New to New York
To obtain a New York driver's license or ID card, and to register your car in the state, you'll need to visit your local DMV office in person. As a new resident, you will also need to remember to register as an organ donor and register to vote if you wish to.
The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is your main agency that provides licensing and vehicle services to you as you establish residency in the state.
Additionally, you may need to interact with:
- The NYS Board of Elections, which governs voter registration and elections.
- The DMV's Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) OR your county traffic court, if you receive a traffic ticket.
- Dependent on where you received your ticket. Check out our guide to Traffic Tickets in New York for more info.
Whether you live upstate or in the city you'll need to register your vehicle with the DMV within 30 days of establishing residency. Refer to our Car Registration in New York page for more information.
Special vehicles such as mopeds, motorhomes, and trailers have different requirements for registration. You can learn more about them on our page about Special Vehicles in New York.
Required Car Insurance
In order to drive in New York, you must have car insurance. If you have recently moved here or are planning to make a move, this is an excellent time to find out if you're getting the most value from your provider. You can compare rates from all the names you trust on our Car Insurance in New York page.
Required Car Inspections
In New York, all cars must pass a safety inspection and most cars need to pass an emissions inspection. Our Car Inspections in New York page has all the relevant information you need to know.
When you move to NY, you have 30 days to surrender your out-of-state driver's license to the NYSDMV and obtain a NY driver's license. The process is pretty simple, but you'll need to provide some required documents and payments, and visit the DMV office in person. You can find out more on our Applying for a New License page.
If you're an unlicensed teenager, you may receive credit for any driving training you completed in your previous state. Before you will be eligible for a full driver's license in NY, you'll need to satisfy all requirements of the state's graduated driver's licensing (GDL) program. See our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) page.
Commercial Driver's License (CDL)
If you need a commercial driver's license (CDL), your application process will differ somewhat. Visit our Applying for a New CDL page for instructions.
If you don't plan on driving and you still need identification, you can apply for a New York identification card. We tell you everything you'll need to bring to the DMV on our guide to Identification Cards in New York.
Don't forget to register as an organ donor in New York after you move. Each state keeps its own registry, so even if you were a registered donor in your previous state, you'll still need to register once you're a resident of New York. Learn more about organ donation and register now by visiting our Organ Donation page.
Another thing that may slip your mind is to register to vote in the state. If you want to be eligible to vote in the next election, you must be registered by the deadline date. Read more on our Voter Registration page.
If you're an active-duty member of the military whose residence is in another state, but you're currently serving in NY, you may be exempt from some of the state's licensing and car registration requirements. You may find some helpful information for you, your spouse and/or dependents on our Drivers in the Military page.
Use our handy Office Finder when you're ready to visit your local DMV.
Additional helpful resources: