In order to be able to drive in New York City you have to have a valid US license from another state or from Canada. You are also eligible to drive in NYS if you have a valid driver license from another country. The minimum legal driving age in NYS is 16 years.
Procedure for Obtaining a NYS License
If you become a resident of NYS you must apply and get a NYS state license within thirty days and surrender your foreign license as it is a violation of Federal Law to hold more than one commercial driver license. If you have driver license from any other country except Canada you have to pass written test, complete a five hour pre-licensing course and pass a road test in order to qualify for a NYS driver license.
Before you get NYS license you have to first get a learner’s permit and pass a written and vision test. All this can be done at your local DMV office. You can get a learner’s permit by filling up an application form MV- 44 which requires proofs of birth and identity (In order to be able to drive in New York City you have to be over the age of 16). Details of the documents and proofs required are available on the website of the NYS DMV as are details of the application fees which vary with age of the driver (http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/license.htm#newdrivers).
The vision test and the written test can both be taken at the DMV and you don’t really need to schedule appointments for these tests. Before you plan on taking your written test, however, you must study the Drivers Manual which is available online on the website of the DMV and also in print at your local DMV office. Once you have your learner’s permit you can take your five hour pre-licensing course and also practice extensively before you feel ready to take your road test.
It is not advisable to simply show up at your local DMV to take a road test, instead you should schedule an appointment to do so. Usually this appointment has to be made weeks in advance though you can do this online at the website of the DMV and also on the phone at 1-518-402-2100. When you make this appointment you need to have the 9 digit number of your learner’s permit and your pre-licensing course completion certificate number as well as the last four digits of your social security number if you have one.
On the day of your road test you need to arrive at your local DMV at least thirty minutes before the time of your test and need to have the following documents with you:
- Your photo learner permit.
- Your 5-hour pre-licensing course completion certificate or driver education certificate.
- You must also bring along a currently registered and inspected vehicle which you will drive during the test.
- You must be accompanied by a driver who holds a license valid for operating the test vehicle
- You also have to show your Social Security Card to the personnel at your local DMV at the time of road test. If, however, you are not eligible for a Social Security Card you have to show a letter or form SSA-L676 which indicates that you are not eligibl e for a Social Security Card. This letter must not have been issued more than 30 days before your application. You also have to show the various USCIS documents that the Social Security office used to determine that you are not eligible for Social Security to the DMV personnel
You should not drive yourself to the test site but be a passenger in the car which is to be used for the test and if you do not pass the test for any reason then you also have to travel as a passenger in the car away from the site.
When you take your road test for your NYS license you will be asked to hand in your foreign license to your examiner. The DMV keeps this license for 60 days before it destroys it. If you need to have this license to drive in your home country you must ask the examiner to ensure that this license is not destroyed. You can then collect it from the local DMV office where you applied for your NYS license.
If you hold an International Driving permit it cannot be used in lieu of your foreign license. This permit only verifies in several languages that you are a holder of a valid foreign driver license. This permit allows a police officer or a traffic warden to verify your license in case he or she is unable to read your actual license because it has been issued in another language.
Do visit the website of the NYS DMV (http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/ ) to find the local DMV office closest to you or even call the New York City information hotline at 311 to get this information. The process of getting a NYS drivers license requires more than one visit to your local DMV office though it is not difficult to get a NYS license if you are an experienced driver. You also have to be able to maneuver and drive a left hand drive vehicle. However if you need to brush up on your driving skills you can always enroll in one of the many driving schools that are located in New York City before you try to get your NYS license.
Driving Schools in New York City