This guide covers:
- Documents you’ll need
- Renewal timeline
- Fines for not renewing on time
- License renewal online, by mail, and in person
Which Documents Do You Need?
License Renewal Documents
- Current driver’s license.
- Proof of identity: the driver’s license itself or another form of government-issued photo ID.
- Social security number: a Social Security card or a W-2 form with your SSN listed.
- Proof of date of birth: any government-issued ID with your date of birth.
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Presence: a US passport, birth certificate, or immigration documents.
- Proof of New York State Residency: a utility bill, bank statement, or other official mail with your current New York address.
- Vision test report: a completed MV-619 (Eye Test Report) if you’re taking a vision test at a DMV office or by an approved vision tester. Alternatively, you can have your eye care professional complete an online vision test report. If your eye doctor is not on the list, they must fill out Form MV-619.
Note that when renewing in person at the DMV office, all documents must be original or certified copies. Photocopies or digital versions are not accepted in this case.
Do You Need a REAL ID?
A person must obtain a REAL ID in the following cases:
- Domestic Air Travel: a REAL ID is required to board domestic flights within the United States.
- Entering Federal Buildings or Military Bases: a REAL ID will be required to access certain federal buildings and military bases.
- Nuclear Power Plants: a REAL ID is required to enter nuclear power plants.
For individuals who don’t plan to use their driver’s license for the above purposes, a standard driver’s license renewal will suffice. However, they will need another form of federally accepted identification, such as a US passport or military ID, for these activities starting May 3, 2023.
When Do You Need to Renew Your NY Driver’s License?
- 1 year before expiration: You’re eligible to start the renewal process. Renewing early avoids last-minute hassles and potential delays.
- 30 to 180 days before expiration: The ideal time to start the renewal process. This window provides ample time to gather the necessary documents and address potential issues.
- Less than 30 days before expiration: Last-minute renewals risk not receiving the new license before the old one expires. Additional expedited processing fees may apply.
- Day of expiration: The last day to renew without facing potential penalties or restrictions.
- 1 to 2 years after expiration: The license is still renewable, but additional documentation and tests may be required, depending on the time since expiration.
- More than 2 years after expiration: You must retake the written test and road test to obtain a new license. This process adds time, expense, and potential stress to renewal.
If you are about to turn 21, wait until you are within 40 days of your 21st birthday to renew your license. Then, you will receive a license that does not have the “Under 21” label.
Keep in mind that while you have two years to renew your license, this is not a grace period to drive with an expired license. It’s possible to upgrade to a senior license (Class D or M) with fewer restrictions upon renewal.
Age Requirements and Restrictions 18-20
In New York, drivers aged 16-17 hold a Junior License (Class DJ or MJ).
Age Requirements and Restrictions 16-17
Consequences of Not Renewing on Time
Consequences of Not Renewing the NY License on Time
- Fines: Fines range from $25 to $40 for a license that expired less than 60 days ago. The fine increases from $75 to $300 for licenses expired over 60 days.
- Traffic Violations: Driving with an expired license results in traffic violation tickets, with each ticket ranging from $100 to $500. Accumulating traffic violations can increase insurance premiums.
- Points on Driving Record: Each traffic violation can add 2-5 points to your record. Getting 11 points within an 18-month can result in license suspension or revocation.
- Criminal Charges: In extreme cases, you can face criminal charges, with a possible jail time from a few days to a year, especially if involved in an accident or if there are repeated offenses.
Is there a Grace Period?
New York State does not have a grace period. Driving with an expired license is a traffic violation.
How to Renew a New York Driver’s License
Renew a Where to Renew a New York Driver’s License
You must renew online at the New York State DMV website. From the homepage, navigate to the “Online Services” tab and select “License Renewal.”
- Enter your driver’s license number, which is a 9-digit number unique to your license.
- Input the last 4 digits of your Social Security number for identity verification.
- Provide your current address and double-check for accuracy to avoid delays in receiving your new license.
- Pay renewal fees using a credit or debit card. Note that a $1.00 transaction fee applies to all online renewals.
- Receive a confirmation receipt and a temporary license via email. The temporary license is valid for 30 days and can be used until your new license arrives.
- Receive your new driver’s license by mail within 2 weeks.
Renewal By Mail
If you’ve received the Renewal Notice, fill out the approved form and send the required fees by check or money order. The Renewal Notice is typically sent to you by the New York DMV before your current driver’s license expires.
If you haven’t received your notice, follow these steps:
- Fill out Form MV-44.
- Calculate the required fees and issue a check or money order made out to the ‘Commissioner of Motor Vehicles’.
- Mail the form, vision test, and payment to the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles, 207 Genesee Street, Suite 6, Utica, NY 13501-2874.
- Use a secure, trackable mailing method to ensure delivery.
- After the DMV receives your renewal packet, anticipate a processing time of up to 2 weeks. Your new license will be mailed to you.
Note that you will not receive a temporary paper license in this method, so apply several weeks in advance if you need to drive while you wait.
- Fill out the renewal notice you received or this form.
- Book a reservation in advance and head to your nearest New York DMV office.
- Take a new photo for your renewed driver’s license.
- Turn in your old license and pay the fee by credit/debit card OR by check/money order made out to ‘Commissioner of Motor Vehicles’.
- Receive your temporary license.
- Wait for your new license to arrive in the mail within 2 weeks.
When You Must Renew Your License In-Person
- A License is Suspended, Revoked, or Expired: If your driving privileges are suspended, revoked, or expired more than 2 years, you must resolve the cause before you can renew your license.
- Enhanced or REAL ID License Upgrade: Upgrades to an Enhanced or REAL ID license require a visit to the DMV.
- Photo Update: NY DMV requires a new photo every 16 years, which you must update in-person.
- CDL License Type: A Commercial Driver’s License renewals require a visit to the DMV.
- Medical Condition: A medical condition that affects an ability to drive requires additional medical documentation you must bring in-person.
- Non-US Citizens with Temporary Visas: Non-US citizens with temporary visas must prove their legal presence in the United States by bringing additional papers in-person.
- Conditional or Restricted License: If your license is conditional or restricted, you must renew in-person.
- The Last Renewal was Not In Person: If your last renewal was not done in person, you must renew in-person this time.
New York State Driver’s License Renewal Fees
Note that there is also the MCTD fee. It applies to residents of the following counties: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester.
What to Do If You Are Out of State or Country
How to Renew Your NY License If You Are Out of State or Country
Renewal for Out-of-State Residents: If you’re temporarily out of state, you can renew your license online or by mail, just like you would if you were in New York. Make sure your mailing address is up to date to receive your new license by mail.Renewal for Out-of-Country Residents: If you’re out of the country, you can renew online or by mail as well. However, if your license will expire while you are abroad, consider renewing it before you leave or as soon as possible to avoid complications.
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