Get a learner permit
Getting a permit is the first step to get your driver license. Most people apply for a Class 'D - Operator' permit. 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
Bringing a parent or guardian is required if you are using the "Statement of Identity and/or Residence by Parent/Guardian (PDF)" (MV-45).
Step 3: Go to the DMV
- 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)
For quicker service, make a reservation online before visiting offices in New York City, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Onondaga, Monroe or Albany Counties.
For all other counties, see our office locations and hours.
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
- you must have supervised driving practice
- you must take a pre-licensing course or a driver education course before you take your road test
- you will need to follow all learner permit restrictions
- if you are under age 18, you must wait at least 6 months from the date you received your learner permit to schedule 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.