Upgrade your license to an Enhanced or REAL ID
Buy New York State Driver’s License. We can apply by mail or in a DMV office How to Apply for a New York Learner Permit/Driver License/Non-Driver. To upgrade your license to a Real ID, you must show proof of your Social Security Number or provide an exemption letter from the Social Security administration. To upgrade to an Enhanced ID, you must show proof of your citizenship in the United States and provide either your Social Security Number or an exemption letter.
You don’t have to get an Enhanced or REAL ID. 1 However, if you have a Standard, you will not be allowed to board a domestic flight starting in October 2021 (unless you have a Passport). If you plan on traveling, we recommend you come to DMV now and avoid a second office visit. Learn more about Enhanced, REAL ID and Standard documents.
- a completed Application for Permit, Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card (PDF) (MV-44)
- your driver license or learner permit (must be current or expired for less than two years)
- a photocopy of your proof of Supplemental Security Income, if required (see below) – DO NOT mail your original document(s)
- the payment indicated in the chart below
Determine what license class you need
- D – Operator – this is what most people have (or DJ – Junior Operator, if under 18)
- A, B, C – Commercial (CDL) – (required to drive tractor trailers, buses etc.)
- E – Taxi or Livery
Determine what license Type you need
- beginning October 1, 2021, not accepted to board a domestic (within U.S.) flight or to enter some federal buildings
- Has ‘NOT FOR FEDERAL PURPOSES’ on the front
- REAL ID
- can be used to board a domestic (within U.S.) flight
- has a white star in a black circle on the front
- can be used to board a domestic flight (within U.S.)
- can be used to enter U.S. at land crossings from Canada, Mexico and some Carribean countries
- has a U.S. flag on the front
Exchange a NY State driver license for a non-driver ID card
You can exchange a New York State driver license or learner permit that is current or that expired within the last 2 years for a New York State non-driver ID card (NDID). Buy New York State Driver’s License
Out-of-state and foreign driver licenses
You can drive in New York State with a valid driver license from another state or country. You don’t need to apply for a New York State driver license unless you become a New York State resident.
If you have a driver license from another country you do not need to have an International Driving Permit, but it is helpful. The permit verifies in several languages that you have a valid driver license. Police officers who can’t read the language on your foreign driver license will be able to read the permit. Contact the authorities in your home country to get an International Driving Permit.
Visitors from other countries
If you have a driver license from any nation, you do not need a New York State license to drive here. You should only apply for a New York State driver license if you become a resident of New York State.
If you do not have a license in your home country and want 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.