Drivers License Photo Extension Aimed at Easing Overcrowding

With the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) allowing most drivers license photos to remain valid for 12 years (indefinitely for people over age 65) via legislation signed yesterday, this should result in approximately 220,000 fewer people visiting MVC facilities between now and the end of the year, MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton said today.

Gov. Phil Murphy also signed legislation yesterday that “temporarily extends deadlines to register vehicles and obtain driver’s licenses for new state residents during the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

Overall, when the MVC reopened after its coronavirus shutdown, it saw people arriving well before facility opening times and often waiting many hours and/or being turned away due to overcrowding, according to multiple published reports.

Fulton said today that while lines are still too long, people don’t have to “camp out” overnight at facilities. She also that while the agency handled an average of 240,000 transaction weekly in 2019, in the past six weeks it has been processing between 250,000 and 285,000 weekly transactions.

“We are on the right track,” Fulton said. “Average waits for road tests, driver knowledge tests, commercial driver license testing (CDLs) and inspections are all down to pre-COVID-19 levels. Thanks to great collaboration with our state’s community colleges and other partners, we were able to complete tens of thousands of road tests at our supplemental locations from June 29 through August.”

Of the drivers license photo extension, Fulton said, “All this means is that for virtually everyone with a basic New Jersey drivers license, you can renew that license online. Even if your notice says that you are supposed to come in person, if you have tried to renew your license or ID online and got that message, that is no longer required: Go to and you can renew online, without a visit to the licensing center.”

However, new licenses, out-of-state transactions, commercial drivers licenses that are federally regulated and private sales of used cars still require in-person visits to MVC facilities.

Remembering 9/11

All this was against the backdrop of the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks upon the United States, of which Gov. Phil Murphy said today, “We were knocked down 19 years ago today, but we got back up and showed the world [that] our nation, even when in shock and stricken with grief, comes together. And perhaps with everything we have been facing over these past six months, this is the most pertinent of anniversaries, because we are now forced to marshal that inner strength, again.”

There were 704 New Jersey residents who perished in 9/11, and 14,234 confirmed COVID-19 fatalities since March, with another 1,789 “probable deaths.”

New Jersey announced 518 new coronavirus cases today, with a statewide rate of transmission of 1.08 and 482 patients in hospitals. During the state’s April peak, there were more than 8,000 patients in hospitals.

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