Driver's License Examination
New Jersey residents are required to have a valid New Jersey driver license to operate a motor vehicle. First-time drivers must complete the Graduated Driver License program to obtain a basic license, requiring applicants to pass various tests.
State law requires every licensed driver to pass a vision screening successfully (20/50 visual acuity required) at least once every 10 years as a condition of driver’s license renewal, but this provision is not currently enforced.
When a written examination is given as part of a high school driver education program, a certified driver education instructor, or special education teacher may be allowed to read the examination to any student who has been diagnosed with a deficiency in reading, perception, or other learning disability.
Graduated Driver's Licensing
New Jersey has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.
At age 16, upon successful completion of driver education, an individual is eligible for a special learner’s permit.
- Permit holders may not drive unsupervised.
- Individuals must hold the permit for at least 6 months and pass a road test to be eligible for an intermediate/probationary license.
At age 17, drivers may apply for an intermediate license.
- A driver holding an intermediate/probationary license must display state-provided removable, transferable, highly visible, reflective decals indicating that the driver of the vehicle may be the holder of an intermediate license.
- Intermediate license holders may not drive unsupervised between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and may not have more than 1 passenger unless supervised by a driver at least 21 years old (parents, guardians, and dependents are exempted).
- Drivers must hold the intermediate license for at least 6 months.
Permit and intermediate license holders and their passengers must always wear safety belts.
At age 18, drivers are eligible for an unrestricted license.
In New Jersey, the graduated licensing law applies to adults. For persons 21 and older, individuals must also hold a learner’s permit for at least 3 months before reaching the intermediate phase, but the night and passenger restrictions are waived.
Driver's License Issuance/Application
Applications for a Driver’s license must be made to the MVC designated agent in the county of residence.
Applications for a driver’s license require passage of an eye examination and written and road tests.
A person must apply within 60 days of establishing residence, or before your current license expires, to transfer a non-commercial license from another state. Drivers under age 18 cannot transfer a license but must complete New Jersey’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) program requirements.
A person must apply within 30 days of establishing residence to transfer a commercial driver’s license from another state.
Expiration date of non-citizen’s driver’s license and identification cards is linked to the expiration date of the person’s visa.
License does not include social security number.
All applicants for driver licenses must present proof of age, identity, and address using primary and secondary documents outlined under the “Six Point ID Verification System.” For more information, contact the MVC.
Driver’s License Renewal
Application for renewal of a passenger automobile or motorcycle Driver’s license may be directly made to any agent of the MVC.
A licensed driver has 1 week to notify the MVC of change of residence.
A driver’s license is issued for a 4-year period.
Active military personnel and their immediate family members may apply for license renewal up to 6 months before deployment, and their licenses will remain valid 90 days after return from duty.
Types of Driver's Licenses
A Basic Automobile License (Class D) may be issued to a person 18 years of age and older for all types of motor vehicles registered by the MVC, except motorcycles.
A Commercial Driver’s License (Class A, B, C) is for large trucks, buses, and vehicles hauling hazardous materials.
A Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is necessary for the operation of tractor trailers or any truck or trailer with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 lbs., and allows the driver to operate all vehicles in the Class B, C, and D categories.
A Class B CDL is necessary for the operation of any vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more or a vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more towing a trailer with a GVWR of less than 10,000 lbs., or a bus with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and allows the driver to operate all vehicles in the Class C and D categories.
A Class C CDL is necessary for any vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,001 lbs. used and placarded to transport hazardous material, or any bus, including school buses, designed to carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and with a GVWR of less than 26,001 lbs. and all school vehicles designed for 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver, or any bus or other vehicle designed to transport 8 to 15 passengers, including the driver, which is used for hire.
There are 6 commercial license endorsements available: (T) double and triple trailer, which is for operators of vehicles pulling 2 or 3 trailers and requires a Class A license; (P) passenger, which is for operators of all buses or similar vehicles used to transport passengers; (S) School Bus, needed for all school bus drivers; (N) tank vehicle, for operators of vehicles that transport liquids or gas in bulk; (H) hazardous materials, for operators of vehicles transporting hazardous materials; and (L) air brakes, needed for any vehicle equipped with air breaks, special road test is federally required.
A bus driver license shall be issued to a person 18 years of age and older that has passed a satisfactory examination of driving ability and familiarity with the mechanism of the bus and has presented evidence, satisfactory to the director of the MVC of at least 3 years of driving experience, good character, and physical fitness.
A Motorcycle License (Class E) or Endorsement (M) is for most vehicles with less than 4 wheels, including motor bikes and scooters. The endorsement is for individuals already holding a basic New Jersey automobile license; otherwise, an individual must obtain a separate license. Applicants under age 18 are required to take the Motorcycle Safety Education Program Basic Rider Course.
A Motorized Bicycle License (Class F) is for unlicensed drivers, 15 years and older, and is not needed if the operator has a Class A, B, C, D, or E license.
An Agricultural License (Class G) is for farming purposes only and may be granted to persons between 16 and 17 years of age and can be exchanged for a Class D license at age 17.