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New York Drivers License Guide

If you are a new driver who has never had a driver's license before, you'll need to do down to a local DMV office and get your license in person. To save yourself the time and hassle of making multiple trips, it's a good idea to make sure that you meet the DMV's licensing requirements first. The requirements are different depending on if you are under 18 or over 18. If you are under 18, you must:

  • Be age 16 or older
  • Have completed a New York driver's education course in school or a New York pre-licensing course from a private company. Bring the certificate of completion to the road test with you.
  • Have your learner's permit. To get your learner's permit you must pass a written test on New York traffic laws, pass a vision exam, prove your identity, social security number and date of birth and have parental consent if you are 16 years old. If you are 17, you also need parental consent unless you took a driver's education class in school.
  • Pass the road test. 
  • Bring the following documents: Your learner's permit, and a completed copy of form MV-262 to show that you have practiced driving for at least 20 hours with your learner's permit, unless you are 17 or older and took a driver's ed class in school.  

If you are over 18 but have never been licensed before, you must:

  • Obtain a learner's permit by passing the vision test and the written test. You'll pay $55-$65 to get your permit, and you must bring proof of identity, proof of your birthday, and proof of your social security number.
  • Practice driving, and take the 5-hour pre-licensing course.
  • Bring your permit and your certificate of completion from the pre-licensing course to the DMV with you when you take your road test.
  • Pass the road test.

The DMV requires you to prove your identity before any driving documents can be issued. In order to discourage fraud while still giving everyone a chance to prove their identity and get a driver's license, the DMV has developed a point system for documents that can be used to prove identity. They will accept many different documents to help you establish your identity, but the total point value of the documents you submit must be greater than 6. Also, multiple documents of the same type do not give multiple points. Click here to see the point values of the documents that the DMV will accept.

If you have a valid driver's license from another state, you don't have to worry about getting a learner's permit or taking the road test. You will have to pass a vision exam and provide verification of your identity, date of birth and social security number. If you are not eligible for a social security number, you'll need to get a note from the SSA to take to the DMV with you. You'll also need to pay a $10 application fee plus the driver's license fee. The driver's license fee varies depending on how old you are, so take a look at the table below to figure out how much you'll need to pay: 

  • If you are 16-16 1/2, you'll pay $75.00
  • If you are 16 1/2-17, you'll pay $72.50
  • If you are 17 to 17 1/2, you'll pay $85.00
  • If you are 17 1/2 to 18, you'll pay $72.50
  • If you are 18 to 18 1/2, it's $65.00
  • If you are 18 1/2 to 21, the fee is $62.50-$65.00
  • If you're over 21, it's $52.50-$55.00


Renewing your license

Fortunately, once you have a license, renewing it is a fairly simple process. The DMV will mail you a notice of renewal 45 days before your current license expires. If you have a current, valid license with a photo and no restrictions, in most cases you can renew it online or by mail. You will need to get your vision checked by an eye care professional. Your eye doctor will fill out a form certifying your vision. You can use this form to renew online, or send it in by mail with your renewal paperwork.  The renewal fee for a normal class D or class DJ license is $50.00.

If you need or want a different photograph on your license, you will have to stop by a DMV office. Consider going to a Driver's License Express office. These offices only handle driver's license issues, so the lines are usually much, much quicker. You can find locations and hours for DMV offices near you by clicking here

Registering a vehicle

If you are registering a vehicle in New York for the first time, you'll need to bring the following information to the DMV:

  • Form MV-82, the application for title and registration
  • Payment for sales taxes and fees. The DMV will give you the total amount due after they read over your application.
  • Proof that you own vehicle. For example, the signed title and/or a bill of sale 
  • Proof of New York automobile insurance
  • Proof of New York sales tax payment, exemption or purchase price
  • Proof of identity and date of birth.

If you haven't changed your address since you got your tags, you can renew your registration online, by mail, or over the phone (5.00 extra). If your address has changed, you'll need to go in to a DMV office. Usually, the DMV will send you renewal paperwork to complete that will show your renewal fee. If you don't get the paperwork and you wish to renew by mail, you can print the forms off and send the DMV a blank check. They will fill in the appropriate amount and withdraw it from your bank. Make sure to give yourself 2 weeks to receive your new tags and registration.

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