Licensing Process

To get your driver’s license in New Jersey, you’ll move through a multi-stage licensing process that allows you to gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing you into driving over an extended period of time. The special learner’s permit and probationary stages are key steps.

Special Learner’s Permit or Examination Permit

At age 16, you may apply for a special learner’s permit in the state of New Jersey. You and your parent or guardian need to visit the local Motor Vehicle Commission office and bring required identification documents and proof of enrollment in a driver training course. Teens age 17 may apply for an examination permit without proof of enrollment in a driver training course.  You must pass the written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test to receive a special learner’s permit or examination permit.

Upon completion of a driver training course and with a special learner’s permit, you may begin practice driving only if you are accompanied in the front seat by a driver age 21 or older who has been licensed in New Jersey for at least 3 years. Teens with an examination permit may begin practicing driving without completing a driver training course. While practicing driving, you are required to display the GDL decal in the vehicle. You may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (some exemptions granted). No more than one passenger, other than your parents, guardians and dependents, is allowed (in addition to the supervising driver). You and all your passengers are required to wear seat belts.

Probationary License

At age 17, if you have held a special learner’s permit and been eligible for practice driving for at least 6 months without a suspension or postponement, you may apply for the probationary license. Examination permit holders may apply at age 18. To obtain the probationary license, teens must visit the Motor Vehicle Commission office and bring required identification documents. Once you pass a road test, a probationary license will be issued.

A probationary licensee may drive unsupervised, but you must follow certain restrictions. You may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (some exceptions granted). Unless you are accompanied by a supervising parent or guardian, no more than one additional passenger (including siblings) is allowed besides your parents, guardians, and dependents. Probationary drivers are banned from using any kind of wireless communication device while driving, including all handheld and hands-free cell phones and text messaging devices.

You are required to display the GDL decal in the vehicle. You and all your passengers are required to wear seat belts.

Full License

Teens that have held a probationary license for one year without any suspensions or postponements and are at least 18 may apply for a full driver license. You must visit your local Motor Vehicle Commission office and bring your probationary license and the required identification documents.

Now is a good time to set up a parent-teen driving agreement to help you and your parents establish expectations related to both their rules and those of the state.

Licensing Authority

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is in charge of monitoring licensing for all drivers in the state. The MVC:

  • Conducts the written exam and road test for your learner’s license and intermediate license.
  • Provides study materials to help you get ready for the exams.
  • Keeps track of your license status and can suspend your license if you get too many tickets, don’t keep insurance on your car or commit other violations.
  • Parent-Teen Driving Agreement – Signing a formal agreement with your parents helps in multiple ways.
  • Driver-ZED – Offered by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Driver-ZED is a computer-based program to help you practice driving on your PC.