How to get a learner permit

 This page was updated for COVID-19.



Getting a learner driver permit is the first step to getting a driver license. To get a learner permit, you must

  • be 16 years or older
  • apply in person at a DMV office

Permit types

Class D - Operator permit

This is the most common class of permit that people apply for.  The steps on this page outline how to get a Class D Operator permit. 

Other permit classes

See information on how to get other classes of permits

Learn more about New York State driver license types and classes.

Step 1: Prepare for the written permit test

Study the NY State Driver's Manual and take the practice tests

  • Class D and M permit tests are given in 14 languages: English, Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian and Spanish
  • to pass, you must get at least 14 of the 20 multiple-choice questions correct, including the correct answers to at least two of the four questions about road signs
  • if you are applying for a motorcycle permit, you must get at least 3 out of the 5 motorcycle questions correct

Step 2: Gather what to bring to the DMV

You will need proof of age, identity and residence

When you apply at the DMV to take your permit test, you will need to provide proof of age, identification and residence.  Your permit will be Standard, Enhanced, or REAL ID, depending on the proofs you bring and the fee. 

What is the difference between a Standard, Enhanced or Real ID?

See a side-by-side comparison to learn more and determine which ID is right for you. 


See what documents you need

Complete one of these guides to ensure you have the documents and proofs of identification you need BEFORE you go to the DMV.

Document Guide for Enhanced or REAL ID Permit

Document Guide for a Standard Permit


You can also see a complete list:  
How to Apply for a New York Learner Permit/Driver License/Non-Driver ID Card (PDF) (ID-44).


If you use the "Statement of Identity and/or Residence by Parent/Guardian (PDF)" (MV-45), your parent or guardian must come with you.

Step 3: Go to the DMV 

At the DMV, you will

  • first, apply and pay for your permit – see the fee chart to estimate the cost
  • then, take the written test (if you fail, you can try again at no additional cost)


Office procedures have changed due to COVID-19.

We recommend you conduct your DMV business at the office or by mail in the County where you are a resident.

See instructions and reservation information for your county


If you pass your written test

  • we will give you a temporary permit at the office
  • you will receive your permit within 2 weeks by mail

Your permit will be valid for approximately 5 years (the exact expiration date depends on your date of birth and the date that you applied).


If you fail the written test, do not worry.  You can try it again at no additional cost. 

Next steps: Getting your license

Once you get your permit, learn what you need to do to prepare for and take your road test. 


First, prepare for your road test


Prepare for your road test


Next, schedule a road test

  • take your road test before your permit expires (you cannot renew a permit)
  • schedule & take 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 permit until your new license arrives in the mail (in about 2 weeks) 
  • if you fail, prepare more, and schedule another test

Schedule your road test



Did you find what you are looking for?  


We hope you did. If not, please see a list of learner permit topics.