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New York State driving licence - info for you

New York State driving licence - info for you

Old Mar 21st 2015, 3:57 pm
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Default New York State driving licence - info for you

I needed to get my NYS driver's license and had seen numerous pieces of advice on how to get it, whether you have to hand your UK license in, "forget" to take it with you so they can't etc etc.
So, having just gone through this I thought I'd give back some information and clarify a few things (on the assumption you have a UK license).

First, you do need to take a 5 hour pre licensing course. It's very boring and full of 80s safety videos but you need the piece of paper to book a driving test.
You need to take a theory test but you can book an appointment online. I did and it took about 40 minutes from walking in to the DMV in Yonkers to walking out having passed the test and got my learner's permit. I think you need to do all this before the 5 hour course by the way.

Now, the part that was very confusing was with regards the test itself. Did I need a supervising driver? Should I take my UK license with me (I had seen advice on here not to take it). The driving school I used for the 5 hour course insisted I needed a supervising driver with a NYS license with me for the test.
Well, I booked the test (in January). I didn't know anyone with a NYS license so couldn't take someone with me but had seen advice that it wasn't needed and I left my UK license at home as suggested (I actually meant to take it just in case but forgot it!).
Well, they wouldn't let me take the test!

So, what are the actual rules?
If you have a UK license you DON'T need a supervising driver either for the test or at any other time you drive prior to passing your test. IF you don't have a supervising driver at the test then you MUST take your UK license with you and hand it in at the end of the test (assuming you pass).
I've seen numerous people say they didn't want to give up their UK license. Not sure why as you can get it back at any time (they gave me a form at the end stating they have my UK license).
Alternatively, you can do what I did. I "lost" my UK license and for £20 you can get a replacement. It will obviously go to a UK address though. For me, not a problem as our old address has postal redirection to the US. I then miraculously "found" my old one 😉 so I've handed that one in. (By the way, after June the paper part of the UK license is no longer needed and there were instructions with the replacement to destroy the paper part after June. I never did see the point of the paper part. Also, the test examiner didn't want the paper part either. They just gave it back to me and kept the plastic photocard).

The only way you can keep your UK license or not take it with you is to have a supervising driver with a NYS license with you.
I had to reschedule my test which was another 6 week wait, on top of the original 6 weeks I waited for the 1st aborted test.

The test itself was dead easy and lasted only 7 or 8 minutes. Drive down a couple of roads, parallel park behind a car (there was no other car behind so it was simple), 3 point turn from being parked and back to where we started.
There's no test centres as such. There are designated test areas and the start point is indicated by a sign at the roadside. You just line up by the curb and take it in turns to be tested. You're given a time but they just take whoever is at the front of the line so I suggest turning up 30 minutes before your actual test time. I did and there were 6 cars in front of me.

If you need to know anything else just ask.

Last edited by smarty156; Mar 21st 2015 at 4:02 pm.
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Old Mar 21st 2015, 5:31 pm
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Default Re: New York State driving licence - info for you

Can open, worms everywhere...
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Old Mar 21st 2015, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: New York State driving licence - info for you

Well, this is from my experience having tried to take the test in January and then taking (and passing) the test yesterday.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Things may or may not have changed since others took the test.
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Old Mar 21st 2015, 9:53 pm
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Default Re: New York State driving licence - info for you

I think he was referring to the part about using a UK address to retain your UK licence, the legitimacy of doing so is a bit of a contentious issue on this board.

Your experience wrt NYS DMV is similar to mine except I had my driving instructor drive me to the road test, but then I had no UK licence and so was driving on my NYS Learner's Permit and as such was not allowed to drive anywhere in the test area except for the actual test.

Having said the above, I refuse to believe that anyone has *ever* had any dealings with Yonkers DMV which didn't involve at least a two-hour wait.
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Old Mar 21st 2015, 11:26 pm
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Default Re: New York State driving licence - info for you

I took my road test in New Rochelle, turned up on my own in an Avis rental car however did have my UK license with me. My test lasted less than 3 minutes and the examiner didn't keep my UK license.
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Old Mar 22nd 2015, 12:15 am
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Default Re: New York State driving licence - info for you

Ha ha. I see.
No, I guess the UK license isn't valid but then the NYS DMV have no way of knowing that and purely for the exercise of getting a license without needing a supervising driver I don't really see the issue. I'm sure there are some that will disagree.
If you think about it, it's a nonsense anyway. If you're applying for an NYS license it's because you're resident which means you can't have a valid UK license so why ask to take it off you?
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Old Mar 22nd 2015, 1:16 pm
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Default Re: New York State driving licence - info for you

Originally Posted by smarty156 View Post
Ha ha. I see.
No, I guess the UK license isn't valid but then the NYS DMV have no way of knowing that and purely for the exercise of getting a license without needing a supervising driver I don't really see the issue. I'm sure there are some that will disagree.
If you think about it, it's a nonsense anyway. If you're applying for an NYS license it's because you're resident which means you can't have a valid UK license so why ask to take it off you?
I think the idea is so that if you get stopped you can't present your foreign licence and pretend to be visiting.
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Old Mar 28th 2015, 10:22 pm
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Default Re: New York State driving licence - info for you

When I did my test in Georgetown, DE last year, I was asked if I have my British licence with me. I actually said NO. I had only days to return to the UK for another 5 months stretch and didn't want to be driving my then UK car on a US license. It would have complicated matters for me.
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