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New Drivers

  • Yes. New drivers, including teen drivers under Graduated Driver Licensing, (GDL) are placed on probation for a minimum of three years.  The probationary period is a way for the Secretary of State to monitor the driving performance of new drivers.  Although probation is a separate program from GDL, the objective of both programs is to help inexperienced drivers reduce their crash risk and drive safely.

  • Yes. All new Michigan drivers, regardless of age, are probationary for a minimum of three years if they have not been previously licensed. The probationary period is a way for the Secretary of State to monitor the driving performance of new drivers.

  • If you currently have a hazardous materials endorsement, federal rules require you to take the hazardous materials written test every time you renew the endorsement. You must present a Federal Security Threat Assessment letter from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residence to renew a CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement. A vision test must be passed. No other CDL written tests are required unless you want to upgrade the group designator, remove an air brake restriction, or add a new endorsement when renewing your license.

  • Bring 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.

  • Yes. You may be denied a driver's license for any of the following reasons:

    • A physical or mental disability
    • Visual impairment
    • Failing a written, road sign or driving skills test
    • Refusing to be photographed
    • Refusing to sign the application
    • Failing to provide a valid residential address
    • Two or more moving violations on your record within the preceding three years (original license only)
  • Yes. In fact, crash rates are highest during the first six months of licensure without supervision. The major reason for crashes among newly licensed drivers is the failure to accurately spot and react to potential risks. The most critical time for parents to be involved with young drivers is during the first six months of unsupervised driving.

  • If your temporary license isn’t issued after passing your on-road skills test, visit a Secretary of State office to provide the following:

    • On-road skills test certificate
    • Your Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP)
    • Proof of identification, such as your certified birth certificate
  • If you receive a ticket or conviction while holding a GDL Level 1 or Level 2 license, it will impact your eligibility to move to the next licensing level and may extend the minimum time you will be required to maintain each licensing level. If you are found at-fault in a traffic accident, receive a citation or license sanction, or are convicted of a driving-related violation in the 3 months prior to scheduling, you will not be able to schedule the on-road driving skills test for the Level 2 license.

    Once you receive full-driving privileges with a Level 3 or standard operator’s license, you, and all new drivers, will be on probation for a minimum of three years. If you receive a ticket or conviction during your probation period, you may receive a letter of contact from the Michigan Department of State for each violation. Depending on the violation, the contacts can range from warning letters to a driver assessment reexamination. If you receive multiple violations the contacts will progress in severity in response to continued unsafe driving. At a driver assessment reexamination, your driving privileges may be restricted and/or suspended.

    You must complete the last ten months of probation without any unsafe driving events, such as traffic convictions, at-fault crashes, or suspensions. Most alcohol laws relating to "zero tolerance" or "minor in possession" require that a driver's license be suspended upon conviction. If an unsafe driving event occurs in the last ten months of probation, the probationary period is extended until you are able to complete 10 consecutive months without an incident.

    Note: Points placed on your driver record during probation or post probation are not automatically erased when probation ends. Most points remain on your driving record for two years from the conviction date.

  • You are exempt from certain restrictions if you are driving to or from any of the following activities with your valid Level 2 license:

    • Your place of employment
    • School (private, public, or home school) or a school-sanctioned event or activity
    • Sporting event or activity, or extracurricular event or activity, even if it’s not school-sanctioned but is part of an official sports league or association, or an official extracurricular club. Or if it is paid for as a service offered by a business specializing in those events or activities, or training for those events or activities.
    • Vocational instruction class or program offered by a college, community college, nonprofit association, unit of government, or by a business specializing in vocational training.
    • Event or activity sponsored by a religious organization that is tax-exempt under federal law.
    • Emergency transportation of an individual in need of immediate emergency care or personal protection to a health care professional, hospital, police station, domestic violence shelter, or public safety location.
  • More information about CDL licensure is available at the following Web sites:

    The Transportation Security Administration

    TSA is the federal agency responsible for administering the portions of the USA PATRIOT Act related to federal background record checks for hazardous materials drivers. and Universal Enrollment Services at:

    Universal Enrollment Service Call Center - Toll-free number 855-DHS-UES1 (855-347-8371) call to:

    • Pre-register for a background record check,
    • Inquire about the status of BRC results, or
    • For other TSA questions

    The UES' call center hours of operation are from 8:00am to 10pm Eastern, Monday through Friday.

    Electronic Code of Federal Regulations information can be found at

    The CFR provides the legal authority and basis for requirements for a federal background record check.