Get a learner permit

 This page was updated for COVID-19.

Getting a permit is the first step to get your driver license. Most people apply for a Class 'D - Operator' permit. 1  You must be 16 or older and must apply in person at a DMV office. Here are the steps you need to take:


Step 1: Be prepared to take 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
    • this includes 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 three out of the five motorcycle questions correct

Step 2: Know what to bring to the DMV

  • complete this guide to make sure you have the documents and proofs of identification you need BEFORE going to the DMV

Find the documents you need to get a REAL ID or Enhanced permit


Find what you need for a Standard Permit or License


Bringing a parent or guardian is required if you are using the "Statement of Identity and/or Residence by Parent/Guardian (PDF)" (MV-45).

You can see a complete list of documents the DMV accepts by reviewing How to Apply for a New York Learner Permit/Driver License/Non-Driver ID Card (PDF) (ID-44).

Step 3: Go to the DMV

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 for your county

  • find an office location and see if a reservation is necessary for written test
  • apply and pay for your permit (use the fee chart to estimate your cost)
  • take your written test (if you fail, you can try again at no additional cost)


Step 4: Wait up to 2 weeks for your permit to come in the 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) 
  • once you have your permit, you can move onto Step 5. 


Step 5: Prepare for your road test 


Step 6: Take your road test

  • take your road test before your permit expires (you cannot renew a permit)
  • 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, start again at Step 5


Still haven't found what you are looking for?  

See a list of learner permit topics.