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Brit getting NYS Driving License

Brit getting NYS Driving License

Old Feb 11th 2024, 5:29 pm
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Default Brit getting NYS Driving License

Hi there,

I can't seem to find any concrete clarity on what's required for a Brit getting a NYS driving license. I was hoping someone might be able to confirm what I assume is correct? Any help is massively appreciated!

1. I need to take a written test to obtain a Learners Permit
2. I need to complete a 5 hour course
3. Beneficial to have a few touch-up lessons
4. Book and take road test

I just wanted to double check in case anyone has the clarity, as i didn't want to apply for a learners permit and then find out i didn't need it if i already had a valid UK driving license!

Many thanks in advance!
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Old Feb 11th 2024, 6:01 pm
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

You are not applying for a learner's licence,you are exchanging your foreign licence for a NYS one.
Have you looked at the following website"

https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/resources-non-us-citizens

If you are a new resident licensed in a country other than Canada, you must pass the vision test, complete the safe driving course, turn in your foreign license, and you must pass a written and road test. When you pass the road test, you must give your foreign license to the DMV motor vehicle license examiner who conducted the test. Your foreign driver license will be destroyed unless you provide the examiner a written request to hold your foreign license on file at a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles office. The license examiner will tell you which DMV District Office will hold your foreign license. Your foreign license will be returned at your request, but only after you return your New York license.


Last edited by SanDiegogirl; Feb 11th 2024 at 6:06 pm.
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Old Feb 11th 2024, 6:48 pm
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

You must also have a number of proofs that you are resident in the State of New York, i.e. utility bill, rental agreement, mortgage, etc. Study the manual before taking the written test as rules differ from the UK on road usage, etc. https://dmv.ny.gov/driver-license/dr...practice-tests You do not need a Lerner's Permit.

From the NYS DMV: You can drive in New York State with a valid driver license from another country. You do not need to apply for a New York State driver license unless you become a New York State resident.

To get a New York State driver license, you must pass a written test, complete a 5-hour pre-licensing course, and pass a road test. See Get a driver license.

When you pass your road test, you must give your foreign driver license to the DMV road test examiner.

The DMV has additional resources for drivers from other countries.
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Old Feb 12th 2024, 1:56 am
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl
You are not applying for a learner's licence,you are exchanging your foreign licence for a NYS one.
Have you looked at the following website"

https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/resources-non-us-citizens

If you are a new resident licensed in a country other than Canada, you must pass the vision test, complete the safe driving course, turn in your foreign license, and you must pass a written and road test. When you pass the road test, you must give your foreign license to the DMV motor vehicle license examiner who conducted the test. Your foreign driver license will be destroyed unless you provide the examiner a written request to hold your foreign license on file at a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles office. The license examiner will tell you which DMV District Office will hold your foreign license. Your foreign license will be returned at your request, but only after you return your New York license.
That’s not what the link you posted says….

If I have a driver license from another country and I 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.”

or how it’s works…not sure when you got your NYS lisence? I did mine 11 or 12 years ago and the process was what the OP posted….

I had a full UK lisence… so I had to do my written test, get my NYS learners permit,,, do the pre-licensing (watch videos all day), get a test date, and then get an instructor to drive with me to the test site. Do the very simple practical test, if you pass your given a paper lisence from the little receipt printer and get the full one in the post a week or so later… the practical test is really easy… I pretty much drove away, made a left and then another on to a side road, did a “3 point” turn, and drove back….



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Old Feb 12th 2024, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl
You are not applying for a learner's licence,you are exchanging your foreign licence for a NYS one.
Have you looked at the following website"

https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/resources-non-us-citizens

If you are a new resident licensed in a country other than Canada, you must pass the vision test, complete the safe driving course, turn in your foreign license, and you must pass a written and road test. When you pass the road test, you must give your foreign license to the DMV motor vehicle license examiner who conducted the test. Your foreign driver license will be destroyed unless you provide the examiner a written request to hold your foreign license on file at a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles office. The license examiner will tell you which DMV District Office will hold your foreign license. Your foreign license will be returned at your request, but only after you return your New York license.
As far as I can tell, this process to "exchange" is identical to that of a new driver. That seems to align with what the original poster said, and also what tht did and what I did.


NewYorkerBrit I agree with tht's assessment that it is laughably easy road test - although I would advise against taking it in the 5 boroughs if possible (no idea where you are based). I heard many stories from Americans and immigrants bemoaning the inconsistency of tests in the city. Main issues are that other drivers are insane and the roads are terrible. e.g. I know people who failed for road positioning on a road with no/barely any road markings and for slowing down for a massive pothole. My own was uneventful and yours probably would be too, but the further from Manhattan you are, the easier and more consistent.
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Old Feb 12th 2024, 7:38 pm
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

I took my driving test in Yonkers, NY (Lower Westchester County) many years ago and yes, the test is quick and if you can drive, be observant, parallel park, broken "U" i.e. "K" turn and how to make a proper left turn at an intersection, you will pass. See about taking the test in Westchester County. Metro North trains stops in most of all the towns and you can find a town that has a DMV in it from their website.

Last edited by Rete; Feb 12th 2024 at 7:40 pm.
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Old Feb 12th 2024, 9:18 pm
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

Originally Posted by Rete
I took my driving test in Yonkers, NY (Lower Westchester County) many years ago and yes, the test is quick and if you can drive, be observant, parallel park, broken "U" i.e. "K" turn and how to make a proper left turn at an intersection, you will pass. See about taking the test in Westchester County. Metro North trains stops in most of all the towns and you can find a town that has a DMV in it from their website.
I did Yonkers as well. No need to take a train, the place I watched the pre-licensing videos on 14th street was able to provide a car and instructor (you need one when in the test area on a learners permit). He filled me in on stuff as I drove up there, pulled up to sign where tester waits and got out. Then we drove back 10 mins later. The main things you need to know be. I’m are to stop for school busses. And how and when right on red works. In the real world the biggest thing to get used to is that a lot of people don’t indicate, lots run red lights, so don’t jump off the line… and on the highway people sit in the passing lane…
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Old Feb 13th 2024, 3:43 pm
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

Agree. Overall I would say compared to the UK, there is much less regard shown to right of way and the law, and much more expected to be aware and deal with what's *in front* of you. e.g. someone stuck behind a bus or a stopped truck will pull out into your lane without waiting for a gap, and require you to slow down. Plus obviously no one understands the right of way on roundabouts...
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Old Feb 15th 2024, 5:22 pm
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

Originally Posted by porkedpie
Agree. Overall I would say compared to the UK, there is much less regard shown to right of way and the law, and much more expected to be aware and deal with what's *in front* of you. e.g. someone stuck behind a bus or a stopped truck will pull out into your lane without waiting for a gap, and require you to slow down. Plus obviously no one understands the right of way on roundabouts...
That is why decades ago, NYS did away with many of the roundabouts or traffic circles. Mississippi put one on the major thoroughfare going from old city to new city which was a cross street intersection to start with. It has only increased traffic as drivers go round and round and round and those waiting to enter, wait and wait and wait.. Hate this circle and take the back road to avoid it.
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Old Feb 16th 2024, 1:18 am
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

Originally Posted by porkedpie
Plus obviously no one understands the right of way on roundabouts...
If you're in Florida for snowbird season, go stand at the Clearwater Beach roundabout and watch geriatric snowbirds from NY and NJ in their Buicks and Cadillacs trying to figure out when to enter the roundabout.... their cars look like buckling broncos as they alternately hit the gas then brake... go - no go - go - no go. And yes no-one knows which lane to use. But I bet not many people die in roundabout crashes, and when you've been T-boned at a conventional intersection you wish there were lots more roundabouts instead....but Americans don't give a flying F about road safety....
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Old Feb 17th 2024, 2:01 pm
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

Originally Posted by Pierre_Tete
but I bet not many people die in roundabout crashes, and when you've been T-boned at a conventional intersection you wish there were lots more roundabouts instead....but Americans don't give a flying F about road safety....
Yes many have died in the old Hawthorne traffic circle in NY which is why it was done away with. As for your generalization that Americans don't give a flying F about road safety, please do not tar all people with the same brush.
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Old Feb 17th 2024, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

Originally Posted by Rete
please do not tar all people with the same brush.
I apologize. Indeed one should not generalize.
But I look around at American road design and road accident stats and I get angry (I was a victim of a serious collision a few years ago). There doesn't seem to be any impetus at the state or federal level to eliminate poor road design.
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Old Feb 19th 2024, 2:15 pm
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Default Re: Brit getting NYS Driving License

Certainly the US has dangerous roads - somewhere between 2x and 4x more deadly than the UK's. (Depends if you look per population, per car or per km driven). Although the UK is also doing quite well on a worldwide basis.
Road design is terrible, testing processes are bad and law enforcement is close to non-existent (at least in my experience in NY/NJ/PA where cops literally just watch people running reds, going straight from right-turn lanes, driving in cycle lanes or bus lanes and do nothing). Stop-sign crossroads are less safe than either 1) a give way (and other road has right of way) or 2) a roundabout. And they are definitely slower to progress through, so I think it's a lose-lose.
Interestingly there are also hypotheses that driving on the left is safer. Mechanism unknown, but country-level analysis suggests it. (Interesting paper)

Since the childhood death rate by car accident is 5.1 per 100k and firearm is 5.8 one might think road safety would be a higher-profile issue.

Not to be a downer or anything...

Anyway, we've somewhat diverged from the starting questions which I think NewYorkerBrit should have the answers to.
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