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New York Driving License

New York Driving License

Old Jul 20th 2007, 9:46 pm
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Default New York Driving License

I am moving to new york in a few weeks and was wondering if anyone has had any experience of getting a NY State driving license. I'll be living in manhattan and so won't be doing too much driving there, but my job requires considerable travel around the US and have a US driving licence may be useful.

I've looked at the NYS DMV site so know the rules etc. exam, sight test, road test etc. But I'm intersted to hear about the practical aspects. Such as:
Where is the nearest / best test centre for a Manhattan resident?
What have people done who don't actually own a car? Hire one for the day?
Where is the nearest DMV office?
What is the test (both exam and practical) like?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

e.
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Old Jul 21st 2007, 12:45 am
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Default Re: New York Driving License

Originally Posted by epymsam View Post
I am moving to new york in a few weeks and was wondering if anyone has had any experience of getting a NY State driving license. I'll be living in manhattan and so won't be doing too much driving there, but my job requires considerable travel around the US and have a US driving licence may be useful.

I've looked at the NYS DMV site so know the rules etc. exam, sight test, road test etc. But I'm intersted to hear about the practical aspects. Such as:
Where is the nearest / best test centre for a Manhattan resident?
What have people done who don't actually own a car? Hire one for the day?
Where is the nearest DMV office?
What is the test (both exam and practical) like?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

e.
Don't know about NY but there are a few threads on here regarding this. Mostly it is pretty easy to pass your test and I don't think it will matter where you go. In Michigan the written test is just a case of pointing at a picture of a kid crossing the road while grunting and shaking your head to indcate it should not be ran over. The practical test is even easier. All you have to do there is point at the car and say grunt - caarrrr!!! And you are in like Flynn - good luck but you wont need it
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Old Jul 21st 2007, 1:14 am
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Default Re: New York Driving License

You can find your nearest DMV office on the website. Not all of them do the computer test so you need to look for the ones that do and watch the times that the computer test is available. the computer test isn't difficult - the driver's manual is also online to read and there is a practice test online too so it can give you an idea of what they entail.

I know a couple of people who live in Manhattan and when they need to go somewhere they normally hire a car rather than keep one in Manhattan because garage fees are extremely expensive. However, if you have to do a lot of traveling, hiring all the time can be expensive too.

My son passed the computer test first time this year after doing the online practice test. He said it was easy. The practical driving test is much easier than the British one. I know some people have paid for one driving instructor session just so they get a feel for what is needed. I would say this would be a good idea if you plan to take your test in NYC. We didn't have to do the practical test because we transferred our licenses over from NJ and they didn't require a practical test. so we don't have firsthand experience. sorry.
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Old Jul 21st 2007, 1:45 am
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Default Re: New York Driving License

Originally Posted by epymsam View Post
I am moving to new york in a few weeks and was wondering if anyone has had any experience of getting a NY State driving license. I'll be living in manhattan and so won't be doing too much driving there, but my job requires considerable travel around the US and have a US driving licence may be useful.

I've looked at the NYS DMV site so know the rules etc. exam, sight test, road test etc. But I'm intersted to hear about the practical aspects. Such as:
Where is the nearest / best test centre for a Manhattan resident?
What have people done who don't actually own a car? Hire one for the day?
Where is the nearest DMV office?
What is the test (both exam and practical) like?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

e.
I got a NY state driving license in 2003: as far as I remember the test locations are in all New York city boroughs except Manhattan. I remember having to call a DMV number to schedule a test: it turned out to be an automated deal where they read you a list of locations and you had to pick one. As I remember it wasn't clear from the automated message where these locations were - they just gave the street name. I just picked the first one and when a confirmation slip arrived I looked it up and it turned out to be in the Bronx.

Then I got in touch with a driving school on the upper west side a couple of streets from our apartment, and booked a couple of lessons for practice and so I could use the instructor's car for the actual test. The confirmation slip said the test would be at Havemeyer Avenue, The Bronx at 8am, on such and such date. When I showed it to my instuctor he said "8am - that means we'll have to get there before 7am to be first in the line". He then explained that 8am isn't the time of your test, it's the start of the morning test session, and in the period from then till noon it's first come first served.

So on the day we pull up at 6:45am in a deserted street next to a Home Depot car park. I look around for an office or other indication of a DMV presence but there's nothing. Turns out there is no "test centre" as such, just designated locations where the examiners rendezvous with test candidates. After a few minutes another driving instructor's car pulled up and parked behind ours, then another, and so on, until by 8am there must have been 20 or so cars parked in a long line along the kerb. Then at 8am half a dozen blokes in polo shirts carrying briefcases appeared from nowhere and they turned out to be the examiners. Moral of the story is if it says 8am and you turn up at 8am you'll have a three hour wait. The test lasted about 10 minutes and was a simple tootle around a couple of blocks in a quiet residential neighbourhood.

Also, foreigners applying for NYS license have to sit through a mandatory one day saftey course. So I spent the whole of one Saturday sitting in a dingy room on west 72nd street with six or so other similarly bemused non-Americans watching a series of wobbly early eighties-tastic instructional videos about wearing seat belts and not driving while pissed.

Anyway, that was my experience. Things could well have changed since 2003, but I'd be surprised.

Last edited by elfman; Jul 21st 2007 at 1:48 am.
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Old Jul 21st 2007, 1:58 pm
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Default Re: New York Driving License

Originally Posted by epymsam View Post
I am moving to new york in a few weeks and was wondering if anyone has had any experience of getting a NY State driving license. I'll be living in manhattan and so won't be doing too much driving there, but my job requires considerable travel around the US and have a US driving licence may be useful.

I've looked at the NYS DMV site so know the rules etc. exam, sight test, road test etc. But I'm intersted to hear about the practical aspects. Such as:
Where is the nearest / best test centre for a Manhattan resident?
What have people done who don't actually own a car? Hire one for the day?
Where is the nearest DMV office?
What is the test (both exam and practical) like?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

e.
I have a New York licence (obviously as I live in the state).. You need a SS# or an aurthorised exemption letter from the SS office.
You will sit a small written test to get a learner permit.
My driving test consited of driving to a tee juction, going right, doing a 3 point turn, parking behind an imaginary car and driving around the corner again ..... 4 minutes long.
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Old Jul 21st 2007, 9:29 pm
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Default Re: New York Driving License

The written test is easy. Read the online manual and answer the test questions and you will sail through. About 15% of my test questions were word for word replicas of the online version. It is that simple. I was in and out in under 1 hr, and I think it cost about $50.

Next is the 5hr education class at a cost of $45. As per previous posts, this involved watching videos from the dawn of time with little relevance. At the end we had to take a test, score over 80% to pass, or retake the class. Everyone passed because it was self mark and then we were asked to raise our hand if we had failed. By some miracle, we had all passed Only when these two items have been completed can you request a road test date.

I have my road test on the 30th July, it includes a 1hr lesson and then the 'test' itself. The cost of the package is $160 and I had to wait 4 weeks for an appointment. Fun fun fun
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Old Jul 23rd 2007, 3:58 pm
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Default Re: New York Driving License

Originally Posted by epymsam View Post
Where is the nearest / best test centre for a Manhattan resident?
Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island - all pretty much the same. One thing to remember is that there are often long delays for an available appointment. You can take the test anywhere in NY State. If you're in a rush, consider going outside town. If you book online, you can check dates for all the different sites.
Originally Posted by epymsam View Post
What have people done who don't actually own a car? Hire one for the day?
You can do this - but you can't drive yourself to the test site, you have to have someone else take you there. (They don't have to be an instructor). But you also have to show the instructor the car's registration document (I think) and I don't know if all rental cars come with them. Actually, they're usually tucked into the glove compartment - but I don't know.
Originally Posted by epymsam View Post
Where is the nearest DMV office?
There's one in central Manhattan, one in Harlem, and one in each of the other boroughs. You can go to any one. They all seem pretty much the same.
Originally Posted by epymsam View Post
What is the test (both exam and practical) like?
It's a piece of pish, and if you've passed an EU test, you should sail through. My test was to drive around the block once, and parallel park once. It explains why standards are so low. You'll need an afternoon, all in all.

If you read the manual repeatedly and carefully for the little differences, you will not need a driving instructor at all if you can get someone else to take you along on the day.


NB also that at the time you apply for your permit, you are supposed to declare your overseas license and hand it in to the DMV. They will supposedly tuck it away in some cubbyhole and give it back to you when you leave the country (no chance). You are not "supposed" to have a NYS driving license/permit and another one from another place simultaneously. Once you do have the NYS permit, you're not allowed to drive on your own, you have to have an experienced driver with you.

So if you followed the rules, between getting the permit and passing the test, you wouldn't be allowed to drive anywhere alone. If you don't follow the rules strictly (i.e. by not declaring your UK license) - well, that's up to you. There's probably a relatively low chance of getting caught, but a high penalty for being caught...
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Old Jul 23rd 2007, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: New York Driving License

Originally Posted by lapin_windstar View Post
There's one in central Manhattan, ..
There's also one in lower Manhattan near Battery Park - I found that one to be less hellishly busy than the one in midtown.
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Old Jul 23rd 2007, 11:47 pm
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Default Re: New York Driving License

Originally Posted by Patrick Hasler View Post
I have a New York licence (obviously as I live in the state).. You need a SS# or an aurthorised exemption letter from the SS office.
You will sit a small written test to get a learner permit.
My driving test consited of driving to a tee juction, going right, doing a 3 point turn, parking behind an imaginary car and driving around the corner again ..... 4 minutes long.

You also need a valid unexpired visa (with at least 90 days remaining) in order to qualify for a driver's license in New York State. If you take the driver's test in Yonkers it is far longer than 4 minutes. It involves driving on several streets, two left and two right turns, a broken U turn (now called a K turn) and parallel parking.
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Old Jul 26th 2007, 7:31 am
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Default Re: New York Driving License

I take it there's no distinction between a "stick" and auto test like there is in the UK?
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Old Jul 26th 2007, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: New York Driving License

It wouldn't surprise me if the instructors didn't even know how to drive a manual car. No, no difference.
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Old Jul 27th 2007, 6:22 pm
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Default Re: New York Driving License

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
You also need a valid unexpired visa (with at least 90 days remaining) in order to qualify for a driver's license in New York State. .
Yeah - and they write your I-94 expiry date across the front in red and get another $10 off you each time you have to update it - or its not valid! Annoys me how these things vary state to state
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Old Jul 31st 2007, 11:28 am
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Default Re: New York Driving License

Test taken yesterday (30th) and it really is very easy.

I pulled away and took a left into a two way street. I followed this road around the block (two left turns) and arrived back at the road at which I started. I turned right with the flow of traffic and then took the next right at a set of lights. After about 50m I completed a u-turn and returned to the lights. Here I took a left and drove back to my point of origin whereupon I parallel parked in a space comfortably over two times the length of the car.

Total time: ~4mins.
Total distance: ~1k.

Easier than I thought and I am not surprised that there are so many bad drivers around.
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Old Jul 31st 2007, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: New York Driving License

Originally Posted by Chandler View Post
Total time: ~4mins.
Total distance: ~1k.

Easier than I thought and I am not surprised that there are so many bad drivers around.
That's the general opinion. Mine took two hours from walking into the test centre, waiting, doing the computer test, waiting, driving, getting photographed, waiting and finally being handed my driving licence.

Be sure to have your passport with you and some proof of where you live. I was not asked to surrender my UK licence and what's more they didn't ask to see it, or proof of insurance before I went out on the "test" (five right turns round a block and reversing into a bus stop).

The expiry date coincides with the date on the I-94. This has caused 'problems' for me since Arizona licences are valid until the holder is (I think) 75. So when people have seen the 2009 expiry date on mine they think it's fake until I open my mouth...
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Old Jul 31st 2007, 4:29 pm
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Default Re: New York Driving License

Originally Posted by gsnichol View Post
I went out on the "test" (five right turns round a block and reversing into a bus stop).

I guess you still passed?

You were lucky there was no one standing there at the moment, I think they take points off for running over people, even if you were reversing.
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