Get a motorcycle learner permit and license

Overview

A New York State resident must have a Class M or Class MJ driver license or learner permit to drive a motorcycle. To get a motorcycle license, you must first get a motorcycle learner permit.

Note: If you plan to apply for a motorcycle learner permit and another class of learner permit (like a Class - D 'Operator' (car), apply for the other learner permit first. When you have the other learner permit, you can apply for your motorcycle permit.

 

Step 1: Prepare for the motorcycle permit test

Study the NY State Motorcycle Operator's Manual (MV-21MC) to prepare for the written test.

Both Class D and M permit tests are given in 16, languages: English, Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bosnian, Chinese, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Polish, Russian and Spanish.

 

Step 2: Gather what you need to apply


Proof of age, identity and residence

When you apply, 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 type of permit 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 apply.

Guide for Enhanced or REAL ID Permit

 

Guide for 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: Apply and take your motorcycle permit test

 

You can begin your application online or at a DMV office

 

Online

You can submit your application and take your test online, at home, and come to the DMV to complete your application. Follow these intructions

  1. Use the 'Begin your permit application' button below to Log in to NY.gov ID or create an account if you do not have one. 

    (We recommended you use the latest versions of Chrome, Edge, Safari, or Firefox browsers - if you use Internet Explorer, make sure Compatibility Mode is disabled)

  2. Tell us who you are

  3. Confirm the type ofpermit you want (D (car) or M (motorcycle))

  4. Identify the supporting (identification) documents you have and the forms you will need to get a permit

  5. Upload your documents – you must provide scanned or photo images of your documents

    • DMV will keep your documents safe and secure
  6. Review and confirm your application

  7. Check your email for the permit test link – you must begin your test within 15 minutes of receiving it

    • Expect the test to take 30-40 minutes to complete
    • We recommend you use a PC or tablet (smartphones may not properly display the questions)
  8. Take your permit test (if you fail, do not worry! - you can resubmit your application and try again after at least 6 hours)

    • To pass the test, you must correctly answer at least
      • 80% of the overall questions, and
      • 50% of the questions relating to road signs
      • 60% of the motorcycle questions
  9. After you pass your test, use the link we send you by email to make a reservation to visit a DMV office to

    • Show the originals of the documents you uploaded
    • Have your photo taken
    • Pay the permit fee
  10. Get a temporary permit (you will receive your permit within 2 weeks by mail)

 

Begin your online permit application

 

At a DMV office

You can come to a DMV to apply (but is easier if you start your application online). Follow these instructions

  1. Bring

  2. Take the written test (if you fail, do not worry! - you can try again at no additional cost)

    • 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
  3. 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

See location, instructions and reservation information for your DMV

 

Step 4: Prepare for the motorcycle road test

Before you schedule your road test, we recommend that you have at least 30 hours of practice on a motorcycle, with or without formal instruction.  We also recommend that you

When you practice driving with a motorcycle learner permit

  • you must be supervised by a driver age 21 or older who has a valid motorcycle license from any state
  • the motorcycle driver who supervises you must be within 1/4 mile of you at all times
  • you must obey the general restrictions for permit holders
  • if you have a Class MJ permit, you must obey the restrictions and requirements for drivers under age 18

 

Step 5: Schedule and take a motorcycle road test

See Schedule and take a road test.

  • if you do not already have another class of New York State driver license, you must complete a pre-licensing course or a Driver Education course before you can schedule a road test  1
  • if you already have another class of New York State license, you do not need a pre-licensing course or Student Certificate of Completion 

 

Step 6: Get your motorcycle license

If you pass the road test, the examiner will issue a temporary motorcycle license to you.

  • if you do not have another class of New York State driver license, you will receive your motorcycle license with your photo by mail about 2 weeks after your road test (you do not have to visit a DMV office)
  • if you already have another class of New York State driver license, wait at least 7 days after your road test to apply for your motorcycle license at a DMV office, and be sure to
  • complete an Application for Permit, Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card (PDF) (MV-44)
  • mark the "Change"  box at the top, and write in “Add Class M (or MJ)" in the "Other Change" box
  • bring your temporary motorcycle license, your motorcycle permit and your current photo license 
  • pay the $12.50 fee to amend your driver license

Both driver license classes will be listed on your new document (for example, Class DM).  Your new license expires on the same date as your previous one.

The DMV office will issue a temporary license without a photo to you. Allow two weeks to receive your new license by mail.

 

Additional information


Can I get the motorcycle road test waived?

We can waive the test if you are qualified and you complete an approved course. To get information about approved courses in your area, visit the New York State Motorcycle Safety Program website or call toll-free at 1-800-446-9227.

 To qualify for the waiver you must

  • be 16 years of age or older
  • have a valid NY State license (Class A, B, C, D, DJ or E)
  • have a valid class M or MJ motorcycle learner permit
  • present either a Basic Rider Course (BRC) or a Basic Rider Course 2 License/Waiver (BRC2-LW) Course  completion card issued by the NY State Motorcycle Safety Foundation within two years of completing the course

You cannot get a waiver for a motorcycle road test if you completed a rider course given in another state.

There are waivers available in some cases for members of the U.S. Armed Forces. 2

 

Can I drive in New York with an out-of-state motorcycle license?

If you have a valid motorcycle license issued by another state where you are a resident, you can drive motorcycles in New York State.

 

Can I exchange an out-of-state motorcycle license for a New York motorcycle license?

If you become a resident of New York State, you should exchange your out-of-state motorcycle license for a New York State motorcycle license. See Exchange an out-of-state driver license.

 

Where can I learn more about motorcycle safety?

Motorcycle safety information is available from the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

 

  1. 1. A Pre-licensing Course Certificate (MV-278) is valid for one year. A Student Certificate of Completion (MV-285) is valid for two years. See Prepare for your road test for more information about these certificates.
  2. 2. A member of the US Armed Forces who completes the MSF Basic Rider Course (BRC) through the military while on active duty outside of New York State can qualify to have their military BRC converted into a NY BRC and receive the road test waiver. See the instructions on the website of the New York State Motorcycle Safety Program or call 1-518-384-0045.