There’s nothing more exciting than getting your driver’s license and onto the road. To earn one in the state of New Jersey, first-time drivers are required by the Motor Vehicle Commission to pass the graduated driver license program. Individuals need to follow a specific application process depending on their age—early bird, young adult, or adult road. No matter which road your application takes, every process starts with earning a learner’s permit or an examination permit—the details for which can be found below.
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New Residents in New Jersey
For drivers who are both under 18 years of age and possess a driver’s license from a state other than New Jersey, they cannot simply transfer their license—they must first fulfill the GDL program’s requirements before they can apply to get a New Jersey driver’s license.
Applying for a Learner’s Permit
New Jersey has several kinds of permits: the student learner’s permit (eligibility at 16) and the examination permit (eligibility at 17). After holding either permit for a minimum of six months, drivers become eligible for a probationary driver’s license. These permits are valid for two years. Every GDL driver with an examination permit, learner’s permit, or probationary license needs a reflectorized red decal displayed on the top left-hand corner of their license plate (back and front)—violating this rule results in a fine of $100. The same fine applies to any violation of the GDL program’s driving restrictions.
Early Bird Road: Student Learner’s Permit
To obtain a learner’s permit, individuals must visit their local MVC office and meet the following requirements:
- At least 16 years of age.
- Have primary identification (birth certificate, citizen/adoption papers, passport)
- Pass a written test and vision screening.
- Have evidence of enrollment in driver’s education program.
- Have course instructor present.
- Pay $10 permit fee.
- Possess signed consent letter from parent/legal guardian.
Once the minimum six hours of driver’s training is completed, individuals can return to their local MVC office, validate their permit, and then schedule a road test. The student permit does come with several restrictions, including being accompanied by a 21 years or older New Jersey driver with at least three years driving experience. Others include being unable to drive between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am, being limited to one passenger from a different household unless joined by a parent or legal guardian, and being able to transport dependents, parents, and guardians. This permit must be held with good standing for at least six months before moving to the subsequent level.
Young Adult Road: Examination Learner’s Permit
For individuals 17 years or older, they can directly apply for the examination permit in their local MVC agency if they meet the same requirements as those for the student learner’s permit in addition to being 17 years of age or older. Drivers must also, while supervised, practice driving for a minimum of six months to be eligible for a probationary driver’s license. Like the student learner’s permit, examination permit holders have restrictions—accompanied by licensed NJ driver 21 years or older with at least three years driving experience, unable to drive between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am, can only have one passenger from outside their household, and being able to transport dependents, parents, or guardians.
Adult Road: Examination Permit
For individuals 21 years or older, they need the examination permit, calling for requirements like those of young adults with the additional requirement of being 21 years or older. There are “adult road restrictions” – no longer including limited driving hours – and some of these restrictions include the following:
- Accompanied by NJ driver’s license holder 21 years or older with at least three years driving experience. Supervisor must be in the front passenger seat.
- Must hold learner’s permit for at least three months.
The Permit Test
The learner’s permit test will have 50 questions, with individuals needing 80 percent right to pass, for which the MVC suggests its driver’s manual and various practice tests. When ready, visit an MVC testing center to take the written test. For those with student learner’s permits, they need at least six hours of driving through a driver’s ed program before the MVC can validate their permit. Once this step is finished, they can start their driving practice with a supervisor. Holders of student learner’s permits or examination permits must have supervised driving for a minimum of six months while “adult road” permit holders need only a minimum of three months.
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