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TLC License: Everything You Need to Know

Last updated: August 12, 2021
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vector graphic of a hand holding a tlc license

If you’re planning on driving for one of the many ride-sharing companies now operating in New York City, you should consider the licenses you’ll need under the latest regulations.

In New York City, any driver picking up passengers on a for-hire basis must first get their TLC license.

If you don’t know what the TLC license is or where to apply for it, then this is your introduction to your topic.

Let’s explore the TLC license and its role in keeping you safe on the road.

What Is a TLC License?

The TLC is the license that allows you to drive a yellow cab, black cab, limousine, or green taxi in New York City.

It also regulates drivers for Uber and Lyft.

So this means that applying to these for-hire driving companies is not as simple as filling out the application.

You have to consider your license level and whether you have first obtained the TLC license from the DMV.

Why Do You Need a TLC License?

There are many reasons for using the TLC license.

A leading purpose is it lets passengers know the vehicle they are about to enter has a qualified driver.

And that the car has passed required inspections for its safety and performance on the road.

This qualification is especially pivotal in the modern economy, where many drivers use their own vehicles to drive for companies such as Uber.

The additional regulations provide an added layer of safety for passengers and help drivers show that they’ve met the qualification standards and are committed to the highest quality of driving performance.

Related:

  • Uber driver requirements you must meet in order to apply with Uber
  • The Lyft car requirements every vehicle must meet

Where Do You Need a TLC License?

All drivers of taxis and rideshare services operating within the boundaries of New York State require a TLC license.

And any passenger vehicle journey that begins and ends in New York State is controlled through the TLC licensing authority.

And so, if you are traveling across state lines with passengers, you should first review the requirements under the TLC to determine if you meet the current guidelines.

How Much Does a TLC License Cost?

The fees vary depending on the payment option you choose and the style of training that you undergo for the TLC license.

The total cost for the TLC license is $598.25 to $698.25.

Generally, the following fees make up the total cost of the TLC license:

  • $252 for a three-year license
  • $32 for Drug testing
  • $90.25 for photos and fingerprinting
  • $100-$175 for a 24-Hour class
  • $49 for the exam (per attempt)
  • $50-to $75 for wheelchair assistance training
  • $25 for a defensive driving course

How to Get a TLC License

So now we arrive at the critical part of the process – actually applying for and receiving your TLC license.

You must have a comprehensive understanding of the license requirements and follow the application process precisely.

Many drivers fail to complete one of the steps involved in applying for the license and then face administrative issues later.

So make sure you review the following in detail before you begin the process.

vector graphic of a hand holding a tlc license

The TLC License Requirements

Per the TLC license requirements, you must meet each of the following criteria:

  • You’re 19 years of age or older on completing the application.
  • You have a DMV chauffeur’s license, Class A, B, C, or E.
  • You have a Social Security Number.
  • You don’t owe any fines to the NYS DMV or TLC.
  • You have no more than 5 points on your DMV license within a 15 month-period dating back to your most recent violation date.

The TLC License Application Process

Once you’ve made sure you meet the licensing requirements, you can then move forward with the application process.

Step 1: Apply for Your Class E License

If you haven’t already, you should begin the TLC application process by applying for the Class E license.

This license is a prerequisite for driving a taxi in New York State.

To get the Class E license, you’ll need to undergo a vision test from a qualified medical provider.

They’ll test that you can read the road signs and read distant lettering on destination signs.

Bring your old license with you when you visit the DMV to apply for the Class E license.

The cost for the license upgrade depends on your current license expiration date but is generally between $20 and $30.

Step 2: Watch the Entire Sex Trafficking Video on the TLC Site

Under New York State DMV guidelines, each new driver applying for their TLC license must watch a sex trafficking video that showcases the signs that a person is the victim of trafficking.

This short video helps drivers save the lives of women and girls across the country and is a strict requirement.

The signature on the license confirms you have watched the entire video and understand what to watch for when operating a vehicle.

Step 3: Submit Your Complete TLC Application

Next, you’ll fill out your TLC application.

The application asks for personal identification information such as your Social Security Number, driver’s license number, and address.

You’ll also need a valid email address through which the DMV can communicate with you and update you about the progress of your application.

Step 4: Pay the Application Fee

When you apply, you will submit the application fee along with the paperwork.

Before submitting payment, ensure that you have the available time in the coming three months to complete the required training and schooling for the TLC license, as the total fee of $252 is not refundable.

Step 5: Schedule Classwork and Upload Your Documents

Next, you’ll schedule your schooling and your medical review.

Contact local driving schools to book your spot on a TLC defensive driving course.

Step 6: Complete the Required Schoolwork

You’ll complete a defensive driving course that will take you through all local traffic laws and safe driving practices.

Within a week of completing the course, you will receive a certification that you upload to your portal on the TLC site.

You’ll also need to complete wheelchair assistance training, which allows you to support all accessibility needs for your passengers.

Finally, you will complete a TLC driver education course, which introduces local geography and map reading.

On the driver education course, you’ll also learn how to communicate effectively with passengers.

Step 7: Undergo a Medical Exam

Next, you’ll undergo a TLC-approved medical exam with your physician.

The doctor will test your eyes and perform other basic health tests on your heart and lungs to ensure you can drive safely.

Step 8 Get a Drug Test

Next, book your drug test with a TLC-approved testing location.

The medical team will test narcotics in your system.

Failing this test will lead to the denial of your application.

Checking Your TLC License Status

You can check your TLC license status by inputting your license number, application number, and the last five digits of your Social Security Number on the TLC portal.

Tips for Getting a TLC License (Best Practices)

The following are expert tips for ensuring success in the licensing process:

  • Take the time to learn about the geography of the city before the exam.
  • Be open and honest about your medical history during the medical exam.
  • Refresh your memory of street signs and traffic laws.
  • Make time for training – ensure you can complete all tests within 90 days of your application.
  • Read all the licensing requirements twice before you apply – it’s easy to miss one step that might cause the DMV to deny your application.

How to Renew a TLC License

You can renew your TLC license up to 90 days before it expires.

To start the renewal process, you must first pay any outstanding fines you owe to the city.

Then use the state’s LARS system to pay your renewal fees.

Then submit the following documents via the TLC UP system:

  • Your current for-hire TLC insurance certificate
  • An up-to-date vehicle inspection report
  • A certificate of completion from your defensive driving course (cannot be older than three years)
  • A DMV driver’s abstract

Is a TLC License Worth It?

The TLC license is worth the cost if you plan to drive for a rideshare company or taxi service.

You will face a driver’s license suspension and fines if you do not obtain the license before working in the industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

vector image showing the different types of class a b c d drivers license types laid out on background

Can you get a TLC license with a felony?

Any crimes you commit involving substance abuse, violence, and sexual abuse can result in a permanent ban from the TLC licensing system.

There are also crimes such as fraud, theft, harassment, and abuse, for which you may face a ban of at least one year from the TLC system.

Each criminal case is unique and requires you to speak directly with the DMV to discuss your application process.

Can you get a TLC license with points?

Yes, you can still get a TLC license with points on your record.

However, if you accumulate six or more points in a 15-month-period, your TLC license will be suspended for up to 30 days.

The DMV will revoke your license if you collect ten or more points in a 15-month-period.

I lost my TLC license. What should I do?

If you lose your TLC license, schedule an appointment with the DMV to have a replacement issued.

For the replacement, you’ll need to bring all the documents used for your original application.

These documents include government-issued photo identification, your Social Security Number, and your original TLC course and test information.

By following the guidelines highlighted in this article, you can complete the TLC testing process and become qualified as a for-hire driver within New York State.

Take your time reviewing the testing requirements, and remember to follow all the instructions with precision.

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