What is the difference between a license and a permit in New Jersey?

A basic driver license in New Jersey allows a driver to drive without restrictions. A permit, or a probationary automobile license, is designed to allow new drivers to gradually gain the driving skills needed to drive safely on one’s own.

New Jersey features a Graduated Drivers License (GDL) program, which is a multi-stage driver development program. The system gradually introduces driving privileges to first-time drivers, extends their practice driving time and requires a minimum age of 18 in order to receive an unrestricted, basic driver license.

The GDL program has three age-based options: Early Bird (ages 16 and older), Young Adult Road (ages 17 and older) and Adult Road Road (ages 21 and older). Process to obtain permit and length of time required to drive with permit varies with program. For a full description of these programs, visit http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/manuals/chap_01_06.html

Special Learner Permit Restrictions

  • No driving between 11:01 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
  • No using hand-held or hands-free cell phones or any other electronic
  • Permit holder 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 license and has a minimum of three years’ driving experience.
  • Passengers are limited to any parent, guardian or dependent of the special permit holder and one additional passenger.
  • Permit holder and all passengers must wear seat belts.
  • Must display decals on license plates.
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