New Jersey DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ

If you’re getting ready to apply for your New Jersey driver’s license or learner’s permit, understand that you will be required to know all of the information contained in the official state DMV handbook. However, the following FAQ may help you better know what to expect from your experience at the DMV or the process of becoming a New Jersey driver. For additional information, be sure to consult your handbook or a rep from a DMV field office.
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Does New Jersey have a GDL program in place? Does it apply to me?
Yes. New Jersey is like many other states in that it adheres to a graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) program. Such programs are designed to help younger people get their life behind the wheel off to a good start by learning the right skills at the right time and via the right avenues. If you are under 21 years of age, you will be required to complete the New Jersey GDL in order to get your license.
Once I get my learner’s permit, what rules and restrictions will I be required to adhere to?
To begin with, you will need to have your permit validated before you can legally begin supervised driving under your learner’s permit. You will also need to complete a state-recognized driver’s ed course with a certified driving instructor. (If you don’t take driver’s ed through your school, then you’ll want to double check and make sure the course you’re taking is actually state-approved.)You will also be given a special reflectorized decal that identifies you as a student driver. It must be displayed on your license plate at all times when you’re driving. You may not drive unsupervised under any circumstances and your supervising driver needs to be at least 21 years old with a license they’ve had for a minimum of three years. If driving with more than one passenger, your parent or guardian must be supervising you. Lastly, you cannot drive between 11:01PM and 5AM, supervised or not.
What is the difference between a New Jersey student learner’s permit and an examination permit?
Although non-drivers tend to get the two confused, a student learner’s permit is actually a totally different thing from an examination permit. They also represent different stages of the New Jersey GDL program. (The learner’s permit comes before the examination permit.) There are different restrictions that apply to each with those attached to the examination permit being a little less strict. Neither the learner’s permit nor the examination permit is a bona fide driver’s license.
At what ages am I eligible for each stage of the New Jersey GDL program?
You are eligible for your student learner’s permit and examination permit at 16 and 17 years of age respectively. You will be able to get your probationary license once you turn 17 and finally your full, unrestricted adult license at 18 years of age.
What are the requirements I’ll be expected to meet before I can trade my probationary license in for my unrestricted one?
You will be fully eligible for your unrestricted adult driver’s license once you’ve met all of the following requirements.
  • You are 18 years of age or older.
  • You’ve been driving unsupervised under your probationary license for a bare minimum of one year.
Once both of the above statements apply to you and you feel ready to take the next step, arrive at our local DMV field office with your provisional driver’s license and $24 for the driver’s license fee. You will also need to bring proper proof of identity, birthdate, residency, and social security number just as you did when you applied for your learner’s permit.
I will be moving to New Jersey soon and I’ll need to transfer my existing license. What do I need to know?
New residents to the state of New Jersey are required by law to transfer their out of state driver’s license either within 60 days or before it expires, whichever is due to occur first. You will also be expected to:
  • Surrender your existing out-of-state license to the DMV.
  • Successfully pass New Jersey’s 6-Pount ID and residency requirements.
  • Pay $10 for your new driver’s license.
Those under the age of 18 years old will not be able to transfer their existing out-of-state license. This is because of the New Jersey GDL. Young drivers need to fulfill each requirement specified by the state GDL before they’ll be granted the same driver’s privileges they had before.
What are my options for renewing my license in New Jersey? Do I have to show up in person in order to do so?
A New Jersey driver’s license is valid for a total of 4 years, at which time it will expire. You can choose to renew it either in person or by mail if you are eligible to do so. New Jersey does not allow people to renew their license online at this time.
I have a suspended license and I want to renew it. How do I do that?
In New Jersey, suspended driver’s licenses are ineligible for renewal. You will need to pay a $100 to have it reinstated first. You will also need to satisfy any and all applicable legal conditions. The New Jersey DMV cannot override court decisions.
Do I need to bring any documents with me when I arrive at the DMV to renew my license?
Yes. You will need to bring the same identifying documents you brought with you the first time you got your license – one primary document proving identity, one secondary document proving your identity, and proof of your address. You will also need to provide your social security number, as well as pay the applicable driver’s license renewal fee. You will also periodically need to pass new vision tests when renewing your New Jersey driver’s license to ensure that you’re road safe. If you fail a vision test at any time, you will be asked to visit an eye doctor and return for retesting with the doctor’s report.
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