International Student Licensing & Insurance

By on June 29, 2016

International student? 

Arnouts Insurance specializes in preparing policies for international students and visiting faculty attending or working at Michigan State University. We understand your unique needs and we are eager to help you enjoy everything Michigan has to offer! Let our experts at Arnouts Insurance help with your international student insurance and licensing!

State of Michigan Driver’s License for International Students

International students must be in Michigan for a semester or more to become eligible to apply for a Michigan Driver’s License. If you have been in Michigan less than a semester, you are considered a short-term visitor and will not be eligible to apply for a Michigan Driver’s License. However, you can apply for the International Driving Permit if you have a driver’s license from your home country, and if it has a certified English translation.

How to Apply for State of Michigan Driver’s License

Step 1

The Secretary of State office handles licensing and vehicle registrations in Michigan, like a Department of Motor Vehicles elsewhere. You will need to present the following documents to the Secretary of State for identification:

  • Valid Social Security number or “Letter of Ineligibility”
  • Valid foreign passport and U.S.Visa
  • Stamped I-94
  • Two documents showing proof of Michigan residency (utility bill, bank statement, credit card bill)
  • I-20 or DS-2019

You can go to the Secretary of State (hyperlink to:,4670,7-127-1640_14837-34560–,00.html) office by taking the CATA Bus Route 1 (remember your student ID to get a discount on your fare).

The nearest Secretary of State branches to Michigan State University are:

3315 E. Michigan Ave.

Lansing, MI 48912

Phone: (888) 767-6424

Step 2

Pass the following tests to obtain a Temporary Instruction Permit:

  • A written test
  • A road sign test
  • A vision test

To prepare for the written and road sign test, study the booklet “What Every Driver Must Know”, available online here (hyperlink to:,1607,7-127-1642-103522–,00.html) or at a Secretary of State branch.

Before taking the tests, a license fee of $25 will be required to obtain the Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP), payable by cash, check, credit card, or money order.

Step 3

Take the road test 30 days after passing the written test and receiving a TIP. The 30-day period is required to give you time to practice driving before the actual driving test. Note that the TIP is only valid for 180 days. If you already possess a driver’s license from your home country, the 30-day period will be waived. However, the license must be in English or translated into English.

To prepare for the road test, study and practice the Road Skills Test Study Guide. The test will consist of two parts: basic control skills and on-the-road driving requirements. You will take the road test from a Michigan Department of State Driving Skills Testing Organizations, Ingham County. You may contact several companies and compare fees first as they may vary between companies.

Be ready to present your passport, valid vehicle registration, and proof of auto insurance before the road test. To learn more about auto insurance, contact us at (517) 347-1466 for we have a lot of experience helping international students.

Step 4

Once you pass the road test, take the documents listed in Step 1, your TIP, and Skills Test Certificate back to the branch office to receive a temporary driver’s license. You will use this until the actual license arrives in the mail.

Call us at (517) 347-1466 to learn more on international student insurance and licensing.