Whenever a New Jersey resident’s driver’s license is about to expire, they have to renew it through the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), a process that has luckily been made simple no matter how new to the road you are. Especially for new drivers, it’s best to have an idea of how the process works before ending up under the gun with the expiration date behind you—something that will become problematic if pulled over by police. So, here’s how to renew your license as well as how the process works for anyone temporarily out-of-state.
When to Renew a License
A driver’s license in New Jersey is valid for exactly four years, and it must be renewed before its expiration date either in person or, if eligible, via mail—it cannot be done online. Also, the requirements for renewal are different based on whether a license is valid, suspended, or damaged, stolen, or lost. Valid license holders can renew at least six months before the license expires while suspended license holders cannot renew, being required to first pay a fee of $100 and have it reinstated by a judge after meeting specific requirements.
For those who haven’t done so already, a suspended license must be surrendered to the MVC. Driving on a suspended license can result in jail time and fines, so if you’re unsure of your license status, check your driving record. Regarding licenses that are damaged, stolen, or lost and due for renewal, drivers can renew their license rather than replace it. Any damaged, stolen, or lost licenses not due for renewal, however, should just be replaced.
In-Person License Renewal
In order to renew a license in person, drivers should visit their local MVC office and bring the following with them:
- One primary document that proves their identity, such as a birth certificate, current driver’s license, or U.S. passport.
- One secondary document that proves their identity, such as a marriage certificate, military ID, or college transcript and ID.
- Proof of New Jersey address, such as bank statement issued within previous 60 days, utility bill issued within previous 90 days, or school transcript issued within previous two years.
- Social security number (SSN).
- License renewal fee.
Also worth noting is drivers must pass the DMV’s regular vision tests when renewing a driver’s license.
Mail License Renewal
If eligible to renew a license via mail, the DMV sends drivers a “skip the trip” renewal package. To successfully renew via mail, follow the package’s instructions, which should tell you to fill out the application forms and include either a money order or check to pay the renewal fee. Once you mail the documents to the MVC, as instructed on the renewal package, the MVC processes the renewal, and drivers receive their new license in 10 days or less. If the license doesn’t arrive within that timeframe, check your renewal status with the DMV. Note: If a license is set to expire within three weeks, just renew it in person.
For anyone who will be out-of-state when their license expires, they can still renew their license via mail. To be eligible, drivers must be New Jersey residents, U.S. citizens, and have either a Class D or Class D/M license. To renew a license via mail, drivers require the following:
- Letter that explains the reasons they’re out-of-state, when they’ll return, and their out-of-state address.
- Completed license application, which can be gotten in-person in a New Jersey DMV office or be mailed to the driver.
- Primary and secondary identifying documents.
- Proof of New Jersey address.
- Renewal fee payment.
- Prepaid tracking envelope.
All these documents must be sent to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission in Trenton. Also, the NJ residency and proof of identity documents have to be certified copies.
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