OBTAINING A NEW YORK STATE DRIVER'S LICENSE
The first step to get a driver license is to apply for a learner permit. The application must be done in person at the nearest Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) office. The best time to go is first thing in the morning when the lines are the shortest. The worst time to go is around lunch hour, when the wait on line can be upwards of an hour.
11 Greenwich Street
1293-1311 Broadway 8th Floor
159 East 125th Street. 3rd Floor
Phone numbers for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles :
DMV website: www.nydmv.state.ny.us
Before You Apply for Your Learner Permit:
Study the New York State Driver's Manual. You can read the Driver's Manual on-line and take practice quizzes, or you can get a Driver Manual from your local DMV office or DMV Call Center, listed above. Parts Two and Three of the Driver's Manual contain the information you must know to pass the written test to get a learner permit.
When you go to the DMV office you will need to bring your Social Security Card and four ‘points’ of proof of name. The ‘points’ refer to the system the DMV uses to rank the importance of documents. A partial list of acceptable forms of proof of name and their respective point values can be found below:
For example, a valid passport with an I-94 and a visa is worth three ‘points’, while a US bank statement with your name and address on it is worth one ‘point’. If you were to bring both of these items and your Social Security Card to the DMV you would have the four ‘points’ of proof of name required to apply for a learner permit. Obviously you will only be able to obtain most of the acceptable forms of identification after you have established residency and have lived in the US for at least a month or so. Until then, you will be able to use your driver license from your home country.
When You Apply:
Complete application form MV-44. Take the form and your proofs of identity and date of birth to a local DMV office. Take an eye test at the DMV office, or bring form MV-619 completed by an eye-care professional. Bring cash, check or a credit card to pay the application fee and the driver license fee. See the driver license fee schedule to determine your fee.
Take the written permit test. An appointment is not required, but you must arrive at the DMV office at least one half hour before the office closing time. If you plan to apply for a commercial driver license (CDL), contact your local DMV office for CDL test hours. You must give correct answers to at least 14 of the 20 multiple-choice questions in order to pass. This includes correct answers to at least two of the four road sign questions.
If you do not pass, you can take the written test again any number of times without a limit. You do not pay additional fees to take the test more than one time. If you do not pass, the DMV recommends that you study the Driver's Manual and take the test again another day. If you pass the test, the DMV issues you a learner permit valid for approximately 5 years. The exact expiration date of your permit depends on your exact date of birth and the date you apply.
Read the DMV brochure "Learner Permits and Junior Licenses" to learn about restrictions that apply to those who drive with learner permits and junior licenses.
When You Have Your Permit:
Practice frequently. The DMV recommends that you practice for at least 30 hours to prepare for your road test. Practice at least 10 hours of the 30 hours in medium to high volume traffic. The DMV recommends that you take professional driving lessons or practice with a driver who has a large amount of experience. Most new drivers fail their road test because they did not prepare.
Attend a mandatory pre-licensing course or complete a high school or college driver education course. Most commercial driving schools licensed by the DMV offer the DMV-approved pre-licensing course. A partial list of schools in Manhattan:
Model Driving School
Driving Center of New York
Auto School of America
At the end of the pre-licensing course, you must pass a multiple-choice test of 25 questions. To pass, you must give correct answers to 16 of the 25 questions. If you do not pass the test, you can take the test again. If you do not pass the test the second time, you must take the course again. When you pass, you receive an MV-278 pre-licensing course certificate. You must provide the certificate number when you make your road test appointment. You must also show the certificate to the road test examiner on the day of your road test.
Schedule a Road Test. Make an appointment for a road test by phone or schedule a road test on-line. (www.nydmv.state.ny.us/rtphone.htm) The test date is normally from three to ten weeks after the date that you make the appointment. The time between an appointment and the road test is normally longer in the summer.
Before you take your road test, read the DMV brochure, "Road Test Tips".
After your road test, the examiner will inform you of the results. If you did not pass, you can schedule another road test. If you do not pass the second road test, you must pay a $10 fee to take a maximum of two more road tests. If you did pass your test the license examiner will give you an interim driver license that is valid for 90 days. Keep the interim driver license with your learner permit as proof that you have a driver license. Follow the instructions below to get your photo driver license.
To Get Your Photo Driver License:
If you received a learner permit that was valid for more than one year when it was issued, the DMV will send your photo driver license in the mail. Your photo driver license is mailed to you in approximately four weeks. Do not go to a DMV office. The DMV office cannot give you a photo driver license.
If you received a learner permit that was valid for one year when it was issued, you must apply for your photo driver license at a DMV office. Wait a least five days after the date of your road test to apply at a DMV office. Bring your interim driver license and proof of identity to the DMV office, pay the driver license fees, and have your photo taken. The DMV office issues a new interim driver license without a photo that is valid for 90 days. Your photo driver license is mailed to you in approximately four weeks.
Probationary Period for New Drivers
Each new driver has a six-month probationary period that begins on the date of the successful road test. You do not receive a probationary period if you held a valid NYS driver license and passed the road test to add or change your license class.
The DMV will suspend your driver license if you commit specific violations during your probationary period. For more information about the probationary period, read the DMV brochure, "Suppose Your License Were Taken Away".