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Exchange an out-of-state driver license

Am I eligible to exchange my driver license?

NYS recognizes valid driver licenses held by residents of other U.S. states and other countries. See Drive in New York State.

If you become a resident  of New York State, you must get a NYS driver license within 30 days and surrender your out-of-state driver license. If you have a valid driver license issued by another U.S. state, U.S. territory or Federal districts, or a Canadian province, you can exchange your driver license for a NYS driver license.

Normally, you can’t have a NYS driver license and a driver license from another state, at the same time, but there are exceptions. However, it is a violation of Federal law to hold more than one commercial driver license (CDL).

Definition of "Resident"

Section 250 (5) of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law says:

As used in this section, the term "resident" shall mean domiciliary, that is, one who lives in this state with the intention of making it a fixed and permanent abode. It shall be presumptive evidence that a person who maintains a place of abode in this state for a period of at least ninety days is a resident of this state.

 To live in a house, a home, an apartment, a room or other similar place in NYS for 90 days is considered "presumptive evidence" that you are a resident of NYS. A police officer can use this evidence as the reason to issue a traffic ticket if you drive in NYS without a driver license or vehicle registration issued by NYS.

A judge considers the law and the evidence of your intent and decides if you are a resident of NYS. For example, if you pay taxes or your children attend school in another state, a judge considers these facts to decide if your intent is to make NYS a "fixed and permanent" residence. We will not decide if you are a resident of NYS, if you must get a NYS driver license, or if you must register your vehicle in NYS. According to this law, students from other states or from other nations who attend school in NYS are normally not considered residents of NYS.

 

What are the requirements to exchange my driver license?

You can exchange an out-of-state driver license or Canadian driver license for a NYS driver license if the driver license

  • has your photograph
  • is valid or has expired in the past 12 months 
  • shows the date it was issued and was issued at least six months before you apply for the NYS driver license (or is a valid commercial driver license (CDL) and has been valid for any amount of time)1
  • is not suspended or revoked 2
  • is not lost or stolen 3

You must apply for a new, original NYS driver license and can’t exchange a driver license that is

  • issued outside the U.S. or Canada
  • not a photo driver license
  • a learner permit
  • a temporary or interim driver license
  • a hardship or an "employment only driver license"
  • expired for more than 12 months
  • a non-commercial driver license valid for less than 6 months
  • a driver license marked "non-renewable" or "non-transferable"

 

How do I exchange my out-of-state driver license for a NYS driver license?

To exchange an acceptable out-of-state photo driver license for a NYS driver license you must go to a DMV office and bring

You also must

  • pass a vision test at the DMV office, or bring a valid Eye Test Report (MV-619) completed by an eye care professional
  • surrender your out-of-state driver license unless it is lost or stolen
  • pay the $10.00 application fee and the original driver license fees with cash, check, money order or credit card. See the fee chart below.

 

Can I exchange my driver license online, by mail or by phone?

No, you can only exchange your out-of-state driver license for a NYS driver license at a DMV office.

 

If I am a student studying in NYS do I need a NYS driver license?

According to NYS law, students from other states or from other nations who attend school in NYS are normally not considered residents of NYS so they don’t need to transfer their current driver license.

 

If I am visiting NYS from another country do I need a NYS driver license?

A resident of another country can get a NYS driver license. If you have a driver license from any nation except Canada, you should only apply for a New York State driver license if you become a resident of New York State or if you do not have a driver license from your home country.

To get a NYS driver license, you must pass a written test,complete a 5-hour pre-licensing course and pass a road test to qualify for a NYS driver license. See Prove identity and age for a permit/license  and Get your first driver license for requirements.

When you pass your road test, you will be required to surrender your foreign driver license to the DMV road test examiner.  The local DMV office keeps your foreign driver license, and then destroys the license after 60 days. If you plan to return to your home country and use your foreign driver license, ask the road test examiner how to make sure that your foreign driver license is not destroyed. If you need to get your foreign driver license, go to the local DMV office where you applied for your NYS driver license, but it is not necessary unless you become a NYS resident.

Definition of "Resident"

Section 250 (5) of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law says:

As used in this section, the term "resident" shall mean domiciliary, that is, one who lives in this state with the intention of making it a fixed and permanent abode. It shall be presumptive evidence that a person who maintains a place of abode in this state for a period of at least ninety days is a resident of this state.

 To live in a house, a home, an apartment, a room or other similar place in NYS for 90 days is considered "presumptive evidence" that you are a resident of NYS. A police officer can use this evidence as the reason to issue a traffic ticket if you drive in NYS without a driver license or vehicle registration issued by NYS.

A judge considers the law and the evidence of your intent and decides if you are a resident of NYS. For example, if you pay taxes or your children attend school in another state, a judge considers these facts to decide if your intent is to make NYS a "fixed and permanent" residence. We will not decide if you are a resident of NYS, if you must get a NYS driver license, or if you must register your vehicle in NYS. According to this law, students from other states or from other nations who attend school in NYS are normally not considered residents of NYS.

Fees for an original learner permit and driver license

The fees shown in the table below are the total fees you pay for your first NYS learner permit and driver license or a new learner permit and driver license after a revocation.

 The fees shown include the driver license application fee, the license fee for the class of license and the document fees you would pay based on your age on the date you apply.

 The DMV issues an original driver license that is valid for a maximum of five years. The time period of your original driver license and the total fees depend on your exact age on the date of your application. NYS law requires the DMV to calculate the fee according to each period of six months that your original driver license is valid.

 For information about driver license Classes, see “Types of NYS driver licenses.”

 The table below does not show:

  • driver license renewal fees.
  • fees for a commercial driver licenses (CDL)
  • the additional $30 fee if you apply for an enhanced driver license (EDL) instead of a regular driver license.
  • fees for a non-driver ID card. 

Fees for Original Learner Permits and Driver Licenses

Age of ApplicantClass D or Class DJClass EClass M or Class MJ**
16 to 16½$80.00 $90.00*Not available at this age$85.00 $95.00*
16½ to 17$76.75 $85.75*Not available at this age$81.25 $90.25*
17 to 17½$92.50 $102.50*Not available at this age$97.50 $107.50*
17½ to 18$89.25 $98.25*Not available at this age$93.75 $102.75*
18 to 18½$80.00 $90.00*$110.00 $120.00*$85.00 $95.00*
18½ to 21$76.75 - $80.00
$85.75 - $90.00*
$103.75 - $110.00
$112.75 - $120.00*
$81.25 - $85.00
$90.25 - $95.00*
21 and older$64.25 - $67.50
$73.25 - $77.50*
$91.25 - $97.50
$100.25 - $107.25*
$68.75 - $72.50
$77.75 - $82.50*

* There is a supplemental Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD) fee of $1.00 for every six months the permit or driver license will be in effect. The fee is paid by residents of the five New York City counties of: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Queens and Richmond (Staten Island). The MCTD fee is also paid by residents of the counties of Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester.

** A part of the fee for a motorcycle license (Class M, Class MJ) supports the Motorcycle Safety Program in NYS.

 

  • 1. If your out-of-state photo driver license does not show the date it was issued, get a driver license record or letter from the state that issued the driver license that indicates the date of issue. If you cannot get a letter or abstract, you must apply for a new, original driver license. See Get your first driver license.
  • 2. If your out-of-state driver license or Canadian driver license is suspended or revoked, you cannot apply for a NYS driver license. You must remove the suspension or revocation and bring to a NYS DMV office a valid driver license that meets the requirements listed above.
  • 3. If your out-of-state driver license is lost or stolen apply to the previous state for a replacement photo driver license. The replacement driver license must
    • be a photo driver license
    • show that your out-of-state driver license was valid for at least 6 months

    Instead of a replacement driver license, you can apply to the previous state for a letter or driver abstract, and the letter or driver abstract must be

    • an original document
    • on the letterhead of the agency that issued your driver license
    • issued by the other state within six months before you submit the letter or driver abstract to us
    • the letter or driver abstract must contain all of the following information
      • your name, address, date of birth and driver license identification number
      • the type or class of driver license and any restrictions
      • a list any convictions, suspensions or revocations
      • the date your driver license was issued and the expiration date of your most recent driver license

    A letter or driver abstract has no value as proof of identity or date of birth.

  • 4. If you are not eligible for a Social Security Card, you must provide a letter from the US Social Security Administration (SSA) that states that you are not eligible. The SSA Letter must have been issued within the last 30 days. You must also show an I-94 with one of the following codes: B-1, B-2, E-2, F-2, H4, L-2, M-2, O-3, P-4, Q-3, R-2 or TD. At least 11 months of valid, legal status must remain on your I-94.

Do it at the DMV

Make sure you

  • meet all the requirements described on this page
  • have all of the following
    • a completed form MV-44 based on the instructions on form MV-44.1
    • a valid Eye Test Report (MV-619) completed by an eye-care professional or pass a vision test at the DMV office
    • your out-of-state photo driver license and at least another two points of identification and proof of date of birth as described on form ID-44
    • your Social Security Card or proof that you are not eligible for one
    • payment for the fees

For your convenience, many DMV PDF forms can be filled in online and then printed.