Drivers Permits in New York
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed office locations, extended license and registration expiration dates, and/or limited the transactions they are processing. If possible, residents should use the DMV's online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the DMV's most recent updates for the latest information.
Learner's Permits in New York
In New York, the NY Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) oversees the process for getting a learner's permit and driver's license. As part of the state's graduated driver's licensing (GDL) program, the first step toward getting your very first driver's license is obtaining a New York learner's permit.
If you already have your learner's permit and you're ready to get your junior driver's license, please visit our NY Teen Licensing page.
New York REAL ID Driver's License
The New York DMV issues federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses and permits in addition to non-compliant licenses. As of May 3, 2023, only the REAL ID will function as federal identification for domestic travel and entry into federal and military buildings—a standard license will not after this date. Enhanced licenses in NY are automatically REAL ID-compliant.
You have the choice to apply for a non-compliant permit or upgrade to a REAL ID permit—we'll walk you through the requirements below. For more detail, visit the NY DMV's guide to REAL IDs.
New to New York?
If you're new to the state and you have a learner's permit from your previous state, it will not transfer to New York. You must apply for a NY learner's permit following the same steps below. In addition, if you're under 16 years old, you are not allowed to drive in New York under any circumstances.
Apply for Your New York Learner's Permit
To apply for a learner's permit, you are required to be at least 16 years old. You do not have to first complete a driver's education course; however, if you do choose to take one, you will be exempt from your written knowledge exam.
First, decide whether you want to apply for a REAL ID-compliant permit or a non-compliant permit. This will affect the required documents that you bring in to the DMV. The DMV offers a walk-through document guide to help you figure out which permit you're eligible for based upon the documents you plan to submit.
Then, head to your local NY DMV office and:
- Provide required proofs of identity and residency based on your chosen license type:
- Standard permit—Proof of your name, SSN, and birthdate according to the DMV's list of acceptable documents. Your signature must be on at least one of these documents.
- REAL ID permit—Bring proof of your:
- Name and birthdate.
- Social Security number.
- The agent may be able to verify your SSN electronically, but bring your documents just in case.
- U.S. citizenship or lawful status.
- New York residency (2 documents).
- Complete and submit an Application for Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card (Form MV-44). Make sure your parent or legal guardian signs the application.
- Pay the appropriate fee.
- Take a vision test.
- Pass a written knowledge exam (see below).
Take the Written NY Permit Test
The New York learner's permit exam is based on information about New York traffic laws, road signs, and safe driving techniques discussed in the New York Driver's Manual. The test consists of 20 questions, of which you must answer 14 questions. If you don't pass the test on your first try, don't worry; the NY DMV allows you to retake the permit test an unlimited amount of times.
Ace Your Exam on the First Try!
Don't leave your permit test to chance—take our free permit practice test with questions directly from the NY driver handbook. It's the fastest, easiest way to set yourself up for success!
NOTE: You are not required to take the written test if you have a Driver Ed Certificate (Form MV-285).
Learner's Permit Driving Restrictions in NY
Once you have your New York learner's permit, you are allowed to drive when accompanied by a licensed supervising driver who is at least 21 years old. During this time, you must log 50 hours of supervised driving time with 15 hours being driven at night.
However, there are a few exceptions. With a learner's permit, you are not allowed to drive:
- On any street inside a park in New York City, or any tunnel or bridge that is under Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority's jurisdiction.
- On the following parkways in Westchester County:
- Taconic State.
- Hutchinson River.
- Cross County.
- Saw Mill River.
There are additional restrictions based on what part of the state you'll be driving in. You can learn more about these location-based restrictions on the NY DMV's interactive permit map.
Replacing Your New York Learner's Permit
If you need to replace or renew a lost, stolen, or damaged learner's permit in New York, you do so by mail or by visiting the DMV office in person. Certain requirements may apply and differ.
The fee to replace a learner's permit is $17.50. If you report your permit stolen, the DMV will waive your replacement feeFor more information on replacing your learner's permit refer to our Replacing a NY Permit or License page.
New York Junior Driver's License
Once you have your New York learner's permit in hand, you're ready to continue your quest to get your driver's license. The next step in the GDL process is to get your NY junior driver's license. For steps and details on how to do so, please visit our NY Teen Driver's License page.
- DL Driver Ed Student Certificate of Completion
- Submit this form to the New York DMV after completing a Driver's Ed course (classroom AND behind-the-wheel education) to be eligible for an unrestricted license. Must be obtained from your Driver's Ed provider. Not available online.