement to drive larger commercial trucks, such as semi-tractors or buses, or to transport hazardous materials. Certain jobs and professions don't require a chauffeur license, such as farmers, firefighters or emergency medical services personnel. For a complete definition of a chauffeur license, visit the Michigan Vehicle Code at http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-257-6.

  3. To operate a motorcycle, you must have a motorcycle endorsement on either an operator or a chauffeur license. The motorcycle endorsement, CY, is added after you have successfully completed a motorcycle safety course or passed the skills and written knowledge tests.

  4. A limited-term driver's license is issued to residents in the U.S. who have temporary legal presence. The limited-term license is valid for only as long as the person is authorized to be in the country.

License styles

Michigan's operator and chauffeur licenses are available in two styles -- standard and enhanced. The enhanced operator and chauffeur licenses are attractive options for travelers and commercial drivers. Enhanced licenses are federally accepted documents that allow you to enter the U.S. at a land or sea border crossing when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. If you have a standard operator or chauffeur license, you'll also need to present a passport or other federally accepted identity document to cross at the border.
 
Both standard and enhanced licenses are accepted as identification for domestic air travel. A passport or other federally accepted identity document will be required when flying internationally.
 
For more information about license types, requirements, endorsements and fees, click on "Driver's License/State ID" on the Department of State home page.
 

 

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How do I replace a lost or stolen driver's license?

Online - in state or out of state

You may request a replacement standard license through ExpressSOS whether you are in state or out of state. A branch office visit will be required if you have changed your address within the last 10 days or renewed your license within the last four weeks. Enhanced licenses cannot be replaced online.

At a Secretary of State office

If you are in Michigan, take acceptable proof of identification and your Social Security number to a Secretary of State office. Acceptable identity documents for the standard and enhanced licenses vary, but some of the documents that accepted for either include a valid, unexpired passport, a certified copy of your birth certificate with a raised seal issued by a U.S. or U.S. territory government office, federal or Michigan government issued photo ID card or a valid U.S. military photo ID card. More than one document may be required - faxes and photocopies are not accepted. Please refer to the Applying for a License or ID form (standard license) or the Applying for an Enhanced License or ID form (enhanced license) for more information.

Fees for a duplicate license differ, depending on license type.  Review the Standard License Fee Chart and the Enhanced License Fee Chart for complete details.

Out of State - by mail

If out of state, you must provide your complete name (first, middle and last), date of birth, driver's license number, Social Security number and out-of-state address. If you need to replace a standard driver's license and are ineligible for a Social Security number, you must provide a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration and proof of legal presence. You must have a valid Social Security number to obtain an enhanced license. All Social Security information will be verified.

If you will be back in the state within 180 days, a temporary extension permit will be mailed. If you will not be back in Michigan within that time, a temporary extension permit will be mailed along with a duplicate driver's license application.

For more information about a temporary extension permit or if you have questions about replacing a lost or destroyed license if out of state contact:

Michigan Department of State
The Special Services Branch
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, MI 48918

Phone: 517-322-1473
Fax: 517-322-5438

 

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Can I drive if my driver's license expires on a weekend or holiday?

The expiration date of your driver's license is extended to include the next business day if your driver's license expires on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

 

 

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Where can I obtain an International Driving Permit?

The International Driving Permit is a translation of an individual's driver license. This permit is carried in addition to an individual's driver license from their country of residence.

Michigan residents may wish to obtain an International Driving Permit if they intend to drive while in a foreign country. If you are interested in obtaining an International Driving Permit you should contact a full-service Automobile Club of Michigan (AAA) office or American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) before traveling out of the U.S. Inquiries may be referred to AAA at 1-800-222-6424 or AATA at 650-294-7000 for information on obtaining an International Driving Permit.

Residents of a foreign country who are temporarily in the United States may drive in Michigan with their home country license and, if the license is not in English, an English translation of the license or an International Driving Permit. Find out more about driving privileges for foreign travelers.
 
 
 
 
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How do I convert my out-of-state driver's license to a Michigan license?

Take your current out-of-state driver's license, proof of a valid Social Security number, U.S. citizenship or legal presence if not a U.S. citizen, identity and at least two documents establishing Michigan residency to a Secretary of State office. You will be given a vision test and your out-of-state driver's license will be converted to a Michigan driver's license.

All documentation is subject to Department of State approval. In some cases, document approval may not occur in the same day and may require an additional visit. 

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Why can't I have both a state identification card and a driver's license?

According to section 28.291(2) of the State Personal Identification Card Act, the Secretary of State shall not issue an official state identification card to a person who holds an operator's or chauffeur's license, unless the license has been suspended, revoked or restricted.

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Can I drive on my Level 1 Learner's License in another state?

The Level 1 Learner's License may or may not be recognized in another state.  You will need to contact the licensing agency in the other state to see if that state will recognize Michigan's Level 1 Learner's License.

A driver with a Level 1 Learner's License may only drive with a licensed parent, legal guardian, or designated adult age 21 or older. The parent, legal guardian, or designated adult must sit in the front seat. If driving with a designated adult, the driver should carry a signed letter of authorization from the parent or legal guardian.
 
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Can I drive on my out-of-state driver's license while temporarily in Michigan?

You may drive in Michigan with an out-of-state driver license as long as the license is valid, and you are not a Michigan resident. 
 
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What do I do about someone else using my driver's license?

If your state identification card or driver's license has been stolen, you should report it to your local law enforcement agency. Then you should go to your local Secretary of State branch office to apply for a duplicate, you must present proof of your identity. You may wish to place a driver license alert on your record. 
 

 

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Can you send me an application to extend or to renew my driver's license while I am out of state?

Online - out of state

A standard driver's license may be renewed online at ExpressSOS if you did not renew it by mail or online the last time. Commercial driver's licenses and enhanced licenses cannot be renewed online.

Out of state - by mail

If you will be returning to Michigan soon, a driver's license extension that is valid for 180 days after the date your license expires can be mailed. All that is needed is your complete name, date of birth, driver's license number, Social Security number and out-of-state address. If you are renewing a standard license, and are ineligible for a Social Security number, you must provide a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration and proof of legal presence. You must have a valid Social Security number to renew an enhanced license. All Social Security information will be verified.

If you are not going to be back in Michigan within 180 days of the driver's license expiration, information to renew your driver's license by mail will be sent to you. For a temporary extension permit or renewal application, contact:

Michigan Department of State
The Special Services Branch
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, Michigan 48918
517-322-1473

 

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What is the recreational double endorsement and when is it needed?

A recreational double endorsement ® is needed when driving a pickup truck, equipped with a fifth-wheel assembly with an attached fifth-wheel trailer designed for recreational living purposes and towing an additional trailer or semi trailer. The total length of all three vehicles cannot exceed 75 feet. The gross weight of the additional trailer cannot exceed the empty weight of the pickup or the semi trailer. The minimum age to get a recreational doubles endorsement is 18. The cost of the endorsement is $10. You must pass a 15-question Recreational Doubles written test. No road test is required.

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How do I replace a lost or stolen identification card?

Online - in state or out of state

A standard state ID card may be replaced or renewed online at ExpressSOS. If you have changed your address within the last 10 days or have requested a duplicate ID within the last four weeks, you must visit a Secretary of State office to renew. Enhanced state IDs cannot be renewed online.

At a Secretary of State office

If you are in Michigan, you need to take acceptable documentation to a local Secretary of State office. More than one document may be required - faxes and photocopies are not accepted. And, if you have not provided the department with your Social Security number, you will need to present proof of a valid Social Security number or a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration and proof of legal presence. All Social Security information is verified.

The fee for a duplicate ID card is $10.

Out of state - by mail

If you are out of state, contact the Special Services Branch and provide your first, middle and last name, date of birth, state identification number and out-of-state address:

Michigan Department of State
The Special Services Branch
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, Michigan 48918
517-322-1473

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Can I obtain a state identification card if my license is suspended?

You are eligible to apply for a state ID card if:

  1. Your Michigan driver license has been suspended, revoked, or restricted.
  2. You are a Michigan resident and your driving privileges are terminated due to a mental or physical disability
  3. You have driving privileges but your driver license does not contain a photo for identification purposes, you are eligible if you have been:

 

a. Issued a Michigan Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP)
b. Issued a Court Ordered Restricted License (CORDL)
    or a restricted license issued by the Secretary of State
c. Arrested for drunk driving and your driver license
    has been confiscated and destroyed by the police
    officer making the arrest and a temporary permit has
    been issued

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What do I do about someone else using my state identification card?

If your state identification card or driver's license has been stolen, you should report it to your local law enforcement agency. Then you should go to your local Secretary of State branch office to apply for a duplicate, you must present proof of your identity. You may wish to place a driver license alert on your record.

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Will out-of-state traffic tickets show up on my Michigan driving record?

It is likely that it will eventually appear on your Michigan driving record. If the violation substantially corresponds to a violation of a Michigan law, then the conviction will be posted to your driving record and points will be assessed as required by the Michigan Vehicle Code. If the ticket is for an offense for which a suspension would have been given if the ticket had been received in Michigan, then a suspension will be imposed after the posting of the ticket, allowing time for due process and the sending of a notification letter. Most states are reciprocal and provide ticket information to the driver's home state. Michigan law requires that the same action be taken for tickets received out-of-state as those received in Michigan, therefore, points and suspensions may be imposed.

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How do I get a copy of my driving record?

Driving and vehicle records can be purchased through the Record Lookup Unit at the Secondary Complex, 7064 Crowner Drive, Lansing, MI 48918-1502. If you do not have an account with the Department of State, you must complete a record request form each time you request a record. Each record is $11 and must be paid in advance with a check, money order or credit card (Discover, MasterCard or Visa). A certified copy of a driving or vehicle record is available for an additional $1 fee.

Additionally, for only $12, you can purchase your own certified driving record at any branch office. Simply show your driver's license (no form required) and walk out with a copy of your record in hand. All offices accept cash, checks, money orders, Discover, MasterCard or Visa debit and credit cards.

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Why don't the points on the copy of my driving record match the points my insurance company says I have?

The Michigan Department of State assigns points for convictions as instructed by the Michigan Vehicle Code. Insurance laws dictate the point system used by the insurance companies.

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What do I do if the information on my driving record is incorrect?

If your address is incorrect, go to ExpressSOS.com or a Secretary of State branch office for a change of address. If you never received the action that is listed on your record and you feel it was entered incorrectly, please contact our Information Center at 1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424)  for further assistance.

If a citation or court action is incorrect as provided by the court, a copy of the order from the court placing the information on your record is needed. You must contact the court for a corrected abstract. The address to mail or FAX it is:

Michigan Department of State
Abstract Processing Unit
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, Michigan 48918
FAX: 517-322-6570

 

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