Tow Truck Exemption

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Tow Truck Exemption License Description

You must have a Tow Truck Exemption license if you own or operate one or more tow trucks for the exclusive use of the following business types:
  • Vehicle dismantler
  • Franchised public transportation operator
  • Bus company
  • Taxi or limousine company
  • Motor vehicle rental agency
  • School bus operator
  • Public utility company

This description is only a general explanation of which individuals need to have a Tow Truck Exemption.

Additional DCA Licenses You May Need

  • If your business will operate or maintain a business engaged primarily in the purchase, processing, and shipment of ferrous or non-ferrous scrap, you must also obtain a Scrap Metal Processor license.

Application Requirements

Before You File Your DCA License Application:

You must obtain the following required documents before filing your application. Although DCA does not require submission of these documents in order to process your application in person or online, DCA reserves the right to request and examine the documents under section 20.104 of the New York City Administrative Code.
  • Applicable Business Certificates based on your Business's Legal Structure 
    • Sole Proprietorships operating under a name other than your own must file a Business/Assumed Name Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
    • Sole Proprietorships doing business under your own name—and not under a trade or Doing-Business-As (DBA) name—do not need a Business Certificate.
    • General/Business Partnerships must file your Partnership Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
    • Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Department of State. Active status will be verified by DCA prior to license issuance. You can confirm the status of your business entity at NYS Web site. If applicable, you must also file an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.
    • Businesses incorporated out of state must obtain a Certificate of Doing Business in Good Standing from your home state’s Secretary of State and file this with an application for Authority to Conduct Business in New York with the New York State Secretary of State.

When You File Your DCA License Application:

Below are requirements when filing your license application:
  • Basic License Application
    Online submission: After reviewing the application requirements, please click the Apply Online link at the bottom of the Web page to submit your application.

    In-person submission: Download the Basic License Application Form.
  • Roster of Vehicles (download)
    Applicants must provide identifying information for each tow truck owned by the business on the Roster of Vehicles.
  • Commercial Truck Registrations
    Submit a copy of the current Commercial Truck Registration for each vehicle listed on the Tow Truck Exemption Roster of Vehicles. The address on the registrations must match the address provided on your license application. Note: Commercial tow trucks registered or renewed after January 22, 1995 must display “Tow Truck” plates.
  • State Insurance Identification Card
    Submit a copy of the current Insurance Identification Card for each vehicle listed on the Tow Truck Exemption Roster of Vehicles.
  • Tax Receipts
    You must submit a validated New York City Department of Finance Commercial Motor Vehicle Tax Receipt for each vehicle listed on the Tow Truck Exemption Roster of Vehicles that weighs more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Proof of Business Type
    Submit ONE of the following documents as proof of business type:
    • Vehicle Dismantlers may submit a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Registration to operate as a vehicle dismantler.
    • Public Transportation Operators may submit a franchise agreement to operate as a franchised public transportation operator.
    • Bus Companies may submit a certified copy of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the New York State Department of Transportation indicating you are authorized to operate as a bus company.
    • Taxi or Limousine Companies may submit a New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission license.
    • Motor Vehicle Rental Agencies can submit a Certificate of Insurance and a sample copy of your agency’s rental agreement.
    • School Bus Operators may submit proof of ownership or control of a school bus operator business.
    • Public Utility Companies may submit proof of ownership or control of a public utility company.
  • Child Support Certification Form (download)
    If your business is a SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP or GENERAL or LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, the proprietor or each individual general partner must submit a Child Support Certification Form.
  • Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (download)
    If this application will be filed by someone other than the license applicant, the license applicant must submit a Granting Authority to Act Affirmation. 
  • License Fee of $25 per truck
    For in-person application submissions, the License Fee must be paid by credit card, money order, or check. Cards accepted include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card. Checks or money orders must be payable to NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. The license is valid for two years and expires on April 30 of years that end in an even digit, e.g., 2010, 2012.

    Please note that a convenience fee applies if you submit your license application online. A major credit card is required to submit applications online.  

After You File Your DCA License Application:

Below is information you need to know after submitting your license application:
  • Inspection of of Your Tow Trucks
    The Department of Consumer Affairs will contact you to schedule an appointment to inspect your tow trucks before you can operate.

Application Filing Process


File in person at the DCA Licensing Center, 42 Broadway, in Manhattan between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Translation Services
If you do not speak or understand English well, please let us know when you arrive at the Licensing Center and we will provide translation services.

Reasonable Accommodation
To request a disability-related accommodation, visit our Accommodations page.


  1. Please review requirements for the license and gather all materials before clicking the button below.
  2. If you haven’t registered an account with the City of New York, you will need to register an account before you can proceed to the online application.
  3. After you submit the online application, follow the instructions on the confirmation page. DCA cannot process incomplete applications.
  4. Important: If you need to file another license application, return to the DCA Business Toolbox to read requirements and proceed to the online application.

Additional Resources for Tow Truck Exemption

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