The easy way to renew a driver’s license in New York

How can I renew my license?

A New York state-issued driver’s license is valid for 8 years. You may choose to renew it one year before its expiry date. If you let it expire, you won’t be able to drive legally and will have two years to renew it. If you fail to do so, you’ll have to apply for a new license and retake all the tests. There are three ways one can renew his New York license:

  • In person at your local DMV
  • Online
  • By mail

What method of renewal is best for me?

Each method has its own pros and cons. We will go into detail under their individual sections below. For now, here’s a table to help you get an overview of the options:

MethodOnlineIn personBy Mail
How?Follow this linkVisit any of your local DMV officesFill this notice and send to:

  • NYS Department of Motor Vehicles
  • 207 Genesee Street, Suite 6
  • Utica, NY  13501-2874
ProsQuick, can be done up to one year in advanceYou can apply for a REAL ID or Enhanced IDCan be used to renew REAL ID or Enhanced ID if you have it
ConsYou can’t apply for a REAL ID or Enhanced IDYou’ll have to visit the DMV office during working hoursSlowest method of the three

What documents do I need for a driver’s license renewal?

Here are the basic documents required to renew your Michigan driver’s license:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Social Security Number
  • A completed eye test (locations for you can do it)
  • Two proofs of residency if you’re a non-citizen
  • Proof of any legal name change

You can also use this questionnaire to see in detail what documents you should bring.

Which type of license should you get?

There are three different versions of a driver’s license document, each version having slightly more authority than the other. Here’s a table for a quick comparison:

StandardREAL IDEnhanced (EDL)
Can be used for identificationYesYesYes
Can be used to enter federal buildingsNoYesYes
Can be used for boarding domestic flightsNoYesYes
Enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, and some Caribbean countriesNoNoYes
Required to replace/renew in personNoYesYes
Extra CostsNoNo$30
Additional Security Symbol“Non-federal purposes”ID StarU.S. Flag

If you own a standard license and need to renew, we strongly suggest going for either the REAL ID or Enhanced ID to keep at least some of the privileges with your new document.

Should you renew your license in person?

Everyone’s most hated method for doing administrative work does come with its own perks. If you have a standard license and plan to upgrade to REAL ID or Enhanced ID, it can only be done in person. When renewing in person, you’ll immediately get a temporary license you can use, and your new one will arrive within 10 days. 

We understand no one enjoys having to stay in long lines only to be told “you’re missing one paper” and rejected. That’s why we suggest using the DoNotPay app to schedule a fast DMV appointment. You can access the app through your web browser, or get the iOS version. DoNotPay will set you up with an appointment in less than two minutes and tell you exactly which documents to bring for your specific case. 

Should you renew your license online?

People who already own or don’t plan to switch to either REAL ID or Enhanced ID may opt for renewing online. You cannot change the version of your license when renewing online. This method is the fastest and most efficient. To complete your online renewal, visit this link. Apart from filling out the online form, you’ll need to provide a recent eye test, which you can apply for in any of these locations. Once you’re finished, you’ll be provided with a PDF format document. You can print and use it as a temporary license until your new one license via mail in about 10 business days.

Should you renew your license by mail?

There aren’t any benefits to be gained from renewing by mail as opposed to online renewal. If you feel more comfortable doing this, you can. Just know that this is the slowest method of all three. If your expiration date is coming soon, it might be better to choose another way. You can’t change the type of license that will be issued via mail. The renewed license will be the same type of documents as the last. In order to renew your license via mail, you must send the following:

  1. A completed renewal notice, if you’ve received one. If not, fill out this form.
  2. An updated eye test. You can obtain it at any of these locations.
  3. A money order or check payable to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. The fee will depend on the type of your license

After you’ve gathered everything, send it to:

  • NYS, Department of Motor Vehicles
  • 207 Genesee Street, Suite 6
  • Utica, NY 13501-2874

Can I renew my license if it was suspended?

In order to renew a suspended license in New York, you must first complete the necessary tasks to reinstate your driving privileges. What you’ll have to do strongly depends on the type of the offense that was made. Usually, this includes paying a fine or waiting a certain amount of time before you’re eligible to drive again. If your license has been revoked, that means it’s validity has been canceled. You’ll have to reapply for a license once the revoke period has ended and you’ve paid any debts.

How to renew a NY license as a non-citizen?

New York City driver’s licenses issued to non-citizens share the expiration date as your legal presence document submitted to the DMV. As long as the paperwork on file has not expired, you may renew your license using the same methods as everyone else. Once your visitor status has been extended, you must go to the DMV and submit the paperwork provided by Homeland Security (DHS). This will update the expiration on your license to the new date.

How to renew your license as a member of the military?

If you’re an active member of the U.S. Army and about to leave for duty, you may inform the DMV by submitting a Notification of Military Service (MV-75). Your driver’s license expiration date will then be extended to a maximum of 6 months after returning. If your license has already expired, you may submit the form now assuming that your service started before the expiry. You’ll have to submit a letter from your superior stating the start and end date of your deployment.

What to do if my license was stolen/lost/damaged?

If you’ve found yourself in any of these three situations, you can apply for a replacement license. The process and options are the same as with renewing. You’ll also have to pay a $17.50 replacement fee. If your license was stolen/lost, you should report it to the local police. While doing so, you can also obtain a Report of Lost, Stolen, or Confiscated Motor Vehicles Items (MV-78B form). If you come to replace your license in person and bring a copy of the form, you will not be charged for the renewal fee. Remember to always schedule your visit with DoNotPay to save time.

DoNotPay helps thousands and thousands of drivers study for their parking tests in these states:

What else can DoNotPay do?

Apart from setting up a fast DMV appointment, DoNotPay can:

  1. Challenge parking citations in any state
  2. Beat speeding infractions
  3. Dispute traffic tickets
  4. Cancel unwanted services and free trials
  5. Wait in customer care phone queue for you
  6. Create lawsuits against companies and individuals in small claims court
  7. Get you compensation for delayed or canceled flights
  8. Generate virtual payment cards for safe free trials

If you found this article helpful, you can learn more about similar topics for FREE at the DoNotPay learning center.