How to Get Your Driver License in New York: A Simple Guide

Hello, Empire State! We’re Aceable, an Online Drivers Ed Company and we wanna help you get licensed in the state of New York. So we’re gonna break this down real simple ‘cause sometimes all that DMV jargon can be hard to understand. You’re gonna be licensed so fast your parents won’t even know what happened.
Hello, New York, home of the holy Pizza Rat, we're Aceable.
Hello, home of the holy pizza. We’re Aceable.
It’s time for you to take the wheel, hit the road, and all those other driving clichés, without having to be in the passenger seat. Be the keeper of your own destiny. Are you ready?
Lemme hear a "yas" if you're ready to start driving.
Lemme hear a “Yas!” if you’re ready to start driving.

Sweet, Sweet 16

In New York, you gotta wait til you’re 16 to get your permit. But that’s okay, maybe you’ll get one of those cars with the giant bows on it for your birthday.⇨ 16-17 years old:
  • You must take a DMV-approved drivers ed OR pre-licensing course to get your junior permit.
    • BUT if you opt to take drivers ed, you can upgrade to an unrestricted license at 17. Holla!
  • You’ll have to hang onto that permit for 6 months before you can schedule your driving test.
  • In those 6 months, you need to complete 50 behind-the-wheel hours under the watchful eye of your parent/guardian or licensed driver over 21 — 15 night hours and 10 hours in moderate to heavy traffic (a New York classic).
  • You can get dat junior license.
⇨ 18+:
  • You must take a DMV-approved drivers ed OR pre-licensing course to get your permit.
  • You’ll have to hang onto that permit for 6 months before you can schedule your driving test.
  • In those 6 months, you need to complete 50 behind-the-wheel hours while under the supervision of your parent/guardian or licensed driver over 21 — 15 hours have to be at night and 10 hours have to be in moderate to heavy traffic.
  • You can get your unrestricted, unadulterated, unabridged license! Go you.
    There's different rules for teen and adult drivers ed in New York. In the words of Missy, "That's how we do it where we from."
    There’s different rules for teen and adult drivers ed in New York. In the words of Missy, “That’s how we do it where we from.”
If you live Upstate, in Long Island, or in NYC, your junior permit and license restrictions will be different.No matter what age, you’ll have to take your written and vision tests when you get your permit. Your behind-the-wheel license test will be wherever you schedule it, so you won’t have to go to the DMV.A Schoolin’ On Drivers Ed and Pre-Licensing CoursesWhether you’re 16 or 102, if you’re getting your license for the first time, you’re gonna have to take drivers ed or a pre-licensing course. NY wants you to be safe, boo.Drivers EdIn New York, drivers ed must be 24 hours of classroom instruction and 24 hours of in-car training with a breakdown of 6 hours of behind-the-wheel and 18 hours of observation. It’s only offered in high schools and colleges, so make sure you keep your ear to the ground for when schools in your area are offering classes.You’ve got two years from when you finish the course to get your license or you’ll have to take the course over again. But why would you even wait?Pre-Licensing CoursesA pre-licensing course is a 4-hour course designed to give you classroom driving instruction. It focuses on similar topics as drivers ed, including how to drive (crazy, right?), driving habits/skills, feelings and risks, and alcohol, drugs, and driving. Obvs, the pre-licensing course is not as comprehensive as drivers ed and you won’t get behind-the-wheel instruction, but it is a good way to begin to understand the rules of the road. Also, you’ve got only one year from course completion to get your license.As a drivers ed company, I gotta say, I highly recommend taking drivers ed for its complete driving education. Be a driving Jedi, young Padawan.
Patience you must have. You'll get your license all in good time.
Patience you must have. You’ll get your license all in good time.
While Aceable doesn’t have a state-certified drivers ed course for New York, we do have a permit test prep course that will help you ace your written exam and help you learn the rules of the road. The course includes 20 levels of content and an unlimited amount of of practice tests. Just fire up the ol’ Aceable DE app for your apple or android phone and sign up there.

This is Not a Test (just kidding, it is)

So you’re 16 and ready to get your permit – what now? You’re gonna roll up to the NYS DMV like a boss, knowing that you’re ready to ace those written and vision tests.The Written TestThere are 20 multiple-choice questions and you need at least 14 correct to pass, including answering 2 of the 4 road sign questions right. If you do need to take the test again, you get unlimited tries at no extra charge.The Vision TestYou have to have 20/40 vision with or without glasses/contacts, as assessed by the DMV. The test is the same one you’ve probably taken before – the one where you cover your eye, read random letters, and feel like you’re getting them all wrong.You’ve aced these tests and (after 6 months and drivers ed) you’re ready to get your license! What now?The Driving TestOnce you feel ready to get your license, you’ll schedule the driving test either online or by calling 518-402-2100.You’ll wanna have this info ready:
  • Client ID #
    • Find this above your permit pic
  • DOB
    • Don’t use any type of punctuation
  • Type of certificate and cert #
    • Pre-licensing or drivers ed
  • Type of road test you want
    • Probably the automobile one
  • 5-digit zip where you wanna take the test
    • This does not have to be your specific zip code
Once that’s scheduled, you’ll show up around 15-30 minutes before the test in your sunday best* with a registered, insured, and inspected car. You’ll be tested on basic driving knowledge, including what to do at stoplights and four-way stops, how to parallel park and three-point turn, as well as using your car devices such as turn signals. All the stuff you should already know, boo.Show up to the road test like…
It's your time to shine. Let's do this thing. (The driving test, that is.)
It’s your time to shine. Let’s do this thing. (The driving test, that is.)
*not actually required

What to Bring

To the DMV:You’ll only be going to the DMV to get your permit, so you’ve gotta bring a lotta documents to get it.
  1. Your permit/license application (MV-44)
    1. If you’re under 18, your parent/guardian has to sign consent
    2. If you are 17 and have a Drivers Ed Cert (MV-285), you don’t need consent
  2. Your Social Security Card/proof of ineligibility
  3. Proof of identity/DOB
    1. Check this list for details
    2. If you’re under 21 and are using the MV-45 as proof of identity, your parent/guardian has to sign AT the DMV
  4. Payment for fees
  5. All dat knowledge for the written test
You’ll also be getting your picture taken and will have the same picture for about 8 years, so…To your road test:
  1. Your permit
  2. Glasses/contacts if you wear them
  3. Your original drivers ed (MV-275) or pre-licensing course (MV-285) completion cert
  4. If you’re under 18, a Certificate of Supervised Driving (MV-262) completed by parent/guardian.
  5. Another drive age 21+
  6. A vehicle in good condition, with a valid registration/inspection
Once you pass that driving test, BAM! You’re a licensed New York driver, ready to hit the streets. Certified legit.
Yes, you're legit, dude. Congrats on being a legal driver!
Yes, you’re legit, dude. Congrats on being a legal driver!