The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handles the issuance of driver’s licenses and ID cards to New York teens. Once you get your first New York driver’s license, the world is yours… but there are a few steps you have to complete before achieving this important milestone.
We’ve made the process much easier to understand by simplifying the relevant information so that you’ll be behind the wheel and on your way in no time.
New to New York?
If you are under 16 years old, you are not allowed to drive in New York under any circumstances―even if you hold a permit or license in another state.
If you already have a full driver’s license, you must get a NY driver's license within 30 days and surrender your previous out-of-state license―however, if you hold an out-of-state learner’s permit, you cannot exchange it for a NY permit or license. You must apply for a NY permit using the same application process listed below, and you must have met all New York GDL requirements and follow the same restrictions.
About the New York Graduated License Program (GDL)
Because teen drivers lack the same time and experience on the roads as adult drivers, many states―including New York―have implemented a GDL program in which teens must earn their driver’s license in stages. Many of these milestones are based on age and experience. In New York, teens must complete three phases:
- Learner’s Permit
- Junior Driver’s License
- Senior Driver’s License
The age requirements and steps for each phase are listed below.
Parents of NY teens can monitor their child’s driving record with the Teen Electronic Event Notification Service (TEENS) from the DMV. The program will notify the parent if certain incidents appear on their teen’s driving record, such as:
- Traffic violation convictions.
- License suspensions.
- Certain accidents.
There is no fee for utilizing the notification service. If you wish to enroll in TEENS, you may do so online through MyDMV, or in person at your local DMV office. If enrolling in person, you will need to fill out the Teen Electronic Event Notification Service (TEENS) Enrollment and Consent form (MV-TEENS) and submit it when your teen applies for their learner’s permit. The program will automatically expire when your teen turns 18 years old.
Driver's Education in New York
In order to schedule a road test and earn your junior driver’s license, you are required to present proof of completion of either:
- A state-approved driver’s education course, or
- A 5-hour pre-licensing course.
You are also eligible to change your junior driver’s license to a senior license at 17 years old if you completed a state-approved Driver's Ed course. To do so, present the Driver Education Certificate (Form MV-285) to the DMV on your 17th birthday (or anytime thereafter), along with your junior license.
If you do not complete a driver's education program, you must wait until you are 18 years old to obtain your senior driver’s license.
NY Age Requirements
- 16 years old: Learner’s Permit
- 16 years old + 6 months with permit: Junior License
- 17 years old (with driver’s education): Senior License
- 18 years old (without driver’s education): Senior License
New York Learner's Permit
If you’re at least 16 years old, you’re eligible for a New York learner’s permit.
To get yours, head to your local NY DMV office and:
- Provide proof of your identity and date of birth that meets the required 6 points. The New York DMV provides a list of acceptable proofs and point values.
- Provide your Social Security card.
- Submit a completed Application for Driver License (Form MV-44) with your parent or guardian’s signature of consent.
―If you are 17 years old and have a Driver Education Certificate (Form MV-285), you do not need parental consent to obtain a learner’s permit.
- Pass a vision test, or bring a completed Vision Test Report (Form MV-619) from your eye doctor.
- Pass the written permit test. If you submit a completed Driver Education Certificate (Form MV-285), you do not have to take the written exam.
- Pay the permit fee, which varies based upon your age and county of residence. Visit the NY DMV’s fees page for a complete list of permit and license fees.
NY Learner’s Permit Driving Restrictions
While you have a learner’s permit, you may drive only under these conditions:
- You may drive between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. while accompanied by your parent/legal guardian, driving instructor, or licensed driver 21 years old or older.
―You may ONLY drive between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. IF you are accompanied by your parent/guardian, driver education teacher, or driving instructor.
- You may have one passenger under 21 years old, unless they are members of your immediate family, OR your supervising driver is your parent/guardian, driver education teacher, or driving instructor.
- You and all passengers must wear your seat belts or proper child restraints at all times.
- You may NOT drive on any street within a park in New York City, or on any bridge or tunnel within the jurisdiction of the Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority.
- You may NOT drive on the following parkways in Westchester County:
―Cross County Parkway.
―Hutchinson River Parkway.
―Saw Mill River Parkway.
―Taconic State Parkway.
New York Junior Driver’s License
After you’ve held your NY learner’s permit for at least 6 months, you’re ready to get your junior driver’s license. Make sure you’ve completed your required 50 hours of supervised driving.
Make an appointment for your road test at your local DMV road testing location. Make sure to bring:
- Your learner’s permit.
- One of the following documents showing proof of driver education completion:
―Driver’s Education Certificate (Form MV-285).
―5-hour pre-licensing course certificate (Form MV-278).
- A Certification of Supervised Driving (Form MV-262) completed by your parent/guardian, certifying that you completed your 50 hours of supervised driving.
- The registration and proof of insurance for the vehicle you’re testing in.
- Payment for any applicable fees.
After you pass your road test, you will receive your Class DJ junior driver’s license.
NY Junior Driver’s License Driving Restrictions
Though you are now allowed to drive unsupervised between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., there are still a few restrictions that you will have to follow.
- You may not drive between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless:
―You are driving directly to and/or from home and work (you must carry proof of employment) or school.
―You are accompanied by your parent/guardian or licensed driver 21 years old or older.
- You may only have one passenger under 21 years old, unless they are members of your immediate family or you are driving with your parent/guardian.
- You and all of your passengers must wear your seat belts or child safety restraints at all times.
If you break any of these rules or are convicted of any other traffic violation, your junior license will be suspended for 60 days. If, within 6 months after your driving privileges are reinstated, you are convicted of another violation, your license will then be revoked for 60 days.
New York Senior Driver’s License
Once you turn 18 years old, your junior driver’s license will automatically be upgraded to a senior driver’s license. Your new license will arrive in the mail.
As mentioned above, you can upgrade to your senior driver’s license at 17 years old if you’ve taken a Driver’s Ed course. Simply bring the Driver’s Education Certificate (Form MV-285) to the DMV office with your junior driver’s license, and you will be issued a senior license.
Insurance in New York
It is required by New York law for you to be covered by auto insurance whenever you get behind the wheel. However, depending upon what type of permit or license you have, you may be covered under the insurance of the person who is supervising you in the car.
Learner's License Permit Insurance
Teens with New York learner’s permits may be covered under the insurance of the adult licensed driver who is riding with them―whether it’s their parent/guardian, driving instructor, or other supervising driver. If not, you either need to have your parent/guardian put you on their policy, or explore getting your own.
Junior Driver’s License Insurance
Teens are required to show proof of insurance at their road test in order to obtain a junior license. You have the option of being added to your family’s existing policy, a parent's policy, or your may get your own policy.
There may also be opportunities to qualify for discounts from your insurance company. For more information about discounts, rates, and coverage, visit the DMV.org pages:
Other New York Teen Driver’s Licenses
Teen Motorcycle/Moped Licenses in New York
To ride a motorcycle in New York, you must have a Class M or MJ motorcycle license.
Teens must follow all of the steps and provisions outlined above in the licensing process for a regular driver’s license, including the requirement for a Driver’s Education or pre-licensing course before taking your road test (only if you don’t already have another class of driver’s license).
To earn your motorcycle permit, you will need to pass a written exam at the DMV. You will also need to:
- Complete and submit an Application for Driver License (Form MV-44).
- Submit acceptable proofs of identity totaling 6 points.
- Provide your Social Security number.
- Pay any applicable fees (motorcycle permit fees range from $21 to $120, depending on your age and location).
The DMV then recommends that you complete at least 30 hours of supervised driving practice on your motorcycle before taking your road test to earn your Class MJ motorcycle license. When you feel confident in your skills, make an appointment for your road test and bring the following:
- Your motorcycle permit.
- One of the following documents showing proof of driver education completion (if you do not already have another class of license):
―Driver’s Education Certificate (Form MV-285).
―5-hour pre-licensing course certificate (Form MV-278).
- The registration and proof of insurance for the motorcycle you’re testing on.
After you pass your test, you will receive a temporary motorcycle license. If you already have a junior or senior driver’s license, you may visit a DMV office after 7 days to add your motorcycle endorsement to your license. You will need to:
- Bring your temporary motorcycle license, motorcycle permit, and current junior or senior driver’s license to the DMV.
- Fill out an Application for Driver License (Form MV-44) and check the box on the form that says “Change.”
- In the box that says “Other Change,” write “Add Class M (or MJ).”
- Pay the $12.50 driver's license document fee.
You will receive a temporary driver's license, and your new license will be mailed to you in approximately two weeks.
If you do not already have a junior or senior driver’s license, your motorcycle license will be mailed to you within approximately two weeks.
Motorcycle Rider Course
Your motorcycle skills test will be waived if you complete an approved motorcycle rider skills course. You must be at least 16 years old, hold a valid NY driver’s license, AND hold a class M or MJ permit. For more information, please visit the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s New York Program.