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How to get a learner permit

Are you looking to get your NY learner’s permit? If so, you’ve come to the right place. The process may seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’ll go through all the details so you know exactly what to expect.

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New York Learner’s Permit Requirements

The learner’s permit is the first step in the licensing journey, and you can get one as soon as you turn 16 years old. Regardless of your age, you’ll need to hold a permit before you can progress through the Graduated License Program (GDL). If you are under 18, a parent or legal guardian must accompany you to the DMV to start the application process.

Getting a learner driver permit is the first step to getting a driver license. Permits are valid for approximately 5 years (the exact expiration date depends on your date of birth and the date that you apply).

Follow the steps below to get a Class D - Operator (Car) permit

A Class D - Operator permit is the most common class of permit that people apply for.  The steps on this page outline how to get a Class D Operator permit.

What You Need Before You Apply

You must be 16 or older to apply for your New York learners permit. Before you head to your local New York DMV office, you’ll need to have your paperwork in order. You will need to complete the New York MV-44 Application for Permit, Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card. If you’re under 18, a parent or legal guardian must sign the consent section.

You’ll need to be able to provide proof of identity and age. Finally, you’ll need to take a written test at the DMV to get your learners permit. The best way to prepare is by studying the New York State Drivers Manual – the New York DMV also provides practice tests to help you get ready for the real thing!

Once you’re all set, you can head down to your DMV office. Many New York DMV offices allow you to make a reservation; you can see if yours does at the NY DMV Reservations webpage.

Step 1: Prepare for the permit test

Study the NY State Driver's Manual and take the practice tests. 

Both Class D and M permit tests are given in 16 languages: English, Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bosnian, Chinese, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Polish, Russian and Spanish.

Step 2: Gather what you need to apply

Proof of age, identity, and residence

When you apply, you will need to provide proof of age, identification, and residence.  Your permit will be Standard, Enhanced, or REAL ID, depending on the proofs you bring and the fee. 

What is the difference between a Standard, Enhanced, or Real ID?

Step 3:Apply for Your NY Learners Permit and take your permit test

When you head to the DMV, make sure you bring the completed learners permit application, your proof of identity/age documents, your original Social Security Card, and are prepared to pay the applicable fee. You’ll need to take a vision test, and of course you’ll be taking your learners permit written test. To pass the multiple-choice exam, you’ll need to get 14 out of the 20 questions right. That includes at least two of the four test questions about road signs! Once you pass, you’ll be issued your learners permit – and you’ll be ready to learn how to drive!


You can submit your application and take your test online (using a PC or tablet), at home, and come to the DMV to complete your application. 

In order to take the Online Permit Test, you must have a webcam enabled, and you must allow DMV to access the webcam. If you do not have a webcam connected or you do not allow webcam access, you will not be able to begin your permit test online

Multiple images will be taken during the course of the permit test. Please ensure that you are in an area where you are clearly visible. If DMV is unable to identify you in the captured images, or if multiple people are in the frame, you may be asked to re-take the test in the office.

  1. Use the 'Begin your permit application' button below to Log in to NY.gov ID or create an account if you do not have one
    (We recommended you use the latest versions of Chrome, Edge, Safari, or Firefox browsers)
  2. Tell us who you are
  3. Confirm the type of permit you want (D (car) or M (motorcycle)
  4. Identify the supporting (identification) documents you have and the forms you will need to get a permit
  5. Upload your documents – you must provide scanned or photo images of your documents
  6. Review and confirm your application
  •  DMV will keep your documents safe and secure

Start your test – you must begin your test within 5 minutes of selecting “I am ready to take my test.”

  • Expect the test to take 30-40 minutes to complete
  • The test can be completed on most smartphones, tablets, and PCs. 
  • If you are using a PC, you must have a webcam connected.

Take your permit test (if you fail, do not worry! - you can resubmit your application and try again after a least 6 hours)

The written test is one of the most important parts of the GDL program. This exam will cover core driving concepts and traffic laws in the state of New York. There are 20 questions on the exam and you must answer 14 correctly, including at least two of four questions about road signs.

It is also one of the hardest parts of getting your New York learners permit with over a 50% fail rate nation-wide, so we recommend that you study with a proper study resource. 

At this point, you’ll be charged a permit fee based on your age. If you are in one of the following counties: Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, or Westchester, you will be charged a Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District Fee (MCTD*).

  • Ages 16 to 16 ½ = $80 / $90*
  • Ages 16 ½ to 17 = $76.25 / $85.75*
  • Ages 17 to 17 ½ = $92.50 / $102.50*
  • Ages 18 to 18 ½ = $80 / $90*
  • Ages 18 ½ to 21 = $80 / $90*
  • Ages 21 or older = $67.50 / $77.50*

  •  If you are under 18
    • Your parent/guardian must give DMV permission to capture photographs during the test session
    • Your parent/guardian must supervise the test
    • That parent/guardian must come with you to a DMV office to complete your process, and sign the Online Permit Test Parent/Guardian Certification (PDF) (MV-263) in front of a DMV representative
  • If you are 18 or older
  • To pass the test, you must correctly answer at least
    • 80% of the overall questions, and
    • 50% of the questions relating to road signs

After you pass your test, use the link we send you by email to make a reservation to visit a DMV office to

  • Show the originals of the documents you uploaded
  • Have your photo taken
  • Pay the permit fee
  • Get a temporary permit (you will receive your permit within 2 weeks by mail)

At a DMV office

You can come to a DMV to apply (but is easier if you start your application online). Follow these instructions

  1. Bring
  2. Take the written test (if you fail, do not worry! - you can try again at no additional cost)
    • To pass, you must get at least 14 of the 20 multiple-choice questions correct, including the correct answers to at least two of the four questions about road signs
  3. If you pass your written test
    • We will give you a temporary permit at the office
    • You will receive your permit within 2 weeks by mail 

NY Permit Restrictions

You did not think that you would be able to drive unrestricted, did you? There are a lot of restrictions for learner drivers with a permit:


May not drive on any street within a park in NYC


May not drive on any bridge or tunnel under jurisdiction of the Tri-Borough Bridge or Tunnel Authority


May not drive unless accompanied by an adult 21 years or older

Next step: Get your license

Once you get your permit, you will need to pass a road test to get your full driver license.   

First, prepare for your road test

Prepare for your road test

Start now

Next, schedule your road test

  • Take your road test before your permit expires (you cannot renew a permit)
  • Schedule & take a road test
  • After your road test, the examiner will provide instructions on how to receive your test result
  • If you pass your road test, an interim license that allows you to drive will be available online
  • Keep the interim license with your photo permit until your new license arrives in the mail (in about 2 weeks) 
  • If you fail, prepare more, and schedule another test

Frequently asked Questions

  • How do you get a permit in NY?

    1.Bring. Your application. Your proofs of identity, age, and residence. 2.Take the written test (if you fail, do not worry! - you can try again at no additional cost). 3.If you pass your written test. We will give you a temporary permit at the office.

  • How many questions are on the New York DMV written test?

    The NYS DMV written test consists 20 multiple choice questions. To pass the test, you must correctly answer at least 14 questions (70%), including at least 2 of the 4 questions about road signs

  • Can I get my permit online in NY?

    If you want to take your test online, you must complete this process within the next 7 days. If you do not complete the online application and test, you may still take the permit test in the DMV office at the time of your scheduled appointment.

  • When can I start to learn to drive?

    When you pass the vision and written tests and pay your fees, your learner permit will be issued and you can start to practice driving.

  • I have a learner permit. Can I drive alone?

    No. When you practice, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least age 21 who has a license to operate the vehicle you are driving. In Long Island and New York City, this person must be a parent, guardian or instructor.

  • How many hours do I need to practice driving before taking the NYS road test?

    Before you take the road test, you are encouraged to complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice, including at least 15 hours after sunset. It is recommended that at least 10 hours be in moderate to heavy traffic.

  • How long is my learner permit valid?

    The learner permit is valid for approximately 5 years. The exact expiration date depends on your date of birth and the date that you applied for the learner permit.

  • Can I Take a Permit Test Online NY?

    Alternatively, you can take the written permit test online via the NY DMV Online Knowledge Test Application (OKTA). If you pass the online permit test, you should bring the receipt to the DMV office. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles is determined to make more of its services available online. This is now treated with more urgency due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The permit test online NY is just one of the programs. You can Google ‘online permit test NYC’ to access the portal.

  • Is The Permit Test Easy In NY?

    The test is basically the same anywhere in the United States. How easy or difficult it is depends on your level of preparation.

  • What documents are needed to get a permit in NY?

    Proof of age, identity, and residence When you apply, you will need to provide proof of age, identification, and residence. Your permit will be Standard, Enhanced, or REAL ID, depending on the proofs you bring and the fee.

  • Do you need an appointment for permit test in NY?

    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.