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tlc license

The most recent regulations require drivers for ride-sharing companies to have specific licenses to drive in New York City. As a result, if you want to work as a driver for a ride-sharing company or a taxi app in New York City , you must obtain a TLC license.

A TLC license is essentially a driver's license that is only used to operate a vehicle that provides pre-arranged transportation services to passengers, also known as For-Hire Vehicles (FHVs).

Depending on the type of vehicle, you can apply for different types of FHV licenses. This guide will teach you about the TLC driver license, as well as how to obtain and renew one.

What Is a TLC License?

The license allows you to operate the following ride-hailing services in New York City:

  • Yellow taxicab (including Arro Taxi in NY)
  • Limousine
  • Green taxi
  • Black cab

This driver's license also governs Lyft and Uber drivers. As a result, if you want to drive for companies that provide customers with vehicles on a for-hire basis, you must obtain this license.

Obtaining a TLC license is more difficult than obtaining a regular driver's license. However, because it is still a DMC license, you must obtain the TLC license from the same department.

Who Needs a TLC License?

Anyone who wants to operate a For-Hire Vehicle in New York City must get a TLC license. This includes drivers for:

  • Taxis
  • Limousines
  • Lyft
  • Uber

Aside from the ridesharing or ride-hailing services available in NYC, any passenger vehicle beginning or ending its journey in New York State is also subject to the TLC licensing authority. As a result, if you intend to cross New York state lines in a vehicle with paying passengers, you should review the TLC guidelines for such a trip.

Staying in compliance will help you avoid large fines and other penalties.

Why Is the TLC License Important?

Ride-hailing companies guarantee that the cars and drivers they provide are licensed and insured. This license is one method of demonstrating that you, as the driver, are properly licensed.

It also serves as a professional license. Obtaining your TLC indicates that you are serious about driving for hire, and it is a method of establishing trust with ride-hailing companies and customers.

The license protects the passengers by doing the following:

  • Examining the applicant's driving record
  • Ensuring that the applicant has no criminal history
  • Examining the applicant's work and credit history

In addition, drivers must complete a TLC-approved street safety course. As a result, it increases ride-hailing companies' trust in drivers, increasing their chances of being approved to ride in their vehicles.

How to Get the TLC License?

Obtaining a TLC driver license in New York differs from obtaining a regular driver license or a real ID. You must attend an interview, during which the department will determine whether you are qualified to work as a taxi driver in New York City. Before issuing you the TLC license, the officials will also check your criminal record.

Aside from that, you must also pass a drug test and a vision test. Following completion of these steps, you must complete a few more requirements in order to obtain your TLC driver license.

Here's an overview of the procedure:

Requirements for a TLC License

You need to fulfill these requirements to start the application:

  • Age: You must be 19 years of age.
  • Chauffeur's License: You should have the DMV chauffeur's license of Class A, B, C, or E.
  • SSN: You must have a valid Social Security Number.
  • Fines: You should not owe any penalties or fines to the TLC or NY DMV.
  • Points: You should not have over 5 points on the DMV license in 15 months from your recent violation.

Applying for the TLC Driver License: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you meet the TLC license requirements, you are eligible to apply for a TLC driver license. Here's how to go about it.

1. Get a Class E License

Driving a yellow taxi in New York City requires a Class E license. You can take the test for this license at your local DMV office. You will receive your Class E license from the DMV after passing the written and road tests.

A vision test is required for the Class E license. Even if you have a regular driver's license, you must take this test. A medical professional will assess your ability to read letters on destination and road signs.

Bring your old license to the DMV when applying for the Class E license. It will cost you around $30 to upgrade or renew the license.

2. Watch a Sex Trafficking Video

Before applying for the license, you must watch a video on sex trafficking on the TLC website. The video is approximately 20 minutes long and will educate you on human sexual exploitation.

Anyone driving a ride-sharing vehicle in New York City must watch this video. The video assists drivers in recognizing signs of sex trafficking and taking appropriate action.

3. Submit Your Application

You can submit your application after watching the video. You can apply either online or at the TLC office.

If you apply online, you must first create an account on the TLC website and then fill out the application form. If you want to apply in person, you can pick up the form at the TLC office or download it from their website.

The application will request the following information:

  • Social Security Number
  • Address
  • Driver's license number
  • Email address

The DMV will use this email address to keep you updated on the status of your license. The department will keep you updated on the status of your application.

4. Pay the Fee

In order to obtain your driver's license from the TLC, you will also be required to pay a fee. You have the option of paying with either a check or a money order. The fee is $252, and it is not refundable under any circumstances. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are capable of meeting all of the requirements before submitting your NYC TLC application; otherwise, there is a possibility that your application fee will be wasted.

5. Schedule and Complete the Medical Review and Defensive Driving Course

The TLC requires you to take a driver education course to drive passenger vehicles in NYC. You need to schedule and attend this course at a TLC-licensed school.

The course will teach you how to drive defensively in NYC traffic conditions. You should check the list of TLC-licensed schools on their website before enrolling in a course.

Apart from this course, you also need to take a medical review. A certified medical professional will check if you're physically and mentally fit to drive a TLC-licensed vehicle. The doctor will give you a form you need to submit to the TLC after the review.

Choose a school of your choice. Then, book a spot for yourself for the defensive driving course.

When you get an application form for the TLC, you'll notice that it has a list of schoolwork you need to complete within three months of your application. For instance, the defensive driving course is one of these requirements.

The course will guide you about safe driving practices in NYC. You will also learn about the traffic laws of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. After you finish this course, you will get a certificate from the driving school that you can upload on the TLC's website.

Then, you need to take the TLC driver education course. The course teaches you about map reading and NYC's geography. Moreover, the TLC driver education course also teaches you how to communicate with your passengers.

After finishing this driver education course, you can update your progress on the TLC online services portal. Besides this course, TLC drivers also need to complete a program on wheelchair assistance training.

It will teach you how to safely transport people with disabilities in your vehicle.

Get Your Medical Exam Done

Consult a doctor to schedule a medical exam. Make sure to request a TLC-approved exam. The doctor will examine your eyes and perform some basic healthcare tests.

They will also perform some tests on your lungs and heart to ensure you are fit to drive.

Get Your Drug Test

You also need to get a tlc drug test appointment from a location approved by the DMV. The test will check the presence of controlled substances, such as narcotics, in your system.

Get Your License

After completing all these requirements and completing your drug test, you can visit the NYC DMV to get your license. Before you go to the office, check your TLC license status online.

You have to enter your application number along with some other details on the TLC online portal to access your license status.

How to apply for new TLC driver License

This video will show you how to apply for new TLC driver license

Getting a New TLC License: How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of the license depends on the payment option of your choice. It also depends on the training you need to take for the license. The total cost can range from $600 to $700. Here's how the cost is broken down:

  • Three-Year License: $252
  • Defensive Driving Course: 25
  • Wheelchair Assistance Training: Up to $75
  • Drug Testing: $32
  • Fingerprints and Photos: $90
  • Schoolwork: $100 to $175 per class
  • Exam: $49 per attempt

Getting Your TLC License: Tips and Advice

To ensure your application process is a success, you should follow some tips and advice. Here are a few suggestions to help you out.

Learn About NYC's Geography

Before taking your exam, you should learn about New York City's various boroughs and neighborhoods. Because the TLC expects you to know your way around the city, you must become acquainted with its layout.

Maps of New York City are available online and in most bookstores. Once you have a map, spend some time studying it and noting the important destinations.

Don't Lie In Your Medical Exam

Honesty is always the best policy, especially regarding your health.

During the exam, the doctor will ask you about any pre-existing medical conditions that could affect your ability to drive a taxi. You must disclose any relevant information, as failing to do so could result in your application being denied.

In addition, make sure to keep your doctor updated on any changes to your health, as this could also affect your license status.

Get Familiar With The Taxi Laws

Learn about the different laws and regulations governing taxi drivers in NYC. The TLC has a list of these laws on their website, so read through them before taking your exam.

You should also be familiar with the Taxi Driver's Bill of Rights, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of all taxi drivers in the city.

Read All Requirements

The DMV might not accept your application even if you miss a single requirement.

Ensure you read the requirements for getting your TLC license carefully and gather all the necessary documents before heading to the NY DMV license department.


To sum up, the TLC license is necessary for everyone who wants to drive a for-hire passenger vehicle in NYC. When applying for the license, you must take defensive driving and driver education courses.

You must also learn about NYC's driving regulations and wheelchair assistance protocols. Moreover, you must complete the TLC's requirements within three months of applying for the license.

Once you get your license, you can drive for any ride-hailing or ride-sharing service in NYC since TLC licensed drivers are authorized to become professional drivers for passenger vehicles.

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