New York Driver’s License Guide: Start Driving in NY
The state of New York uses a graduated driver licensing program (GPL) starting at age 16. The first stage is the learner’s permit followed by a provisional license. Those having met the driving requirements or are 18+ can move on to getting their adult license.
Every driver in NY must complete a driver’s education course or pre-licensing course. This guide will share what else is required – and the steps you’ll take – when getting an adult license in New York state.
How to Get a New York License
- Held a provisional/junior for 6-months
- 18 and over
…can apply for a driver’s license or consider an Enhanced or REAL ID (see NY’s guidelines). There are several driver’s license types in NY, but this section is for Class D (your average license in New York).
Here is what you’ll do when applying for a NY license (in full):
- Schedule and visit a local NY DMV office
- Provide personal identification*
- Provide proof of residency*
- Provide a valid learner permit or provisional license
- Show proof of insurance
- Submit education certificates
- Driver education program (MV-285)
- Pre-licensing program (MV-278)
- Pass the road test
- Pay the application fee
- Get your interim license
Your interim license is good until you receive your full license in the mail.
Proof of Identification includes items like:
- Birth Certificate
- Social Security Card
- W-2 or 1099
Proof of residency includes items like:
- Mortgage statement
- Utility bill
- Current deed
- Medical/health card
The DMV driving test verifies adult drivers can:
- Check for safety
- Control the vehicle
- Obey traffic signs
- Signal properly
- Observe and communicate
Practice makes perfect so be sure to do a combination of day & night driving!
Submitting the paperwork, identification, and passing the tests will award New York residents with a license.
The first driver’s license is valid for 5 years giving lots of time until you renew your NY license.
Motorcycles? Boats? Salvaged vehicles? See our other NY vehicle registration guide.
Find a Local DMV Location in New York
Need help finding the nearest NY DMV location? Use our NY DMV directory.
Or, use our on-site search if you know the name of the location.