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The first thing you should do to get your New York driver’s license is to apply for a Learner’s permit. To qualify for the learner’s permit application, you must be 16 years and above. If you’re under 18, your legal guardian should consent to your application.

When preparing for your learner’s permit, you’re required to read the New York Driver’s manual found online or at the DMV office. To qualify for the permit, every teenager has to pass a written test or produce a form that proves they’ve completed a state-approved driver education course (Pre-licensing course).

Before we dive deeper into the guide, let’s first understand the various types of New York State driver’s licenses.

Types of Driver’s Licenses Available in New York

There are four types of driver’s licenses in New York, and each type has its own corresponding instruction permit.

Class D Driver’s License

This is the standard driver’s license known as Operator or DJ (Junior Operator). With it, you can operate a personal vehicle with a gross weight rating of 26,000 pounds or less, which can tow another vehicle of gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more. The gross weight rating of both motor vehicles must be exactly 26,000 or lower.

Class E Driver’s License

The Class E Driver’s License allows you to drive limousines, taxis, and other livery vehicles for hire, which don’t carry more than fourteen passengers.

Class A/B/C (Commercial) Driver’s License

With a Class A driver’s license, you can operate single unit vehicles and vehicle combinations up to the legal weight limits based on your endorsement. As for Classes B and C, you’ll be able to operate most single unit vehicles that Class E drivers can operate, including buses and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more depending on restrictions and endorsements (Class B) or 26,000 pounds or less depending on the restriction and endorsements (Class C).

Motorcycle Driver’s License (Class M)

Class M is a driver’s license for motorcycles. A Class MJ license allows you to operate the motorcycle with restrictions if you are above 16 and younger than 18 years.

Getting a Learner’s Permit in New York

As a first-time driver under 18 years of age, you’ll only get a learners permit after completing an approved 5-hours class. A New York learner’s permit allows you to drive a car under the supervision of an adult. But before then, you’ll need to apply for your permit.

You’ll be required to complete an application for permit form, also known as MV-44. If you’re 17 and already have a certified New York driver’s Ed course, you’re good to go, but if not, your legal guardian or parent must give consent.

During your application, you will have to provide your proof of identity and age before taking a written test at the DMV. This is the test that will get you a learner’s permit.

To prepare for the written test, you’ll have to study the New York State Driver’s manual and also take practice tests online. When you’re ready, you’ll make a reservation with the DMV to schedule your test. You can check your reservation online at the DMV Reservations page.

On the day of presenting your learners permit application to the DMV, carry your proof of identity and age documents, original Social Security Card, and fees. At the DMV, you’ll take the learners permit written test and a vision test.

The written test has 20 multiple choice questions, of which you have to get 14 questions right, including two of the four questions about traffic signs. If you pass the test, you’ll be issued with a learner’s permit and prepare for the next step, learning how to drive.

Download the DMV NY guide on how to get a driver’s license, learner’s permit, and non-driver ID card.

The 5-Hour Driver Education Course

The 5 hour driving class is a standardized, DMV-approved course for new drivers. The course teaches about

The course is available in colleges, high schools, and most driving schools. Completing the 5-hour drivers’ Ed course qualifies you for the Pre-licensing Course certificate. If you successfully complete this course while in college or high school, you’ll be issued a Student Certificate of Completion and you’ll not need a Pre-licensing course certificate. One of these certifications can schedule you for a road test.

Getting Ready for the Road Test

After receiving your learners permit, you can go ahead and drive a car under the supervision of an instructor. The DMV recommends 50 hours of driving practice, with 15 of them done at night and 10 hours within moderate or heavy traffic. This behind-the-wheel training will help you to develop your driving skills fully.

To apply for your driver’s license, you must have held your learners permit for six months. So you have enough time to practice and get ready for the road test.

Scheduling Your Road Test

To schedule a road test in New York, you’ll need your learners permit, your original pre-licensing course certificate or Student Certificate of Completion, the ZIP code of your testing location, and one unused test available from the time you applied for your license.

You can take your road test from any test location site. New York State road test are mostly scheduled on weekdays. Rarely are they offered on Saturdays.If you need to reschedule your road test, you have to cancel your first appointment.

Testing for Your Driver’s License in New York

On the day or your road test, you have to confirm that your appointment was not rescheduled, or your test wasn’t relocated to another place. This is because tests can be canceled, rescheduled, or relocated due to road construction or bad weather. Make sure you arrive at the DMV 30 minutes before time. Your license examiner may reschedule your test if you turn up late.

The requirements for your New York driver’s license testing include;

Passing the Road Test

The New York driver’s licensing test can be a walk in the park if you used your six months, behind-the-wheel-training seriously. Your examiners will test your ability to stop at intersections according to traffic signs or lights, how you make left and right turns, the way you drive in heavy traffic and make three-point turns, or how skilled you are in parallel parking. Always follow your examiner’s instructions to the latter to avoid getting failed or losing marks.

If you pass your New York driver’s license test, your examiner will hand you your interim license. This and your learners permit will allow you to drive as you wait for your driver’s license after about two weeks.

But if you are below 18 years, you’ll be under the restrictions of the Graduated License Law, which are well laid out on the DMV website.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get my driver’s license in NY?

Before you get your New York driver’s license, you first have to determine the license class and type you want. From there, you’ll then apply for a learners permit and take the written test at the DMV office.

Once you receive your learners permit, you’ll undergo supervised driving practice, and you must also take a driver’s education course or pre-licensing course before you schedule your road test. If you pass the test, you’ll be issued with an interim license, which you’ll use with your photo learner permit as you wait for your new driver’s license in about two weeks.

What documents are needed to get a driver’s license in New York?

For you to get your driver’s license, you must present;

How much is a New York Driver’s License?

The fees for your New York driver’s license will depend on your age, application time, and where you live. Your total fee will include;

How long is NY Driver’s License Valid?

For Classes D, DJ, and E driver licenses, the driver’s license expires on the same date as your learners permit. Both the learners permit and driver’s license are valid for 5 years. When applying for your learner permit and driver’s license, you’ll pay fees for the duration that the documents are valid.

Do I need a license to drive in New York?

To drive in New York, you must be 16 years and above, have a valid New York State learners permit or driver’s license, or a valid permit or driver’s license from another state or country. If under 18 years of age, you’ll have to obey the graduated license law of New York State.

If you have a driver’s license from any other nation, you won’t need a New York State driver’s license. You’ll only apply for a New York driver’s license once you become a state resident.