Michigan Driver's License Renewal

Michigan Driver’s License Renewal

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Jun 29, 2021

Renewing your Michigan driver’s license does not have to be a hassle! In this handy guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the process to make it as straight-forward as possible.

When Do I Need to Renew My Michigan Driver’s License?

If you are under 21, your license will expire on your 21st Birthday. Otherwise, you will need to renew your license every four years.

You can renew up to 12 months before your expiration date, and the state sends a courtesy reminder roughly 45 day days before it expires.

What is the Grace Period in Michigan?

Michigan does not have a grace period! If you are caught driving with an expired license, it is automatically considered driving with an invalid license. The first offense can land you up to $500 in fines and 93 days jail time. Then it gets progressively worse with each time you are caught. 

How to Renew a Michigan Driver’s License

Michigan drivers have three options to renew their licenses:

  • In Person
  • By Mail
  • Online

However, you MUST renew in person if any of the following apply:

  • You are renewing or upgrading to a REAL-ID
  • You renewed by mail or online last time
  • Requested a duplicate license in the last four weeks
  • Requested a change of address within the last ten days
  • Have any health changes that could affect your ability to drive
  • Do not have a Social Security Number on file
  • Have not renewed your Michigan driver’s license in over four years

Renewal by Mail

You are eligible for this option if your renewal notice invites you to renew by mail. Here’s how you do it: 

  1. Fill out and sign the renewal notice you got in the mail. It should arrive roughly 45 days before your license expires.
  2. If your address has changed, fill out the appropriate area
  3. Pay by check or money order
  4. Mail at least three weeks before your license expires. If your new license does not come in before the expiration, do not drive! It is illegal to drive without a valid license, no matter the circumstance.

Note: If you changed your name, you must renew in person even if the invitation says otherwise.

Renewal Online

If you are a US citizen and you renewed your driver’s license in person at a local Michigan Secretary of State office last time, you qualify to renew online.

  1. Visit the ExpressSOS renewal page.
  2. Provide proof of identity. You will be expected to provide
    1. Last four digits of your social security number
    2. Driver’s License number
    3. Date of Birth
    4. Eye color (as listed on your id)
  3. Complete the Steps
  4. Pay fees by debit or credit card
  5. Your license should come in within three weeks. If it does not arrive before your license expires, do not drive! It is illegal to drive without a valid license.

Renewal in Person

You must renew your license in person if you renewed by mail or online last time. 

To renew your license in person follow these steps:

  1. Visit a local Secretary of State (SOS) branch office. You may need to book an appointment ahead of time for some locations.
  2. Make sure to bring:
    1. Bring Your license or other acceptable ID. If you are renewing or upgrading to a REAL-ID, make sure to bring these documents as well.
    2. If you need corrective lenses to drive, be sure to bring them.
  3. Update address and any other information that you need to change
  4. If your license is expired for more than four years, be prepared to retake the written and driving exams. 
  5. Take a Vision Test
  6. Have a new picture taken
  7. Pay the required fees by cash, check, money order, Discover, MasterCard or Visa debit or Credit Card.
  8. You will receive a temporary paper license if the location does not print on-site. It will arrive at the address provided within three weeks.

Can I Renew a Suspended License?

You can not renew your Michigan driver’s license if you have three or more unpaid parking tickets on your record, or if your license is suspended or revoked.

If you changed your name, you need to update it with the Social Security administration before you renew your license. Make sure to start this process at least three weeks before you renew to ensure everything is updated in time.

Do I Need a REAL-ID?

An enhanced ID, otherwise known as a REAL-ID, will be required starting Oct 1, 2021 to travel by plane. In addition, a standard driver’s license will not count as a federal id when you want to enter certain military and government locations.

If you do not need access to the things above, or you have a valid federal ID like a passport, you can elect to stick with your standard driver’s license. Otherwise a REAL-ID will cut a lot of hassle when you travel.

Want everything you need about being a driver in one place? Join us on Zutobi for up-to-date information, an easy-to-navigate summarized driver’s manual, helpful articles, and more!

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