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How to Get Your New York Driver's License:

Requirements for 2023

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Get your New York driving license in no time! With our step-by-step guide, we'll show you how to obtain a learner's permit, renew an existing licence and even schedule a road test. Plus check out what documents are required for each process so that the route from car seat passenger to driver is as smooth as possible.

Types of Driver's Licenses in New York

For each license type there's a corresponding type of instruction permit

Class D

Driving a large vehicle? You may need an Operator or DJ license! These are the standard licenses for personal use vehicles with a GVWR of 26,000 pounds and less while they tow another car weighing up to 10,000. Make sure that total weight stays below 26,000 lbs., though - otherwise you'll have to recheck your DMV grip on things. The New York DMV Driver's Manual or free practice test can help keep all your driving bases covered if you're looking for more info on this type of permit!

Class E

Hoping to take the wheel of a taxi or livery vehicle for hire in New York State? Get ready by reading through the NY DMV Driver's Manual and taking their free practice test. Up your road knowledge so you can safely serve customers with vehicles carrying no more than 14 passengers!

A/B/C (Commercial)

If you're looking to operate larger vehicles beyond the limits of a Class E driver, consider getting your CDL - with it comes endorsements for Classes A, B and C. For instance, if you have an endorsement on your license from Class B or C drivers' licenses in New York State gives permission to drive heavier buses and trucks that exceed 26 000 pounds GVWR depending on certain restrictions; while obtaining a higher-leveled class such as A can permit operation of all single unit vehicle combinations up to legal weight limitations based off ones individual endorsement. Brush up and ensure success by reading through the NYCDL manual or taking advantage of free practice tests!

Class M

If you're 16 or 17 and looking to try your hand at motorcycle riding, a Class MJ license can get you going! To start the process, take a free NY DMV motorcycle practice test. However be aware that some restrictions may apply - so it's best to check those out first before taking off on two wheels!

How to Apply for Your Non-Commercial Driver’s License

To apply for a class D driver license you must first get a learner permit, take a driver education course and a road test. This is your complete plan of action depending on your age:

01.

I'm over 16 and under 18 (First Timer)

Apply for a Class 'D - Operator' junior permit How to start
02.

I'm over 16 and under 18 (Junior Permit Holder)

Apply for junior driver license How to start
03.

I'm 18+ (First Timer)

Apply for senior (adult) driver license How to start

Five Steps to Driver's License

You can choose either a full range of services from any of the driving schools, or choose a specific service separately based on the parameters you need.

Training before permit exam

Learning the study materials.
Practice taking tests.

More info

Sign up on Learning Permit

Find out the list of documents.
Register for an exam.

More info

5 Hour Pre-Licensing course

Listen to the lecture.
Get a certificate 278 DMV.

More info

Road Test

Pass the Road test.
Get your driver's license.

More info

Leave your review, when you get driver's license.

How to Apply for Your Junior Learner Permit

New drivers must embark on step one of the journey to their license: obtaining a Class D- operator permit. This will allow them to drive with supervision and some restrictions, but they should also be aware of extra regulations outlined in the Graduated Driver License (GDL) Law specifically designed for junior permit holders.

APPLY IN PERSON

If you need to apply in person, the fastest way is at your local DMV office. To save time and avoid long lines, New York City natives can make an online reservation for select offices throughout Westchester County (Nassau, Suffolk), Rockland & Onondaga Counties as well Albany! Check out this map if you're looking to find a nearby DMV location.

BRING THE DOCUMENTATION TO VERIFY THE FOLLOWING:

  • date of birth
  • social security status
  • NY residence
  • identification

Complete this guide to select your documents correctly.

BRING THE DOCUMENTATION TO VERIFY THE FOLLOWING:

  • date of birth
  • social security status
  • NY residence
  • identification

Complete this guide to select your documents correctly.

CHOOSE THE TYPE OF DOCUMENT TO APPLY FOR

You have three permit options to choose from - Enhanced, Real ID and Standard. An Enhanced permit will allow you to travel overseas without a passport if you are an American citizen! Both this type of permit as well as the Real ID can be used for air travel within the US or when entering federal buildings after October 1, 2020; however those with just a Standard Permit may need additional identification in order to board planes at that time. Ask yourself these helpful questions so you can determine which option best fits your needs!

COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FORM

The forms are available at the DMV office or you can fill it in and print at home. Download and apply using this form.

BRING YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN

Your parent or guardian must complete the Statement of Identity and/or Residence (MV45) in front of a DMV representative if you can’t provide 2 documents to prove your identity or residence. Your parent must bring their NY State license or ID with current address.

PAY THE FEE

The fee you pay depends primarily on your age.

  • 16- 16 ½ year olds pay $80.00
  • 16 ½- 17 year olds pay $76.75
  • 17-17 ½ year olds pay $92.50
  • 17 ½-18 year olds pay $89.25

Residents of Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester must also pay a Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD) fee. The MCTD fee is $1.00 for every 6 months the permit will be valid.

There is an additional $30.00 fee for an Enhanced Driver Permit.

PASS THE VISION TEST

To pass the vision test, you must have 20/40 vision in at least one eye with or without corrective lenses. If you cannot pass this test or if you wear special lenses, contact a DMV Call Center for additional instruction.

TAKE THE WRITTEN TEST

Get ready to hit the road! You can take your written test to secure a permit Ė either in person on the same day or online via OKTA. If you don't pass, no worries; simply retake it for free and ace it on the next go-around. Donít forget that once you get your hands on that shiny new permit (which will arrive in around two weeks), supervised driving practice is all yours! And if taking an online exam sounds more like something up your alley, find out which high schools near you offer this option so when crunch time comes, there'll be nothing stopping those keystrokes from successfully securing a learner's license right away

If you're looking to hit the open road and practice driving in New York City, there are a few restrictions with your learner's permit that you should be aware of. Not only must you have an accompanying driver who is 21 or older with a valid license whenever behind the wheel; but also, due to limited access areas, some streets within parks as well as all bridges/tunnels managed by The Tri-borough Bridge & Tunnel Authority may not be driven on-- along with highways such as Cross Country Pkwy., Hutchinson River Parkway Saw Mill River Pkwy. and Taconic State Pky located within Westchester County. Also take note that roads used for DMV tests are off limits too!

In New York State, junior permit holders must abide by the Graduated License Law. This law contains extra rules and regulations that depend on your location and time of day for driving so be sure to look up any additional restrictions in your area!

How to Apply for a Junior Driver License

DJ- Junior Operator driver license will give you more driving privileges that vary considerably in Upstate New York, New York City and Long Island due to the Graduated License Law.

Junior license restrictions: You cannot drive within the five boroughs of New York City under any circumstances until you receive your adult license. You may drive in Nassau and Suffolk counties without a supervising driver only between your home and the place of study or employment. In upstate New York you may drive without a supervising driver only between 5 AM and 9 PM and only directly between your home and your place of study or employment between 9 PM and 5 AM. There are more specific restrictions in each area.

  1. Practise driving
    You must drive at least 50 hours with supervision, which includes 15 hours after sunset and at least 10 hours in moderate to heavy traffic. Have you parent or guardian complete a Certification of Supervised Driving (MV-262).
  2. Take a driver education course
    You can complete either a high school or college driver education course and receive a Driver Education Certificate (MV-285) (valid for 2 years), or a 5-hour Pre-licensing Course at a driving school and get a Pre-licensing Course Certificate (MV-278) (valid for one year). You must bring the original certificate to your road test to turn in to the examiner. If your certificate expires, you must complete the course again. Remember that the certificate must be valid on the date that you make your Road Test appointment but can be expired on the date you take your road test.
  3. Schedule your road test
    You can schedule your road test after at least 6 months from the date you received your junior learner permit but before your permit expires. You do not need to take your test in the area of the state where you live. To get the earliest appointment possible, be sure to check multiple locations. Schedule online or by phone: 1-518-402-2100.
  4. Pass your road test
    You should arrive at least 30 minutes before your appointment and bring you learner permit, glasses or contacts (if your permit states you need corrective lenses), your original Pre-licensing Course or Driver Education Certificate (copies are not acceptable), a Certification of Supervised Driving (must be given to the examiner each time you take a road test) and a vehicle to drive during the test. If you pass your test, the examiner will give you an interim license that allows you to drive. Keep the interim license with your photo learner permit. Your new license will arrive in the mail in about 2 weeks.
    If you do not pass your test twice, you must pay the $10.00 fee for up to two more tests.

How to Remove Your Junior License restrictions at the age of 17?

If you're aged 17 and have a junior driver's license, congratulations! It means that with the completion of a state-approved high school or college driver education course, your teenage freedom can be taken to an even greater level. Just bring along your Student Certificate of Completion (MV-285) when visiting any DMV office - no special application necessary - so you can upgrade from your Junior Drivers' License to Seniors'. Or pass it on at getting ready for taking in road tests; by doing this when reaching 18 years old full driving rights will come automatically without having completing additional steps.

How to Apply for a Class D-Operator (Adult) Driver License

Your first New York State driver license will be issued for a period not to exceed 5 years, on your month and day of birth. Before you get a license, you must apply for a learner permit regardless of your age and practice supervised driving.

APPLY IN PERSON FOR A LEARNER PERMIT

You must apply in person at a DMV office. You don’t have to make an appointment; however, you may make a reservation online in New York City, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Onondaga or Albany Counties.

BRING THE DOCUMENTATION TO VERIFY THE FOLLOWING:

  • date of birth
  • social security status
  • NY residence
  • identification

Complete this guide to select your documents correctly.

CHOOSE THE TYPE OF DOCUMENT TO APPLY FOR

You can choose to apply for an Enhanced, a Real ID, or a Standard document. An Enhanced license will let you cross Mexican and Canadian border without a passport provided that you are a US citizen. Both an Enhanced and Real ID can be used to board a flight within the US and enter federal buildings. Standard document holders will need a second form of ID to board the plane after October 1, 2020. You can answer these questions to decide which type of permit/license is more suitable for your needs.

COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FORM

The forms are available at the DMV office or you can fill it in and print at home. Download and apply using this form.

CALCULATE AND PAY THE FEE

The fee you pay depends primarily on your age.

  • 18- 18 ½ year olds pay $80.00
  • 18 ½- 21 year olds pay $76.75- $80.00
  • 21+ year olds pay $ 64.25- $67.50

Residents of Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester must also pay a Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD) fee. The MCTD fee is $1.00 for every 6 months the license will be valid.

There is an additional $30.00 fee for an Enhanced Driver License.

PASS THE VISION TEST

To pass the vision test, you must have 20/40 vision in at least one eye with or without corrective lenses. If you cannot pass this test or if you wear special lenses, contact a DMV Call Center for additional instruction.

TAKE THE WRITTEN TEST

You are asked to take the written test on the same day. If you fail, you can retake it at no additional cost.

RECEIVE THE PERMIT

Follow learner permit restrictions: you may not drive unless accompanied by a supervising driver age 21 or older with valid license. You may not drive on any street within a park in New York City, on any bridge or tunnel under the jurisdiction of the Tri-borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, on the Cross County, Hutchinson River, Saw Mill River, or Taconic State parkways in Westchester County and in a DMV road test area.

PRACTISE DRIVING

You should get a good amount of supervised driving. It is recommended to drive at least 50 hours with supervision, which includes 15 hours after sunset and at least 10 hours in moderate to heavy traffic.

TAKE A PRE-LICENSING COURSE

You can complete either a high school or college driver education course and receive a Driver Education Certificate (MV-285) (valid for 2 years), or a 5-hour Pre-licensing Course at a driving school and get a Pre-licensing Course Certificate (MV-278) (valid for one year). You must bring the original certificate to your road test to turn in to the examiner. If your certificate expires, you must complete the course again. Remember that the certificate must be valid on the date that you make your Road Test appointment but can be expired on the date you take your road test.

SCHEDULE YOUR ROAD TEST

You must schedule your road test before your learner permit expires. You do not need to take your test in the area of the state where you live. To get the earliest appointment possible, be sure to check multiple locations. Schedule online or by phone: 1-518-402-2100.

PASS YOUR ROAD TEST

You should arrive at least 30 minutes before your appointment and bring you learner permit, glasses or contacts (if your permit indicates you need corrective lenses), your original Pre-licensing Course or Driver Education Certificate (copies are not acceptable), and a vehicle to drive during the test. If you pass your test, the examiner will give you an interim license that allows you to drive. Keep the interim license with your photo learner permit. Your new license will arrive in the mail in about 2 weeks.

If you do not pass your test twice, you must pay the $10.00 fee for up to two more tests.

New York State Written Test

You will take the written exam at a DMV office on the same day when you apply for your permit/license. You don’t have to make an appointment; however, you may make a reservation online in New York City, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Onondaga or Albany Counties.

Take a Free Practice Test
01

1. What does the exam include?

You’ll have 20 multiple-choice questions testing your knowledge of road signs, rules of the road, and safe driving laws including the laws about alcohol and drug use while driving. To pass the knowledge portion of the DMV driving test, you must answer 14 questions correctly, including at least two of four questions on road signs.

02

Can I take the test in any other language but English?

Yes, the test is offered in 14 languages: English, Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian and Spanish.

03

How to prepare for the test?

Study the NYS Driver’s Manual as all questions are based on the information provided in chapter 4 through 11. Take free practice tests available here. When you feel comfortable with your score, you are ready!

04

What common mistakes should I avoid?

The most common mistake comes from not knowing enough information out of the manual. This happens when people study solely with practice tests. Make sure you read the manual first. Another problem is rushing through questions. Take your time and remember what you have studied.

05

What happens if I fail?

If you fail you can retake it at no additional cost.

06

Can I take the written test at my high school?

Yes, before you apply for a learner permit, you can take the written test through the DMV Online Knowledge Test Application (OKTA) program. The test is given at participating high schools across New York State. Students who fail the test can take it again online as many times as the school allows.

Road Test STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

What to expect during NYS road test

You must schedule your road test before your learner permit expires. You do not need to take your test in the area of the state where you live. To get the earliest appointment possible, be sure to check multiple locations. Schedule online or by phone: 1-518-402-2100. You will need a valid New York State learner permit, an original, unexpired Pre-Licensing Course Certificate or a Driver Education Certificate, and the zip code for the test site. Your test can be cancelled or relocated due to adverse weather or road construction, see cancellations, closings and delays, or call

Before the test

  1. Arrive up to 30 minutes before your appointment. If you are late, the examiner may need to reschedule.
  2. Bring the vehicle with the following:
    • a valid registration and inspection
    • functional seat belts
    • headlights
    • windshield wipers
    • a front passenger area and seatbelt free of trash, clutter or debris that might damage the license examiner’s uniform
    • a front passenger door that opens from the inside of the vehicle
  3. Bring the following:
    • your photo learner permit
    • a driver age 21 or older with a valid license
    • glasses or contacts, if your permit indicates you need corrective lenses
    • your original Pre-licensing Course Certificate (MV-278) or Driver Education Certificate (MV-285), copies are not acceptable
    • if you are under 18, a Certification of Supervised Driving (MV-262) completed by your parent or guardian - this must be given to the examiner each time you take a road test

During the test

The test usually takes about 15 minutes. Listen to the examiner and follow the instructions.

You will be demonstrating the following skills:

  • Parallel parking
  • Smooth steering and acceleration
  • Braking well before your stopping position to avoid abrupt stops, stop your vehicle in the proper position of the lane
  • Choosing the correct gear at the right time for both an automatic or a manual transmission
  • Obeying speed limits and adjusting your speed to weather and road conditions
  • Following distance: using the "two second rule"
  • Obeying traffic signs, signals and markings
  • Showing the correct stopping position: if a stop is required, stop before reaching an intersecting street. If stop lines or crosswalks are present, stop before crossing them. If your view is blocked after stopping behind the crosswalk, move up until you can clearly see your way, then stop again if necessary
  • Keeping your vehicle in the proper traffic lane, especially when preparing to make turns
  • Using your directional signals or horn consistently and at the proper times
  • Identifying potential hazards by checking mirrors, looking behind your shoulder when changing lanes and backing up
  • Anticipating other drivers’ mistakes and reacting appropriately

After the test

If you pass the test, the license examiner will give you an interim license that allows you to drive. Keep the interim license with your photo learner permit till your license arrives in the mail.
If you fail your test, your learner permit remains valid until the expiration date. If your learner permit expires before your next road test, you must get a new learner permit. You can schedule another road test, but you must pay additional fees if you failed your first two road tests. You will need to wait at least one day to take the test again, but usually, the earliest date is within three to five weeks (10 weeks during school breaks).

New Residents: How to Get a New York State Driver's License

If you become a New York State resident, you must apply for a New York State driver license within 30 days of becoming a resident.

Not sure if you are

a resident of New York?

The NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law says the term "resident" means domiciliary, that is, one who lives in this state with the intention of making it a fixed and permanent abode.

If you live in a house, a home, an apartment, a room or other similar place in New York State for 90 days, it is considered "presumptive evidence" that you are a resident of New York State. However, students from other states or countries who attend school in New York State are usually not considered residents of New York, so they don’t have to exchange their license.

I’ve Got a Valid Out-of-State or Canadian Province License

Moving from another US state or Canada? Welcome to New York!

Your out-of-state or Canadian license must have your photograph, be valid or expired less than 24 months ago and issued at least 6 months before you apply for a New York license. If your out-of-state photo driver license does not show the date it was issued, get a certified driver license record from the state that issued the license that indicates the date of issue.

You cannot exchange your license if it is

  • suspended or revoked. You must first remove the suspension or revocation
  • lost or stolen. First apply for a replacement in your previous state of residence
  • hardship or an "employment only driver license"
  • marked "non-renewable" or "non-transferable"

Your New York license will be valid for 5 years.

Plan of Action

  1. Apply in person. You don’t have to make an appointment; however, you may make a reservation online in New York City, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Onondaga or Albany Counties.
  2. Choose the type of document to apply for. You can choose to apply for an Enhanced, a REAL ID or a Standard license. An Enhanced license will let you cross Mexican and Canadian border without a passport provided that you are a US citizen. Both an Enhanced and REAL ID can be used to board a flight within the US and enter federal buildings. Standard license holders will need a second form of ID to board the plane after October 1, 2020. You can answer these questions to decide which type of permit is more suitable for your needs.
  3. Pass a vision test at the DMV or bring a completed Eye Test Report (MV-619).
  4. Bring proof of identity. Check here if you have all the necessary documentation.
  5. Pay the fee. It is $65.00, but if you are a resident of Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Queens, Richmond (Staten Island); Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk or Westchester, your fee is $75.00. Add extra $30.00 if you are getting an Enhanced license. You can pay by cash, card, check or money order.
  6. Surrender your out-of-state license.

Tip! You cannot exchange out-of-state permit for a New York State permit.

You will get a temporary non-photo license document. Allow 2 weeks for your new license to arrive in the mail.

example of driving license

I've Got a Valid Foreign License

Moving from another country? Welcome to New York!

If you have a driver license from another country except Canada, you should only apply for a New York State driver license if you become a resident of New York State or if you do not have a driver license from your home country.

If you become a resident of NYS, you must pass a written test, complete a 5-hour pre-licensing course and pass a road test.

When you pass your road test, you must surrender your foreign driver license to the DMV road test examiner. The local DMV office will destroy your foreign driver license after 60 days. If you plan to return to your home country and will need your foreign driver license, ask the road test examiner how to make sure that your foreign driver license is not destroyed.