Drivers in the Military in New York
Most states allow military personnel stationed outside the state to extend their driver licenses and vehicle registrations online or by mail as a convenience. New York supports its soldiers even more by eliminating the need to do even that―the New York Department of Motor Vehicles extends the driver licenses and vehicle registrations of military personnel automatically.
If you are deployed from New York for active military duty in the war on terrorism or the military action in Iraq, count on the DMV to keep your driver license and registration current until you return.
Once you return (after discharge or separation from the military), you have up to 6 months to renew your license in addition to the normal grace period of 24 months, and you'll have 60 days upon your return to renew your registration.
Driver License Extension
To make the process work smoothly, before you're deployed you should file a Notification of Military Service (Form MV-75) with the DMV (it's free). This form notifies the DMV you are entering or in the military, and wish to have your driver status maintained. You'll file part 1 with the DMV and keep part 2 with your driver license. Filing this form will ensure that the DMV doesn't purge your license once the expiration date passes.
When you return and wish to renew your license, you should show the DMV proof of the date you entered military service. If you were discharged within the past 30 months (the normal grace period of 24 months plus the additional 6 months for military personnel), instead show a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (Form DD-214). In either case, if your license was valid at any time during your military service, the DMV will renew it.
For renewing a registration that expired while you were on active military duty, you have 60 days from your date of return to New York to submit proof of military service or separation in order to renew the registration. Note that this extension applies only to vehicles registered to the person in the military, not those registered to any family members.
One thing you're not allowed to let lapse while you are away is the liability insurance coverage on the vehicle; you must maintain this at all times or else surrender your license plates before you ship out. However, the DMV offers a bit of slack here as well. If you are unable to maintain liability insurance, the DMV can exempt you from "administrative actions" (stiff penalties for lapsed insurance that might include fines and the loss of your driver license) as long as you provide a notarized statement that the vehicle was not used during the period it was uninsured.
Along with this, you'll need to submit a copy of your military ID, proof that the vehicle is now insured (or that you have surrendered the plates), and signed and dated copies of your deployment and return papers. Instead of this last item you may also submit a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (Form DD-214) if you've separated from service. You may supply this paperwork to a local DMV office or mail them to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Insurance Services Bureau
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228
Military Driver License
On a related note, you may drive in the state of New York using a military driver license for 60 days after you enter. After 60 days, however, you must obtain a New York driver license to continue driving in the state.
For more information about renewing and extending licenses and vehicle registrations while you are on active duty or when you have recently returned from service, follow these links:
Submit this form when you join the military to postpone the expiration of your driver's license.