transfer drivers license to Michigan

How to Transfer Your Out-of-State Driver’s License to Michigan: A Complete Guide

by Zutobi · Updated Jan 02, 2023

The state of Michigan is a highly attractive state for those searching for a career in agriculture, higher education, or the automotive industries. It also borders America’s five Great Lakes, making for amazing day trip destinations for couples and families. Thousands of people move to Michigan every year to take advantage of these opportunities and gain a fresh start in the midwestern state.

Establishing residency anywhere is exciting. The possibility for you within your new environment is seemingly endless. Don’t get ahead of yourself though – there are a few things new residents must complete as they get settled, including transferring your out-of-state driver license to Michigan. In this guide, we’ll show you exactly how to do so as quickly as possible.

When Do You Need to Transfer Your Driver’s License to Michigan?

Once residency has been established, the state of Michigan requires new residents to transfer their drivers license and obtain current state registration. It’s best to complete these processes as soon as possible after moving to avoid any complications with local law enforcement or municipal officials.

Change of Address in Michigan

There are several ways to change your address in the state of Michigan. All current drivers must have their updated physical address on file with the SOS as soon as possible. This also applies to current Michigan residents who are moving within the state. There are three ways to complete a change of address – online, in-person, or by mail. Completing the process online is generally the most convenient option, however, any method is available to you.

If you need to change your address, bring the following documents to the SOS once you’ve settled in your new abode:

  1. Proof of new address
  2. Proof of identity
  3. Proof of birthdate

How to Transfer an Out-of-State Driver’s License to Michigan

1- Visit Michigan Secretary of State office

You will need to visit the Michigan SOS in order to complete a license transfer. An appointment is not necessary. However, you’ll want to get there at the right time to avoid standing in long lines and spending the day there.

2 – Pass Vision Screening

Michigan tests drivers on their vision to ensure they have the eyesight necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle in the state. Applicants will need to exhibit a score of 20/40 or better to pass. If you do not pass this test, you’ll need to drive with corrective lenses or retake the exam for a better score.

3 – Have Picture Taken

A picture will be taken for your new license and internal files with the state’s office. There is no dress code. However, you’ll want to dress well as your license picture will remain with you for several years.

4 – Bring Documentation

At the time of your license transfer, you will require you to present certain documentation. All of these must be original copies. You can find a full list of acceptable documents here.

  1. Out of State license, proving identity and birth date
  2. Social security card
  3. Proof of legal status or citizenship
  4. Proof of physical NC address
  5. Proof of liability insurance coverage

5 – Receive Your Temporary License

The written test and road test is not required when transferring your driver’s license to Michigan. So, after your documents have been accepted, you will be granted a temporary paper license. Your permanent license will be mailed to you in two weeks.

What If You’re from Another Country?

If you are not from the US, but hold an international license, you’ll be allowed to drive in the state. However, moving is a bit different.

  • Residents moving to Michigan from treaty states such as Canada, Germany, or South Korea may convert their driver’s license to the state without taking the written or road test. That process is similar to transferring an out-of-state license detailed above.
  • Individuals moving from non-treaty states will need to apply for a new license.

Written Knowledge Exam

The Michigan knowledge test contains 50 questions and is structured to assess new drivers and their understanding of core traffic laws and road signs around the state of Michigan. You must obtain a score of 80%, or answer 40 questions correctly.

While many may recommend the Michigan driver’s handbook as a useful resource for studying, it’s not a suitable solution for everybody. Instead, Zutobi’s extremely popular learning platform may be the best alternative. While there, you’ll be exposed to a gamified experience that teaches you pertinent aspects of driving, while testing you with questions you’ll likely find on your real knowledge test.

Road Test

The road exam tests your ability to safely drive in the state. You’ll be required to perform key maneuvers such as turning, keeping safe following distance, u-turns and more. A vehicle in good working condition is necessary for you to take the exam.

What Happens If You Don’t Transfer Your License in Time?

You’ll need to transfer your license as soon as possible after moving to the state of Michigan. Waiting too long after moving could result in trouble with law enforcement.

That’s It!

Transferring your driver’s license to Michigan is pretty simple, as long as you have the knowledge of what to do. We hope this guide has helped you out, and that you now feel comfortable with the process. Even if you don’t need to take any exams, we recommend that you read up on the rules of the road in your new state since there will be differences.

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