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Initial License


First-time drivers

If you are a New Jersey resident, you must have a valid New Jersey driver's license or validated permit to operate a motor vehicle. First-time drivers must complete the Graduated Driver License (GDL) program, which introduces driving privileges in phases, to obtain a basic license, requiring you to pass various tests. If you are under 21 years old or have never had a driver's license, New Jersey requires that you complete a period of supervised driving before getting a basic driver's license. Before practice driving the permit holder must have the permit validated at any MVC Driver Testing Center.  

There are three initial GDL permit processes in New Jersey. Find the process below that corresponds to your age.

The early bird road (For drivers age 16 enrolled with a licensed driving school).

Get a student learner's permit

  • Visit a motor vehicle agency (with Driver Testing area) with a licensed driving instructor and your primary ID document. (Must also provide social security number).
  • Pay the $10 fee.
  • Pass the vision test.
  • Pass the knowledge test, or submit blue high school test waiver card if the written test was taken and passed in high school.
  • Complete six full hours of behind-the-wheel instruction in a dual-controlled vehicle, with a licensed driving instructor.
  • Return to a motor vehicle agency (with Driver Testing services) with a licensed driving instructor to have the permit validated and schedule a road test appointment (six months after validation for under 21 years of age). The permit must be validated prior to any supervised practice driving. 
  • Practice supervised driving* (see below) for at least six months, and until 17 years of age.

If your validated permit is lost or stolen, and you are under 17 years old, you must purchase a duplicate permit for $3. If you are now 17, you must purchase a $10 GDL Auto Permit. Applicants must:

  • Be accompanied by the parent/guardian.
  • Bring 6 Points of ID.   
  • Pay the appropriate fee.

The young adult (For drivers age 17 or older).

Get an examination permit (not a student permit)

Applicants, age 17 but under age 18, must submit signed consent of a parent or legal guardian to begin the permit process.

  • Visit a motor vehicle agency (with Driver testing area) with your 6 Points of ID.
  • Complete Auto Permit Application (Form BA-412C found only at motor vehicle agencies).
  • Pay the $10 fee.
  • Pass the vision test.
  • Pass the knowledge test, or submit blue high school test waiver (only valid if 18 years old or under).
  • Get the permit validated for practice driving.
  • Schedule the road test (six months after validation for under 21 years of age).
  • Practice supervised driving* (see below) for at least six months.

Permits are valid for two years and must be carried when operating a vehicle. If your permit is lost or stolen , you must request a $3 duplicate permit.

*You must observe the following restrictions during the six- month supervised driving period if you are under 21 years of age:

  • Display a reflectorized decal on each license plate (front/back); decals available at motor vehicle agencies, $4 per pair.
  • No driving after 11:01 p.m. and before 5:00 a.m.
  • You must be accompanied in the front seat by an adult supervising driver who is at least 21 years of age, and who possesses a valid New Jersey driver’s license, and has a minimum of three years driving experience.
  • Parent(s), guardian(s) or dependant(s) are allowed as passengers. A dependant is a permit or probationary driver's child, not siblings.
  • Only one additional passenger is allowed unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • You cannot use cell phones, hand held video games or any other hands-free interactive, wireless communication device.
  • Seat belts must be worn at all times.
  • GDL Exemptions for hours-related exemptions for employment or religious reasons are as follows:
    • Permit and probationary drivers under 21 are eligible for hours-related exemptions for employment or religious reasons
    • Drivers must carry legible documentation on letterhead signed by the employer, organization or religious institution stating the reasons for this request
    • Include signature, title, address and telephone number of designated official

The adult (For drivers ages 21 and up)

Get an examination permit (not a student permit)

  • Visit any motor vehicle agency to purchase an examination permit (not a special or student permit)
  • Bring your 6 Points of ID and proof of address
  • Complete form Auto Permit Application (Form BA-412C found only at motor vehicle agencies).
  • Pay the $10 fee.
  • Pass the vision test.
  • Pass the knowledge test.
  • Get the permit validated for practice driving.
  • Schedule the road test (three months after validation for 21 or over).
  • Practice supervised driving**(see below) for at least three months.

Permits are valid for two years. If your permit is lost or stolen, you must obtain a $3 duplicate permit.

Note: To take your written test, or to have your test results validated (in order to practice drive), you must visit one of our agencies that offer this service.

**You must observe the following restrictions during the three month supervised driving period if you are a 21 or older first-time driver:

  • You must be accompanied in the front seat by an adult supervising driver who is at least 21 years of age and who possesses a valid New Jersey driver’s lcense and has a minimum of three years driving experience.
  • You cannot use cell phones, hand-held video games or any other hands-free interactive, wireless communication device.
  • Seat belts must be worn at all times.

 
Get a probationary license upon completion of the supervised practice driving period, and successful completion of the scheduled road test requirement.

  • Visit a motor vehicle agency with your 6 Points of ID and proof of address.
  • Complete Auto License Application (Form BA-208 found only at motor vehicle agencies).
  • Pay the $6 Probationary License fee.
  • Receive the New Jersey probationary driver’s license.

We are required to capture a customer’s full face when taking a picture for a driver license or non-driver ID card; therefore we need to be able to see from the top of your forehead to the bottom of your chin.  If you have a medical or religious need to wear a head covering in your photo, please advise the MVC staff at the agency camera station.

Practice unsupervised driving for at least one year

You must observe the following requirements and restrictions while driving with a probationary (formerly provisional) license:

  • Display a reflectorized decal (for under 21 drivers only) on each license plate (front/back); decals available at motor vehicle agencies, $4 per pair
  • No driving after 11:01 p.m. and before 5:00 a.m.
  • Parent(s), guardian(s) or dependant(s) are allowed as passengers. A dependant is a permit or probationary driver's child, not siblings.
  • Only one additional passenger is allowed unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • You cannot use cell phones, hand-held video games or any other hands-free interactive, wireless communication device.
  • Seat belts must be worn at all times.
  • GDL Exemptions for hours-related exemptions for employment or religious reasons are as follows:
    • Permit and probationary drivers under 21 are eligible for hours-related exemptions for employment or religious reasons
    • Drivers must carry legible documentation on letterhead signed by the employer, organization or religious institution stating the reasons for this request
    • Include signature, title, address and telephone number of designated official

Get a basic driver license

  • Visit a motor vehicle agency with your 6 Points of ID and proof of address. (You must be at least 18 years old, and have had your probationary license for at least one year).
  • Complete Auto License Application (Form BA-208 found only at motor vehicle agencies).
  • Pay the pro-rated upgrade fee (usually $19.50).
  • Receive the New Jersey basic auto license (expiration date will remain the same as your probationary license).

If you are looking for information on how to obtain a Commercial Driver License, please click here.