Get a driver license

New York State residents age 16 or over can apply for a New York driver license.  

 

First license 


Step 1:  Determine what license you need

Most people get a class D - Operator (if 18 or older) or a DJ - Junior Operator (if under 18).  See instructions to get a

Read about different types of New York State driver licenses


Step 2:  Get a learner permit 

Before you can get a license, you must apply for a learner permit at DMV office and take the written test. You can prepare by reading the New York State Driver's Manual and taking practice tests. 

Learn how to apply for a learner permit.

Step 3:  Practice driving and take a pre-licensing course

Once you have a learner permit, you must have supervised driving practice and you must take a pre-licensing course or a driver education course before you take your road test.  For more information.

Learn how to find a pre-licensing course and prepare for your road test
 

Step 4: Pass a road test

If you pass your test, the examiner will give you an interim license that allows you to drive. Keep the interim license with your photo learner permit until your new license arrives in the mail (in about 2 weeks). 

See how to schedule & take a road test.

 

Replace, renew or exchange

Replace

See how to replace a license that was lost, stolen or destroyed.

Renew

See how to renew your license.
 

Exchange out-of-state license

If you are from another state, see how to exchange your out-of-state driver license.  If you are coming here from another country (overseas), see information about visiting or moving to New York.    

 

If you are you under 18

 

Graduated license law

If you are under age 18 or are 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.

 

Senior license before 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.

 

When you turn 18

If you are not eligible for a senior license before you turn 18, you will automatically receive a senior license in the mail when you turn 18.

 

Additional information
 

Probationary period for new drivers

Once you pass your road test or restore a revoked driver license, you will have 6 month probationary period.  During this time, your license will be suspended for 60 days if you are convicted of any the following

  • speeding
  • 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 will have a second 6 month probation period.

If you are convicted of one of the violations above (or 2 other moving violations) during the second probation period, your license will be revoked for at least 6 months. When the revocation ends, you must serve another a 6 month probationary period.

 

Your first license is valid for 5 years

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.