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How to Get Your Driver License When You Move to the State of New York

Moving to New York

What You Must do When Moving to New York State

If you are a licensed driver and move to New York State to become a resident, you must apply for a New York State driver license within 30 days.

New York will normally consider you a resident if you live in the State for 90 days or more. You can check the NYS definition of resident in the notes below (note #1).

You do not need to apply for a New York State driver license if you reside in another state, nation, or country.

Students from other states or from other nations who attend school in New York State are normally not considered residents of New York State. They may drive with their out-of-state license or out-of-country license. They don’t need to apply for a New York driver license.

Proof of Identity

Before getting your New York Driver License, you must show proof of identity.

If you don’t have and compliant REAL ID license from another state, you must bring a passport, U.S. birth certificate, valid U.S. Employment Authorization Card, or a valid Permanent Resident Card. The document must show your name and date of birth.

You must also show proof that you are a NY State Resident. Bring two documents like a bank statement, utility bill, or U.S. High School ID card with report card that shows your name and New York address.

You don’t need to be a US Citizen to get a New York driver license or learner permit.

You must, however, have documents that supports your legal status in this country, which usually means a valid visa or green card. DMV will add the expiration date from your documents on your New York State permit or driver license.

Check this guide for what documents to bring to the DMV office.

NY DMV - Have Your Documents Ready

When DMV has verified your identity, you must pass a vision test or bring a certified Eye Test Report (MV-619).

If your out-of-state license has been valid for less than six months or expired more than one year ago, you must also pass both the written knowledge test and the road test. Otherwise, DMV will waive these tests.

Surrender Your Out-of-State License

If you are a licensed driver and apply for a NY license, DMV will ask you to surrender your out-of-state license. In most cases, you can’t have a NY State driver license and a driver license from another state at the same time. You may, however, keep an out-of-country license.

Remember, you can only change your out-of-state license at a DMV office and in person.

Temporary Visitors

If you have DHS documents that identify you as a Temporary Visitor, you will find the words “TEMPORARY VISITOR” on your New York State driver license or permit.

If your temporary visitor status gets extended, you must bring your updated paperwork to a DMV office. You must also bring a completed Application for Permit or Driver License (MV-44) and 6 points of identification (see New York Driver’s Manual)

When you don’t have a license issued by another U.S. state, territory or possession, or a Canadian province or territory, you must pass the knowledge test, safe driving course, and road test.


1) Definition of Resident per Section 250 (5) of the NY State Vehicle and Traffic Law: “As used in this section, the term ‘resident’ shall mean domiciliary, that is, one who lives in this state with the intention of making it a fixed and permanent abode. It shall be presumptive evidence that a person who maintains a place of abode in this state for a period of at least ninety days is a resident of this state.” To live in a house, a home, an apartment, a room or other similar place in NY State for 90 days is considered “presumptive evidence” that you are a resident of New York State. A police officer can use this as evidence to issue a traffic ticket if you drive in New York State without a NY State driver license or vehicle registration. A judge considers the law and the evidence of your intent and decides if you are a resident of New York State. If you pay taxes or your children attend school in another state, a judge considers these facts to decide if your intent is to make NY State a “fixed and permanent” residence. According to this law, students from other states or from other nations who attend school in New York State are usually not considered residents of NY State. DMV does not decide if you are a resident of New York State, if you must get a NY State driver license, or if you must register your vehicle in New York State.

2) A Temporary Visitor is defined as anyone who is not immigrating to or not permanently residing (living) in the United States. These visitors have US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documentation that supports their legal status in this country.

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