Driving in New York – Part 1 – Getting my Learner’s Permit

learner permit

Gambit and I decided that it would be worthwhile for one of us to get a New York Driver’s License.  That way we could hire cars and drive out of the city for weekends away, and that it would come in handy when we visited other areas in America by car.

We decided I would be the one to get the license since I had more time on my hands to go line up and get the details changed over, or whatever was required.

In Australia I hold a full license to drive a car, boat, and motorcycle.  I’ve had my license for over a decade and have completed hundreds of hours on the road, thanks to copious amounts of driving in my early to mid 20s.

It turns out that getting a New York license isn’t as easy as just going into the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and saying ‘hey, I have a license elsewhere, please give me one here’.

As it turns out, I have to start all over again.


  • sit and pass an exam for a Learner’s Permit
  • attend a 5 hour pre-licensing course
  • sit and pass a driving test

I went in earlier this week and decided to see if I could pass the Learner’s written test with minimal study.

Finding the closest DMV was easy.  Once I arrived, I was asked by a concierge type person why I was here and they gave me a number and said something quickly which I couldn’t quite hear.  So I went and sat down.  After a while I thought I should ask someone whether I was waiting in the right area.

I wasn’t.

Once I was shown the correct area to line up, I was first in the queue within 10 minutes.  I was told which computer to go and sit at to complete my test.

I touched the screen to start the test.  The test allowed me 90 minutes to complete 20 questions where I had to get 14 correct (70%) for a pass.

Since I hadn’t studied the manual I was stuck on a few questions because the multiple choice answers all seemed correct for a few of the questions.  By the 18th question I knew I would have to re-sit because I had no idea what the answers were.

To my surprise, after completing the last question, the score page said I had 6 incorrect answers with a total score of 14, giving me a pass.

I started laughing in my seat as I could not believe I had passed.

After telling someone I had passed, I was told to stand in line B – which was the photo line and eye testing line.

After that, I was told to go to line C – payment line.  I was given an interim Learner’s Permit which I had to carry with me until my proper Permit ID arrives in the mail.

However, as I had my interim Permit, I was able to contact a company that offered the 5 hour pre-licensing course and I am scheduled in to complete that later this week.

I am a bit daunted by this whole process, however I do find it interesting to some extent to see whether I pass my driving exam first go.

To be continued….


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