Michigan Learner's Permit and Driver’s License

GDL requirements

Full Privilege Minimum Age
Learner Stage: Minimum Age (Years/Months)
14 years 9 months
Learner Stage: Minimum Duration (Months)
Intermediate Stage: Minimum Age (Years/Months)
Intermediate Stage: Nighttime Driving Restriction
10 p.m. – 5 a.m.
Intermediate Stage: Passenger Restrictions (Except Family, Unless Noted)
No more than 1 passenger younger than 21 years old

How to Get a Michigan Driver’s License

The Michigan Graduated Driver License program, or GDL, will give you time to learn how to drive in a controlled way. There are three stages to this program, from no Michigan license to a full license.

Completing the Michigan GDL takes about a year. First, you’ll complete a Michigan SOS approved driver training course for your Level 1 License. Then, 50 hours of supervised driving for a Level 2 Michigan license. Drive with it for at least six months and you’ll receive your Level 3 Michigan license.

The steps below have the details you’ll need to know in order to get your full, unrestricted Michigan license.

Get your level 1 Michigan license

You can start the process to get your license at 14 and 8 months. To get ready for driving, you can download the Michigan Graduated Driver’s Licensing Guide and start reading through it. At your local Secretary of State branch office, you’ll need to fill out an application, bring in proof of identity, and pay a fee of $25 by debit card or check.

Before being issued your Level 1 MI license, you’ll have to complete Segment 1 Driver Education. The options for this include a Michigan SOS approved driver’s education program offering a minimum of 24 hours of classroom instruction and a minimum of six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction or supervised driving practice with a licensed adult.

When you’re ready to enroll in a MISOS approved driver education program, find a driving school to get started.

Once you’ve completed the required amount of instruction, you can apply for your Level 1 Michigan license.

You will be given an official paper which is your Level 1 Michigan License. You’ll need to have that with you every time you’re behind the wheel.

You have to have your Level 1 Michigan license for at least 6 months before you can apply for a regular license. During that time, you’ll need to have 50 hours driving practice with 10 hours of those being at night.

There are also limits to your permit. You must practice with a parent, legal guardian, or a licensed adult 21 years of age or older with parent permission. The driving log must be shown to the examiner.

Get your level 2 Michigan license

Receiving your license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements. Those are reaching the age of 16.

Driving Skills Test: You will be required to pass a driving test with an SOS evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.

Before you take it, you should check out the Top 10 Automatic Fails on Driver Tests, so you’ll know what not to do on test day.

Once you’re ready, you can schedule a driving skills exam at your local Secretary of State branch office.

If you fail this test, you can retake it after 24 hours.

Vision Test: You will need to take a vision test. If you need glasses be sure you’re wearing them.

The application fee for your license is $25

Your Level 1 Michigan license will be mailed to you and will have your photograph on it. They take your picture the day you pass your driving skills test. This license will come with the following restrictions:

  • You may not have more than one passenger under the age of 21 in the vehicle with you at any time unless one of the following applies: Your parent, guardian or a licensed, designated adult aged 21 or older is in the vehicle with you, the passengers are members of your immediate family or they are accompanying you to-and-from employment or other authorized activity.
  • Under Kelsey’s Law, you may not use a hand-held cell phone while driving, except for emergencies. Violators may be charged up to $295 in fines and court costs.

As you continue to learn how to operate a motor vehicle in different conditions, there are certain hours when you won’t be able to drive.

Those are driving between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless one of the following applies: You are accompanied by a parent, guardian or designated, licensed adult age 21 or older, or you are driving to-and-from employment or other authorized activity.

Getting your level 3 Michigan license

At a certain point, the state feels that you’ve been able to receive enough supervised driving experience that you can go out on your own. Therefore, once you reach 17 and have had your Michigan Level 2 license for 6 months, you can get your Level 3 license.

This means that previous restrictions are lifted. However, you will not receive an updated license until that one expires. After you renew your license, you will receive your Level 3 Michigan license in the mail.

Whether you’ve just finished your Michigan graduated licensing process, or are just starting out, you might also want to consider a telematic companion application to better understand your driving habits, and how to improve them.

The best option is the DriverZ Virtual Coach. Download it today to sharpen your S.P.I.D.E.R.Senses™ to build the driving skills that will keep you safe for a lifetime, track your supervised driving hours, and access bespoke driver training based on your specific needs.

Frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions you might have as you start out on your MI licensing journey.

Can I drive with an out-of-state instructional permit in Michigan?

Michigan does allow drivers to travel through the state with permits from other states, as long as the parameters of the out-of-state permit are followed, and the permit is always in the immediate possession of the driver.

Can I replace a lost or stolen learner’s permit?

You can replace a lost or stolen learner’s permit online through Michigan Secretary of State’s Online Services.

How do I change my name or gender on my Michigan driver’s license?

You will need to complete a sex designation form and bring it to your local Michigan Secretary of State office along with your current ID. A new photo will be taken, and you’ll have to pay a $9 correction fee, then your new license will be mailed to you.

Michigan Secretary of State information

For comprehensive information on everything related to the Michigan graduated licensing program, visit the Michigan Secretary of State You can also call 1-888-767-6424. SOS offices are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Prepare for your license journey by reviewing the Michigan Graduated Driver Licensing Guide.