If you want to earn your permit and ultimately your driver’s license in the state of Michigan, you will need to first pass the written knowledge test. Follow this step-by-step guide to begin preparing for the exam and understand the steps required to get your license. Let’s get started!
The state of Michigan uses a Graduated Driver’s License Program (GDL), a three-stage process that serves to help young drivers gain knowledge and driving skills over time. This process has been shown to reduce traffic accidents caused by a lack of experience on the road.
The Michigan GDL process consists of three distinct stages:
- Level 1 License (or learner’s permit)
- Level 2 License
- Level 3 (full) License
Level 1 License (Learner’s Permit)
Before you can apply for your Level 1 License (or learner’s permit), you will need to enroll in driver’s education, which is a requirement in the state of Michigan. The courses are split into two segments. You must complete the first segment before applying for your permit. You can sign up when you are 14 years old and eight months.
When you are 14 years old and nine months, and you have completed the first segment of your required driver’s education class, you can apply for your permit. Since passing driver’s education is a requirement in Michigan, you will not be taking a permit test like in some states.
Visit Your Local Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) Office and Apply for Your Permit
Be sure to bring:
- Your parent or guardian.
- Your original birth certificate and Social Security number.
- Two documents that prove Michigan residency. Bank statements, school records or utility bills will all be accepted.
- Proof that you completed the first segment of your driver’s education course.
At this point, you will be given a simple vision test to make sure you can see well enough to drive. From there, you will be issued a Level 1 License. There is no fee.
Begin Your Required Driving Practice
While holding your Level 1 License, the state of Michigan requires that you complete at least 30 hours of practice driving, with two of those hours taking place at night. A licensed driver age 21 or older must supervise you during this practice.
When you have held your Level 1 License at least three months, you can enroll in the second segment of your required driver’s education course.
Level 2 License
You must be at least 16 years old to move on to the next step in the GDL process. You also must have held your Level 1 License for at least six months and completed the second segment of driver’s education as well as your required practice hours. When you have accomplished all this, call one of Michigan’s SOS-approved testing facilities and make an appointment for your behind-the-wheel driving test.
When you go to your appointment, bring:
- Signed proof that you completed all your required practice hours.
- Proof that you completed the second segment of driver’s education.
- Your Level 1 License.
- A registered and insured vehicle to use for the test.
- Required fees. These vary by testing site, so be sure to ask when you call to make your appointment.
When you pass your behind-the-wheel exam, which will check how well you control the vehicle and observe traffic laws, head to your local SOS offices, bringing along:
- The certificate you were given that shows you passed the driving test
- Your Social Security card.
- $25 in license fees.
- Your parent or guardian.
At this point, you will be given your Level 2 License. It comes with a few limitations:
- Unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or approved driver age 21 or above, you can’t drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., except for an authorized activity or employment.
- Unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or approved driver age 21 or above, you can’t have more than one passenger under age 21. There is an exception if the passengers are family members or you are driving someone to or from a place of employment.
Level 3 License
When you are 17 years old, and you have held your Level 2 License for six months without any traffic violations or accidents, all of the restrictions will be removed from your license, and the SOS will send you a new Level 3 License at no additional cost.
Congratulations! You are now a fully licensed driver.
Most young drivers in the state of Michigan will not be required to take a written exam to receive their Level 1 License (or learner’s permit) because these requirements are taken care of by the driver’s education class. However, if you move to Michigan after having completed driver’s education in another state, you will be required to take a 40-question exam (or permit test) before you will be issued your permit.
You can study for this test using our free copy of the Michigan Driver’s Handbook, and it is highly recommended that you also prepare by taking practice exams. Our Michigan practice permit test can go a long way in showing you how to pass the Michigan permit test.