In Michigan, your passport or student ID are not acceptable forms of ID; you must have either a Michigan Personal Identification card or Michigan driver's license to prove your identity. This type of identification is required to open bank accounts, install telephone lines, electricity, and obtain other kinds of service.

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 identification (ID) card at any Michigan Secretary of State Office. The identification requirements are the same as the identification requirements for a driver's license. However, the Secretary of State office will not issue you an ID card if you have a Michigan driver's license, a driver's license from another state, or a driver's license from another country.

The Identification card takes up to three weeks to arrive in the mail. It is strongly recommended that you apply for one as soon as possible.

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 road 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 that describes the special regulations that pertain to you.

The Written Test and the Road Sign Test

  • TEST INFORMATION: Go to any Michigan Secretary of State Office to take the written test and the road sign test. (The test is available in a number of different languages.) You will also be asked to take a vision test.
  • IDENTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: You will need three pieces of identification. Most international students use: a passport, the visa (inside your passport), and your student identification card.

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. The foreign license must be translated into English 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. Please see the second part of the "identification requirements" section for translation guidelines.
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: 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.
  • LOCATION: Road tests are given by third party companies certified by the Michigan Department of State. The state does not regulate fees for the road tests so be sure to call several places to compare costs.
  •  After you pass the road test, you will receive your Michigan driver's license. More information can be found on the Michigan Department of State's webpage. Secretary of State branch office employees are also able to answer questions or provide further assistance.

Identification Requirement for Original Driver License or
Personal Identification Card

Every individual applying for an original driver license, temporary instruction permit, or personal identification card must present acceptable identification documents for proof of name and date of birth. Any identification document presented is subject to approval by Department of State personnel. When necessary, additional identification documents may be required. Individuals under the age of 18 must successfully complete a driver education course and have parental consent before receiving their Level 1 or Level 2 license.

PHOTOCOPIES OR FACSIMILES OF DOCUMENTS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE

Persons under the age of 18 - Must present a single document from the Primary Group shown below.

Persons 18 years old or older - Must present three (3) documents from this list. At least one document must be from the Primary Group shown below. The other two documents may be from either the Primary or Secondary Group shown below.

Primary Group

Primary documents must show the applicant's full name and date of birth.

Expired documents may be accepted if the documents are authentic and still represent the applicant.

  • A certified full-size or wallet-size birth certificate, issued by a U.S. or Canadian governmental unit. The document must have a raised seal or be a true copy. HOSPITAL BIRTH CERTIFICATES ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE.
  • A photo US military identification card (DD-2).
  • A photo US military dependent identification card (DD-1173 or DD-1173-1).
  • An out-of-state or Canadian driver license or identification card with photo.
  • A US or Canadian passport.
  •  If you were born in a foreign country, the following may be used:
    1. Alien Registration Receipt Cards (INS Form I-551 immigration card), or
    2. Certificate of US Naturalization, or
    3. Certificate of US Citizenship, or
    4. Employment Authorization Document (INS Form I-688B or I-766), or
    5. Passport with a translation of the passport into English.

Secondary Group

  • A driver license from another country (other than Canada) with a translation of the license into English. An International Driving Permit is not an acceptable identity document and is not an acceptable translation of a driver license from another country.)
  • A birth certificate, marriage license, or divorce decree from another country, with a translation of the document into English.
  • A US Department of State nonimmigrant visa.
  • A vehicle title and corresponding registration from Michigan or another state.
  • A marriage license from Michigan or another state. The document must have a raised seal or be a true copy.
  • A divorce decree from Michigan or another state. The document must have a raised seal or be a true copy.
  • A US court order for a name change. The document must have a raised seal or be a true copy.
  • A photo identification card issued by a Michigan governmental agency.
  • A certified birth certificate (for a child) showing the applicant as a parent. The document must have a raised seal or be a true copy.
  • A Michigan driver education certificate.
  • A non-photo out-of-state or Canadian driver license.
  • Michigan adoption record. The document must have a court seal or be a true copy.
  • Student identification card with a photo, school records, diploma, yearbook, etc., from a Michigan school, college, or university.
  • US military discharge or separation documents (DD-214, etc.).
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs or Indian Treaty card.

Birth Records/Marriage Licenses/Divorce Decrees

From Michigan

To Obtain Certified Copies of Birth, Marriage, or Divorce Documents:

  • Contact the registrar in the county where the person was born, married, or the divorce was granted.
  • Contact the Michigan Department of Community Health at (517) 335-8656.

From Other States

  • Contact a central records agency in the state, county, or parish where the person was born, married, or the divorce was granted.

From Other Countries (Birth Records)

  • Contact the Embassy representing the country in which the person was born.

Information Required - Translation of a Passport, Driver License, Birth Certificate, Marriage License, or Divorce Decree from Another Country

A passport, driver license, birth certificate, marriage license, or divorce decree from another country may be accepted as an identity document when applying for a Michigan driver license or personal identification card. However, if the information that appears on the passport, driver license, birth certificate, marriage license, or divorce decree is not written or printed in English, a translation must be provided.

NOTE: It is not necessary to obtain a separate translation for a passport, from another country, that has English subheadings. The subheadings must be part of the passport, either below or beside the non-English words.

An acceptable translation must be on the letterhead stationery of the agency that employs the translator. (See the note below for examples of where translation services may be available.) And the translation must include all of the following:

  • The address of the agency that employs the translator.
  • The date the translation was prepared.
  • The following information:
  1. For a passport - All information found on the so-called "biodata" page that contains items such as the applicant's full name, date of birth, and the name of the country that issued the passport.
  2. For a driver license - The applicant's full name, date of birth, the country that issued the driver license, the date the driver license was issued, the type of driver license issued, and the driver license expiration date.
  3. For a birth certificate, marriage license, or divorce decree - All information items found on the document, including the information that appears on any seal, and the name of the country that issued the document.

    * The printed name of the person who prepared the translation. The printed name must be legible.
    * The signature of the person who prepared the translation.
    * A daytime telephone number where the translator may be reached, if that becomes necessary.

NOTE: Translation services may be available from colleges, universities, translation-related businesses, community agencies, attorneys, and governmental agencies.