New York DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ

If you live in the state of New York or are planning to, then you should pick up and review a full copy of the New York DMV’s official driver’s handbook. However, the following some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the process of applying for a New York driver’s license and driving safely on New York roads.
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What will I need in order to apply for a New York state driver’s license or learner’s permit?
If you are either applying for a brand new license or renewing a state license that has been expired in excess of two years, then you’ll need to be prepared to both prove your date of birth and prove your legal name. Come to a New York DMV field office with your social security card and one or more of the following legal documents in hand:
  • U.S. or U.S. territory birth certificate bearing both your first and last legal name.
  • U.S. DOS consular report of birth abroad
  • New York state driver’s license, identification card, learner’s permit, or other non-driver ID card.
  • U.S. State Department issued passport
  • U.S. military ID card
  • Certificate of naturalization
  • Certificate of citizenship
How can I make sure my visit to the DMV goes smoothly?
While you’re certainly welcome to simply walk into the nearest New York DMV field office and wait in line, you’re advised to streamline your visit by making an appointment in advance. You can do this by visiting the official New York DMV website and making arrangements online. Alternatively, you can phone your nearest field office and make an appointment.
What are the requirements for registering/titling a vehicle in New York?
Whether you’re owning or leasing your vehicle, you are required by law to register and title it with the state of New York via the DMV. Make sure your vehicle meets state emissions standards prior to your visit and bring proof of this to make sure all goes smoothly. (The registration in question doesn’t need to be in the owner’s name or attached to only one individual.) At the time of your visit, the DMV will give you copies of the required documents (as well as an inspection extension). You will receive your new title certificate via the mail.
What documents should I bring to the DMV if I’m registering/titling a vehicle?
Make sure that you also bring the required identification documents to the field office. You will need:
  • A completed MV-82 form, the official application for vehicle registration or title
  • Proof of vehicle ownership
  • Proof of your legal identity and age
  • Proof of New York State compliant insurance
  • Proof of incorporation (if you’re registering a vehicle on behalf of a business)
  • Proper payment for applicable fees and state taxes
How do I change the address on my state-issued driver’s license?
According to New York State law, you are required to report any change of address on your learning permit, driver’s license, vehicle registration, or state-issued ID within 10 days. You can do this in person at your nearest DMV field office or alternatively by mail, online, or over the phone. Make sure your personal information (including your social security number) is handy.
I recently changed my address with the U.S. Postal Service. Do I still need to do so with the DMV?
Yes, you will still need to contact the DMV about your change of address, as it is a separate entity from the post office. Likewise, updating your address in regards to a New York traffic ticket will not update your address with the DMV or in conjunction with any of its records.
Does the address on my license need to match the address on my title or my insurance card?
No, the address you officially have on file with the DMV is not required to match the address on your vehicle title. However, it is highly recommended that you use the same address in order to streamline things. Your DMV-registered address does need to match the address on your insurance card though.
What are the restrictions on my New York State learner’s permit?
Regardless of your age, you are prohibited from driving without being accompanied by a licensed driver that is 21years of age or older. That person is required to have the same type of license you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying for a motorcycle license, your licensed driver must also have one. Additionally, if you only possess a learner’s permit, you may not drive on any of the following:
  • Any street within a park in New York City
  • Any tunnel or bridge that falls under the jurisdiction of the Tri-Borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority
  • On parkways of Cross County, Saw Mill River, Taconic State, Westchester County, or Hutchinson River
  • In any DMV road test area
If I have my learner’s permit, how long do I have to wait before taking my behind-the-wheel test?
If you are under the age of 18, you will need to wait a minimum of six months from the day you got your New York learner’s permit. At that time, you can schedule your road test. All people with learner’s permits will also need to:
  • Complete a 5-hour pre-licensing course or state-compliant driver’s education course
  • Obey any and all of the above restrictions when driving
  • Make sure to obtain an adequate amount of supervised practice behind the wheel
How do I sign up for a pre-licensing course?
If you are in high school or college, then it’s highly likely you can take such a course via your school. However, you can also find a variety of appropriate courses in your area via your local telephone directory. At the completion of the course, you will receive an official DMV appropriate certificate that you will need to present when scheduling your road test. It will be valid for up to one year after you complete the required courses. You do not need such a certificate in order to change your license from one class to another.
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