New York State Driver's License and Vehicle Purchases

New York State Driver's License

You will be eligible to apply for a NYS license if:

  • Your I-20 is valid for a duration of at least one calendar year AND
  • Your I-20 has at least 6 months remaining before its expiration date.

Steps to apply for a NYS driver's license

  1. Study the New York State "Driver's Manual."
    • This is the "rules of the road" book. When you drive in NYS, you are expected to know, and abide by, these rules.
    • You can get a manual at the Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV") office or you can download it from the DMV website
  2. Go to the DMV, fill out the application and pay the fee for the Driver's License.
  3. Take a written test and eye exam.
    • The written test is based on the information in the Manual.
    • If you wear glasses or contact lenses, please wear them for the eye exam.
  4. Complete a 5-hour "mandatory pre-licensing course."
    • Call 607-566-8507 or visit the local 5-hour course listing.
    • The courses at the Hornell High School location are generally Wednesdays from 5 - 10 p.m. and the Wellsville YMCA location on Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., please consult the website or call to verify dates and locations.
    • Any participant must arrive at lease 15 - 30 minutes early because the class is limited to 35 (no reservations allowed).
    • Bring photo ID and payment in cash of $45 (again, check website to ensure you are bringing proper fee).
  5. Pass a road test.

Proof of your identity/name

With the increase in requirements for public security, the DMV frequently updates the list of acceptable proofs of identity and date of birth. Please consult their list of proofs and point values before going to the DMV.

To prove your name, you must show a total of 6 points of identification from the following sources:

  • (3 points) Passport - Your passport must be in English, and have your U.S. Visa and a valid I-94 (arrival and departure record)
  • (2 points) U.S. Social Security Card - If you are not eligible for a Social Security number, you can get a letter from the Social Security Office stating that you are ineligible for a Social Security number (the DMV will not accept a letter more than 30 days old).
  • (2 points) Photo Driver's License issued by another U.S. state - not expired for more than 12 months)
  • (1 point) Your Alfred State ID Card OR (2 points) Your Alfred State Student ID Card + transcripts from Alfred State
  • (1 point) Supermarket Check Cashing Card
  • (1 point) Utility Bill - must have your name and address
  • (1 point) Valid Major U.S. Credit Card
  • (1 point) Bank Statement - with your name and address on it
  • (1 point) ATM Cash Card - with your name preprinted and your signature

Proof of your date of birth

To prove your date of birth, you must submit one of the following:

  • Your Foreign Passport, U.S. Visa and I-94 Card. Your passport must be in English and you must have the visa and I-94 card attached. If your passport is not in English, you should get a certified translation from your country's Embassy or Consulate
  • Canadian Birth Certificate AND Driver's License

Buying a Car: Some Things to Consider

  • You must purchase automobile insurance if you buy a car. This can add a substantial cost to car ownership. Please be sure to consider the cost of insurance when planning your car budget.
  • You must also "register" your car with the DMV each year. There is a fee for the car registration. You must present 6 points of identification for proof of your identity and date of birth. Please see the New York State DMV website for instructions.
  • Consult the "buying a car" brochure from the New York State DMV website.
  • Get tips about "Buying A Car" from AAA (American Automobile Association or "Triple A") at or at
  • Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Buying a Used Car

  • Get information about the market value of a used car at or
  • Take the car for a test drive
  • Have the car inspected by a reliable mechanic or AAA-approved repair shop before agreeing to buy
  • Be sure to get a receipt
  • Get the "title" for the vehicle
  • Be aware of New York State's "Lemon Laws": New York State's new & used car lemon laws provide legal solutions for consumers who buy or lease cars. If a car does not live up to the written warranty and cannot be repaired--or if it has not been repaired correctly after a reasonable number of attempts--the consumer could receive a refund or replacement car.
    For information and assistance concerning New York 's Lemon Laws, contact:
    Office of the Attorney General, Albany NY 518-474-5481
    State Consumer Protection Board, Complaint Unit, Albany NY 518-474-8583

Automobile Insurance

If you have a foreign driver's license you can buy car insurance and register your car at the DMV, however, we recommend that you obtain a NYS driver's license if you are eligible for the following reasons:

  • Car Insurance, which is mandatory in New York State, may be more expensive if you don't have a U.S. license.
  • Insurance companies often add a surcharge to the cost of your insurance if you don't have a U.S. driver's license (the "Inexperienced Driver" surcharge).
  • Some automobile insurers require a NYS driver's license even if you already have a foreign drivers license.

Information on car insurance in New York State:

  • There is a minimum amount of coverage that you must carry on your automobile. This is determined by the State of New York.
  • This minimum coverage must be in effect as long as your car is registered in New York. (This means that, even if you are not driving the car for some reason, you must still pay your car insurance bills if your car is registered in New York).
  • You must purchase an automobile liability insurance policy from an insurer licensed by the New York State Insurance Department and authorized to do business in NYS.
  • The insurance must be in the name of the person who has registered the car.
  • The cost for auto insurance is called the "Premium". The amount that you must pay out of your pocket if you get into an accident is called the "Deductible."
  • You can find additional information regarding NYS auto insurance requirements on the DMV website.

Finding an insurance company:

  • Get recommendations from other students/friends/faculty.
  • Look in the "yellow pages" of the phone book.
  • Call numerous companies to compare rates (known as "premiums") to see which company offers the best deal for you.
  • Many students buy insurance online.

Some facts about Auto Insurance:

  • If you have a bad driving record or are a new driver in NY, your premium will be higher.
  • You can reduce your auto insurance premium by taking a "Driver Improvement" course.
    • Alfred State College Continuing Education Office often offers this course.
    • The American Automobile Association offers courses regularly at various locations in western New York. Please check the AAA club's website for locations and contact information.

Important Traffic Safety Laws

  • DWI: Driving while intoxicated is a very serious crime in New York State, for more information please see this DMV website for more information.
  • Cell Phones: In New York State, you must have a "hands-free device" to use your cell phone in the car.
  • Seat Belts: You must always wear your seat belt-it's the law!
  • Know what to do if you get pulled over by the police.