Get a motorcycle license
A New York State resident must have a Class M or Class MJ driver license or learner permit to drive a motorcycle. To get a motorcycle license, you must first get a motorcycle learner permit.
Note: If you plan to apply for a motorcycle learner permit and another class of learner permit, apply for the other learner permit first. When you have the other learner permit, you can apply for your motorcycle permit.
You must apply for a motorcycle learner permit at a DMV office. Be sure to
- study the online NYS Motorcycle Operator's Manual (MV-21MC) to prepare for the written test for your motorcycle learner permit
- complete an Application for Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card (MV-44)
- bring proofs of identity and age
- if you already have a NYS learner permit or driver license, bring the document
- bring payment for the $10.00 application fee and the motorcycle license fee 1
If you pass the written test, you will receive a Class M or Class MJ motorcycle learner permit. The period that your motorcycle learner permit is valid varies. 2
How do I prepare for my motorcycle road test?
Before you schedule your road test, we recommend that you have at least 30 hours of practice on a motorcycle, with or without formal instruction. We also recommend that you
- have at least 10 hours of practice in medium to high volume traffic
- consider taking the NYS Motorcycle Safety Program Basic Rider Course or instruction from a commercial driving school
When you practice driving with a motorcycle learner permit
- you must be under the general supervision of a driver who is 21 years or age or older and has a valid motorcycle license from NYS or another state
- the motorcycle driver who supervises you must remain within 1/4 mile of you at all times
- you must obey the general restrictions for learner permit holders.
- if you have a Class MJ permit, you must obey the restrictions and requirements for drivers under age 18
How do I schedule a motorcycle road test?
If you do not already have another class of NYS driver license, you must complete a pre-licensing course or a Driver Education course before you can make a road test appointment. A Pre-licensing Course Certificate (MV-278) is valid for one year. A Driver Education Certificate (MV-285) is valid for two years. See Prepare for your road test for more information about these certificates.
You do not need a pre-licensing course or Driver Education certificate if you already have another class of NYS driver license.
How do I get my motorcycle license after I pass my road test?
If you pass the road test, the examiner will issue a temporary motorcycle license to you.
If you do not have another class of NYS driver license, you will receive your motorcycle license with your photo by mail in approximately two weeks after the date of your road test. You do not have to visit a DMV office.
If you already have another class of NYS driver license, wait at least seven days after your road test to apply for your motorcycle license at a DMV office. You must
- complete Application for Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card (MV-44)
- mark the "Change" box at the top, and write in “Add Class M (or MJ)" in the "Other Change" box
- bring your temporary motorcycle license, your motorcycle learner permit and your current photo driver license to a DMV office
- pay the $12.50 fee to amend your driver license
Both driver license classes will be listed on your new document (for example, Class DM). Your new driver license expires on the same date as your previous one.
The DMV office will issue a temporary driver license without a photo to you. Allow two weeks to receive your photo driver license by mail.
How can I get the motorcycle road test waived?
The DMV will waive the motorcycle road test if you are qualified and you complete an approved course. To get information about approved courses in your area, visit the NYS Motorcycle Safety Program website or call the MSF toll-free at 1-800-446-9227.
To qualify for the waiver you must
- be 16 years of age or older
- have a valid NYS license (Class A, B, C, D, DJ or E)
- have a valid class M or MJ motorcycle learner permit
- present a Basic Rider Course completion card issued by the NYS Motorcycle Safety Program within two years of completing the course
You cannot get a waiver for a motorcycle road test if you completed a rider course given in another state.
There are waivers available in some cases for members of the U.S. Armed Forces. 3
Can I drive in NYS with an out-of-state motorcycle license or exchange the license for a NYS motorcycle license?
If you have a valid motorcycle license issued by another state where you are a resident, you can drive motorcycles in New York State.
If you become a resident of New York State, you must exchange your out-of-state motorcycle license for a NYS motorcycle license. See Exchange an out-of-state driver license.
Where can I get other motorcycle safety information?
The fees you pay when you get your first motorcycle license depend on
- whether or not you currently have another class of NYS driver license and
- your exact age when you apply.
The fees for a Class M or MJ driver license, or to add class M or MJ to your current driver license, can range from $21 to $120, but we cannot calculate your exact fee until you apply.
- 2. If you do not have another class, your Class M or MJ permit is valid for a maximum of five years. You cannot renew the permit. If your permit expires, you must apply for a new permit and take the written test again.
If you do have another class of NYS driver license, your Class M or MJ permit is valid for one year, and you can renew the permit for one additional year. To get a new permit after a renewal, you must apply for a new permit and take the motorcycle written test again.
- 3. A member of the US Armed Forces who completes the MSF Basic Rider Course (BRC) through the military while on active duty outside of New York State can qualify to have their military BRC converted into a NY BRC and receive the road test waiver. See the instructions on the web site of the New York State Motorcycle Safety Program or call the MSF at 1-518-384-0045.