New York ID & Driver’s License


When arriving in a foreign land the first thing you need is a proof of identity and existence like an ID card, as you would not want to carry your passport all the time. In addition to a driver’s licence, there is also the new IDNYC card available for residents of New York City.


New York City ID Card



IDNYC is the new, free identification card for all New York City residents, which gives all of us the opportunity to show who we are—New Yorkers! As a government-issued photo identification card, IDNYC secures the peace of mind and access to City services that come from having recognized identification. You do not need to be an American citizen to take advantage of this new municipal initiative.

IDNYC cardholders can access services and programs offered by the City as well as by businesses. IDNYC helps enhance public safety, by serving as a recognized ID for interacting with NYPD. It also helps New Yorkers gain access to all City buildings that provide services to the public and is accepted as a form of identification for accessing numerous City programs and services. IDNYC also provides a dynamic series of benefits to cardholders, including a free one-year membership at many of the City’s leading museums, zoos, concert halls, and botanical gardens, discounted movie tickets and deep discounts on many recreational activities like ski packages. Check it out!


New York Driver License

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 resident of New York state.

If you have a driver license from another country you do not need an International Driving Permit, but the permit verifies in several languages that you have a valid driver license. This is helpful to police officers who can’t read the language on your foreign driver license. Contact the authorities in your home country to get an International Driving Permit.

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, federal district or Canadian province, you may be eligible to exchange it for a New York driver license (see Exchange an out-of-state license).

If your license was issued outside the U.S. or Canada, you must apply for a new original NYS driver license at a DMV office. Note that G4 Visa holders must apply for their NY drivers license at the Midtown DMV office (366 W31st Street). Other offices will not be able to process them. Also note that spouses must have their UN-employed partner’s work-issued hang tag when they go to apply. A photocopy is acceptable. Click here for more information.


Some tips for acquiring a Driver’s License:

  • Check all the information available from your local DMV office
  • Prepare for a written test. Testing material is available from your local DMV office
  • An eyesight test will be undertaken at the local DMV office
  • Applicants resident in the state of NY will be required to complete a five-hour pre-licensing course and a road test. Applicants in NJ do not have to complete a pre-licensing course or do a road test as long as they present their foreign driver’s license
  • Visit your local DMV where you will be required to meet the six points of ID requirement in order to apply for a driver’s license. Visit this page for a list of acceptable documents to prove your identity: No appointment is needed but it is advised that you go early and expect to be there for over an hour. After passing the written test, the DMV releases a temporary learner’s permit. You will then receive at home in the mail a learner’s permit with which you will be allowed to sit the road test.
  • In order to receive your driver’s license, according to NY DMV regulations, you are required to surrender your foreign license after passing the road test. Your foreign license will be stored at the local DMV office and destroyed after 60 days. You may, however, request that your foreign license be filed so that you may use it when returning home. In order to retrieve your foreign license from the DMV, you
    must surrender your NY license. For advice on how to proceed, contact NYLESA.
  • You are allowed to keep your foreign license along with your NJ license.
  • See the section on “Drivers from other nations” on the DMV site