The state of Michigan offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the past, or are current active military members.
Disabled veteran registration fee waiver
Disabled veterans are eligible for a Disabled Veteran license plate in either the standard design, or Spectacular Peninsulas. You must be able to provide discharge papers proving honorable discharge, and verification from the Department of Veterans Affairs that you have a 100% disability that is the result of military service (alternately your Rating Decision may be less than 100% disability but with a 100% unemployable rating). You must complete and submit the Application for Veteran License Plate.
There is a $5 service charge for the standard plate, and a $10 charge for the Spectacular Peninsulas design. It’s important to note that the Disabled Veteran plate is not an automatic qualifier for parking privileges. You must submit a separate application in order to request the disabled parking designation.
Driver’s license veteran designation
Michigan veterans are eligible for a veteran designation on a driver license or state ID card, in the form of the word “Veteran” at the lower right of the card. This allows you to easily display your veteran status to businesses and other organizations that offer benefits to military members, without having to carry your discharge papers around everywhere you go. In order to get a license with this designation you must have received honorable (or general under honorable conditions, or conditions other than dishonorable) discharge, and provide proof in the form of one of the following:
DD214 (or correction DD215), Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, any copy except Copy 1
Form NGB FM 22 or 23, Report of Separation and Record of Service, which must indicate honorable or general discharge
Forms WD AGO, such as WD AGO 53-55, Enlisted Record and Report of Separation Honorable Discharge
GSA 6954, Certificate of Military Service
NAVPERS 553, Extract of Notice of Separation from U.S. Naval Service
VA Veteran Health Identification Card
DD-2 (blue or pink version), United States Uniformed Services ID card - issued to retired military and military reserve veterans
You must also submit the Application for Veteran Designation. There is no additional fee for adding veteran designation to your driver license or ID card, unless you add it prior to your renewal date.
Military honor plates
Michigan offers a variety of military and veteran license plates designed to honor those who’ve served in a specific branch, conflict, or are recipients of a medal or award. These plates require a $5 service fee for the standard background and $10 for the Spectacular Peninsulas background.
Military skills test waiver
In 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created a provision within the Commercial Learner’s Permit rule, granting SDLAs (State Driver Licensing Agencies) the power to waive the CDL skills test for U.S. Military drivers with service-related truck driving experience. In order to take advantage of this opportunity you have to have a minimum of two years driving trucks in the course of your military service. In addition, this driving experience has to have taken place within the year before you apply for the waiver. It’s important to note that you will not be exempted from the written test.
Military personnel and veterans who wish to apply for this benefit can download and print the waiver here.
Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012
The MCDLA expands military personnel’s ability to obtain a CDL. Even if Michigan is not your home state, but you are stationed there temporarily or permanently, you may apply for a CDL license, provided you follow all proper channels of qualification.
Driver license renewal while deployed
Military members stationed out of state have 30 days upon return to renew their Michigan driver license. The license may be renewed for up to four years after expiration, however this privilege does not extend to your dependents – they need to renew by their due date.
If you do need to renew while overseas or out of state, you may be able to do so online. Enhanced licenses (those which contain a special designation allowing you to travel to Canada without a passport) cannot be renewed online.
Late fees for vehicle registration renewal are waived for active duty military personnel stationed out of state. You may, however, be able to renew online.
Non-resident military personnel driver license and vehicle registration
Michigan honors out-of-state driver’s licenses. You may need to contact the Michigan SOS to find out whether your dependents need a license in the state, and whether you need to register your vehicle after a period of time stationed there.
Active or veteran military personnel can find out more at the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles website here.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Michigan and was authored by Valerie Johnston.