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Apply for New York Drivers License

New York Drivers License Application

If you have never been licensed before, applying for a New York driver's license may seem like a very confusing business. Where do you go, what do you do, how do you start the application process? We advise that you start by obtaining a copy of the New York drivers license handbook, the book that is published and distributed by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles free of charge. The book has a detailed description of the licensing procedure and is of great value to anyone who is applying for an NYS driver license. Teenagers should pay close attention to the New York graduated driver's license program that is described in the book as the program sets a number of additional restrictions and requirements that apply to all drivers license applicants under 18 years of age.

New York Drivers License - Under 18 Years of Age

If you are under 18 years of age and would like to apply for a New York drivers license, you will have to start by obtaining a learners permit. The minimum age for obtaining an NYS learners permit is 16, however you can start the application procedure as soon as you turn 15. You may even take the permit test before you are 16 if you do so through the DMV Online Knowledge Application (OKTA) program at your high school.

Once you pass the drivers permit test and receive your learners permit, you can get behind the wheel and practice your driving skills. Keep in mind that your permit does not grant you full driving privileges and you must observe New York permit restrictions while driving.

According to the New York graduated driver's license program, you must hold a learners permit for at least six months prior to applying for a drivers license. If you have not completed a state-approved NY drivers education course, you will need to take a 5 hour drivers safety course at this stage. In addition to completing the five-hour course, you must also complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving with parents or legal guardians, 15 hours being done after sunset.

When the above requirements are met, you can schedule your New York drivers test. Upon successful completion of the driver's license test, you are issued with a junior drivers license (sometimes it is also called a provisional drivers license). NY provisional license restrictions are county-specific, so make sure you know what license restrictions apply in the area where you live. Provisional drivers license restrictions are lifted in 12 months or once you reach the age of 18, whichever comes first.

New York Driver's License - 18 Years of Age and Older

Applying for a New York drivers license is somewhat easier for those who are at least 18 years of age, however they must still start by applying for a New York learners permit first. Just like anyone else, you will be required to visit a local DMV office and take a vision exam and a DMV permit test. Once the test are completed, you are issued with a drivers permit.

Once you have a permit, you can start practicing driving with another licensed driver at least 21 years of age. There is no minimum amount of time that you need to hold your permit for and you can go ahead and take the drivers test as soon as you feel ready, however the DMV recommends that you take at least 50 hours of driving before chancing the NY drivers license test. You must also complete a mandatory 5 hour drivers safety course, unless you chose to participate in a full-scale drivers education program.

Once you pass the drivers license test, you are issued with a full unrestricted New York drivers license.

Test Required

In order to achieve a New York drivers license, you will be required to take a number of tests. These tests were designed to evaluate whether you have the skills required for operating a vehicle and are physically fit to drive. Every New York driver license applicant has to take a vision exam, a learners permit test and a road skills test.

New York Vision Exam

To pass the vision test in NY, you must have 20/40 vision in at least one eye with or without corrective lenses. If you cannot pass this test or if you wear telescopic lenses, contact a DMV Call Center for further guidance.

Drivers Permit Test

The permit test in New York consist of 20 multiple choice questions on the state driving rules, road signs, safe driving practices and effects of drugs and alcohol on driving. In order to pass the test, you need to answer at least 14 of these questions correctly and you must correctly answer at least two out of four questions on road signs. All of the NY DMV permit test questions are based on the information put forth in the DMV drivers license handbook.

When it comes to taking the permit test, teenagers have two options. The drivers permit test can be taken at the DMV office or through your high school, if the school is participating in the the DMV Online Knowledge Test Application (OKTA) program. If you take the test at school, your school officials will provide you with a receipt to present at the DMV office when you go in to hand in your paperwork and apply for a New York drivers permit.

If you are unsure as to whether you are ready to take the permit test, New York drivers practice tests can help you make this decision. Practice permit tests are based on the same materials as the real exam, they are completely free and you can take them as many times as you need.

Drivers License Test

Taking a New York drivers license test is the final step of the application process. The drivers test must be scheduled well in advance, you can schedule an appointment for an NY drivers test through the DMV website, over the phone or by paying a visit to your local DMV office.

It is up to you to provide a vehicle for the driver's license test. The vehicle must be registered, insured and pass a safety inspection. If your vehicle's mechanical condition is found to be unsatisfactory, you will have to reschedule the driving test for another time.

Once you pass the drivers license test, you will be given a receipt that allows you to drive for 90 days after the test date. Your actual NYS drivers license will be mailed to you and you should expect it to arrive within 2-3 weeks after you complete the test.

Documents Required

You will have to present the following documents while applying for a New York drivers license:

  • proof of name
  • proof of birth date
  • Social Security Card
  • 5 hour pre-licensing course certificate MV-278 (not required if you take a drivers education course)
  • drivers education certificate of completion MV-285 (not required if you take a 5 hour class)
  • certification of supervised driving MV-262 (not required if you completed a drivers education course or are at least 18 years of age

If you want to find out what documents qualify as proof of name and birth date, please contact the Department of Motor Vehicles directly.