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Moving to New York State? Exchange your out-of-state driver license

If you move to New York State and become a resident 1, you must get a New York State driver license within 30 days.

If you have a valid driver license issued by another U.S. state or territory, federal district or Canadian province, you can exchange it for a NYS driver license as long as it

  • has your photograph
  • is valid or has expired in the past 24 months 
  • shows the date it was issued and was issued at least 6 months before you apply for the NYS driver license (or is a commercial driver license that has been valid for any amount of time) 2
  • is not suspended or revoked 3
  • is not lost or stolen 4

When you exchange your out-of-state or Canadian license, your New York license will be valid for 5 years. 

You cannot exchange a driver license that

  • was issued outside the U.S. or Canada
  • does not have your photograph
  • is expired for more than 24 months
  • is one of the following
    • a hardship or an "employment only driver license"
    • a non-commercial driver license valid for less than 6 months
    • is marked "non-renewable" or "non-transferable"

You must apply for a new original NYS driver license.

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

You must bring these items to a DMV office

You also must

  • pass a vision test at the DMV 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 driver license fees 6

 

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 New York State driver license at a DMV office.

 

If I am a student studying in New York State do I need a New York State driver license?

Students from other states or from other nations who attend school in New York State are normally not considered residents of New York State, so they don’t need to exchange their current 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).

  • 1. Definition of Resident per Section 250 (5) of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law: "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 New York State. A police officer can use this as evidence to issue a traffic ticket if you drive in New York State without a NYS driver license or vehicle registration.


    A judge considers the law and the evidence of your intent and decides if you are a resident of New York State. 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. According to this law, students from other states or from other nations who attend school in New York State are usually not considered residents of NYS. DMV does not decide if you are a resident of New York State, if you must get a NYS driver license, or if you must register your vehicle in New York State.

  • 2. 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.
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. 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.

  • 5. 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.
  • 6. The fees are based on a 5 year maximum license term. The fee depends on your age when you apply and where you live. Residents of these counties must pay a must pay a Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD) fee:  Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Queens, Richmond (Staten Island); Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester. The MCTD fee is $1.00 for every 6 months the driver license will be in effect. 

Do it at the DMV

Make sure you  

  • meet our requirements and have all items described on this page
  • have payment for the fee (cash, check, money order or credit card)

Make a reservation online before visiting DMV offices in New York City, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Onondaga or Albany Counties.

Make a Reservation

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