How to Obtain Drivers License in New York

DMV websites are usually complicated. Finding what you’re looking for can be quite difficult. You have to be familiar with the jargon and know where to look. We created this tutorial to help NY residents get their driver’s licenses. As long as you meet minimum age requirements, you can follow the steps laid out here to start driving in the state of NY.

Determine what license class and type you need


Get detailed information regarding driver’s license classes.


  • Standard
    • Starting on May 3, 2023, this sort of document is not sufficient to board a local (within the borders of the country) flight or get access to federal buildings.
    • The document features the following text ‘NOT FOR FEDERAL PURPOSES’
    • Residents can utilize this type of license to get on a local flight
    • The front of the document features a light-colored star in a dark circle.
  • Enhanced
    • Residents can utilize this type of license to get on a local flight
    • Citizens of the country can use it to pass the land borders from neighboring countries
    • Features a national flag
    • To receive this license, the candidate must pay an extra $30

Get detailed information regarding enhanced, REAL ID and Standard documents.

Brief description of various types of licenses:

Prerequisite Learner Permit Junior License Senior License
Age requirement 16 or older 16 and a half years or older 18 years or older
DMV Requirements Passing test with multiple-choice questions on it
  1. 50 hours of practical experience, accumulated under the supervision of a legal guardian, your parent, or accredited instructor
  2. Necessary licensing instructions for 5 hours
  3. Take the road test and get approval from the DMV
Not specified. The document will be automatically updated by the DMV
Restrictions Can’t drive without the supervision of a responsible adult. This can be a parent, other paternal or a maternal figure, a teacher, or other qualified driver
  1. Not permitted to drive alone between 9 PM to 5 AM
  2. The number of underage passengers is limited to one.
No restrictions

Getting a New York Learner Permit

In the state of NY, residents do not qualify for a junior learner permit until they’ve reached the age of 16. Regardless of their age, applicants must get a learner’s permit before they can upgrade to a full driving license. A learner’s permit does not require a candidate to have driving experience. However, an applicant must show up at the DMV office.

What to Bring to the DMV for a New York Learners Permit

A candidate must visit the DMV location to get the document. Potential applicants need to bring multiple documents, specifically:

  • Applicant’s Permit or license information
  • Underage candidates must present a document that proves their guardian’s consent. 17-year-old candidates with Drivers Ed Cert are an exception to this rule.
  • Candidate’s social security document
  • Proof of an actual NY address
  • An actual ID that contains your date of birth. Look up this list for more information.
    • Candidates under 21 who use MV-45 as an ID must ask their parents to sign it at the DMV location.
  • Proof of paying the necessary fees.

An applicant will have to take a picture. Remember that your license will bear this photo for the next 8 years. Choose it carefully

Testing for a Learners Permit

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary files, you must proceed to take the tests. Passing vision and traffic law tests are necessary to get a permit.

The Written Test

To prove your knowledge of the traffic law, you must pass a written test. It consists of 20 questions. The applicant must choose one of the four optional answers. If you fail the test, there’s no need to worry. You can try again without paying any penalties.

Peekskill Office


Yonkers Office



1045 Park Street

Peekskill, NY 10566


1 Larkin Plaza

Yonkers, NY 10701


M, T, W & F 8:30 – 4:00 PM

Thursday 10:00 – 6:00 PM


M, T, W & F 8:30 – 4:00 PM

Thursday 10:00 – 6:00 PM





The Vision Test

Any candidate for a driver’s license must have a 20/40 vision while wearing glasses or without them. The procedure is similar to any vision test you’ve taken in the past. The doctor covers your eyes. You must identify the letters.

*For residents of Upstate, Long Island, or NYC the requirements for the junior license may be different.

What to do After You Have a New York Learners Permit

The exact steps involved in the process vary based on your age and go through educational training. Your age doesn’t really affect the educational requirements. Even if you’re as old as 40, you have to take a training course to qualify for a driver’s license in the state of NY.

Drivers Ed in New York

Unlike most states, residents of NY can’t get any kind of license unless they participate in an instructional course. The training must consist of 24 hours of theoretical instruction and 24 hours of practical instruction. Your experience must consist of 6 hours of driving alone and 18 hours of watching your instructor.

Your educational credits will be valid for two years. Once they expire, you’ll have to get the education again.

Pre-Licensing Courses in New York

The state offers a four-hour educational pre-licensing program that prepares you for driving the car. The pre-licensing program covers traffic laws, practical tips, and threats to look out for while on the road. If you complete the pre-licensing program, you have one year to apply for a learner’s permit.

This instructional program does not teach you as much as drivers ed. It doesn’t give you practical driving experience either. However, if you want to understand traffic laws, this program is a good place to start. If you’d like to get a more thorough education, consult with a drivers ed company.

Underage drivers get additional exemptions. If you prefer the driver’s over less comprehensive options, you can easily switch to an unrestricted adult license at 17.

Driving Practice Before the Test

Underage candidates who hold the permit for 6 months can arrange a driving test. In the meantime, you must accumulate 50 hours of practical driving experience. During these hours, you must be under the supervision of a qualified driver. Those 50 hours must be made up of 10 hours of driving in condensed traffic and 15 hours of driving at night.

Once you accumulate the experience, you can proceed to the next steps.

Scheduling the Driving Test

A candidate who’s ready to apply for a license must arrange for a driving test either online or over the phone – 518-402-2100. You should provide these details:

  • Client ID # – located right above the picture on your driver’s license
  • DOB – excluding any special letters, such as punctuation
  • The kind of document and the document number for educational courses
  • The kind of road test – presumably the car
  • The location code where the driving test should take place. It can be a ZIP code for a location outside of your area.

What to Bring to the DMV for Your Road Test

Candidates who signed up to take the road test must be present half an hour before the arranged time. They must have a valid vehicle. Other prerequisites for taking a driver’s test include:

  • Existing learner’s permit
  • Seeing aids, if applicable
  • The proof of completing one of the two instructional courses
  • Underage candidates must have a document (code MV-262) filled out by a qualified adult
  • An accompanying adult driver

Once you’ve gathered all the documents, it’s time to show off your driving skills. You’ll have to prove your proficiency in the following areas of expertise:

  • The course of action for stoplights and multi-way stops
  • Ability to park in difficult situations
  • Taking a three-point turn
  • Operating your car by following the standards

You will be graded based on your performance during the test. If you’re underage, passing this test will qualify you to receive a junior driver’s license in the state of NY. If you’ve already reached legal driving age, you can receive a class D license.

DMV Road Test Locations

New Rochelle


Sickles Avenue & Guion Place


Follow the Hutchinson Pkway to E Lincoln Ave. Take the Exit. Head over 3 miles to Prince St. Make right onto Prince. Once you reach the end of Prince turn to the left onto Sickles. Follow Sickles to the end and turn left to reach onto Guion Place.



Orchard St. Facing N. Division Street


Follow the Park Street West to Division St. Right onto Division Street. After 5 blocks there will be a fork in the road, take the left fork. At the end of the park is Orchard Street. Right onto Orchard Street

White Plains


Kensico Avenue between Oakley Ave. and Minerva Ave. (facing south)


Cross Westchester Expressway (287), East, to Exit 8 (Westchester Ave) right turn exit. Right turn onto Westchester Ave. First traffic light left turn onto So. Kensico Ave. Go straight ahead to Minerva and Oakley Avenues. Road test line on left side of avenue.



Vredenburgh Avenue & Veltri Place facing Kimball Avenue


Take Yonkers Avenue. Go across Central Avenue. Make first left onto Trenchard Street. Proceed to Vredenburgh Avenue. Site is 1000 feet on right of Vredenburgh.



Commerce Street facing north towards Firehouse


Take Route 118 South to Underhill Avenue. Make a left onto Underhill Avenue. At intersection Underhill becomes Commerce Street. Road test site is approximately 1/4 mile down on the right side.

If you are under 18

Graduated license law

Underage applicants and their parents should understand Graduated Driver License (GDL) Law and the restrictions on drivers under age 18.

Senior license before 18

Applicants who are 17 are qualified for senior driver’s licenses (both kinds). This applies to those who have a junior driver’s license or controlled junior license. Qualified candidates must also finish a certified educational program. Candidates who want to switch from junior license to senior license must collect certain documents like existing junior license and proof of completion of the educational course. Once they have all the documents, they must bring them to the DMV office. Candidates who do not return these documents can not change their status. If you refuse to change the status of your driver’s license, the restrictions will apply until you reach the age of 18.

When you turn 18

Candidates who are not qualified for a senior license until the age of 18 will automatically get a letter containing their senior license once they reach that milestone.

The probationary period for new drivers

Drivers who go through the road test or re-activate their certificate will be placed on a probationary period. Throughout this time, you must not get caught violating traffic laws. If you do, your document will stop functioning for two months. Here are the possible offenses:

  • Going over the speed limit
  • Taking part in a race
  • Unresponsible driving
  • Not keeping enough distance
  • Talking on the phone while driving
  • Looking at a screen while driving
  • Any of the other serious offenses

Once your card is unsuspended, you will have to go through another half-year testing period.

Individuals who are found guilty of the aforementioned offenses will be in serious trouble. After violating the terms of probation a second time, a candidate’s license will be put on pause one more time. Once they are eligible to use their document again, they’ll have to go through a probationary period one more time.

Your first license is valid for 5 years

Licenses that fall under the category D, DJ, or E assume the expiration date of the preceding learner’s permit. The combined lifespan of a driver’s license and learner’s permit can not exceed five years. This is only applicable to your first license. Once you commit to obtaining a learner’s permit and driving license you must cover the fee for the entire period.

For instance, if you obtained a learner’s permit in 2014, you can use it for five years until your birthday in 2019. Your fee must cover the entire period of 5 years. If someone takes a road test in 2017, their driving document will be valid until 2019. The official license will have the same expiration date as your learner’s permit. The date also stays the same when you transfer from a DJ sort of license to an adult’s D class certificate.

Related Reading:

Drivers from other countries

Drivers with valid foreign driving licenses are eligible to get behind the wheel in the state of NY. Unless you plan on becoming a permanent resident of the state, you are not obligated to get a separate New York driver’s license.

Drivers who opt to get a distinct NY license, must go through the process described here. Once you go through the driving test, you are practically qualified. You only have to provide the local DMV with your existing driver’s license from outside the country.

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