Like many states, New Jersey requires that you go through a Graduated Driver’s License Program (GDL) before you can drive without supervision. GDL programs have been proven to reduce traffic accidents by helping inexperienced drivers gain skills and awareness while remaining in a low-risk situation.
In New Jersey, the GDL process can be broken down into three stages:
- Special Learner’s Permit or Examination Permit
- Probationary License
- Full License
This page will walk you through the steps of the New Jersey GDL process and help you prepare to become a fully licensed driver.
If you want a Learner’s Permit in New Jersey, you have two options. At 16 years old, you can apply for your Special Learner’s Permit, which requires you be enrolled in a state-approved driver’s education course. If you don’t want to take this course, you can wait and apply for your Examination Permit at age 17.
Either way, you will need to pass a written knowledge test (also known as the permit test), which will check how well you know traffic law, signals and signs. The test includes 50 multiple-choice questions, and you will need a score of 80 percent or better to pass.
Devote Time to Studying
Successfully passing the test requires study. We offer a free copy of the New Jersey Driver’s Handbook for you to use. Be sure to read the entire book, and spend extra time on any areas you find confusing. The more you study now, the more it will pay off later.
Don’t Forget Practice Exams
Practice exams are a wonderful resource for study. Our New Jersey practice permit test includes many of the same topics as the actual exam, and after taking it, you should be much more comfortable completing the real thing.
Visit the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) and Do Your Testing
Be sure to bring along:
- Your certified birth certificate with official seal, U.S. passport or certificate of citizenship.
- Proof of enrollment in driver’s education.
- $10 in fees.
- A signed letter of parental consent.
- Proof of residency and legal presence.
Stay calm and do your best on the test. You’ve studied hard, and now it will surely pay off. When you pass, you will be given a vision test. The state of New Jersey requires 20/50 vision in at least one eye in order to legally drive.
You will also be required to purchase two reflective decals ($4 each), which you must display on your license plates to show that you are a young driver in training.
Begin Your Practice Driving
Before you can begin practice driving, you must complete your driver’s education course. When you do, bring proof of completion back to the MVC to have your permit validated. At that point, you can begin driving with a supervising driver age 21 or older sitting next to you.
If you received your Special Learner’s Permit, you can move on to the next phase in the GDL process at age 17. If you waited and received your Examination Permit, you will need to wait until age 18.
When you are ready, make an appointment for your road test. Road tests are administered in special MVC testing locations, not the MVC offices themselves.
On testing day, don’t forget to bring along:
- The same identification and residency documents you used to get your permit.
- Your validated permit.
- Your parent or guardian.
- Your reflective decals, which show you are a training driver under the age of 21.
- A registered, insured and properly inspected vehicle, which must have an emergency brake that will be accessible to the examiner.
The road test should take 10-15 minutes. The examiner will check how well you pay attention to the road, control the vehicle and perform other simple driving tasks. When you pass, you will be given a slip that you can take back to the MVC offices to get your Probationary License, which comes with some limitations:
- You may not use a cell phone while driving.
- You may not drive between 11:00 p.m. and 5 a.m. without supervision or proper authorization.
- Unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, you may not drive with any passengers aside from immediate family members.
When you are at least 18 years old and have held your Probationary License for at least one year without any suspensions or violations, you can apply for your Full License. Visit the MVC office and bring along all the identification and residency documents you used before, and trade your Probationary License for a regular license. There is a fee of $24.
If you fail the road test, you must wait at least two weeks before trying again. If you fail again after that, you may be required to wait six months or more. Therefore, it’s important to not try the road test until you are sure you’re prepared.