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First-time license or ID

How can I apply for a first-time Michigan license or ID?

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Office visit

Complete your business
in an average of 20 minutes

Schedule an office visit

Steps for getting a first-time Michigan license or ID

  1. Gather all required documents.
    Photocopies won’t be accepted and all documents must be in English or include an English translation.

  2. Pre-apply for your license or ID online.
    Submit your license or ID application before your office visit.

    Go to Online Services

  3. Visit a Secretary of State office.
    Present all required documents and take a photo. Those applying for a license must complete a vision exam. If you are 18 or older and applying for a first-time license, you’ll also take the driver knowledge exam during your visit.

    Schedule an office visit

  4. If applying for a first-time license, pass and complete additional requirements.
    Drivers under 18: After your office visit, complete and pass Segment 2 of driver’s education and the on-road driver skills test.

    Drivers 18 and older:
    Upon passing the driver knowledge exam at your office visit, practice driving with a licensed adult for at least 30 days before completing and passing the driving skills test.

What do I need to apply for a license or ID at a Secretary of State office? (Choose tab)

You are required to provide one of the following legal presence documents:

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
  • Certified birth certificate with stamp or raised seal issued by a U.S. government unit or U.S. territory government office
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S. State Department (FS-240, DS-1350 or FS-545)
  • Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561)
  • Certificate of Naturalization (N-550, N-570 or N-578)
  • Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (I-551) or other evidence of permanent residency (I-551 visa/stamp in passport or on I-94)
  • Valid Employment Authorization Document (I-766)
  • Valid, unexpired foreign passport with U.S. visa and evidence of entry:
    - F-visa holders: Form I-20
    - J-visa holders: DS-2019
    - Not acceptable: B1 and B2 visas and WB, and WT visa stamps
  • Other immigration documents that show legal presence and/or ability to work in the U.S., including Form I-94, State Department bio-data form, and supervision documents (other documents may be accepted)
  • Expired immigration documents along with Form I-797 (Notice of Action) showing that new documents have been applied for

Documents may need to be verified by the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) System. Per state and federal law, we are required to verify an individual’s immigration status through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service SAVE verification system before issuing or renewing a Michigan license or ID.

Unfortunately, there has recently been an increase in delays in processing SAVE cases. In most situations, we are finding that cases are taking approximately 40 days between intake and processing.

Because SAVE is a federal program, it does not always work at the speed we would like it to, nor does it leave much room for our intervention. In some cases, congressional offices can submit a special request to expediate review of a SAVE case.

If your legal name is different from what is on your birth certificate or legal presence document, you must show official proof of the name change with at least one of the following documents:

  • An original marriage certificate
  • A certified divorce decree issued in the U.S.
  • A court order

If you’ve changed your name several times, provide documentation for each legal name change.

You are required to provide one of the following documents:

  • Social Security card
  • W-2 Form
  • SSA 1099 form or non-SSA 1099 form
  • Pay stub containing your name and Social Security number
  • SSA-L676 letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration issued within last 60 days. (Must be presented with USCIS documents that show non-work authorized status.)

If you don’t have one of the previously listed documents, you can provide an official document with your full name and Social Security number for staff to review.

Please note: You may be required to correct your information with the Social Security Administration before applying for a license or ID.

You are required to provide one of the following documents:

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
  • Out-of-state, U.S. territories, or Canadian driver’s license or ID card
  • Name change document issued in the U.S. (ex: marriage license, divorce decree, court-ordered name change)
  • Employee photo ID issued by a federal or Michigan government agency
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Card
  • U.S. military ID with photo or U.S. military discharge or separation document
  • Photo ID from a federally recognized Native American tribe
  • Michigan Department of Corrections prisoner ID

Or provide two the following documents:

  • Foreign passport
  • I-94
  • Employment Authorization Card
  • Refugee Travel Document I-571
  • Expired immigration documents along with Form I-797 (Notice of Action) showing that new documents have been applied for

Parents and guardians may present their valid, unexpired license or ID to sign for their minor child.

You are required to provide two of the following documents:

  • A utility or credit card bill issued within the last 90 days – electronic documents are accepted
  • An account statement from a bank or other financial institution issued within the last 90 days – electronic documents are accepted
  • Michigan high school, college, or university report cards or transcripts
  • Mortgage, lease, or rental agreement
  • Pay stub or earnings statement issued with the name and address of the employee
  • Life, health, auto, or home insurance policy
  • Federal, state, or local government documents
  • Michigan title and registration with current address

If you don’t have one of the previously listed documents, you can provide an official document with your full name and address for staff to review.

During your Secretary of State office visit, provide payment for your driver’s license or ID using cash, check, money order, or credit or debit card (additional fees apply).

Schedule an office visit

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


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