Get a driver license
New York State residents age 16 or over can apply for a New York driver license.
Step 1: Determine what license class and type you need
- D – Operator – this is what most people have (or DJ – Junior Operator, if under 18)
- A, B, C – Commercial (CDL) – (required to drive tractor trailers, buses etc.) learn about CDLs
- M – Motorcycle – learn about motorcycle licenses
- E – Taxi or Livery- learn more about taxi and livery licenses
See information about driver license classes.
- beginning October 1, 2021, not accepted to board a domestic (within U.S.) flight or to enter some federal buildings
- Has ‘NOT FOR FEDERAL PURPOSES’ on the front
- REAL ID
- can be used to board a domestic (within U.S.) flight
- has a white star in a black circle on the front
- can be used to board a domestic flight (within U.S.)
- can be used to enter U.S. at land crossings from Canada, Mexico and some Carribean countries
- has a U.S. flag on the front
- costs an additional $30
Learn more about Enhanced, REAL ID and Standard documents.
Step 2: Get a learner permit
Before you can get a license, you must apply for a learner permitat DMV office and take the written test. You can prepare by reading the New York State Driver’s Manual and taking practice tests.
Learn how to get a learner permit.
Step 3: Practice driving and take a pre-licensing course
Once you have a learner permit, you must have supervised driving practice and you must take a pre-licensing course or a driver education course before you take your road test.
Step 4: Pass a road test
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 learner permit until your new license arrives in the mail (in about 2 weeks).
See how to schedule and take a road test.
Fees depend on what you are applying for, your age, and where you live. Use the fee chart to estimate your fee.
Replace, renew, restore, or exchange
See how to renew your license.
Exchange out-of-state license
If you are under 18
Graduated license law
If you are under age 18 or are the parent of a driver under age 18, it is very important that you understand the Graduated Driver License (GDL) Law and the restrictions on drivers under age 18.
Senior license before 18
If you are 17, you are eligible for a senior driver license (Class D or M) if you have a junior driver license or limited junior driver license and have completed a state-approved high school or college driver education course. To change your junior license to a senior license, bring your junior license and the Student Certificate of Completion (MV-285) that you received from your instructor to any DMV office. You must return your certificate and junior license to receive the senior license. If you do not change your junior license to a senior license, you are subject to the restrictions for junior drivers until you are age 18, even if you carry the completion certificate with you. You can also give your certificate with your junior permit to the license examiner at your road test.
When you turn 18
If you are not eligible for a senior license before you turn 18, you will automatically receive a senior license in the mail when you turn 18.
Probationary period for new drivers
Once you pass your road test or restore a revoked driver license, you will have 6 month probationary period. During this time, your license will be suspended for 60 days if you are convicted of any the following
- participating in a speed contest
- reckless driving
- following too closely
- use of a mobile telephone
- use of a portable electronic device (for example a smart phone, tablet, GPS or MP3 player)
- any 2 other moving violations
After the suspension ends, you will have a second 6 month probation period.
If you are convicted of one of the violations above (or 2 other moving violations) during the second probation period, your license will be revoked for at least 6 months. When the revocation ends, you must serve another a 6 month probationary period.
Your first license is valid for 5 years
For a Class D, Class DJ, and Class E driver license, the expiration date of your learner permit becomes the expiration date of your driver license. Together the learner permit and the driver license are valid for a maximum of 5 years. When you apply for a learner permit and a driver license, you pay the fee for the length of time that the documents are valid.
For example, a learner permit that was issued to you in 2014 will be valid until your birthday in 2019. You pay the fee for a document that is valid for 5 years. If you pass your road test in 2017, your driver license will expire in 2019. Your driver license keeps the expiration date of your learner permit. When you a change from a Class DJ junior license to a Class D senior license, the date does not change.
Drivers from other countries
You can drive in New York State with a valid driver license from another country. You don’t need to apply for a New York State driver license unless you become a New York State resident.
If you choose to get a New York driver license (following the steps explained on this page), when you pass your road test, you must give your foreign driver license to the DMV road test examiner.
- Definition of Resident per Section 250 (5) of the NY State Vehicle and Traffic Law: “As used in this section, the term ‘resident’ shall mean domiciliary, that is, one who lives in this state with the intention of making it a fixed and permanent abode. It shall be presumptive evidence that a person who maintains a place of abode in this state for a period of at least ninety days is a resident of this state.”To live in a house, a home, an apartment, a room or other similar place in NY State for 90 days is considered “presumptive evidence” that you are a resident of New York State. A police officer can use this as evidence to issue a traffic ticket if you drive in New York State without a New York State driver license or vehicle registration.A judge considers the law and the evidence of your intent and decides if you are a resident of New York State. If you pay taxes or your children attend school in another state, a judge considers these facts to decide if your intent is to make NY State a “fixed and permanent” residence. According to this law, students from other states or from other nations who attend school in NY State are usually not considered residents of NY State. DMV does not decide if you are a resident of New York State, if you must get a New York State driver license, or if you must register your vehicle in New York State.
About the New York State Driver Point System
What is the Driver Violation Point System and how does it work?
The Driver Violation Point System gives the New York State DMV a way to identify and take action against high risk drivers. The DMV assigns points for certain traffic violations. If you get 11 points in an 18-month period, your driver license may be suspended. However, the point system is not the only way to lose your license (see Suspensions and Revocations).
How your point total is calculated
- you must be convicted of the traffic violation before points are added to your driving record
- your point total is calculated based on the date of the violation, not the date of the conviction
- the points for violations that all occurred within the last 18 months are added to calculate your point total
Number of points assigned for common traffic violations
|Speeding (MPH over posted limit)|
|1 to 10||3|
|11 to 20||4|
|21 to 30||6|
|31 to 40||8|
|Failed to stop for school bus||5|
|Followed too closely (tailgating)||4|
|Inadequate brakes (private car)||4|
|Inadequate Brakes (employer’s vehicle)||2|
|Failed to yield right-of-way||3|
|Disobeying traffic control signal, STOP sign or YIELD sign||3|
|Railroad crossing violation||5|
|Improper passing, changing lane unsafely||3|
|Driving left of center, in wrong direction||3|
|Leaving scene of property damage incident||3|
|Child safety restraint violation||3|
|Improper cell phone use||5|
|Use of portable electronic device (“texting”)||5|
|Any other moving violation||2|
Points are not assigned for the following violations
- any bicycle violation
- any pedestrian violation
- any parking violation
- any violation related to unregistered, unlicensed or uninsured operation
- any violation related to motor vehicle inspection, vehicle weights or dimensions or vehicle equipment other than inadequate service brakes
- any violation related to a business or the sale of goods established in the Vehicle and Traffic Law or any local law
- a violation related to the improper use of High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes in Suffolk County, between exits 49 and 57 of the Long Island Expressway
- any other violation not resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle
Driver Responsibility Assessment
If you receive 6 or more points on your New York State driving record in 18 months, you must pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee.
If you are convicted of a traffic violation in another state or country, points are not added to your New York State driving record, unless the violation occurred in Ontario or Quebec.
New York State has a reciprocal agreement with Quebec and Ontario. Traffic violation convictions that occur in these provinces are recorded on your New York State driver record, and the convictions have the same effect and carry the same points as convictions that occur in New York State. This can affect your driver violation point total and Driver Responsibility Assessment.
Insurance companies have their own point systems and can increase your premiums based on your driving record. Contact your insurance company for more information.
Point and Insurance Reduction Program
Taking a DMV-approved Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) course will
- help to prevent you from losing your license in the event you accrued 11 or more points on your driving record
- 4 points are ‘subtracted’ for the purposes of calculating a suspension if you have 11 or more points
- the tickets/points do not physically come off your driving record
- save 10 percent on your automobile liability and collision insurance premiums
Check My Points
You use the MyDMV ‘My License, Permit or ID’ service to check your points. You will need the ID number and document number from your most recently issued New York State
- driver license,
- learner permit, or
- non-driver ID
If you lost your document, renewed or ordered a new one recently and have not received it in the mail yet, you will need to wait for it to arrive before you can create a MyDMV account.