How to get a New York State drivers license
Broome County Office Building
81 Chenango Street
Binghamton, NY. 13901
General Information About Driver Licenses
-You must have a NYS driver license or a valid driver license from another US state or from Canada to drive in NYS.
-In most cases, you can drive in NYS if you have a valid driver license from another country.
-The minimum driving age in NYS is 16.
-If you become a resident of NYS, you must get a NYS driver license within 30 days and surrender your out-of-state driver license.
-Normally, you cannot have a NYS driver license and a driver license from another state, but there are exceptions.
-It is a violation of Federal law to hold more than one commercial driver license (CDL).
You must be age 16 or over to drive in NYS.
-Drivers under the age of 18 must obey the specified restrictions that include where in New York State you can drive, the time of day you can drive, and in what other situations you are allowed to drive.
-If you have a learner permit or a driver license from another state, you are not exempt from this rule.
-An out-of-state driver under the age of 18 must also obey all restrictions of the state that issued the driver license.
What You Need to Know to Apply for a Learner Permit:
- You must be 16 years of age or older to apply for a learner permit. If you are under the age of 18, your parent or your legal guardian must sign the consent section of your form MV-44 (Driver License Application). This form is available at your local DMV or on DMV’s web site at: www.dmv.ny.gov. Your parent or legal guardian can sign the form before you bring it to a DMV office. Your parent or legal guardian is not required to go to the DMV office with you to sign form MV-44. You do not require consent if you are age 17 and you have a form MV-285 driver education certificate.
- Study the New York State Driver’s Manual. You can read the Driver’s Manual online and take practice quizzes, or you can get a Driver’s Manual from your local DMV office or DMV Call Center. Part Two and Part Three of the Driver’s Manual contain the information you must know to pass the written test to get a learner permit. You are not required to take the written test if you have a form MV-285 driver education certificate.
- You must have proof of identity. The proof must have a total value of at least six points and must prove your date of birth. If you do not have 6 points of proof of identity, your parent or your legal guardian can complete form MV-45 at a DMV office and show proof of identity.
- You must show your Social Security card. If you are not eligible for a Social Security Number, you must get a letter from the Social Security Administration that indicates that you are not eligible for a Social Security Number. You must show the letter to the DMV.
When You Apply for a Learner Permit:
- Complete form MV-44 (Driver License Application).
- Take the form and your proofs of identity and date of birth to a local DMV office.
- Take a vision test at the DMV office, or bring a valid form MV-619 (Eye Test Report) completed by an eye-care professional. If the form MV-619 has a print date of 9/03 or earlier, the form is valid for 6 months after the date of the eye test. If the form has a print date of 3/04 or later, the eye-care professional marks a box on the form to indicate if the form is valid for 6 months or for 12 months after the date of the eye test.
- Bring cash, a personal check or a credit card to pay the application fee and the driver license fee. See the driver license fee schedule to determine your fee.
- Take the written permit test. Review the hours for written tests and any requirement for a test appointment on the local DMV office page. To pass the test, you must give the correct answers to at least 14 of the 20 multiple-choice questions, which includes the correct answers to at least two of the four questions about road signs.
- If you do not pass the written test for a non-CDL class license (class D, DJ, E, M, or MJ), you can take the written test again any number of times without a limit. For the non-CDL license classes, you do not pay additional fees to take the test more than one time. If you do not pass, the DMV recommends that you study the Driver’s Manual and take the test on another day.
- If you pass the test, the DMV issues you a learner permit valid for approximately 5 years. The exact expiration date depends on your date of birth and the date that you applied for the permit.
- You are not required to take the written test if you have a form MV-285 driver education certificate.
- If you are under age 18, be aware of the restricted driving privileges for learner permits and junior licenses.
When You Have Your Permit:
General Restrictions for All Drivers with Learner Permits
No matter what age you are, if you hold a learner permit, you may not drive:
- Unless accompanied by a supervising driver age 21 or older who has a license valid to operate the vehicle you are driving. For example, only a person with a motorcycle license may supervise a motorcycle learner.
- In a DMV road test area.
- On any street within a park in New York City, or any bridge or tunnel under the jurisdiction of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.
- On the Cross County, Hutchinson River, Saw Mill River, or Taconic State parkways in Westchester County.
If you are under age 18, there are other restrictions.
Supervised Practice Driving
Most new drivers who fail their road tests were not adequately prepared. The DMV recommends that all learners have a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice driving before they take their road tests, with at least 15 hours at night (after sunset). It is also recommended that at least 10 hours of supervised practice driving be in moderate to heavy traffic.
If you are under age 18, you must have six months of valid permit status from the date your permit is issued to the date of your road test. This is not required if you are age 17, you have completed driver education, and you have a form MV-285 driver education certificate.
You must also have the required number of hours of supervised driving practice.
If you are under age 18:
- You must have a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice driving before your road test with at least 15 hours at night (after sunset).
You must bring to the road test Form MV-262 (Certification of Supervised Driving) completed by your parent or guardian to certify that you have had the required hours of supervised practice driving.
The DMV also recommends that you take a driver education course or professional driving lessons.
It is illegal to practice driving in a DMV road test area.
If you have a motorcycle permit (Class M, MJ or Limited MJ), your supervising driver must exercise general supervision of you while you operate the motorcycle and remain within one-quarter mile of you. The supervising driver should keep you in sight at all times. In addition, the only passenger who can ride with you on the motorcycle is your supervising driver. If you operate a moped with any valid class of permit, the same passenger rules applies.
How to schedule and take a Road Test
Before You Schedule Your Road Test
It normally takes several weeks from the date that you make your appointment to the date of the test. Make sure that you are ready for your road test before the date of your test.
Make sure you meet all of the requirements below before you schedule your road test online or by telephone. To make your road test appointment, you must have:
A valid NYS learner permit:
- Your permit must be valid on the date that you make your appointment, and
- Your permit must be valid on the date that you take your road test.
A valid form MV-278 pre-licensing course certificate or a valid form MV-285 driver education certificate.
- The 5-hour pre-licensing course for the MV-278 certificate is offered as an adult education course through most commercial driving schools and by other providers licensed by the DMV. Look in the telephone directory under “Driving Instruction.”
- A form MV-285 driver education certificate is available only if you complete a high school or college driver education course.
- Your MV-278 or MV-285 certificate must be valid on the date that you make your appointment, but can be expired on the date of your road test.
- An MV-278 certificate is valid for one year from the date it is issued. If your MV-278 certificate expires, you must complete another pre-licensing course to receive a valid certificate and to schedule a road test. An MV-285 certificate is valid for two years after the date it is issued.
- If you have a valid NYS driver license in another license class, you do not need a form MV-278 pre-licensing course certificate or an MV-285 driver education certificate.
- To apply for a CDL or a non-commercial Class C license, you must first pay a $40.00 fee online, by telephone at 1-518-402-2100, or at a local DMV office. If you pay the CDL test fee at a local DMV office, you will receive a receipt. You must enter the receipt number when you schedule the CDL test appointment by telephone or online.
How to Change Your Class DJ Junior License to a Class D Senior License with Driver Education
If you have a Class DJ junior license, and you complete a high school or college driver education course, you can change your Class DJ junior license to a Class D senior license when you are 17 years old.
To change the class of your driver license, you must have a form MV-285 driver education certificate issued from a DMV-approved driver education program. You cannot use another certificate.
If you do not have an MV-285, the DMV automatically changes your driver license from Class DJ to Class D on your 18th birthday. The DMV automatically mails you a new driver license that indicates “Class D”. You will not get this document faster if you visit a DMV office.
On your 18th birthday, your driver record indicates that you are a Class D driver. There is no need to wait until you have your new Class D driver license before you drive as a senior driver. You can drive as a senior driver on your 18th birthday.
Give your MV-285 driver education certificate to the DMV examiner after your road test. The DMV will update your driver record and will automatically issue a Class D photo driver license on your 17th birthday. You will receive the new driver license in the mail. There is no fee when you change the class of your driver license by this method.
Your driver license record will show that you are a Class D driver. You do not need to have your Class D document to drive as a senior license driver. You can drive on your 17th birthday.
Note: If your 17th birthday occurs on a weekend or a state holiday, your record is updated and your Class D driver license is issued on the next business day.
If you did not give your MV-285 driver education certificate to the DMV examiner, you must go to a DMV office. Bring your Class DJ driver license and the MV-285 certificate to a DMV office on your 17th birthday or any following day. Complete form MV-44, and pay the fee of $12.50. You receive a temporary Class D driver license, without a photo, at the office. The DMV mails your Class D photo driver license in approximately two weeks.
You must make the change. If you have an MV-285 certificate and a Class DJ driver license you do not have Class D driving privileges. You must change your driver license from Class DJ to Class D (as described above) in order to get senior driving privileges.
Out-of-state Driver Education courses: You cannot get a NYS a form MV-285 driver education certificate for a driver education course in another state.
Drivers From Other Nations
A valid driver license from another country is also valid in NYS. You do not need to apply for a NYS driver license unless you become a resident of NYS.
According to NYS law, a resident of another country can get a NYS driver license. The DMV does not recommend this because:
- NYS recognizes your foreign driver license if you remain a resident of the nation that issued the license. You do not need to have a NYS driver license to drive in NYS unless you become a resident of NYS.
- If you have a driver license from any nation except Canada, you must pass a written test, complete a 5-hour pre-licensing course and pass a road test to qualify for a NYS driver license. See “New Drivers – How to Apply”.
- You must show a Social Security Card. If you are not eligible for a Social Security Card, you must provide a letter or form SSA-L676 from the US Social Security Administration (SSA) that states that you are not eligible. The SSA Letter or form must have been issued no more than 30 days before the date of your application. You must also show the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) documents that the SSA used to determine that you are not eligible for a Social Security Card. The USCIS was formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Read the specific requirements on the identification requirements page.
- When you receive your NYS driver license, you must surrender your foreign driver license to the DMV road test examiner. The local DMV office keeps your foreign driver license, and then destroys the license after 60 days. If you plan to return to your home country and use your foreign driver license, ask the road test examiner how to make sure that your foreign driver license is not destroyed. If you need to get your foreign driver license, go to the local DMV office where you applied for your NYS driver license.
International Driving Permit
An International Driving Permit is not a driver license. The permit only verifies that you hold a valid driver license in your home country. Your foreign driver license, not the International Driving Permit, allows you to drive in NYS. Contact the authorities in your home country to get an International Driving Permit. If you are not a resident of the US, you cannot apply for an International Driving Permit in the US.
You are not required to have an International Driving Permit to drive in NYS, but the permit has value. The permit verifies, in several languages, that you have a valid foreign driver license. A police officer who cannot read the language on your foreign driver license can read the permit.
Note for US residents: The DMV does not issue International Driving Permits. Contact an automobile club that is a member of the American Automobile Association (AAA).