1) Choose Your License
If you're a new state resident or a teen getting ready to drive, you'll need to apply for a new driver's license.
- Regular driver’s license for passenger cars and pick-up trucks (Class D)
- Commercial License (Class A, B, C)
- Motorcycle Licenses (Class E)
NOTE: New Jersey has a Graduated License System for all new drivers, regardless of age, requiring them to acquire first an examination permit to practice with, and then have a probationary license for a year. Teen drivers have the most restrictions on their permits.
New to New Jersey
Drivers 18 and older who move here from another state must get a new license within 60 days. If you have a valid license, the road and knowledge tests are usually waived.
Out-of-state drivers younger than 18 need to undergo the graduated driver licensing process.
To transfer your license:
Make your way to a Driver Testing Center. Here, you will be given a vision test.
If you pass all the tests, you'll surrender your old license and be issued a New Jersey license.
2) Take a Driver’s Education Course
Younger Than 18―
Driver’s ed is not a requirement, but taking a course will help you pass both the written exam and the driver’s exam.
Older Than 18―
New Jersey doesn’t have a requirement, but taking a supplemental class will help you be a better driver and may even lower your insurance rates.
3) Prepare for the Test
Before you take the test, you must study the MVC Driver’s Manual and learn all the traffic laws. Then, try out your knowledge by taking practice tests.
4) Locate an MVC Office
MVC offices don’t have written test appointments, but you can call and ask what their busiest hours tend to be.
5) Make Test-Day Preparations
Before you head into the MVC, be prepared to:
- Provide proof of identity according to the state's six-point system.
- Pass a vision test.
- Pay a $10 fee for your permit.
6) Take the Written Test
Once you’re sure you’ve know the driver’s manual thoroughly and have perhaps taken a driver’s ed class, go in and take the test.
The written test is offered in English, Korean, Arabic, Polish, Chinese, Portuguese, French, Russian, Japanese, and Spanish. There’s also an audio version.
If you fail, you must wait one week to retake the test.
7) Get a Car
After you’ve passed the test, you’ll probably be thinking about buying a car. Consider how many people you’ll be transporting and how far.
Used cars may be of great value to a beginner driver. But be sure to buy a Vehicle History Report first. This tells you whether the title’s salvaged or the car has been flood-damaged, and it could save you from buying a car that will last only until you drive away. For one fee, you get access to all the cars you want to research for a month or more or, you can just order a single report.
8) Get Car Insurance
Once you’ve picked out a car, shop for car insurance. Ask for deals or breaks for being a good driver or a student. Get several quotes for the car you plan on buying. Some cars cost more to insure than others.
9) Take the Driving Test
You’ll need to practice driving for at least six months if you're between the ages 18-20, or three months if you're 21 or older. When you’re ready, make an appointment at a participating MVC office to take the driving test.
When you go for the road test, bring a licensed driver and the vehicle you'll take the test in. The examiner will verify that the vehicle is currently registered, inspected, and insured. Don't forget your examination permit.
Once You Pass
Now you must drive for a year on your probationary license. Then, take in your documents for the six-point identification system, your license, and the $24 fee to any MVC location to get your regular license.
If You Fail
Ask to reschedule a time. You'll have to wait at least two weeks.
If you have a temporary visa and fulfill New Jersey’s requirements, you can get a New Jersey driver’s license by:
- Passing the state's Six Point ID Verification with two forms of identification and proof of residency.
- Providing proof of presence from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and proof of a valid foreign driver's license.
If you don't have proof, you must start from the beginning of New Jersey's Graduated Driver Licensing program.
Once your identification clears, the MVC issues you a permit to apply for a license. Take the permit to any MVC office to take a vision test, and maybe a written and a road test.
You may keep your foreign license.