How to Get a New York Driver’s License
New York has a Graduated Driver License program, or GDL, that will give you time to learn how to drive in a controlled way. There are three stages to this program, from no license to full license.
You can start the New York GDL program at 16, and it takes a year to complete. First, supervised driving with your junior learner’s permit. Hold it for 6 months, complete driver’s ed, and upgrade to your junior driver’s license. Then, 6 months of restricted driving, to get a full driver’s license.
The steps below have the details you’ll need to know to get your full, unrestricted NY driver’s license.
Get your New York junior learner permit
You can start the process to get your license at 16 years old. To get ready for driving, you can download the New York State Driver’s Manual and start reading through it. Find your local New York DMV location to schedule your learner’s permit test.
You’ll need to bring several things with you, like your Application for Driver’s License Form, or MV-44. You’ll also need to bring multiple forms of identification and proof of residency. Check out the New York DMV approved documentation guide for an overview of everything you’ll need. If you’re under 18 years old, you will also need a parent or guardian’s permission.
Your next step will be to pass a vision test. You can bring the results from one administered by your doctor or take one at your local New York DMV.
In addition to the vision test, you’ll have to pass a written examination.
This test for your learner’s permit consists of 20 multiple choice questions. You’ll have to answer at least 14 correctly to pass.
It’s never a bad idea to practice before your written exam, so consider taking some practice tests after you’ve studied the New York State Driver’s Manual.
The cost of applying for your New York junior learner’s permit will vary based on your age, but if you’re between 16 and 18 years old, your costs will range between $76.75 and $98.25.
You should note that $10 of this application fee goes to cover two attempts at your New York DMV Road test. This is the test you’ll take when you apply for your junior driver license.
When you pass, you will be given an official paper which is your New York Junior driver’s permit. You’ll need to have that with you every time you’re behind the wheel.
You must have your permit for at least 6 months before you can apply for a New York junior driver license if you are under 18 years of age. During that time, you’ll need to have 50 hours of driving practice with 15 of those being at night and 10 being in heavy traffic. Your permit comes with a few restrictions:
- You may only drive while accompanied by a parent, guardian, or another licensed driver 21 or older.
- You may not drive on any street located within a park in New York City.
- You may not drive on or through any bridge or tunnel that falls under the jurisdiction of the Tri-borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority
- You may not drive on the Saw Mill River, Cross Country, Hutchison River, or Taconic State Parkways in Westchester County
- You may not drive in a DMV road test area
This is the point that you’ll need to get driving instruction. New York requires new drivers to take 4 hours of New York MVD approved pre licensing education. Additionally, it’s recommended that you take a full driver’s education course, consisting of 24 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of supervised driving practice.
Collisions and tickets are expensive and dangerous. The right New York MVD approved driver education course will be fun, engaging, and equip you with the skills to keep out of trouble and stay safe on the road.
When you’re ready to enroll in driver education, find a driving school to get started.
Once you’ve completed the required amount of instruction, you can apply for your New York junior driver’s license.
Get your New York junior driver license
Receiving your license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements. Those are:
- Reaching the age of 16 and 6 months.
- Holding your learner’s permit for 6 months
- Completing your driver’s education course
- Completing your supervised driving time — be sure to bring your completed MV-262 signed by a parent or guardian for verification.
Driving Skills Test: You will be required to pass a driving test with a New York DMV evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.
Before you take it, you should check out the Top 10 Automatic Fails on Driver Tests, so you’ll know what not to do on test day.
You’re license application fee covers 2 road tests, so you will not have to pay any additional money if you do not pass the first time. Should you fail twice, however, you’ll have to pay $10 for 2 more tests. Note that you will not be refunded any money for unused test attempts.
Your New York junior driver license will be mailed to you and will have your photograph on it. They take your picture the day you pass your driving skills test. The restrictions to your license will be based on your age and the part of the state you’re driving in. If you’re under 18 years of age, your license counts as a Junior Operator’s license. You may not have more than one passenger in the car under 21 years of age.
NY junior driver licenses are also restricted in where they are allowed to operate:
Between 5:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M.:
- You may not drive in New York City
- You may drive alone directly to or from work or school, or unrestricted while supervised on Long Island
- You may drive without being accompanied in all other counties
Between 9:00 P.M. and 5:00 A.M.
- You may not drive in New York City
- You may drive alone to and from work or school in Long Island
- You may drive alone to and from work or school and can drive under supervision without restrictions in all other counties.
Get your full unrestricted NY driver’s license
At a certain point, the New York DMV feels that you’ve been able to receive enough supervised driving experience that you can go out on your own. That age is 17 years old. Once you turn 17, and have completed a driver’s education course, you can get your full license.
This means that all previous restrictions are lifted. However, you will not receive an updated license until that one expires. After you renew your license, you will receive your full, unrestricted license in the mail.
Whether you’ve just finished your New York graduated licensing process, or are just starting out, you might also want to consider a telematic companion application to better understand your driving habits, and how to improve them.
The best option is the DriverZ Virtual Coach. Download it today to sharpen your S.P.I.D.E.R.Senses™ to build the driving skills that will keep you safe for a lifetime, track your supervised driving hours, and access bespoke driver training based on your specific needs.
Frequently asked questions
Here are answers to some common questions you might have as you start out on your NY graduated licensing journey.
Can I drive with an out of state learner’s permit in New York?
Out of state drivers younger than 16 years old are not allowed to use those permits to drive in New York.
If you’re driving with a permit and are age 16 or older, you are allowed to drive in New York, however there are a few things to keep in mind:
- You must still observe any driving restrictions required by your home state
- Any and all New York State junior leaner permit and junior license regulations also apply, including time and region restrictions.
Can I change the information on my New York junior learner’s permit, junior driver’s license, or driver’s license?
New York drivers may change information on their permits and licenses. The fee is $12.50.
Consult the New York State how-to-change-information guide, before filling out your MV-44NC application.
New York Department of Motor Vehicles information
For comprehensive information on everything related to the New York graduated licensing program, visit the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. You can also email the DMV directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prepare for your license journey by reviewing the New York State Driver’s Handbook, and taking a few practice tests.