Getting a New York driver’s license may not be a difficult process, but it does take a little planning and organization. You’ll need to present your New York driving pre-licensing course certificate to the DMV before you can get your driver’s license, but the certificate is only valid for a limited time.
Here’s what you need to know about your pre-licensing course and how long it is valid.
What Is a Pre-Licensing Course Certificate?
A pre-licensing course certificate is the confirmation that you’ve completed the state-required new driver training course.
The five-hour pre-licensing course is required for all New York drivers. Unlike many states, New York doesn't waive the requirement for drivers aged 18 and over. But if you’re 18 or older, you have the option to take the course online.
The course will teach you driving basics, including:
Driving within the highway transportation system
Driver habits and skills
Feelings and attitudes about driving
Risk-taking while driving
Drugs and alcohol and their effect on driving
Once you complete the course, your pre-licensing course certificate will be reported directly to the DMV, free of charge.
Your pre-licensing course certificate shows the New York DMV that you've successfully completed your course and are ready to take the state road test to get your New York driver’s license.
How Long Is My New York Driving Pre-Licensing Course Certificate Valid?
Your New York driving pre-licensing course certificate is valid for one year from that issue date. Be sure to schedule your road test with the DMV before your certificate expires. You may even want to schedule your road test as soon as possible. This will give you a cushion if you don’t pass the road test on your first attempt and you need to schedule a retake.
You want to make sure you can pass your road test within the one-year period that your certificate is valid.
There is one notable exception to this rule. According to Ashley at the New York DMV, “We will honor certificates that expired during the COVID emergency. As of now, this applies to certificates that expired between March 1, 2020, and February 26, 2021, but this period may be extended depending on the changing circumstances of the virus.”
What Happens if My New York Driving Pre-Licensing Course Certificate Expires?
If your New York driving pre-license course certificate expires before you have passed your road test and earned your driver’s license, you’ll need to retake the course.
Simply enroll in the course the same way you did the first time. You’ll need to complete the five hours of instruction again.
What Steps Do I Need to Take After Completing My Pre-License Course?
If you’re under 18, you’ll need to get some practice, driving with an experienced, licensed adult. Your practice must include a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice, including at least 15 hours of nighttime driving and at least 10 hours in moderate to heavy traffic.
Your parent or guardian will need to complete and submit a Certification of Supervised Driving (Form MV-262) to the road test examiner when you take your road test. To make sure you have enough time to practice, the state requires you to wait at least six months between getting your learner’s permit and scheduling your road test.
If you’re 18 or over, it’s still smart to get ample driving practice before taking your road test. But the state does not require you to track practice hours.
Drivers of any age should practice skills like:
Accelerating and braking
Maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles
Obeying traffic signs and signals
Changing lanes properly
Communicating with other drivers and pedestrians through turn signals and the horn as appropriate
Simply schedule your road test with the DMV as soon as you’re ready. You can schedule your road test online using the DMV’s Road Test Scheduling System.
Enroll in Your Pre-Licensing Course
Getting your New York driver’s license starts with your pre-licensing course. Enroll in your course and earn your New York driving pre-licensing course certificate in as little as five hours.