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    Drivers Permits in New Jersey

    The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) requires all first-time drivers to complete the graduated driver license (GDL) program in order to obtain your first driver's license. Depending on your age, you will need to complete a different application process:

    • The Early Bird Road.
    • The Young Adult Road.
    • The Adult Road.

    Each process begins with getting a learner's permit or examination permit.

    For additional details about the graduated license program, you may visit our related pages about:

    New to New Jersey?

    If you are younger than 18 years old and have an out-of-state driver's license, you cannot transfer your license to New Jersey. You must first satisfy the requirements of the GDL program to apply for your NJ driver's license.

    Continue reading below to get information about the type of NJ learner's permit you will need.

    Applying For Your New Jersey Learner's Permit

    There are several types of learner's permits in New Jersey based on your age at the time of your application:

    • Student learner's permit: Eligible at 16 years old.
    • Examination permit: Eligible at 17 years old.

    You will be eligible for your probationary driver's license after holding your examination permit for 6 months (3 months if you are 21 years old or older).

    Your driver's permit will be valid for 2 years at a time. If you let it expire, you will need to apply for it following the same steps outlined below.

    Graduated Driver License (GDL) Decal

    All GDL drivers (learners permit, examination permit, probationary license) must display a red reflectorized decal on the upper left corner of each license plate (front and back). Failing to abide by this rule will result in a $100 fine.

    Driving Restrictions

    Each stage of the GDL program comes with specific driving restrictions. You will be fined $100 if caught violating any of the above driving restrictions. The restrictions are explained in each section below.

    Student Learner's Permit (Early Bird)

    To get a student learner's permit, you'll need to visit your local Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Agency and:

    • Be 16 years old.
    • Pass a knowledge (written) test and a vision screening.
    • Present a primary ID, such as your:
      • Certified birth certificate.
      • Passport.
      • Adoption or citizenship papers.
    • Show proof of enrollment in a driver's education course.
    • Have your course instructor with you.
    • Have a signed letter of consent from your parents or legal guardian.
    • Pay the $10 student permit fee.

    Once you complete the minimum 6 hours of drivers training, you may return to your local MVC office to validate your permit and schedule your road test.

    Student Learner's Permit Restrictions

    With this permit, you will have the following restrictions:

    • You must be accompanied in the front seat by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has at least 3 years of driving experience.
    • You may NOT drive between the hours of 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m.
    • You may only have 1 passenger from another household in the vehicle while you are driving, unless accompanied by your parent or guardian. You are allowed to transport parents, guardians, and dependents.
    • No use of any electronic device while driving, including cell phone or video games.
    • Seat belts must be worn at all times.

    You must hold this permit in good standing for a minimum of 6 months before graduating to the next level.

    This learner's permit is valid for 2 years.

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    Examination Learner's Permit (Young Adult)

    If you're 17 years old or over, you can skip the student learner permit and apply for an examination permit at your local New Jersey MVC agency. You must:

    • Be at least 17 years old.
    • Pass a knowledge (written) test.
    • Pass a vision screening.
    • Present a proof of your identity, such as your:
      • Certified birth certificate.
      • Passport.
      • Adoption or citizenship papers.
    • Pay the $10 examination permit fee.

    Your permit will be valid for 2 years. You must practice driving with a supervisor for at least 6 months before you are eligible for your probationary driver's license.

    Examination Permit (Young Adult) Restrictions

    With your examination learner's permit, you must follow specific restrictions:

    • You can only drive while accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years old who has held a valid driver's license for at least 3 years.
      • This supervisor must ride in the front seat beside you while you drive.
    • You may NOT drive between the hours of 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m.
    • You may only have 1 passenger from another household in the vehicle while you are driving, unless you're accompanied by your parent or guardian. You are permitted to transport parents, guardians or dependents.
    • NO use of any electronic device while driving, including cell phone or video games.
    • Seat belts must be worn at all times.

    Examination Permit (Adult)

    If you're 21 years old or older, you'll apply for an examination permit at your local MVC Agency. The requirements are similar to those for young adult drivers as you must:

    • Be at least 21 years old.
    • Pass a knowledge (written)/permit test.
    • Pass a vision screening.
    • Present a proof of your identity, such as your:
      • Certified birth certificate.
      • Passport.
      • Adoption or citizenship papers.
    • Pay the $10 examination permit fee.

    Examination Permit (Adult) Restrictions

    Your examination permit does NOT come with restricted driving hours, but the following limitations still apply:

    • You must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has held a valid driver's license for at least 3 years. This supervisor must ride on the front seat beside you while you drive.
    • NO use of any electronic device while driving, including cell phone or video games.
    • Seat belts must be worn at all times.
    • You must hold your New Jersey learner's permit a minimum of 3 months.

    Taking the New Jersey Permit Test

    The permit test in New Jersey has 50 questions. You must get at least 80% correct to pass.

    We recommend studying the MVC Driver's Manual and taking the online practice tests until you ace them. When you're ready, visit your local NJ MVC driver testing center and take your written permit test.

    See "Applying For Your NJ Learner's Permit" above for more details.

    Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements

    If you have a student learner's permit, you must complete at least 6 hours of driver's training through your Driver's Ed course before the NJ MVC will validate your permit. Once you've finished this step of the process, you may begin your supervised driving practice.

    Depending on which permit, you must practice supervised driving for a specified period of time:

    • Student learner's permit (early bird): At least 6 months.
    • Examination permit (young adult): At least 6 months.
    • Examination learner's permit (adult): At least 3 months.

    Replace a Lost Learner's Permit or Driver's License

    If you've lost your learner's permit or license, you'll need to immediately notify your local New Jersey MVC agency. If it was stolen, first notify your local law enforcement and get a copy of the report to take with you to the NJ MVC.

    You'll need to:

    • Present the proper ID requirements.
    • If you are less than 17 years old, your parent or legal guardian will need to accompany you.
    • Pay the permit is $3 duplicate learner's permit fee.

    Replacement permits are granted on a "case-by-case" basis.

    Next Step: Getting Your NJ Provisional License

    To apply for your New Jersey probationary driver's license, you must:

    • Be at least 17 years old.
    • Finish your supervised driving for the required period of time.
    • Show proof of identity.
    • Pass a road test.

    You must hold your probationary driver's license for at least 1 year before applying for your basic driver's license in New Jersey. This applies to all drivers regardless of age.

    For information on how to get your basic driver's license, please read our page about Applying for a New License in New Jersey (Teen Drivers).

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