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How to Apply for a New Driver's License in New York

Types of New York Drivers Licenses

If you are interested in obtaining a New York drivers license, you should be aware of the options available to you. These include:

  • Class D driving license: This is for drivers who are 18 years of age or older or 17 years of age with a drivers ed certificate. You cannot operate vehicles with a gross weight rating over 26,000 pounds.
  • Class E license to drive taxi and livery: This type of driving license can be obtained by drivers 18 years or older and can be used to operate for-hire vehicles that carry 14 passengers or less.
  • Teen drivers license: graduated license program drivers can obtain one.
  • Class M motorcycle license
  • Class A, B, and C CDL license: commercial drivers license with accompanying endorsements.

Information Related to New Driver's Licenses

How to Get a Drivers License as a New Resident

If you are a new resident to the state of New York, you have within 30 days of establishing residency to get a New York license to drive. If you currently hold a drivers license from another state, you can transfer your license as long as you do not meet the following exceptions:

  • You only have a learners permit
  • Your drivers license does not have the date of issuance
  • Your drivers license does not have a picture
  • Yours is a temporary license
  • Yours is an employment drivers license
  • Your driver license has been expired for more than two years
  • Your driver's license has not been valid for more than six months
  • Yours is a non-renewable and non-transferrable driver license
  • Yours is a hardship license

As long as you do not meet any of the aforementioned situations, and your driving license has been valid for at least six months, expired for less than 12 months, or a CDL that has is, you are eligible to transfer it for a New York drivers license. In order to do so, you must:

  1. Go to a local DMV office.
  2. Complete and hand in an Application for Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card
  3. Pass a vision test.
  4. Give in your current drivers license.
  5. Provide proof of birthdate and ID- such as your passport or permanent resident card non-U.S. citizens.
  6. Provide a Social Security card.
  7. Pay the $10 fee.

After doing so, you will receive your permanent license in approximately two weeks. Until then, you will be able to drive with a temporary license that you will be issued at the Department of Motor Vehicles office.

NY Eligibility Requirements

Before you begin working on your drivers license application, you must first see if you meet the eligibility requirements put forth by the state of New York:

  • You are at least 18 years old and a new driver
  • You have a non-transferrable drivers license
  • Your drivers license is from a foreign country that is not Canada

As long as you meet the requirements, you can begin applying for drivers license privileges. The steps that you must take are as follows:

  1. Take a drivers ed course or pre-licensing course for adults
  2. Get a driving permit
  3. Take a driving road skills exam and submit a drivers license application

Drivers Education in New York

You need to take drivers ed classes if you are a first-time driver in New York. The only exception is if you can transfer your out-of-state or foreign driving license. Driver school is designed to cover all relevant topics included in the New York Driver Handbook, so that you are well-versed in the rules and signs of the roadways. Furthermore, you are required to provide a drivers training certificate when you go to take your driving test in order to prove that you meet the state's standards for preparation.

How to Apply for a Drivers License

The first thing to remember when you apply for drivers license credentials in New York is that you must first meet all of the state requirements. These include:

  • Holding a learners permit, which means you passed the written knowledge exam.You can take the written exam several times until you pass if you fail the first time.If you would like to take the exam in another language aside from English, contact the DMV for further information.
  • Passing driver safety courses.
  • Scheduling a driving test.
  • Passing your driving test.
  • Having the minimum car insurance for the vehicle you will test in.

If all is in order, then you may go to the local DMV office and provide your valid driving permit and proof of your drivers ed completion to take your road skills exam.

Car Insurance

Car insurance is absolutely necessary when you are a driver in the state of New York. In fact, the state has its own minimum insurance requirements for every driver, and that applies to you on the day of your driving exam. If you do not meet the vehicle insurance requirements that day, you cannot take the test. Furthermore, if you pass the road skills exam and are caught driving on the road without proper auto insurance, you run the risk of:

  • Drivers license suspension
  • Car registration suspension
  • Fees

How to Prepare for Your Driving Test

To schedule a road skills exam, which you can either do online or by phone at 518-402-2100, you must provide the following information:

  • Form MV-278 or MV-285 number (Available only at a DMV drivers license office.)
  • Client ID number, which is listed on your driving permit
  • The ZIP code of where you want to take your exam

Once the day has arrived, you will go to the office in question and:

  1. Yield your learner's permit.
  2. Provide your MV-278 or MV-285 form.
  3. Have your vehicle inspected and its registration verified.
  4. Pay the $10 fee.

As soon as you pass the test, you will be given an interim license while you wait for your permanent one to arrive in the mail.

Study Guides and Practice Tests

Although you do not have the option of getting your drivers license online, that does not mean that you cannot use the Internet to hone your skills. With a study guide and a driving practice test, you can sharpen your knowledge on all of the important driving rules and regulations of New York. Each DMV driving practice test you take will help you learn more about each traffic sign too. They are the perfect supplement to any study session.

How to Study for the Written Test

Since you need to study hard to pass the written knowledge test and the road skills exam, come up with an organized routine to follow. has come up with a short list of steps to help you:

  1. Study the official New York Driver Handbook and familiarize yourself with the road rules and traffic laws.
  2. Use a study guide to brush up on key topics and become an expert.
  3. Take a practice driving test to see where you stand.
  4. Repeat!

When it comes to studying, you want to use the best materials available. Our expert team is the best in the business and have created a full-proof Driver's Practice Test to quiz your knowledge before the official exam. Taking the Driver's Practice Test is guaranteed to prepare you to ace the written exam. If you don't pass on the first try, your Driver's Practice Test purchase is on us!

How to Apply for a Drivers License as a Non-Citizen

If you move to New York from a foreign country that is not Canada, you must get drivers license credentials within 30 days of becoming a resident through a specific process. You must:

  • Pass a pre-license course.
  • Get a learning permit (after passing a written knowledge exam).
  • Pass road skills test.
  • Provide a Social Security card or letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration.
  • Yield your foreign driving license.

How to Apply for a Drivers License as a Military Member

Being issued a drivers license form the Armed Forces grants you 60 days of driving in the state of New York. After that, you must obtain a permanent NY license to drive. However, because you cannot merely transfer a military drivers license, you will need to go through the process of obtaining a new one. This includes:

  • Passing a pre-license class.
  • Passing the written knowledge test (for learners permit).
  • Passing the road skills exam.

Locate a DMV

As you can imagine, the first thing that you are going to have to do before you even print out your drivers license application is to find DMV locations in your area. The DMV drivers license offices are where the tests are administered and where you will be submitting your paperwork. Be sure to look in advance for the nearest DMV to you to eliminate stress before the test. Furthermore, narrowing down the locations of DMV offices that you're interested in is important for when you want to make an appointment. After all, you need to schedule your test before you walk in. Without an appointment, you will be unable to take the test at that point in time.

Buying a Car

Getting drivers license credentials is one thing, but you are going to need a vehicle to enjoy them. Fortunately, it is not difficult to buy a car in New York. You have the option of either:

  • Going in person to a dealership.
  • Shopping to buy a car online.

In any case, there are plenty of factors for you to consider when you are shopping for a new or used vehicle. The first thing you should decide is whether you want to buy new, used or simply lease a car. After you have made this decision, you must ask yourself questions such as:

  • How far is your commute to work?
  • Do you have children?
  • Are you fond of road trips?

Answering all of these questions and others will give you a better idea of what car to purchase.

Moving Out of State

If you are wondering whether or not your New York drivers license will be valid in another location, the answer is yes. However, if you go to another state and decide to move there and establish residency, then your NY driving license will be considered invalid, and you will have to apply for a new license to drive in your new state of residence within a given amount of days, typically 30.
The New York DMV does want drivers moving out of the state to surrender license plates. Mail them at no charge to you to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228    

If you still have some time in your registration, you may ask for a registration refund by filling out a Request for Refund of Fee Paid for Motor Vehicle Registration and Driver Licenses. Keep in mind that in order to receive a refund from the NY DMV, you will need to have a verifiable circumstance. If your reason for moving is not included in the application, you will not receive a vehicle registration refund.

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Reviews of How to Apply for a New Driver's License in New York

My daughter is 16 and just passed her road test. She took the 5 hour course but did not take drivers ed. Will her junior license turn to a senior license when she turns 17?

drivers education certificate of completion and $5.00 brought into dmv will be the only way for her to get a senior license at 17 other wise a senior license will be issued at 18

I have a colorado drivers license that has expired less than 6 months ago. I have previously held a New York DL and wish to obtain a New York DL again. How do I go about this?

I am a college student My birthday is approaching soon and I need my 21 year old license. I was wondering if I could have it sent to my school addresss instead of my legal/home address.

I hace a Florida license that expired almost two years ago. I now reside in Brooklyn, N.Y. How do I renew it?

I have my drivers licence from Ontario, Canada when I lived there I am currently a resident of New York do I have to do my written test again or can I keep my current licence? I am 17 years old

i have a new york driving permit, i recently turn 21. And i has wondering if they send me a new permit automatically or i gotta replace it myself?

I am over the age of 18 and I have a Georgia permit and would like to apply for a New York License, do I have to replace my Georgia permit with a New York permit before I can schedule a road test?

I'm trying to schedule my Road test but when I try to log on it won't let me. I took my first road test on 8/11/14 and failed so I want to schedule a new one anyone know how I can do this/why it won't let me log on?

Hi I'm 26 and a resident of new york. I got a texas drivers license in 2012 and lost it in NY in 2013. What documents can I use to get a NY drivers license?

if im 16 and i have a floridas license with a floridas license plate, can i drive in new york with it unsupervised following the rules and curfew?

I lost my florida dmv license in NYC and would like to replace it with a ny dmv license, but went I went to get it at the NY dmv they asked me for a proof of my dmv when I told them i lost my wallet with my dmv license in it.

I'm currently living in New Zealand, but am a resident of New York, I'm 30 years old and would like to obtain my licence How long do I have to come back to New York for in order to achieve this?

im 16 and have my license in Tennessee can I drive in new York or get a license change ?

i took and passed my road test but i never recived my license and i lost my recipt when i tried to apply for a temporary license online it claims that i only have my permit what should i do because i took the driving test and passed it i belive the lady did not process me

im 20 going to be 21 this October do you have to get a permit first or can you just get a license? also how much do you have to pay for driver's road test?

I am 20 years old living in new york. Im going to vegas on my birthday when i turn 21. how do I renew my licence early enough so I have it the day of my birthday. I know when I turn 21 I need get a new license, but some places(bars) will not serve you if you just have the paper (temperary licence). How do i recieve my actual licence on my birthday and no later.

Hi im 18 and just got my permit how soon can i got for my lisence?

I'm getting my Driver's License, how many hours of class do I need in order to?

I'm 19, I've had my permit for awhile and I'm going for my license I wanted to know if I have to take a 5 hour course before I sign up for my license

I am active duty military. My home of record and legal state of resisdence is NY. I have a valid CO driver's license that I want to "trade in" for a NY state license. What do I need to do to accomplish this? Thank you.

My legal name have been changed. how do i change it on my DL and how much is ths fee?

my name change by marriage, what the fee, and can i do this by email

Dear Sirs/madam

I sent my application form for my NYC Drivers License renewal well over a month ago and I still haven't heard anything. I am concerned, I sent everything, payment, eye test and proof of ID but so far nothing has come to me.

Can you please let me know how can I get in touch, the phones are aways busy and no one to speak to. Thank you very much.

i have a comercial class a , i need to aply for endorcement, o hazmat, and passenger, can you tell me how. thanks

hi I'm a foreign student who have a valid drivers lincense in my country, now that i live and study here I wanted to drive here in new York how can I get a license what procedure do I need to go through.. thank you it would be a huge help..


I moved to NYC in 2010 from Los Angeles. I need to get a NYC drivers license, but I lost my CA drivers license today. What can I do to get a NYC license? Please help

I have lived in NYC for 6 years, but haven't had a drivers license since 2000 when it expired (and that was in Washington State) I now need to get my NYS license and assume I need to re-take the written and drivers test -- is this true? If so, can you point me to the list of things I will need to do/have to make this happen in my situation? Thank you!

Hi :) what kind of papers I suppose to have to get the license? (I mean in DMV) and 5 hours of training gonna be in one day? Sorry about the weird questions :)

Hi, I'm 22 and just getting my license. Am I required to take the 5 hour course (I never took driver's ed in high school), or is that for drivers under 21? Just wondering! Thanks!

You still have to take the 5 hour course. They won't let you take the test unless you can provide a valid 5 hour certificate.

Hi, i need a copy of a police report of my accident that occured 2 years ago. How do i check which police department do i go to obtain the report?

I'm a new resident to New York and have a Texas driver's license, but I have lost my Social Security card years ago. Is there an alaternative form of ID that can be used (eg US Passport, etc)?

I am in the same situation. Please let me know as soon as possible, Because I am going overseas. Thank you John Sanowskis.

What forms of identification are needed?

I have a license from New Orleans and I have moved to NYC. My license has since expired and it has been expired longer than a year. Do I have to take the drivers test and all that to turn it in for a NY license?


if i am 16 and i take a drivers education course can i get my license in 5 months instead of 6 months??? i have heard i can and dont know who i can ask about it!

I am moving to NY from Ireland and I have a full Irish Drivers licence. I have used my Irish licence extensively in the US over the past 10 years while visiting. But now that I am moving to NY I want to get a NY driver licence. Is it possible for me to exchange my Irish Drivers licence for a NY one? Do I need to take the 5 hour course? and where can I register to do so? Also, is this course available online??

can i still get a ny license if i have unpaid tickets in another state

Hi im an american citizen but lived my whole live in panama I just moved to nyc to study and was wondering if I have my panamanian license what can I do to get one from nyc? Im 19.

I have a friend who recently moved to NY and is needing to get her driver's license transfered. How much will it cost? She is 25 yrs old.

I got license of washington state and it has been 3 month.

I just moved to new york for college, what do I need to change my license to new york state license? I am 19 btw.

My son and I have the same name , I would like to add Sr to my drivers lic. is it possible? if yes how is it done?

I'm 18 years old and have no permit. Do I need to get it to get a license? And if not how do I go about getting a license with out it. Thank you:)

New York state say thast everyone is required to have a Learner's premit. You must also take the 5 hour course, also you need to hand them your premit. When you take your 5 hour course as well. You do not have to take the written test for your Learner's Premit though.

i am 17 years old and i got my permit one month ago. i will finish drivers ed next week and have the certificate.. can i take my road test when i get the certificate or do i have to wait 6 months ?

do i have to take my 5 hour if im 18?

Yes, you do.

what if ur 23?