Apply for a License (Under 18) in New York
Applying for a Teen Driver's License in New York
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for issuing driver's licenses and ID cards to all teen drivers in New York.
Prior to applying for your first New York driver's license, you must satisfy the New York graduated driver license law (GDL) requirements.
New York REAL ID Driver's License
The New York DMV issues federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses in addition to non-compliant licenses. As of October 1, 2021, 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 license or upgrade to a REAL ID license—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 are younger than 16 years old, you are not allowed to drive in New York under any circumstances―even if you hold a permit or driver's license in another state.
If you already have a full driver's license in another state, you must apply for a NY driver's license within 30 days and surrender your previous out-of-state license. You CANNOT exchange an out-of-state learner's permit for a NY learner's permit or driver's license.
To exchange your out-of-state driver's license, visit a NY DMV office and:
- Surrender your out-of-state driver's license, if you have it.
- Submit a completed Application for Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card (Form MV-44).
- Show proof of your identity.
- If you wish to upgrade to a NY REAL ID or enhanced license, follow the steps below for submitting the proper identity and residency documents.
- Show your Social Security card or proof of your ineligibility.
- Pass a vision exam OR submit a completed Vision Test Report (Form MV-619).
- Pay the driver's license fee.
New York Graduated License Program (GDL)
Since teen drivers do not have the same level of driving experience as adult drivers, New York has a GDL program in place which requires you to earn your driver's license in stages based on age and experience. In New York, you must complete the following phases:
- Learner's permit.
- Junior driver's license/provisional license.
- Senior driver's license.
Driver's Education in New York
To schedule a road test and apply for your junior driver's license in New York, you must present a certificate of completion for either:
- A state-approved driver's education course.
- A NY pre-licensing course.
At 17 years old, you are eligible to change your junior driver's license to a senior driver's license if you complete a state-approved Driver's Ed course. To do so, present your Driver Education Certificate (Form MV-285) to the NY DMV, along with your junior driver's 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: Eligible for learner's permit.
- 16 years old with permit: Eligible for junior driver's license/provisional license.
- 17 years old (with driver's education): Eligible for senior driver's license.
- 18 years old (without driver's education): Eligible for senior driver's license.
New York Learner's Permit
If you're at least 16 years old, you can apply for a New York learner's permit. Before you go, decide whether you want a REAL ID-compliant permit or a non-compliant one. Remember, only the REAL ID will let you board an airplane using your license starting October 1, 2020. You can use the NY DMV's document walk-through to figure out which credential you're eligible for based on the proofs you plan to bring.
To obtain your NY learner's permit, head to your local NY DMV office and:
- Provide proof of your identity and date of birth based on what license type you want:
- REAL ID or enhanced permit—Submit proof of:
- Your name and birthdate (i.e., your birth certificate or passport).
- U.S. citizenship or legal presence.
- Social Security number.
- NY residency (2 documents).
- Standard permit—Bring proofs of your name, birthdate, and SSN. The New York DMV provides a list of acceptable proofs and point values.
- REAL ID or enhanced permit—Submit proof of:
- Submit a completed Application for Driver License or Non-Driver ID (Form MV-44) with your parent or guardian's signature of consent.
- Pass a vision test, or bring a completed Vision Test Report (Form MV-619) from your eye doctor.
- Pass the written permit test.
- Pay the applicable permit fee.
- This 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.
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Behind-the-Wheel Experience & Driving Restrictions
Once you have your learner's permit, you must complete either a NY pre-licensing course or high school or college Driver's Ed course. For more information, visit our Driver's Ed in New York page.
You must hold your learner's permit for at least 6 months before you can take your road test. You must also complete at least 50 hours of driving, including 15 hours at night.
You must follow the following restrictions until you obtain your junior New York driver's license:
- You can only drive while accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years old or older.
- You and all passengers must wear seat belts or proper child restraints at all times.
- You may NOT drive:
- In a DMV road-test area.
- 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.
- On the following parkways in Westchester County:
- Cross County Parkway.
- Hutchinson River Parkway.
- Saw Mill River Parkway.
- Taconic State Parkway.
There are other restrictions you may need to follow depending on which areas in New York you will be driving:
New York Provisional 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, including 15 hours at night.
To apply, make an appointment for your road test at your local DMV road testing location. If there is bad weather or road construction in your area, you should check for cancellations of tests, delays or closing by visiting the NY DMV website or calling (518) 402-2100. Be sure to bring:
- Your learner's permit.
- If you did NOT obtain a REAL ID or enhanced permit and wish to upgrade to an enhanced or REAL ID license now, bring the required proofs outlined above.
- Any of the following documents showing proof of driver education completion:
- Driver's Education Certificate (Form MV-285).
- A 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 DMV road test, you will receive your Class JD junior driver's license.
NY Junior Driver's License Driving Restrictions
While you have your provisional license, you will need to follow certain restrictions depending on where you will be driving:
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 you are convicted of another violation within 6 months of reinstating your driving privileges, the NY DMV will revoke your license for 60 days.
There are other restrictions you may need to follow depending on which areas in New York you will be driving. Visit the NY DMV website for more information.
You will receive your full driver's license once you turn 18 years old. If you've taken Driver's Ed, you are eligible for your full driver's license when you are 17 years old.
TEENS Program in New York
If you're a parent of a NY teen, you can monitor your child's driving record with the DMV's Teen Electronic Event Notification Service (TEENS). The program will notify you if certain incidents appear on your teen's driving record, such as:
- Traffic violation convictions.
- License suspensions.
- Certain accidents.
If you choose to enroll an out-of-state learner's permit, you must 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.
NOTE: The program will automatically expire when your teen turns 18 years old.
New York Senior Driver's License
Once you turn 18 years old, the NY DMV will automatically upgrade your junior driver's license/provisional license 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 driver's license.
Track and share your steps as you move towards your full New York driver's license with the new license checklist.
Distracted driving is among the leading causes of fatal accidents for young drivers. Remember to always keep your eyes on the road while you are driving. You can learn more about the dangers of driving distracted on the Distracted Driving section of our website.
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 NY 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 test at the DMV. You will also need to:
- Complete and submit an Application for Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card (Form MV-44).
- Submit acceptable proofs of identity.
- Provide your Social Security number.
- Pay any applicable fees (motorcycle permit fees range from $68.75 to $107.50, depending on your age and location).
The DMV 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 DMV road test and bring the following:
- Your motorcycle learner's permit.
- Any 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).
- A NY pre-licensing course certificate (Form MV-278). This course is 5 hours.
- The registration and proof of insurance for the motorcycle you're taking the driving test on.
After you pass your driving 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 2 weeks.
If you do not already have a junior or senior driver's license, your motorcycle license will be mailed to you within approximately 2 weeks.
Motorcycle Rider Course
The NY DMV will waive your motorcycle skills test if you complete an approved motorcycle rider skills course. You must be at least 16 years old, and hold a valid New York driver's license AND hold a class M or MJ learner's permit. For more information, please visit the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's New York Program.
- DL Pre licensing Course Completion Certificate
- Submit this form to the NY DMV after completing an approved pre-licensing course. Can only be obtained from your driver's education provider. Not available online.
- 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.