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February 26, 2024

Can Immigrants Get a Driver’s License in Michigan?

Immigrants in Michigan face many challenges, from finding jobs and raising families to learning a new language and working toward eventual citizenship. A valid driver’s license can make getting to work, school, and appointments easier. But can immigrants in Michigan obtain a driver’s license?

The short answer is yes. Any Michigan immigrant “legally present” in the United States can apply for a driver’s license in the state. An applicant must also be a Michigan resident. However, state law denies some residents driver’s licenses based on immigration status.

An immigration attorney with nearly 20 years of experience, Andrew D. Stacer understands the particular legal issues immigrants face in Michigan. Keep reading to learn more about the requirements to obtain a driver’s license in Michigan, and contact Stacer PLC if you have any questions.

Requirements to Obtain a Driver’s License in Michigan

According to Michigan Legal Help, there are two primary requirements for obtaining a Michigan driver’s license. First, you must show that you are “legally present” in the U.S., meaning you did not enter the country illegally. Being legally present includes having Lawful Permanent Resident status or having a valid visa. 

Second, you must be a Michigan resident. If you live in the state, you are a resident. You must provide proof that you live here. Generally, you must provide two documents with your name and address, such as a utility bill, bank statement, or lease agreement.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must provide two of the following documents to prove your identity: 

  • Your foreign passport
  • Your immigrant visa
  • Your Refugee Travel Document 
  • Your Employment Authorization Card

You must also meet the other requirements to obtain a driver’s license, which include:

  • Enrolling in a driver’s education course (for those under age 18)
  • Passing the written driver knowledge test and a vision exam
  • Completing a minimum number of driving hours with a Temporary Instruction Permit
  • Passing an on-road skills test
  • Presenting all required documents and having your picture taken at a local Secretary of State office

Other Options for Immigrants in Michigan

You don’t necessarily need a Michigan driver’s license to drive here legally. You may be able to drive in Michigan with a valid foreign driver’s license issued by one of the following countries: 

  • Nicaragua
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Costa Rica
  • Peru
  • Belize
  • Guatemala
  • El Salvador
  • Ecuador
  • Panama
  • Canada
  • Honduras

Immigrants from countries not listed here might be able to drive with a foreign driver’s license if they have other documents to establish their legal presence in the U.S.

Contact a Michigan Immigrant Rights Attorney Now

Are you an immigrant having trouble obtaining a Michigan driver’s license? Or are you facing other challenges as a result of your immigration status? If so, attorney Andrew D. Stacer can provide you with the advice you need and ensure your rights are protected. Call (734) 888-9293 now or complete our contact form for a confidential consultation with an experienced immigration law attorney with Stacer PLC.