How to Get A Driver’s License in New York (A Complete 2024 Guide)

How to Get A Driver’s License in New York

There are several rites of passage that mark every teenager’s life — and one of them is getting their driver’s license.

But the process can be a bit overwhelming…

Where do you start?

What do you need to do?

We’ve got you covered. 

Today, we’re going to show you how to get a driver’s license in New York. We’ll walk you through all the stages, all the requirements, and all the details. 

Also, don’t forget to check out the FAQ section — it provides additional information that might come in handy when working on your driver’s license.

So, let’s get this show started! 

New York Driver’s License Requirements

Teens in New York have to go through a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law. This involves 3 stages, namely: 

  • Junior permit
  • Junior driver’s license
  • Adult driver’s license

Let’s look at the details for each stage. 

How to Get a Junior Permit in New York 

Once you turn 16 years old, you can start working on your junior permit.

Great news! In New York, you can now take the permit test online!

Here are the steps:

  1. Determine which license type you want. The New York DMV issues three license types — Standard, Enhanced, and REAL ID. Click here for a side-by-side comparison — it may help you identify your preference.
  1. Create an account with the NY DMV website (if you don’t already have one).
  1. Apply for a junior permit on the website. 
  1. Follow the prompts on the screen. 
  1. Upload all necessary documents:
    1. Proof of age
    2. Proof of identity
    3. Proof of residence in New York

NOTE: You can check what documents are acceptable for a Standard license here and an Enhanced or Real ID here

  1. Click on ‘I Am Ready to Take My Test’ to start the online permit test. 

NOTE: You must have a webcam and you must allow the DMV to access that webcam. If not, then you won’t be able to take the permit test online. 

  1. Take and pass the permit test. If you fail, you can try again in 6 hours. 
  1. If you pass, the DMV will email you a link to schedule an appointment with a DMV office. 
  1. At the DMV office, make sure to bring:
    1. Original copy of your proof of age, identity, and residency that you uploaded. 
    2. Your parent or legal guardian
    3. A filled-out and signed Online Permit Test Parent/Guardian Certification form. IMPORTANT! Your parent or legal guardian must sign the form in front of a DMV representative. 
  1. Have your photo taken.
  1. Pay the junior permit fee:
    1. For 16 and 16½ years old – $80
    2. For 16½ and 17 years old – $76.75
    3. For 17 and 17½ years old – $92.50
    4. For 17½ and 18 years old – $89.25

NOTE: If you live in the MCTD region, you need to pay an additional $10. Also, if you’re getting an Enhanced license, there is an additional fee of $30. 

  1. Receive your temporary junior permit. You will receive the official permit in 2 weeks via mail. 

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take part in the online permit test, follow these steps:

  1. Gather the following documents:
    1. Proof of age
    2. Proof of identity
    3. Proof of residence in New York
  1. Download and fill out the MV44 form (Application for Permit, Driver License, or Non-Driver ID Card). This must be signed by your parent or legal guardian. 
  1. Make a reservation to visit a DMV office and take your permit test.
  1. Do the following on your visit:
    1. Submit all the documents
    2. Have your photo taken
    3. Pay the junior permit fee (see above for prices)
  1. Take and pass the permit test. 
  1. Get your temporary permit. 

And just like that, you have a junior permit! 

You can now practice driving on the roadway. We suggest you gain as much experience as possible because it will prepare you for stage 2.

But remember, when you drive, you should always have a licensed driver supervising you in the front seat. 

How to Get a Junior Driver’s License in New York

To go from a junior permit to a junior driver’s license, you first need to meet these requirements: 

  • You’ve had your permit for at least 6 months.
  • You underwent either of the following:
    • A 5-Hour Pre-Licensing Course.
    • A state-approved high school or college driver’s education program.
  • You accumulated 50 hours of supervised driving, with 15 hours done at night. 

Checking off all three boxes means you can take the next step — the road test.

Here are the steps:

  1. Choose a road test location. Click here to see all locations.
  1. Schedule your road test

NOTE: You must have the following when you schedule:

  • Your DMV ID number
  • Your Course Completion Certificate (if you took a Pre-Licensing Course)
  • Driver Education Certificate (if you finished driver’s ed)
  • The 5-digit zip code of your preferred testing site
  1. Bring the following documents to your road test:
    1. Your valid Junior Permit
    2. A filled-out MV262 form (Certification of Supervised Driving), signed by your parent or guardian.
  1. Pass your road test.
  1. Pay the fee of $17.50. 
  1. Get your temporary license online. You can use this, along with your photo junior permit, to drive while waiting for your official junior license to arrive via mail. 

Although you can now drive unsupervised with a junior driver’s license, ensure you don’t get convictions for any of the following within the first 6 months:

  • Speeding or taking part in a speed contest
  • Reckless driving
  • Tailgating
  • Using a cell phone or any portable electronic device
  • Committing any two other moving violations, including not wearing a seatbelt

A conviction during your probation period leads to a 60-day license suspension. Once you restore your driving privileges, your 6-month probationary period will restart.

You also should NOT:

  • Drive unsupervised from 9 pm to 5 am unless you are driving home, to work (you must show proof of employment), or to school. 
  • Drive with more than 1 passenger aged 21 if not part of your immediate family. 

How to Get an Adult Driver’s License in New York

If you hold a junior driver’s license, you automatically get an adult driver’s license in the mail once you turn 18 years old. 

However, you can upgrade from junior to adult at 17 years old. To do that, you have to:

  1. Visit a DMV office with the following:
    1. Your valid junior driver’s license
    2. Your Student Certificate of Completion from your driver’s ed provider

NOTE: If you took the 5-Hour Pre-Licensing Course, you are not eligible to do an early upgrade. 

  1. Exchange these for an adult driver’s license.

And there you have it!

You completed the whole Graduated Driver Licensing process — CONGRATS!

But hold up…

What if you’re already 18 or older and starting from scratch? 

Well, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Log in or create an account with the NY DMV website.
  1. Apply for an adult driver’s license on the website. 
  1. Follow the online prompts. 
  1. Upload all necessary documents:
    1. Proof of age
    2. Proof of identity
    3. Proof of residence in New York

NOTE: Click here for acceptable Standard license documents and here for acceptable Enhanced and REAL ID documents. 

  1. Start your online permit test. You must have a webcam and accept webcam access from the DMV. 
  1. Pass the permit test. 
  1. Schedule an appointment with a DMV office through the link emailed to you. 
  1. While there, submit the following:
    1. Original copy of your proof of age, identity, and New York residence. 
    2. A filled-out and signed Online Permit Test Attestation for Applicants 18 Years of Age and Older. IMPORTANT! You must sign the form in front of a DMV representative. 
  1. Have your photo taken.
  1. Pay the adult driver’s license fee:
    1. 18 and 18½ years old – $80 (plus $10 if in an MCTD region)
    2. 18½ and 21 years old – $76.75, $80, $85.75, and $90.
    3. 21 and older – $64.25, $67.50, $73.25, and $77.50
  1. Receive your learner’s permit.
  1. Gain driving experience.
  1. Complete a driver’s education program OR take the 5-Hour Pre-Licensing Course (you can take it in-person or online).
  1. Schedule a road test.
  1. Pass your road test.
  1. Pay a permit to license fee of $17.50.
  1. Get a copy of your temporary license. The official one arrives through the mail.

The process is a lot shorter if you begin at 18 or older. 


For more information, let’s go over some frequently asked questions. 

Can I apply for a New York driver’s license online?

Yes. New York allows aspiring drivers to begin their permit application online. You can even take the written test from the comfort of your home. Just make sure that you have a webcam and that you give access to the DMV. 

How fast can I get a NY driver’s license?

Teens aged 16-17 have to complete New York’s Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) law. Compared to other states, however, the NY GDL is a lot shorter. You can already have an adult driver’s license at 17 years old. 

For those 18 and older, the process is even shorter. You can complete all the steps in one go. 

Can you get your license at 18 without a permit in New York?

Unfortunately, everyone who applies for a driver’s license in New York must first get a permit. This applies even if you’re over 18 years old. 

How many questions are on the permit test in NY?

New York’s permit test only has 20 items. All the questions are multiple-choice, and you need a score of 14 or higher to pass it.

If you fail the test, don’t panic. The DMV will allow you to retake it without paying an additional fee.

How much does the 5-hour course cost in NY?

You’ll spend around $50 for the 5-hour Pre-Licensing Course in New York. Providers offer in-person and online classes. But it’s important to note that only those 18 and older can take it online. 

How long is the road test in NY?

The road test in New York only runs for about 15 minutes. 

How do I know if I passed my road test in NY?

You can check the DMV’s Road Test Results website to see whether or not you passed. You need your DMV ID number and birthdate to log in.

What automatically fails you in a driving test in NY?

Examiners use a point system to assess your driving skills during your road test. You fail if you commit mistakes that equate to more than 30 points.

Unfortunately, several maneuvers have as much as 15 points (so incorrectly demonstrating two of these means you won’t pass your driving test).

These include the following:

  • You can’t make a 3-point turn.
  • You used excessive speed for conditions (considering the weather, road, and traffic).
  • Driving too slowly.
  • Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians or other vehicles.
  • You didn’t show steering control while demonstrating maneuvers, driving straight, or making turns.

How many times can you fail the NY road test?

Your initial payment covers 2 attempts to pass your road test. After that, you must pay an additional $10 to get 2 more chances.

The Wrap Up

And that was how to get a driver’s license in New York.

Fortunately for you, the State of New York makes it so easy — you can apply and take the permit test online! 

What’s more, you can get an adult driver’s license at just 17 years old. 

So what are you waiting for?

Go ahead and get started right away!

Good luck!

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