Get a driver license
If you are age 16 or over, you can apply for a NYS driver license. The first step is to apply for a learner permit at a DMV office.
Once you have a learner permit, you must have supervised driving practice and take a pre-licensing course or a driver education course before you take your road test.
To get started, you should read
Note: If you are under age 18 or the parent of a driver under age 18, it is very important that you understand the Graduated Driver License (GDL) Law and the restrictions on drivers under age 18.
How do I get a commercial driver license (CDL)?
For information on how to get a commercial driver license (CDL), see Get a CDL.
What are the different types of New York State driver licenses?
Read about types of New York State driver licenses.
What happens after I pass my road test?
- our license examiner gives you an interim license that allows you to drive; keep the interim license with your photo learner permit
- if you are under age 18 and have a Class DJ, MJ or DJMJ driver license, you must obey the restrictions for junior drivers - for more information, see Graduated Driver License (GDL) Law and the restrictions on drivers under age 18
- you will receive your photo driver license in the mail (allow 2 weeks)
What is the probationary period for new drivers?
Once you pass a road test for a new driver license or to restore a revoked driver license, you must serve a 6 month probationary period. This period begins on the date you pass the road test.
During your probationary period, your driver license will be suspended for 60 days if you are convicted of any the following
- participating in a speed contest
- reckless driving
- following too closely
- use of a mobile telephone
- use of a portable electronic device (for example a smart phone, tablet, GPS or MP3 player)
- any 2 other moving violations
After the suspension ends, you must serve a second 6 month probation period.
If you are convicted of one of the listed violations (or 2 other moving violations) committed during the second probation period, your driver license will be revoked for at least 6 months.
When the revocation ends, you must serve another a 6 month probationary period.
How long is my first driver license valid?
For a Class D, Class DJ, and Class E driver license, the expiration date of your learner permit becomes the expiration date of your driver license. Together the learner permit and the driver license are valid for a maximum of 5 years. When you apply for a learner permit and a driver license, you pay the fee for the length of time that the documents are valid.
For example, a learner permit that was issued to you in 2008 will be valid until your birthday in 2013. You pay the fee for a document that is valid for 5 years. If you pass your road test in 2011, your driver license will expire in 2013. Your driver license keeps the expiration date of your learner permit. When you a change from a Class DJ junior license to a Class D senior license, the date does not change.
Can I get a class D or M license if I am under 18?
If you are 17, you are eligible for a senior driver license (Class D or M) if you have a junior driver license or limited junior driver license and have completed a state-approved high school or college driver education course. To change your junior license to a senior license, bring your junior license and the Student Certificate of Completion (MV-285) that you received from your instructor to any DMV office. You must return your certificate and junior license to receive the senior license. If you do not change your junior license to a senior license, you are subject to the restrictions for junior drivers until you are age 18, even if you carry the completion certificate with you. You can also give your certificate with your junior permit to the license examiner at your road test. You will automatically receive a senior license when you become eligible.