Getting a Driver's License

State of Michigan Driver's License

In order to get a Michigan driver's license, you must pass a written test, a road sign test, a vision test, and a driving test.

The first step is to prepare for the written test and road sign test by studying the booklet What Every Driver Must Know.

If you are younger than 18, be sure to read the section of What Every Driver Must Know that describes the special regulations that pertain to you. Information for those younger than 18.

The Written Test and Road Sign Test

TEST INFORMATION: You can take the written test and road sign test at any Michigan Secretary of State Office. (Tests are available in a number of different languages.) You will also be asked to take a vision test.

LOCATION: The branch offices closest to campus are:

Secretary of State

4675 Washtenaw Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Secretary of State (in Maple Village)

295 North Maple Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

You can get to the Secretary of State offices by public (AATA) bus – remember that you can ride free by showing your M-Card when you get on the bus. We recommend that you do not visit the SOS offices until 3-4 business days after you attend the mandatory check-in.

IDENTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: You will need the following documents:

  • Evidence that you have a valid Social Security number. See Column 1, Your Social Security number or letter of ineligibility for a list of documents you can use to demonstrate you have a valid Social Security number.
  • If you are not eligible for a social security number (see Determining Eligibility for a Social Security Number and Card), you can request a "letter of ineligibility" from the Ann Arbor Social Security Office. Fill out Form SS-5 and write “Letter of Ineligibility” at the top of the form. Mail the form to: Social Security Administration, 3971 Research Park Drive Suite A, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. No additional documents are required; just the form. The Ann Arbor Social Security Office will mail your Letter of Ineligibility to you in approximately three weeks. If you are not in Ann Arbor, you can check with your local Social Security Administration office for their procedure for issuing these letters.
  • YOUR paper or print-out of electronic Form I-94 (please click on the link for instructions)
  • PROOF OF YOUR MICHIGAN ADDRESS: Two documents showing your Michigan address are required. See Column 4, Proof of Michigan residency list for acceptable documents. Students can use an unofficial transcript printed by the Office of the Registrar as one of the two documents.
  • YOUR I-20, DS-2019, or I-797 (H-1B employees)

PERMIT FEE: $25.00 that must be paid with cash, check or money order.

The Road Test

PRACTICE PERIOD: After you pass the written test and receive a temporary instruction permit, you are required to wait for a 30-day practice period before taking the road test. However, if you have in your possession a Driver's License from your country, the 30-day practice period will be waived. Your license must be translated into English by a translation service unless the parts of the license that list the name, date of birth, country of issue, issue date, type of license and expiration date are in English. The Michigan Secretary of State’s Translators Resource List includes several translation services in Ann Arbor.

TAKING THE ROAD TEST: Prepare for the road test by practicing and by studying the Road Skills Test Study Guide.

Choose a company authorized to give the road skills test.  Go to the Michigan Department of State online services page and look for Business Services > Driver Education and Testing Businesses > Driver Testing Business > Search Driver Testing Business Locations.  Ann Arbor is in Washtenaw County.  These are private companies and may charge different fees. If you want, you can call several companies to compare fees.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ROAD TEST: You must also have a passport and a valid registration for the vehicle to be used in the road test, along with proof of its insurance. The vehicle must be in good mechanical condition.

State of Michigan Personal Identification Card

If you do not need a driver's license, but do need extra identification, you can get a State of Michigan Personal Identification card at any Michigan Secretary of State office for $10. The identification requirements are the same as the identification requirements for a driver's license as described above. However, the Secretary of State office will not issue you an ID card if you have a Michigan driver's license or a driver's license from another state.