Tips to Hire an Asphalt Paving Contractor for Your Driveway
Generally about $1-3/SF (note - measured by SF, not SY) - $1 range is for a 1 to 1/2-2 inch overlay, $2.50-3.00 range normal for two 2" layers for a new driveway or a rebuild (remove and replace) you really want to last.
Most people pay around $2/SF for a 2-3" thickness.
If the state requires a contractor's license, then he needs to have a license in each state he intends to work in - plus state/local business licenses as applicable.
This does not mean there are not a lot of contractors who cross state lines without proper licensing - the penalties in may cases are not real severe and are just a fine, not criminal, so many take the chance.
As you say - argh - many contractors are not really businessmen and have zero legal education, so many people get burned.