New York Driver’s License Guide: Start Driving in NY

New York Drivers License

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 18+ can move onto 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

Those having:

  • 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 an NY license (in full):

  1. Schedule and visit a local NY DMV office
  2. Provide personal identification*
  3. Provide proof of residency*
  4. Provide a valid learner permit or provisional license
  5. Show proof of insurance
  6. Submit education certificates
    1. Driver education program (MV-285)
    2. Pre-licensing program (MV-278)
  7. Pass the road test
  8. Pay the application fee
  9. Get your interim license

Your interim license is good until you receive your full license in the mail.

Proof of Identification includes items like:

  • Passport
  • 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.

Other Registrations

Motorcycles? Boats? Salvaged vehicles? See our other NY vehicle registrations 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.