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

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New York residents must obtain drivers licenses in order to legally drive a motor vehicle. Obtaining an NY DMV drivers license enables you to operate a motor vehicle on the public roads within the state. Moreover, it serves as an identification document, since it is accepted by government authorities. Driving applicants are required to follow certain requirements set by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, before applying for drivers licenses.

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 New York Driver's License:

  • Visit an NY DMV location.
  • Have a valid New York learners permit.
  • Present the required documentation.
  • Take a vision test.
  • Take and pass the DMV written test.
  • Pass the driving test.
  • Pay the NY drivers license fees.

Find out how to apply for drivers licenses in New York by reviewing the sections below.

Types of Drivers Licenses in New York

New York drivers licenses are available to driving applicants who meet the requirements from the NY DMV. They can apply for either a regular drivers license or a commercial drivers license.

  • Class DJ junior operator license - Issued to teen drivers who operate a motor vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds (GVWR).
  • Class D operator license - Issued to drivers who operate non-commercial vehicles that weigh less than 26,000 pounds (GVWR).
  • Class A, B or C commercial drivers license - Issued to drivers who operate commercial vehicles.
  • Class E license - Issued to drivers who operate a taxi, livery or limo.
  • Class M motorcycle license - Issued to drivers who operate motorcycles.
  • Class MJ junior motorcycle license - Issued to teen drivers who operate a motorcycle under certain restrictions.

First-Time Driver (Under 18) in New York

New York residents must get drivers licenses if they intend to operate a motor vehicle within the state. A New York drivers license will be granted to driving applicants who meet the New York Department of Motor Vehicles' requirements. In addition to eligibility criteria, New York driving license applicants will also need to pass a series of exams and provide certain documentation, as part of the drivers license application process.

For more information, visit our Learner's Permit page.

New Drivers in New York (Over 18)

First-time applicants for a New York drivers license must pass a written drivers test as part of the requirements for becoming a licensed driver in the state.

NY Driver's Study Guide and Driver's Practice Test

DMV drivers license applicants who are 18 years of age or older can get prepared for the written exam by taking a learners permit practice test. Our New York practice permit test will help you learn the traffic laws and get familiar with other topics that will be covered on the actual New York Department of Motor Vehicles written drivers test.

How to Apply for Drivers Licenses in NY

To apply for a New York drivers license, you need to schedule a DMV appointment or visit any local NY DMV office in person. When visiting the nearest driving license office, present the following documentation:

  • Proof of birth date.
  • Proof of name via Social Security card.

NY Drivers License Eligibility Requirements

To apply for a New York DMV drivers license, driving applicants must be at least 16 years of age. They must also provide certain documentation to the nearest DMV office and pass a written drivers test, a vision exam and a road test. Once you successfully pass these three examinations, you qualify for a license to drive in NY.

NY Written/Driving Test

One of the basic requirements for getting drivers licenses in New York State is to pass the written drivers test and the driving skills test. Prepare yourself for these New York DMV license exams by using our online practice driving tests. These driving practice tests contain similar questions to those on the official exam, which are based on the New York Driver's Manual.

NY Driving Test

The New York new drivers license test examines the knowledge of future drivers by testing their ability to perform all of the following driving actions:

  • Steer and accelerate the vehicle smoothly.
  • Bring the vehicle gently to a stop.
  • Understand, follow and obey the traffic signs, signals and markings.
  • Obey the speed limit.
  • Signal properly and turn the vehicle.
  • Follow from a safe distance.
  • Select the proper traffic lane.
  • Observe and communicate with other drivers.
  • Anticipate and react to the possible errors of other drivers.

During your driving skills test, you will not be allowed to carry other passengers in the vehicle except the license examiner. You will be required to bring a vehicle that has a valid registration and inspection in the New York state. After you pass the driving test and pay the required fees, you will be issued a new drivers license.

Drivers have the option of completing a behind-the-wheel course for additional practice.

New York Resident

Drivers who have recently moved to New York need to exchange their out-of-state drivers licenses within 30 days of their move. You have to visit the nearest DMV office and bring your current drivers license, proof of identification and date of birth, your Social Security Card and a completed application form.

In addition to the process of drivers license transfer to New York, you will also have to register your vehicle with the NY DMV. You need to bring the following documentation to the DMV:

  • Original title.
  • New York State insurance ID card.
  • Bill of sale form.
  • New York State drivers license.
  • Vehicle Registration Application.
  • Payment for required fees and taxes.

Replace Drivers License in New York

New York drivers can replace NY drivers licenses online, by mail or at any local DMV office. For detailed information about the process and documents for obtaining duplicate drivers license in New York, click here.

Locate a DMV in New York

Find out the nearest New York DMV location to you by browsing through our NY DMV locations page. Here you can find the numerous DMV offices in your surroundings, as well as their office hours and phone numbers.

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