Michigan Permit and Driver's License FAQ

  • Applying for Your MI License
  • Preparing for the MI Permit Test
  • Taking the MI Permit Test
  • Preparing for the MI Driving Test
  • Taking the MI Driving Test
  • Renewing Your MI License
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Applying for Your MI License: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age requirements for getting started?

Michigan has instituted a Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) system that awards teen greater driving privileges as they increase in age and gain experience. The stages and age requirements of the GDL system are:

14 years, 9 months – Level 1 Driver’s License
16 years old – Level 2 Driver’s License
17 years old – Level 3 Driver’s License

What documents am I required to bring with me when applying for a license in Michigan?

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security Number
  • Proof of Michigan Residency
  • Driver’s Ed Segment 1 certificate of completion

For a list of acceptable identification documents, visit the Michigan Secretary of State’s website.

Where do I file my MI driver’s license application?

You should file your application at a branch SOS office.

How can I contact my local office?

Visit https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127-1627_14648-34560–,00.html for branch office locations, office hours and direct phone numbers.

Do I have to take a Driver’s Ed Course?

Yes, driver’s ed is divided into two segments in Michigan and you will need to complete both segments as part of the state’s GDL program. For segment 1, you must be 14 years and 8 months old and have permission from an adult or legal guardian. For segment 2, you must have had a Level 1 Learner’s License for three months and have completed at least 30 hours of supervised driving practice.

What if I am new to Michigan?

Age, license type and driver education hours determine your placement in the Michigan GDL. Any driver’s ed completed must match Michigan’s minimum classroom and behind-the-wheel requirements. You will also need to take a vision test, a written test and, possibly, a driving test to receive your new Michigan license.

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Preparing for the MI Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

What subjects are commonly covered on the written test?

The written test will contain questions on subjects covered in the state driver’s manual, such as traffic laws, road signs and safe driving tips and techniques. Here are two examples of content from the manual that you may be tested on:

  • In Michigan in 2012, excessive speed was a factor in 13.2 percent of drivers in fatal crashes and of all fatal crashes, 26.1 percent occurred at intersections.
  • Construction workers also have the authority to direct traffic in work zones and their directions should be followed even if they conflict with an existing traffic control device.

How is the test formatted?

The written test in Michigan is multiple choice.

Are there a lot of “trick” questions on the written test?

Test questions are drawn from the Michigan Driver’s Manual and are meant to ensure your knowledge of the state’s traffic laws and road signs as well as safe driving techniques. The questions are not meant to “trick” you just ensure you have a sufficient level of knowledge to drive safely. If you study your driver’s manual enough you should not be tricked by any questions.

How many questions are on the test and how many do I need to answer correctly to pass?

There are 50 questions on the written permit test and you must answer at least 40 of them correctly to pass.

What are the best ways to prepare for the written test?

Study the Michigan Driver’s Manual then test your knowledge by taking practice tests online. The driver’s manual contains all the information you need to know to earn a passing score and practice tests will allow you to gauge your current understanding and identify areas that you need to study more.

Where can I get a free Michigan Driver’s Manual to study?

We offer free driver’s manuals here on this website.

How can I improve my odds for passing the first time I take the test?

When studying for the test try to memorize numerical information such as measurements, distances, lengths, speed limits, etc. Also, be sure to be able to identify road meanings by sight. Other than those two things just be sure to study the driver’s manual and test your understanding of its contents by taking practice tests.

What should I do the night before the test?

Review your driver’s manual again and take a practice test to confirm your test readiness. After that be sure to get plenty of rest so that you will be physically ready to take the test the next day. Finally, remember on test day to give yourself plenty of time to get to the SOS office so that you don’t fee rushed or, worse, miss your appointment (if you have one).

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Taking the MI Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment to take the written test?

Call your local office to see if appointments are accepted – if so, it is recommended that you make one to avoid a frustrating wait.

Where do I take the written test?

You will take the test at a branch SOS office.

What do I need to bring when I sit for the written test?

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security Number
  • Proof of Michigan Residency
  • Driver’s Ed Segment 1 certificate of completion

For a list of acceptable identification documents, visit the Michigan Secretary of State’s website.

Who should accompany me to the written test?

You should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Do I need to pay a fee to take the written test?

Yes, you will need to pay a $25 fee.

What should I expect when I sit for the written test?

The test will consist of 50 questions covering a variety of topics addressed in the state driver’s manual, such as alcohol misuse, license suspension, traffic violations, rules of the road, and identifying road signs. In order to pass the test, you must answer at least 80% of the questions (40) correctly.

What happens after I pass the written test?

You will receive your Learner’s Permit (or Level 1 Learner’s License) and can begin supervised driving practice. At this time, you can only drive when accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or other designated licensed adult age 21 or over. You need to log 50 hours of supervised driving practice, with at least 10 hours at night.

What happens if I fail the written test?

You can retake the test when you are ready.

How soon can I retake the written test?

You can take the test again in 24 hours.

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Preparing for the MI Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve passed the written permit test, what are the next steps?

Armed with your Level 1 License you can begin supervised driving practice. You are required to log 50 hours of driving practice, with at least 10 of those hours coming at night.

How long after getting my Level 1 License can I apply for a Level 2 License?

You can apply for a Level 2 License when you meet the following requirements: you are at least 16 years old, you’ve had your Level 1 Learner’s Permit for at least six months and you’ve completed Segment 2 of driver’s education.

Can I drive anywhere in Michigan with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, as long as you are accompanied by a supervising driver age 21 or older you can drive on any public road or street in Michigan.

Should I practice driving solely during the day?

No, you are required to also log at least 10 hours of supervised driving practice at night.

Does anyone have to be in the car with me when I’m driving with my Learner’s Permit?

You must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or designated licensed adult who is 21 or older.

What should I do if I have a lost Michigan Learner’s Permit?

Visit an SOS branch office where you will need to provide proper identification and pay a $9 replacement fee.

How can I be sure I’m prepared to ace the driving test?

The best way to prepare for the test is to log as much supervised driving practice time as possible. The more you drive, the more comfortable you will get behind the wheel and the more competent you will become at making necessary maneuvers when driving. Also, be sure to listen to your supervising driver and put their tips to work in your driving. Finally, keep studying and reading the driver’s manual and be sure to focus on following the defensive driving strategies that you learn there when you drive.

Are there particular driving maneuvers I should practice?

Turns, including a three-point turn; backing up, driving straight and smoothly; stopping and starting smoothly; being observant when driving; and driving defensively are all essential skills that you should work on.

How can I simulate the driving test?

Practice both specific skills that are commonly tested for on the exam, such as backing up; parking, accelerating; and stopping as well as driving defensively in traffic. For the latter, you should work on noticing traffic signs and signals, checking your mirrors, using your signals and being observant of surrounding traffic.

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Taking the MI Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule my driving test?

The driving test in Michigan is provided through a statewide network of approved public and private organizations that employ examiners authorized by the SOS Department. To schedule an appointment, visit https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,8611,7-127-1627_49417—,00.html.

Where do I take the driving test?

Visit the SOS website to find a third party testing location near you.

What should I bring to the driving test?

You will need to provide the third-party tester with:

  • Proof of completion of 50 hours of supervised driving practice
  • Proof of completion of Segment 2 of driver’s ed
  • Level 1 Learner’s License
  • Payment of testing fee (which can vary by provider)

Who should bring me to the driving test?

A parent or legal guardian should accompany you to the test.

What will I be asked to do on the driving test?

The driving test consists of two parts. Part #1 requires you to complete a series of off-street, closed-course maneuvers such as parking, turns, stopping, starting, backing up and more. Part #2 is an on-road driving test where you will need to display good awareness and defensive driving skills as you drive in any or all of the following settings; urban, expressway, rural highway and residential.

What are the most common reasons new drivers fail the driving test?

Driving distracted is a common cause for failure. Don’t pay so much attention to the examiner that you ignore traffic around and in front of you. Also, be sure to notice traffic signs and signals and posted speed limits. Don’t let one minor mistake fluster you and lead to a series of mistakes that could result in a failing score. Stay focused on the task at hand.

What are five things I should be sure to do when taking the driving test?

  • Be observant of road signs and signals
  • Stay under the speed limit, even where a speed limit is not posted (see your driver’s manual for more information about un-posted speed limits)
  • When changing lanes be sure to check your mirrors and to signal
  • Use the proper hand position on the steering wheel
  • Don’t go over a curb when executing a three-point turn

What happens if I fail the driving test?

The examiner will go over why you failed so that you can practice. Then you will be able to retake the test.

How soon can I retake the driving test?

You can retake the test as soon as 24 hours later though it is recommended that you practice sufficiently before going back in.

I’ve passed the road test, now what?

You will receive your Level 2 Driver’s License.

What restrictions come with a Michigan license?

With a Level 2 License:

You cannot drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or over, you are going to/from work, school or an authorized sporting event or other activity.

Also, you cannot drive with more than 1 passenger who is under 21 unless they are immediate family members, you are going to/from work or you are accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or over.

What are the insurance requirements for drivers in MI?

Michigan requires all drivers to have no-fault insurance. This means if you or your family is injured in an auto accident, your auto insurance will pay unlimited medical and rehabilitation expenses, as well as wage loss benefits and up to $20 per day for replacement services for up to three years.

The three basic parts of no-fault insurance are: Personal Injury Protection (PIP); Property Protection (PPI); and Residual Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability (BI/PD).

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Renewing Your MI License: Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to renew my license or replace a lost/stolen license?

A Michigan Driver’s License expires every four years on your birthday. You should receive a renewal notice about 45 days before it expires which will tell you how you can renew – online, by mail or in person.
If your license is lost or stolen, you can replace it online or in person depending on what type of license you are replacing.

Where can I renew my Michigan driver’s license?

You can renew your license online, by mail or in person. Every eight years, you have to renew in person at a local SOS office.

Will I be required to take a vision test when renewing my license?

When required to renew in person at an SOS office you will need to take a vision test.

If corrective lenses, such as glasses or contact lenses, are needed to pass the test, your driver’s license will show you must wear them while driving.

If you fail the vision test, an eye-care specialist will have to complete a vision statement documenting that you meet the vision standards. In some cases special driving limitations, such as “daylight driving only,” will be required based on the vision statement and other information.


The Michigan Permit Test — What You Need to Know

Imagine being able to have the freedom to go where you want, when you want.  It’s time to get your Michigan learner’s permit and make it a reality.  The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office (SOS) will only issue you a learner’s permit after you’ve passed the permit test. The permit test is a multiple-choice test designed to see if you have the required knowledge of the rules of the road, safe driving techniques, and road signs.

Learn the Info You Need With MI SOS Practice Permit Tests

Most people simply find it hard to believe they just failed the permit test but unfortunately it happens all too often.  In fact, statistics reveal that the majority of people fail the exam only to have to wait to return to the testing office and try again.  Do you want to be a member of that club?

Don’t panic, we’ve got you covered.  We’ve gathered everything you need to begin preparing for your permit test.  On this page, you’ll discover powerful resources to help you prepare including our free Michigan practice permit test and a copy of the Michigan Driver’s Manual. Need a motorcycle permit?  We have practice tests and manuals to help you tackle that exam too.  No matter what test you are taking we have the study material to help.