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How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in New York

Last updated on July 19, 2023

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in New York

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All states have different requirements when applying for an MLO license. 

In New York, you need to submit more documents than usual. 

But don’t fret. 

We’ve got it all covered for you. 

Here, we’re going to tell you all you need to know on how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in New York. 

To make it easier to follow, we’ll list everything in 6 simple steps. 

So are you ready?

Let’s begin!

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer in New York in 6 Steps

Here are the 6 steps to getting your mortgage loan officer license in New York:

  1. Request an NMLS account
  2. Complete pre-licensure education requirements in New York
  3. Pass the SAFE MLO licensing test
  4. Apply for your MLO license
  5. Submit documents outside NMLS
  6. Get employment sponsorship

Now, let’s look at the details. 

Step #1: Request an NMLS Account

Your MLO journey begins with requesting an account with NMLS.

This is just like creating any other account — so no worries here. 

Take note that you’ll receive a unique identifier number once you have an account. Keep this as you’ll need it throughout your application and MLO career. 

You can find the number in the ‘Composite View’ tab in your NMLS account. 

Okay, okay.

You might be wondering, “What is the NMLS?”

Well, NMLS, or the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System, is used across the country for all financial service registration and licensing. This includes mortgage loan officers. 

Basically, it’s a platform that serves as a repository, application, and status update.

So you’ll have to use your NMLS account to apply, renew, and get information about your MLO license. 

Step #2: Complete Pre-Licensure Education Requirements in New York

In New York, you are only required to complete at least 20 hours of MLO pre-licensure education. 

These 20 hours are broken down into the following:

  • 2 hours of Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending
  • 3 hours of Federal Law
  • 3 hours of Ethics
  • 3 hours of New York Jurisdiction-specific education (Required by the New York State Department of Financial Services)
  • At least 9 hours of electives

To make sure you get an approved course, here are some of the most recommended pre-licensure education providers:

Step #3: Pass the SAFE MLO Licensing Test

Throughout the country, the SAFE MLO licensing test is administered by Prometric

But before you can schedule a test appointment, you first need to register for it with the NMLS. 

Here are all the steps:

  1. Log into your NMLS account.
  1. Head over to the Testing & Education tab to create a test enrollment window. This enrollment window is valid for 180 days. 
  1. Add both the National and UST or Uniform State Content of the SAFE test to your cart. 
  1. Accept the Candidate Test Security and Confidentiality Agreement. If you do not acknowledge these 2 agreements, you won’t be able to move to the next step.
  1. Go over to the invoice and pay the test fee of $110 through a credit card. 
  1. Schedule your test appointment with Prometric. You can either schedule an in-person or online test. 
  1. Be present at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment. Don’t forget you need a current government-issued ID with your photo and signature. 

What can you expect from the SAFE MLO test?

It consists of a total of 120 multiple-choice questions. 115 are scored, while the remaining 5 are there for pilot testing for the next batch of exams. 

These 5 pilot-test questions are scattered randomly in the exam. 

Now, each examinee is given 225 minutes (almost 4 hours) for their appointment. 190 minutes (around 3 hours) are dedicated to the exam proper. The other 35 minutes are for tutorials and optional surveys. 

To pass, you need a score of 75% or more. That equates to 86 questions answered correctly (not counting the pilot items).

If you want to know more about the licensing test, you can read the MLO Testing Handbook

Step #4: Apply for Your MLO License

For the first part of your application, you’ll need to complete and submit Individual Form MU4. 

This form is found in your NMLS account.

Just head over to ‘Filing’ > ‘Individual’ > ‘Request New/Update.

You have to provide all the information and documents asked for. 

Here are the main things you’ll need to provide:

  • Application information – the state you’re applying from (New York), the license you’re applying for (Mortgage Loan Originator), etc…
  • Personal information – any existing licenses, employment or school history, residential history, other businesses, etc…
  • Disclosure questions – if you respond ‘yes’ to any question, you’ll have to explain and (if necessary) upload a supporting document in the ‘Disclosure Explanations’ section.
  • Criminal Background Check – authorize a CBC by choosing to ‘Submit New Prints’ or ‘Use Existing Prints’ AND filling up a demographic form. 
NOTE: Select ‘Use Existing Prints’ if you already have fingerprints on file. 

If you don’t, then you’ll have to ‘Submit New Prints’. 

If so, you must create an account with the NMLS Fieldprint. From there, you need to schedule a fingerprinting session. 

Once your fingerprints are taken, they will automatically be uploaded to the NMLS for review. 
  • Credit Report – authorize a credit report by switching on the Completeness Check icon (in the top right corner) AND completing the Identity Verification Process (IDV).
NOTE: If your credit report has derogatory information, you will need to provide an explanation for it. You are given 90 days to provide this. 

To know what kind of explanation you need to give, you can go over the NY checklist here. 
  • Payment – to complete your Individual Form MU4, you need to pay all the fees through NMLS. Check the table below for this. 
NMLS Initial Processing Fee:New York Application Fee:Criminal Background Check Fee:Credit Report Fee:
$30$379 (already includes the $125 Investigation Fee and $254 License Fee)$36.25$15

How to Become an MLO in New York Step #5: Submit Documents Outside NMLS

As we mentioned at the start, the New York State Department of Financial Services requires more documents than any other state. 

So besides submitting the NMLS Individual Form MU4, you’ll have to submit other documents straight to the regulator. 

These are:

NOTE: You must submit the original receipt documenting compliance within 5 days of submitting your Individual Form MU4. If not, you’ll receive an Intend to Deny your application. 

If 30 days have passed and you still don’t take the State CBC, your application will be denied. 
  • Proof of Identification – you need to submit a photocopy of an unexpired ID with a photo on an 8.5” to 11” paper. You must be able to clearly read and see the photo. 
  • Evidence of Authorization to Work in the US – if you were born outside the US, you need to provide a photocopy of proof that you are allowed to work in the US. 
  • Other License Information – if you have a license to practice any other profession, you must provide all the details about it, including the nature of the license, date issued, license number, refusals to issue the license, license suspensions, etc…
  • Garnishment of Wages – if applicable, provide documents related to any garnishment of salary.

Once you get all these documents, put them in an envelope and mail it to the address below:

New York State Department of Financial Services 

Attention: Mortgage Banking – MLO Application 

Processing Unit 

One State Street 

New York, NY 10004

NOTE: Unless otherwise stated, all the documents must be submitted within 5 days of submitting your NMLS application. 

Also, for all the documents, you must always include your NMLS unique identifier number.

Step #6: Get Employment Sponsorship 

It’s time for the final step!

This is to go out and find employment from a New York-regulated entity. 

Make sure that the company is located within commuting distance of your address (this is a requirement!).

Now, when you’re hired, you must let your employer request sponsorship through the NMLS. 

The NY Department of Financial Services will review the request. 

If accepted, then your MLO license status will read ‘Approved-Conditional’. And you can start practicing as an MLO.

If declined, the regulator will send you a notification of denial. Or, they may ask you to submit additional documents to complete your application. 

You can check your accepted or declined status in the Department’s Weekly Bulletin published every Friday. 

Besides that, you’ll also need to update your ‘employment history’ in the Individual Form MU4. You’ll need to provide the information of your new company, including date of employment, company name, company address, etc…

Click here for a complete checklist of the New York MLO requirements. 


You’ve completed all the steps!

Frequently Asked Questions About MLOs in New York

How Much is an MLO License in New York?

Here is a breakdown of all the expenses you’ll need to pay to get your NY MLO license:

  • Pre-licensure education – $250 average
  • NMLS initial processing fee – $30
  • NY application fee – $379
  • Criminal background check fee – $36.25
  • Credit report fee – $15
  • State criminal background check fee – $25 average
  • TOTAL FEE – $735.25

How Many Times Can I Take the MLO Test?

You are given up to 3 tries per test enrollment window. 

If you fail your first attempt, you can do the 2nd attempt after 30 days. 

If you fail that, then you have to wait 180 days before you can take the 3rd attempt. 

If you fail on your third attempt, you will need to register and pay for another test window to start the testing cycle again. 

What are the Causes for MLO License Application Rejection in New York?

The most common reasons for rejection are as follows:

  • The required documents are not complete
  • Low credit standing
  • Failure to show original receipt of FBI criminal background check



That was a lot!

But at least now you know everything you need to know on how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in New York. 

So go ahead and start with Step 1. 

If you just follow our guidelines, you’ll start practicing as an MLO sooner rather than later. 

Best of luck!

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