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.
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.
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.
Michigan drivers have three options to renew their licenses:
However, you MUST renew in person if any of the following apply:
You are eligible for this option if your renewal notice invites you to renew by mail. Here’s how you do it:
Note: If you changed your name, you must renew in person even if the invitation says otherwise.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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