The How-To License Guide for New York New Drivers

by Joshua on August 27, 2013

New York offers one of the most unique and involved licensing processes of any state a motorist could think to get a drivers license. With separate processes for age groups and license types, a multitude of steps and a fee schedule that can allow for no two drivers in line to pay the same fee at the same time, its no wonder many new drivers can become overwhelmed. It’s important to know each step in the licensing process within the state and specific county in which you live in order to assure the process goes through with little problems.

The state of New York varies from suburban areas to countryside and includes the bustling New York City so each county in which new drivers reside comes with unique challenges for a driver on roadways. The state is also filled with several types of bridges, tunnels and large parks in which there are a number of special circumstances to be prepared for. Know the process will assist new drivers in prepared ahead of time and safe valuable time and money.

Preparing for your DMV Visit

Regardless of the type of license you will be applying for during your first visit to the DMV office, you will be required to submit specific documentation in addition to a completed and signed driver’s license application. New York documentation works on a point system. Each new piece of documentation is assigned a point value and the new driver must provide six points minimum worth of documentation to receive a driver’s license.

It is important to know which documents you will be expected to provide in order to properly prepare. Documentation required for all new drivers includes:

Six points worth of identification proof is required. All documents must be original copies in order to qualify. New drivers need to check online at the DMV website or in the Drivers handbook for the complete listing of approved documents and their respective point values but the following are some commonly used items:

  • Non-license ID cards and driver’s permits issued by the state are worth six points.
  • A signed document proving identity from a parent is worth 4 points for minors. Teen drivers may also use a school ID with report card for a value of 3 points.
  • A valid US passport is worth 4 points.

There are several types of identification approved by the DMV and new drivers will need to use the list as a guide when preparing required proofs. Each piece of identification must show the applicants full name and date of birth in order to be approved. In addition, all applicants are required to submit either a social security card or proof of legal presence in the US if a social security number has not been issued.

In addition to preparing identification and citizenship documents, several other documents will be required for new drivers during the license process:

  • Each new driver that has not completed driver’s education must provide proof of completion of the 5 hour driving class before they will be allowed to take the road portion of testing. Be prepared to show either the proof of this class or a certificate of completion for driver’s education.
  • Minor drivers must also prepare with a parental consent affidavit signed by a parent or guardian to proceed. The document does not need to be signed in front of a clerk so it may be prepared in advance.
  • In addition, driver’s education is mandatory for minor drivers who must be prepared to show proof of completion when submitting the driver’s license application.

Preparing for the Testing process

The written test will consist of 20 multiple choice questions of which you must answer at least 14 correctly to pass. The test can be taken at the DMV office during the application process or minors enrolled in school may take the test in online computer form through their school using the OKTA program. The test questions contain information concerning specific traffic laws for the area in which you are applying for a license including special driving circumstance unique to the area such as driving through the tunnel or a central park area.

You will also find questions pertaining to commonly found traffic signals, signs and rules of safe driving. In order to pass this test you must study in advance. This can be done through the Drivers Manual found online or by using cheat sheets Cheat sheets contain all of the vital information New Yorker’s must know to pass the written test. Taking practice tests found online will also increase the odds of passing your test on the first try by evaluating your progress.

In addition, all new drivers must take a vision test and meet state standards and take the road skills test by appointment only. The road test will require you to prepare a vehicle in advance that can pass a safety inspection and has proper registration and insurance with you at the time of testing.

Understanding the Fee Schedule

The fee schedule in New York can be complicated and varies for each driver. Fees are based mainly on your age and the county in which you reside. Specific counties include an additional $10 public transportation commuter tax in the cost and you can find a complete listing of counties affected by this fee online. Licensing fees vary from $73.50 to as much as $102.50 depending on your age.

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