TRENTON, NJ -- Some good news for teenagers who have been patiently (and not so patiently) waiting to get their drivers licenses.
Gov. Phil Murphy and Chief Administrator Sue Fulton of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) on Friday announced plans for a phased reopening of MVC facilities, - including the Somerville location - to the public following closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reopening will proceed in a way that safeguards public health and safety, bringing many changes and improved efficiencies to MVC operations.
“With the phased reopening of the Motor Vehicle Commission, we’re passing another important milestone on the Road Back,’’ Murphy said. “The MVC is implementing smart, innovative plans to safely deliver motor vehicle services to New Jerseyans as we continue the fight against COVID-19.’’
“The old MVC crowded a lot of people into a lot of small spaces. We can’t operate like that in a COVID-19 world,” said Fulton. “Our reopening plan re-imagines MVC workflows, with streamlined processes to clear the backlog and ensure that you spend as little time as possible at MVC.”
“Our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers,” Fulton added. “We will be reopening in phases, aligning with the principles of the Governor’s statewide reopening plan.”
MVC workspaces have been extensively overhauled during the COVID-19 closure to add Plexiglas barriers and other social distancing measures. MVC employees are returning to the agencies next week, for Health & Safety briefings, hardware and software reboots, and training on new protocols.
Going forward, everyone who enters the MVC agency will be required to wear a face covering. That includes customers as well as employees. If a customer cannot wear a face covering, MVC will make other arrangements for their transaction.
In order to limit crowds and speed services during the phased reopening, some agencies have been designated as Licensing Centers and some as Vehicle Centers. Lists of Licensing Centers and Vehicle Centers (attached), as well as information on transactions, will be posted soon at NJMVC.gov.
Drop-off and pick-up transactions will be processed starting June 15, but only the following:
- At designated Licensing Centers, MVC will be processing and validating permits from driving schools and high schools on a drop-off basis.
- At designated Vehicle Centers, MVC will be processing registration and title work from dealers. License plates can also be surrendered by drop-off at these agencies in a designated area.
MVC will also be processing registration/title transfers for private sales by a new combination online and mail-in procedure. Customers will be able to sign up for this option at NJMVC.gov.
Fulton said that more detail will be provided in the next few days and that these activities will clear a three-month backlog from MVC's March 15 closure.
Road tests and the issuing of new licenses and permits are tentatively expected to start on June 29 (subject to change), with some additional transactions like out-of-state transfers and private sales registrations, but still on a limited basis to prevent crowding.
The Commission has tripled road-testing capacity, adding 11 courses and reassigning over 100 Safety Specialists to serve as road test examiners for 30 to 60 days. This takes MVC from an average of 5,800 road tests per week to about 16,300. MVC expects the backlog to be cleared by the end of the 60 days.
Those whose road tests were canceled during the shut-down will be contacted by MVC and provided a secure link to get the first appointments.
At designated Licensing Centers starting June 29 (tentative), MVC will be processing new licenses and permits, out-of-state transfers, and REAL ID for those whose appointments were canceled. At designated Vehicle Centers starting June 29 (tentative), MVC will be adding individual registration and title transactions.
Transactions that can be done online will not be available in person at this time.
The Commission continues to urge customers to use NJMVC.gov to renew or replace licenses, renew or replace registrations, or change their address. Customers can also contact MVC by email for help with a suspension.
“We have more innovations coming to speed our service, while keeping our customers and employees safe,” concluded Fulton. “We look forward to sharing further plans as they are finalized.”