Driving as a newcomer to New York


other state license plates

If you become a New York State resident, you must get a New York State driver license within 30 days. If you have a valid driver license issued by another U.S. state or territory you may be eligible to exchange it for a New York driver license.


foreign driver license

If your license was issued outside the U.S. or Canada, you must apply for a new original New York State driver license at a DMV office. You do not need to be a US Citizen to get a New York driver license, however, you must have US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documentation that supports your legal status in this country.



If you have a driver license from another country and you have a NY State learner permit, can I drive without a supervising driver?

Yes. Your valid foreign driver license allows you to drive without a supervising driver. You can drive on any street, road, highway, bridge, or tunnel, except in a DMV road test area.


If your driver license is printed in any language except English, you must bring an International Driving Permit or a certified translation of your driver license to the road test. The translation must be certified by a consulate, the US Department of State, or another official agency.

If you have a NY State learner permit, and you do not have a valid foreign driver license, NY State law requires a supervising driver to ride with you.


foreign driver license will be destroyed

An awful thing that you have to know is when you pass your road test, you must give your foreign driver license to the DMV road test examiner.

Those who are planning to take a road test without attendant who takes you to your test site have to take your own risk to lose the license of your home country.


The local DMV office will destroy your foreign driver license after 60 days. If you plan to return to your home country and will need your foreign driver license, ask the road test examiner how to make sure that your foreign driver license is not destroyed.


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