Apply for New York driver's license

Choose Your LicenseApply-License

The following types of license are offered:

* Operator, Class D: For drivers 18 and over, or for 17-year-olds with an MV-285 certificate
* Junior License, Class DJ: For drivers under 18, a restricted version of Class D
* Commercial Driver’s License
* Motorcycle License
* Tax and Livery, Class E: For-hire vehicles that carry no more than 14 passengers

If you’re under age 18, you are subject to the Graduated Licensing Law, meaning you get your license in restricted stages. You also must take a driver’s education class or pre-licensing course.

Take a Driver’s Education CourseApply-License

Younger than 18: It is required you take a driver’s education class or DMV-approved pre-licensing class. If you take a class and are age 17 or older, you will not have to turn in a Certification of 50 Hours of Supervised Driving form. Regardless of age, you’ll get a pass of the written test.

18 and older: New drivers of any age must take a driver’s ed or pre-licensing class. The passing certificate is required to make a road test appointment.

Prepare for the TestApply-License

Study the driver’s manual and take a few practice tests.

Locate a DMVApply-License

You do not have to make an appointment for the written test, although you may want to call ahead and find out what their least-busy hours are.

Make Test-Day PreparationsApply-License

On test-day, be prepared to:

* Complete the Application for Driver License (Form MV-44)
* Show proof of identity and birth date. If you are under 18, a parent or guardian may fill out form MV-45 at the DMV if you do not have six points of proof of identity.
* Bring your Social Security card. If you’re not eligible for a Social Security number, you must present the DMV with a letter for the Social Security Administration indicating this.
* Pass a vision screening
* Pass the written permit test. You are exempt from this if you have an MV-285 certificate (Driver Education Student Certificate of Completion)
* Pay the fee with cash, personal check, or credit card. The fee is based on your age and will not exceed $115. It covers your original learner’s permit and your driver’s license.

New to New York
The procedure is almost identical. You must turn in your old license and pay a different fee ($10 application fee and the license fee).

Take the Written TestApply-License

Once you feel comfortable with the material in the driver’s manual, take the test.

Get a CarApply-License

You might start shopping for a car. Used cars usually give you the most bang for your buck, but be sure to do your homework. A vehicle history report can be invaluable. It tells you whether the title is a flood or salvage title and can reveal other defects and repair history.

Get Car InsuranceApply-License

It’s a good idea to shop around for insurance before you decide on a car so you can compare rates based on different types of cars. Check to see if safe driver or good student discounts are available.

Take the Driving TestApply-License

Make an appointment for the road test. Appointments often book three to six months ahead of time.

If you’re under 18 and only took a pre-licensing course, or if you’re under 17 and took a driver education course, your parent or guardian needs to fill out Form MV-262 (Certification of 50 Hours of Supervised Driving).

Once you pass, you’ll be issued an interim license, good for 90 days, which you must carry with your learner’s permit until your permanent license arrives in the mail.

Some learner’s permits are valid for only one year from date of issue. If you have one of those, you must wait five days from the day you pass the road test and then apply in person for your photo license at a DMV office.

Bring your interim license, proof of ID, and driver license fees. You’ll have your photo taken and will receive a new 90-day, photo-less license. Your permanent license will arrive in the mail in about four weeks.

If you fail, you can schedule a retake at no charge. If you fail a second time, you’ll pay $10 for two more tries. You can continue to pay $10 for two retries indefinitely.

Receive Your License in the MailApply-License

Your permanent, photo license will arrive in the mail in about four weeks. Call the DMV if you do not receive it.


You have 30 days from becoming a New York resident to apply for a New York License.

Unless you’re from Canada, you must take a five-hour pre-licensing course, and pass the written and road exam tests. You must also satisfy New York’s Six Points of Proof of Identification system.

If you are not eligible for a Social Security number, you must get a letter or form SSA-L676 from the Social Security Administration proving your ineligibility. The document must be no more than 30 days old when you apply. You must also provide US Citizenship and Immigration Services documents that you used to prove your ineligibility.

Upon receiving your New York driver’s license, you must give up your foreign license to the road test examiner. The DMV will have it on file for 60 days before destroying it. If you plan on using that license again in your native country, you may request the DMV to hold onto it until then.

Canadian Drivers
You may exchange your valid Canadian license for a New York license at any DMV office. The procedure is the same as for getting a regular license, except you may also need to provide additional forms of identification.