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Military and veterans

Thank you for serving our country

Active members of the armed services, their dependents, and veterans are eligible for special services and credentials. Those serving our country and stationed outside Michigan should be able to participate fully in our democracy without significant barriers or obstacles.

Military and overseas voters (Choose tab below)

If you are eligible to vote in Michigan and are temporarily out of the state but still within the U.S., you may register to vote online at Michigan.gov/Vote. You will need to provide your Michigan license or ID number to register online.

  • To register to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old when you will vote, and not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison. You can register to vote when you are 17.5 years old but won't be able to vote until 18.

If you are eligible to vote in Michigan and are currently overseas:

  • Download and complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) from the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
  • Return the signed and completed FPCA by mail to your local clerk’s office. The Federal Voting Assistance Program can also be used to obtain an absent voter ballot by email, fax, or regular mail.

Michigan.gov/Vote

Federal voting assistance

To update your voter registration:

  • Visit Michigan.gov/Vote
  • Every January, or after relocation, download and complete a new Federal Post Card Application.

Michigan.gov/Vote

Federal voting assistance

If you are eligible to vote in Michigan and are temporarily out of the state but still within the U.S., you may request an absent voter ballot or accessible voter ballot online or by mail to your local clerk.

  • Complete an online application at Michigan.gov/Vote.
  • Submit an application, large print application, letter, or postcard to your local clerk. Find your local clerk at Michigan.gov/Vote.
  • Requests for absent voter ballots may be returned by hand, postal mail, fax, or email, as long as a signature is visible.

Once your request is received by the local clerk, your signature on the request will be checked against your voter registration record before a ballot is issued.

After receiving your absent voter ballot, you have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to return it to the clerk's office. To provide adequate mailing time, return your ballot by mail at least 15 days before Election Day. Your ballot won't be counted unless your signature is on the return envelope and matches your signature on file. If you received assistance voting the ballot, then the signature of the person who helped you must also be on the return envelope.

If you are eligible to vote in Michigan and are currently overseas:

  • Download and complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) from the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
  • Return the signed and completed FPCA by mail, fax, or scan and email to your local clerk based on your home residence.

Visit Michigan.gov/Vote to:

  • Locate your city or township clerk for your home residence
  • Check the status of a requested absent voter ballot
  • Track the status of your absent voter ballot
  • Learn more about candidates and proposals on the ballot
  • View a sample ballot for your jurisdiction

Michigan.gov/Vote

Federal voting assistance

Veteran and military service plates

Michigan is proud to recognize its residents who are serving or are veterans of the U.S. military. A variety of plates are available to enlisted service members, their families, and veterans.

The fee is $5. If you are purchasing an original plate or replacing an existing plate when renewing, other registration fees may apply. You may also personalize your veteran plate for an additional fee.

Military and veteran plates can be used on passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans, and motor homes. Trailers and vehicles used commercially aren't eligible. A limited number of the veteran plates are available for motorcycles.

Military and veteran license plate options

Veteran designation

Military veterans who served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and have an honorable or under honorable conditions (general) discharge may have a veteran designation printed on their Michigan driver's license or ID. The designation is added at no additional charge when you apply for an original license or ID or when you renew it. If added at another time, correction fees will apply.

The veteran designation provides an easy and optional way to show your veteran status to receive discounts from businesses.

Qualifying services include the U.S. Air Force, Air Force National Guard, Army, Army National Guard, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy, as well as their Reserve components.

You will need to complete the application and submit acceptable documentation, that indicates the character of discharge, such as:

  • DD214 (or correction DD215), Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, any copy except Copy 1
  • Form NGB FM 22 or 23, Report of Separation and Record of Service, which must indicate honorable or general discharge
  • Forms WD AGO, such as WD AGO 53-55, Enlisted Record and Report of Separation Honorable Discharge
  • GSA 6954, Certificate of Military Service
  • NAVPERS 553, Extract of Notice of Separation from U.S. Naval Service
  • VA Veteran Health Identification Card
  • DD-2 (blue or pink version), United States Uniformed Services ID card - issued to retired military and military reserve veterans.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  • If you’re traveling or temporarily moving out of state:

    • Renew your vehicle registration and tab up to six months in advance online or at a self-service station before you leave.
    • Update your mailing address through Online Services prior to your departure.
    • If your license or ID will expire within one year of the date you are traveling and you are required to visit a Secretary of State office to renew it in person, visit an office before your departure and provide your travel itinerary and current Michigan license or ID to renew early.
    • If your license, ID, or registration is lost or stolen while you’re out of state, request a replacement through Online Services. Call 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424) if you are unable to complete the transaction online or need a credential faster for return travel.
    • If you will be out of state during an election, request an absentee ballot online or by mail up to 40 days in advance. It’s recommended that you mail your absentee ballot to your local clerk no fewer than 14 days before an election to ensure your ballot is received and can be tabulated by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

    If you’re establishing residency outside of Michigan:

    • Keep your valid Michigan license or ID until you convert and are issued a license or ID by the new state/territory.
    • Before you leave, be sure you have a copy of your Michigan vehicle title(s). You can request a duplicate copy through your online Secretary of State account.
    • Remove your Michigan license plate from your vehicle if you are selling your vehicle. You will need to retain a copy of the completed and signed title for at least 18 months after the sale. After you sell your vehicle, remember to cancel your Michigan No-Fault vehicle insurance.
    • If you are a registered Michigan voter, contact your local clerk in writing to cancel your Michigan voter registration. Your request should include your full name, date of birth, Michigan address, contact information, and written signature.

    Go to Online Services

  • If you are serving in the military and will turn 21 while stationed outside Michigan, you can request to add a 180-day extension to your driver’s license through your online Secretary of State account.

    To request a 180-day extension permit online, you will need your:

    • License or ID number
    • Last four digits of your Social Security number
    • Reason for requesting an extension
    • Access to a printer

    Upon completing the extension request, select the prompt to print your permit directly from your device.

    Alternatively, you can email MDOS-SpecialServices@Michigan.gov to request a renewal application if you won’t be returning to Michigan within 180 days of your 21st birthday. Please note:

    • If the renewal is processed within 50 days of your 21st birthday, you’ll be mailed a horizontal card just before your birthday.
    • If the renewal is processed more than 50 days prior to your birthday, you will receive another vertical card with your updated information.

    Go to Online Services

  • Contact your local clerk as soon as possible. Clerk information can be located at Michigan.gov/Vote.

    If it is determined there isn't enough time to receive and send back your ballot before the election, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) from the Federal Voting Assistance website.

    Go to FVAP.gov

  • Request your military records online:

    You can also request a copy by calling the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) at 800-MICH-VET (642-4838) or in writing by mail to the National Personnel Records Center.

  • No, it is optional to add the veteran designation to your license or ID. There is no fee to do so if done at the time you apply for an original license or ID or when you renew it. If added at another time, correction fees will apply.

  • In 1986, the federal government passed the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) providing special registration and absentee voting provisions for military and overseas civilians. In addition, UOCAVA authorized the use of the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) was created by the Department of Defense to oversee UOCAVA. In 2009, the federal Military and Overseas Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) and corresponding state legislation was passed expanding UOCAVA by further allowing a UOCAVA voter to submit one AV application for a calendar year, ballot(s) to be sent to the UOCAVA voter via email or fax, establishing a 45-day absent voter ballot delivery requirement, and expanding the use of the FWAB. In 2012, the Michigan Legislature passed PA 279 further expanding the use of the FWAB to local and state offices.

  • Michigan Department of State
    Internal Services Section
    888-SOS-MICH (767-6424)
    517-636-5782
    MDOS-SpecialServices@Michigan.gov