How to Get a Michigan Driver's Permit

The graduated driver’s license program in the state of Michigan requires all new drivers under aged 18 to begin driving under supervision, in order to practice safe driving before getting their full driver’s license. In order to receive the initial learner’s permit, you must follow certain steps. Here is a simple guide to getting a Michigan driver’s instruction permit:

Learner’s permit

Michigan has a multi-level driver’s permit that is divided into two steps. The Level 1 Learner’s License allows Michigan residents who are at least 14 years and 9 months old to apply for a permit. This driver must have completed “Segment 1” of a state-approved driver’s education program. The Level 2 Intermediate License is for drivers who are at least 16 years old, and have held the Level 1 Learner’s License for a minimum of six months. This driver must also have completed “Segment 2” of a state-approved driver’s education course. The Level 2 permit must be held for a minimum of six months before a 17-year-old driver may apply for a full license.

Under the Level 1 Learner’s License, a driver must be accompanied at all times by a licensed adult who is at least 21 years old. Under the Level 2 license, a teen may drive unsupervised between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., unless they are driving to or from a school, sports, religious, or work activity, or are accompanied by a supervising adult.

While driving during the instructional period, parents or legal guardians must log the 50 required hours of driving practice that a teen will need to apply for their Level 2 driver’s license. At least ten of those driving hours must be at night.

How to apply

In order to apply for a Michigan Level 1 Learner’s License, drivers must submit the following documents to the local SOS office:

  • A “Segment 1” driver’s education course certification of completion

  • Proof of identity, such as a birth certificate or a school ID

  • Proof of Social Security number, such as a Social Security card or a W-2 form

  • Two documents that prove Michigan residency, such as a pay stub or a school report card

Passing the exam

In order to receive the Level 1 Learner’s License, no written exam is necessary. However, those who are new to the state, or who are moving up to the next level in the license program must take a knowledge test that covers state-specific traffic laws, safe driving rules, and road signs. The Michigan Driver’s Manual has all the information necessary to pass the exam. In order to get extra practice and build confidence before taking the exam, there are many online practice tests, including timed versions, available.

The exam is 40 questions long, and includes a $25 fee. If the permit needs to be replaced at any time, the SOS requires a $9 duplicate permit fee be paid, and you’ll need to bring the same set of legally required documents listed above.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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