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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

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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 on-road driver skills test.

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

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.

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 above 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 above 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)

  • A standard state ID is $10.

    A standard first-time license is $25.

    Additional fees apply for enhanced credentials, chauffeur, and commercial licenses, and other license endorsements. Some residents are eligible for a no-fee ID.

  • A driver’s license provides proof of identity and residency, and includes the privilege to drive. An identification card also provides these details but without the privilege the drive.

    Information on licenses and IDs

  • Beginning May 3, 2023, you’ll need a REAL ID-compliant document to board a domestic flight, enter a military base, and visit some federal buildings.

    • REAL ID–compliant license or ID: You can convert your standard license or ID to become REAL ID-compliant. A white star in a gold circle will display in the upper right corner.
    • Enhanced license or ID: An enhanced license or ID - regardless of whether it includes the REAL ID emblem - is automatically REAL ID-compliant. It can also be used to in place of a U.S. passport to re-enter the United States by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Caribbean.
    • Standard license or ID: A standard license or ID that isn’t REAL ID-complaint (doesn’t have a white star in a gold circle) can’t be accepted for REAL ID requirements.

    Information about REAL ID

    • Be sure you have all of the required documents listed above. In most cases, we cannot accept photocopies. Documents that aren't in English won't be accepted.
    • If you are a citizen and eligible, you will be automatically registered to vote, unless you choose to opt out.
    • You can sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
    • Your photo will be taken and a temporary credential will be issued until your documents arrive in the mail.
    • If you need to take a test, you may ask for headphones to listen to audio versions of the test questions.
  • When you’re ready to visit a Secretary of State office, provide all required documents (proof of legal presence, proof of your Social Security number, proof of identity, and two documents proving Michigan residency).

    Under 18

    To obtain a Michigan license, you must complete driver’s education through the Graduated Driver Licensing program, which includes passing Segment 1, Segment 2 and the on-road driver skills test.

    Once you pass Segment 1 and complete the required supervised practice hours, visit a Secretary of State office to apply for your Level 1 learner's license (graduated driver's license). This hard card will be mailed to you.

    After holding your Level 1 learner's license for at least six months, passing Segment 2 and completing all required supervised practice hours, you can take the on-road driver skills test. To progress to the Level 2 intermediate license, you must be at least 16 years old, have passed the on-road test and your driving record must be crash- and violation-free 90 days prior to issuance.

    If you complete these steps, your graduated driver's license will update automatically in our system as a Level 2 license and you won't need to go back to an office unless other circumstances require it.

    18 years or older

    To apply for your Michigan license, complete and pass the vision exam and driver knowledge exam at your office visit. You will be issued a paper temporary permit to practice driving with a licensed adult for at least 30 days. A photo will be taken of you but you won't receive a photo license until you pass a driver skills test.

    Once 30 days have passed, contact a driver testing business to complete the on-road driver skills test. Upon passing, your license will be mailed to you.

    Converting an out-of-state license

    If you have a valid, unexpired driver’s license from another U.S. state or territory or Canada, you can convert it to a Michigan license at a Secretary of State office. You must provide your current out-of-state license and all required documents.

    Information for new drivers

  • You will be issued a temporary credential while at the office to use until your permanent document arrives. Licenses and IDs are printed at a secure off-site facility and will be mailed to you.

  • Your driver’s license or ID must contain a street address. However, you may use a P.O. Box as a mailing address.

  • Electronic versions of a utility or credit card bill issued within the last 90 days or an account statement from a bank or other financial institution issued within the last 90 days are acceptable as proof of identity. All other documents must be original.

  • Michigan's driver education curriculum is required for all teen drivers under age 18.

    Michigan residents over age 18 will need to study Michigan’s driving laws. To apply for your Michigan license, complete and pass the vision exam and driver knowledge exam at your office visit. You will be issued a paper temporary permit to practice driving with a licensed adult for at least 30 days. Once 30 days have passed, contact a driver testing business to complete the on-road driver skills test. Upon passing, your license will be mailed to you.

  • To track processing of your driver’s license or ID, visit Online Services and follow the prompts to create or log into your account. Select "More" from the list of menu options to the right of your license or ID information. Click "View Credential Mail Status" on the next page to track when your credential is processed, mailed, and whether it was returned by the United States Postal Service as undeliverable.

    Go to Online Services


Still have questions?

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