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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