Driver's License and State ID - Chauffeur
Unless exempt, a chauffeur license is required if you:
- Are employed for the principal purpose of operating a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or more.
- Operate a motor vehicle as a carrier of passengers or as a common or contract carrier of property.
- Operate a bus or a school bus.
The Department of State offers the chauffeur license in a standard and enhanced version. The enhanced chauffeur license is an attractive alternative to the standard license because it allows you to re-enter the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean without the need to show additional identity or citizenship documents at the border.
Applying for a Standard Chauffeur License
Following are the steps for obtaining a standard chauffeur license.
- Visit any Secretary of State office
- Pass the written chauffeur license knowledge test
- Pay the $35 license fee
To obtain a chauffeur license, you must pass the written chauffeur license knowledge test - no skills test is required unless you have never been licensed. A commercial driver license in addition to the chauffeur license may be required to operate certain commercial vehicles.
The chauffeur test is available at all Secretary of State offices. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 are eligible for a chauffeur license, but they must have completed segments 1 and 2 of driver education and hold a Graduated Driver License Level 2 or 3 license. If you are upgrading your standard chauffeur license to the enhanced version, no test is required.
Michigan law considers someone to be employed for the principal purpose of operating a motor vehicle "when the person's employment customarily involves the necessary use of a motor vehicle for hire or for transporting passengers for hire, or for transporting for gain or hire any merchandise for display, sale or delivery." (MCL 257.6(2))
Applying for an Enhanced Chauffeur License*
Following are the steps for obtaining an enhanced chauffeur license.
- You must be a U.S. citizen and a Michigan resident
- You must have no violations, suspensions, revocations or denials on your driving record that would prevent you from legally operating a motor vehicle
Please note: When applying for an enhanced driver's license, your first and last name and date of birth on your identity and citizenship documents should match. If your current legal name is different from what is shown on your citizenship document, you must present lawful proof of the name change, such as an original marriage license, divorce decree or court order.
Visit any Secretary of State office. Make sure you bring documentation of:
a. A valid Social Security number (for example, a Social Security card)
b. U.S. citizenship (for example, a certified copy of your birth certificate with a raised seal, must be issued by a governmental unit in the U.S. or U.S. territory)
c. Identity (for example, a current Michigan photo license or ID card)
d. Residency (for example, a current Michigan photo license or ID card) Please refer to the Documents Required for an Enhanced License or ID form for a complete list of acceptable documentation.
Have a new photograph taken
- Pay the enhanced license fee
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.
Once you complete the enhanced license application process, you will be issued a Temporary Operator's Permit to drive. The operator's permit does not qualify as a secure document for border-crossing purposes. Your enhanced chauffeur license is valid for up to four years and should arrive in the mail within two to three weeks.
*Assumes you have successfully met all criteria to be issued a chauffeur license.
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