Drivers From Other Countries

You can drive in New York State with a valid driver license from another country. You do not need to apply for a New York State driver license unless you become a New York State resident.

To get a New York State driver license, you must pass a written test, complete a five-hour pre-licensing course, and pass a road test. 

When you pass your road test, you must give your foreign driver license to the DMV road test examiner.  

You do not need to be a US Citizen to get a New York driver license, permit or non-driver ID card.

New York offers three types of ID documents; standard licenses and IDs, REAL IDs, and Enhanced licenses and IDs.  Non citizens are eligible for standard IDs.  Non citizens who can provide proof of lawful presence are eligible for REAL IDs.  However, only US Citizens are eligible for Enhanced IDs.


Driving With a Foreign Driver License

Your valid foreign driver license allows you to drive without a supervising driver. You can drive on any street, road, highway, bridge, or tunnel, except in a DMV road test area.

If your driver license is printed in any language except English, you must bring an International Driving Permit or a certified translation of your driver license to the road test. The translation must be certified by a consulate, the US Department of State, or another official agency. The translation must include

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • the expiration date of your foreign driver license
  • a list of the types of vehicles that your foreign driver license allows you to drive

If you have a NY State learner permit, and you do not have a valid foreign driver license, NY State law requires a supervising driver to ride with you. The supervising driver must be age 21 or over and must have a valid driver license to operate the vehicle that you drive.

Temporary Visitors 

 A Temporary Visitor is defined as anyone who is not immigrating to or not permanently residing (living) in the United States. These visitors have US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documentation that supports their legal status in this country. 

If you have DHS documents that identify you as a Temporary Visitor and have a REAL ID, your New York State driver license, permit or non-driver ID card will have

  • 'TEMPORARY VISITOR' on it, and
  • the expiration date from your DHS document

Please note that your DMV document does not expire on the Temporary Visitor expiration date, nor will your privilege to drive in New York.  

If your temporary visitor status gets extended, you must bring it to a DMV office

 Renewing your license

As long as the Temporary Visitor status that DMV has on file is not expired you can renew your license online, through the mail or in an office. 

If your Temporary Visitor status has been extended, you must go to a DMV office with your updated paperwork from the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).   We will update our records to show that your Temporary Visitor status has been extended so you can renew your license. Your new license will have your new temporary visitor expiration date.

Common tasks

For your convenience, many DMV PDF forms can be filled in online and then printed.