How to Apply for a Drivers License in New York
A drivers license in New York is required for all resident drivers, but the application process is not the same for everyone. For example, someone with an out-of-state license will be able to skip many of the application steps, while, on the other hand, getting a license as a minor may require that you take driver’s ed and go to the office with your parent.
No matter your age, it can help to understand the process before you go to your local DMV, so that you can ensure you have all the required materials. Additionally, this will allow you to prepare for the three different tests you will be required to take before earning a license.
Did you know? More than half of new drivers fail the written drivers test on their first try. If you do not want to be one of them, use our driving practice tests to get yourself prepared for the official drivers exam.
How to Apply for a Drivers License in New York as an Adult (18 or Older)
There are different types of driving privileges available to adults in New York. To get a new drivers license in New York, you need to be a resident of New York. You do not need to be a US citizen to get your license, but you do need to legally reside in the state.
Depending on your situation and the type of motor vehicle you drive, you will need a motorcycle license, a commercial license or a standard driving license.
Find out how to apply for drivers licenses in New York by reviewing the sections below.
When determining where to get your drivers license in New York, you will be able to choose from any of the state’s DMV locations. Though you can renew your driver’s license online in New York, you cannot get your initial license this way. Different offices have different hours, so you will want to choose your location based on your convenience. You will also need to check with the office to determine if they accept appointments, walk-ins or both.
No matter how old you are when you apply for a drivers license in New York, you will first need to apply for a learner’s permit. This is essentially a license that gives you limited privileges, requiring you to drive with a licensed individual who is at least 21 years of age.
You will be able to fill out the Application for Permit, Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card beforehand. This driving application requires you to provide the DMV with basic information about yourself, such as your name, Social Security Number, birth date, gender and eye color.
If you would like, you have the option of registering to vote or becoming an organ donor. Veterans can choose whether or not they want their military status printed on their card.
There are three types of licenses you can get:
- A standard license, which will not require additional documentation
- A REAL ID license, which will require you to bring one document showing your identity, one document showing your Social Security Number and two documents showing your residency
- An Enhanced license, which will require you to bring all of the above documentation, plus one document showing your citizenship and a second showing your birth date
Extra New York drivers license requirements will not change your ability to drive in the state. Instead, the additional requirements are put in place for identification purposes. This means that a New Yorker with a standard license, REAL ID license or Enhanced license will be able to drive.
However, drivers will need a REAL ID license for federal identification purposes. This is most likely to be relevant when you are boarding a flight. Enhanced licenses allow you to board a domestic flight, but they can also be used when you are coming back from a trip to Canada or Mexico.
To prove your identity, you will likely use either a birth certificate or passport. Social Security is most often proved with a Social Security card or W-2. Your residency does not need to be proved using governmental documents, though taxes or governmental correspondence may be used; you are also allowed to use mail addressed to you, such as bills and bank correspondence.
Required Tests to Obtain a Drivers License in New York
Once you have provided the required documentation, you will be able to take a written test. The best way to prepare for this test is to study the New York Driver’s Manual.
You will need to pass the written test and practice driving. Once you are ready, you will need to go to the DMV and submit a Vision Test Report (MV-619). You will then be able to take the skills test. Once you pass the skills test, you will be able to get your license.
Acceptable payment methods will vary from one office to the next. You will need to contact your DMV drivers license office ahead of time to determine which payment methods you can use.
Getting a New York Drivers License as a New Resident
If you already have a license, you do not need to go through the process detailed above. Here is how to get drivers license in New York if you already have a license from Canada or a different state.
First you will need to make sure your DMV license is eligible. It cannot be cancelled, suspended or revoked, and it cannot be expired for more than 23 months. If this is the case, you will be able to take an eye exam or get one at the DMV. You will need to give the DMV your out-of-state license and provide the documentation listed in the previous section. Drivers from out of state have the same options as residents, meaning you can get a standard license, REAL ID license or an enhanced license.
If you are visiting New York, you do not need to get a license. When you establish residency, which is done when you pay taxes or enroll a kid in a New York school, you will have 30 days to transfer your license.
How to Apply for a Drivers License in New York as a Teen (Younger Than 18)
If you are younger than 18 years of age, you will need to know about junior licenses, permits and drivers ed courses in order to receive driving privileges. New York residents who are at least 16 years of age and legally allowed to be in the United States are allowed to apply for a learner’s permit. The state does not set requirements based on citizenship or schooling. That said, if you are younger than 18 years of age, you will need to get the consent of a parent or guardian before you are allowed to drive.
The most important driver’s license services in New York are the driving classes provided throughout the state. These classes are only required for drivers 17 years of age, who want to convert their junior license into an adult license. However, these courses minors with a good opportunity to practice driving and prepare for both the written and skills test. They are available at educational institutions throughout the state.
The Drivers Education Program is administered by private businesses, with supervision from both the DMV and the State Education program. These courses allow students to drive in a car with licensed supervision for at least six hours.
Drivers license information in New York is similar for residents no matter their age, because all residents are required to get a permit before they can get their license. The only difference between the two application processes is if you choose to use a parent or guardian as proof of your identity or residence. In this case, your parent or guardian will need to go to the office with you. As well, they will need to fill out the Statement of Identity and/or Residence by Parent/Guardian.
If you are younger than 18 years of age, you will not be able to get a license or permit with full privileges. Instead, you will get restricted driving privileges. These are called junior permits and junior licenses.
New York Drivers License Costs
Driver’s license cost in New York varies based on your age and address. You can find different license types and prices in the list below:
- A driver’s license costs anywhere from $64.25 to $92.50
- A driver’s permit costs anywhere from $85.75 to $102.50.
- If you are located in Dutchess, Westchester, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Suffolk, Rockland or a New York City borough, an extra $2 fee is added for every year the license is valid for.
- You need to pay an extra $30 to get an Enhanced Driver License.
New York Drivers License Forms
- Application for Permit, Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card (MV-44)
- Statement of Identity and/or Residence by Parent/Guardian
- Vision Test Report (MV-619)
Note: DMV forms change regularly. The forms provided above are current based on the date of writing.
- Driver's License and Learner Permit Fees and Refunds from DMV.NY.gov
- Get a Learner Permit from DMV.NY.gov
- Get a Driver License from DMV.NY.gov