Everything You Need To Know About Driving and Documentation In New York

One of the many questions I receive from host families and au pairs is, ‘do au pairs need a NY State Drivers License?’ Here is everything you need to know about driving in NY and beyond!

First things first: NY State’s rules on driving are very different than many other states so please pay close attention to these details:

* • In NY, an au pair is NOT required to obtain a NY State Drivers License.

• Prior to an au pair’s arrival in the U.S., she/he must make sure that the home country license will not expire for the next 2+ years. If this home country license does expire while in the U.S., then the au pair is NOT permitted to drive in NY.

• When driving in NY, an au pair should carry his/her home country driver’s license AND the International License.

Please note that the International License is not a legal document, but rather a translation. If an au pair extends his/her time after 1 year, the International License will not be valid. This is okay because the home country license WILL be valid!

I have learned over the years that while an au pair is legally permitted to drive in NY with an International License and the Home Country License or solely the Home Country License, the local law enforcement officials are not always aware that this IS okay! For this reason, I require my au pairs to CLICK HERE and print this information from NY’s Department of Motor Vehicles which states that this in fact IS legal! Please look under the ‘Non Resident’ section. Lastly, please put this in your car for reference if needed.


• While most host families have no problem insuring their au pairs in the first and/or second year, I have come across 2 cases in my 9+ years that did not cover the au pairs. The au pairs were going to be extending with their same family and since the visa would be expiring (although legally permitted to extend their stay), the au pair needed the NY State License. My recommendation is for host families to check with their insurance agent to make sure that this is planned out in advance and there are no surprises.

• If an au pair transitions or extends with another family out of state, the driving laws will most likely be different. In this case, it is helpful for an au pair to go for the New York State License.

• It’s always nice to have the extra identification. And, a NYS Driver’s License does make a nice souvenir!

For those that want to (or are required to) obtain a New York State License, please see below:

Obtaining A NYS Driver’s License

Here are the costs and time line:
• The au pair goes to the DMV and takes his/her written permit test. (White Plains does not offer the test so she should go elsewhere) Peekskill, Yonkers, Carmel, or Yorktown are some options. The Au Pair might be asked if she has a foreign license and she should say “no” because they will take it and destroy it .
• She/he needs to pass the written test and pay the permit cost of $90 – This is only paid upon passing the test. It’s also offered in many languages.
• The 5 hour class at the driving school costs about $40 and they run one every week. Once she/he completes that the au pair can schedule the road test. If she/he schedules it herself its free but sometimes the driving school will do it and charges $20. Most driving schools offer this 5 hour class usually once on a weeknight and once at the weekend.
• Once the au pair passes the road text they send her/him the license

From start to finish it can take 3 weeks depending on scheduling the road test.
If the host family is requiring an au pair to get the NY License, they should pay the fees. If they do not require it, but the au pair would like the license, then she/he should plan on paying for it.

If an au pair plans on driving out of state, they should look up the rules of that state before entering to make sure they are legally allowed to drive there.

Happy Driving Everyone!!


Tuesday, 13 June 2017 10:12 PM


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