Eight FAQs on how to register your child in a New Jersey Public School

LIFE IN NEW JERSEY: Moving to a new location is always a huge task. Enrolling your children in school in your new home town is just part of the logistical challenge that relocating families face.

If you are moving to New Jersey however, you should know each public school district makes its own rules about registration. Due to the variety of local school district requirements, it is impossible to write one set of recommendations that cover every New Jersey school. Hopefully though the following questions and answers will help give some clues on how to register your child in a New Jersey public school. 

1. How are registration requirements set?

Public schools in New Jersey are administered locally at a School District level. A school district may encompass just the public schools in one township or sometimes more with smaller towns. In larger communities such as cities, local school districts cover a section of the city with a limited number of schools under their jurisdiction.

Every school district is administered by a School Board (Board of Education), of publicly elected officials who set policy. The School District’s Area Superintendent is responsible for implementing local and state educational policy amongst all the schools under their jurisdiction. The local school district has enough autonomy to set its own rules on many things including start times for schools, bus scheduling, registration requirements for new children, including whether they can attend school from out of the district. IMG_3297

2. Where do you register your child in a New Jersey public school?

When you move into a new area, you will need to register your child for school through the local Board of Education. You should contact them for an appointment to do this, as soon as you have found a residence and have the right documentation to complete registration.IMG_0163_low

3. Do I get to decide which public school my child can attend?

Normally, a child will attend a public school that has a catchment area where your residence is located. Some areas though have a slightly different system e.g. New Jersey magnet districts. Magnet schools provide slightly more flexibility in choice as the parents may elect for their child to attend any of the district’s schools within the district’s borders. In these cases, there may be an option for you to list preferences for which school your child will attend. However, in the case of magnet districts, if you are arriving after the school year has commenced in early September, your choices may well be limited by what school vacancies are available within the district.

Other exceptions to the school-set-by-address rule include charter schools. These schools, while not often administered by school districts, are still considered public schools, and thus open to anyone to apply. Most charter schools will take local residents over out-of-district (OOD) applicants, although entries from OOD may be obtained through a lottery system, dependent on the school.

 A limited number of public schools will also consider students from OOD if parents are prepared to pay fees for a minimum period. This offsets any extra cost of the student, not contributed by their parents (if not residents/paying property tax). Only some school districts allow this approach, so this should be explored before making any final decisions about school choice. 

4. When do I register my child for school?

Commonly, local residents wanting their children to start Kindergarten in a new school year will register them early in the same year between Jan-Feb, to start their school year in the following September. Some schools run open days in late Fall (November in the prior school year) when registration can be submitted as well for the next year’s school start. However, if you become a resident in a town’s jurisdiction, your child will be catered for regardless of the time of year you move into the area.

To register for Kindergarten your child will need to be 5 years old by the school district’s cutoff date. This varies by district:  some schools state 5 years by September 1st in year of enrolment, others state October 1st. There is usually no flexibility with this rule, even if your child is only 1 or 2 days past the deadline.

5. When does public school start in New Jersey? What is the American school calendar like?

The New Jersey school year generally starts in September and finishes in June. Vacation blocks may include a fall break (October), a winter break (between Christmas and New Year), spring break (near Easter) and then summer vacation (the extended holidays) which can be up to three months long.

 Public schools run on a different calendar than private schools, so their start and finish dates do not coincide usually. Even amongst different school districts, there can be different start and finish dates, so the dates above are general.

6. How do I register my child for school?

To register your child in a New Jersey public school, you will need to do the following:

  • Complete the school’s registration form
  • Have a medical doctor conduct a physical examination of your child and complete the district’s questionnaire prior to registration though it should be conducted less than 12 months prior. Some schools require the examination to be done by a US doctor while others will accept an examination conducted by a qualified doctor from overseas.
  • Complete the district’s health survey or questionnaire (if applicable)
  • Bring with you a medical register of your child’s immunizations from a New Jersey doctor or recognized health authority from your last place of residence. The state Health Department has a publicly available list of immunizations that your child is expected to have to commence school. These requirements can be different from your previous country and also change from time to time so you should always check prior, if coming from overseas. The requirements vary by age e.g. middle school will have different requirements versus kindergarten etc.
  • Bring a copy of your child’s last school report from your last place of residence.
  • Have available up to four proofs of residency e.g. copy of lease or /title deed or/tenancy document or mortgage document or tax documents etc. Other proofs such as a recent pay stub or utilities bill or New Jersey Driver’s License or Car insurance papers may also be suitable proofs that can be used. These may not be needed if you get an agreement from the school district to pay fees (like an OOD).
  • Bring your child’s original birth certificate (a passport is not usually acceptable by itself). Any original documents not already in English should have an English translation provided from a reputable translator source such as your country’s consulate.
  • Provide two emergency contacts for school records. If you do not have anyone here that you know or can use as such emergency contacts, let the school know and they will probably make a provision for you in the short term.
  • Check individual schools requirements for each of the above as they vary and can change from time to time. These are usually listed on the school district’s website. If in doubt, you should call the Board of Education in the township where you will be living, to clarify what is needed.

7. Do you need a social security card to register your child in a New Jersey public school?

Definitely not. It is actually against the law for New Jersey schools to require a social security card for registration. Some schools may ask for one but it is not mandatory. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t have one. The reason they ask is because a social security card is used by many places in the USA as a form of reliable identification. Not everyone is able to get a social security card and the reasons can be perfectly valid. There is no shame in not having a card nor should this be a disincentive for any school to accept your child. You will however, probably be asked for your Driver License as a form of identification.Historic sign outside BOE building Ridgewood

8. What documents for school registration should I have prepared before leaving my home country?

  • A list of immunizations that your child has received from a verified source (health agency, etc.). The list should make it clear which vaccines (strengths/stages/active ingredients) were given. It is best to have this translated into English (if not already), preferably by a doctor, as overseas immunization records can be confusing for US healthcare staff.
  • Your child’s original birth certificate
  • A copy of your child’s last school report

These answers should take care of most of the common questions expats ask when first arrived here with their families. Other than choosing the right school, the rest should be relatively easy.

Happy Registration Day!

What experiences have you had registering your child for a New Jersey public school, either as an expat or an American moving into a new area?


123 thoughts on “Eight FAQs on how to register your child in a New Jersey Public School

  1. We’ve moved from Spain to North Arlington NJ, I tried to register my children in School, but because we don’t have bills yet at the new place they cannot start school until I get them. Also my kids reports are in spanish and until they get translated, can’t start school either. The translator hasn’t call me yet with the transcripts an I have not recieved any bills yet, so my question is, is it ok that my children can’t start school till then? Will they or I have any problems for not taking them to school? They won’t let them start anyway.

    • Hi Rita,
      Sorry for the late reply. From my own knowledge of NJ schools, it is normal in most USA public schools that they request the proofs for residency such as utility bills before your child starts school. It is in the hands of the school, but I would hope they didn’t make your kids wait too long. On your side, if you can organize online payment for utilities, you may be able to print out paper copies instead of waiting for them to arrive in the mail. Bank statements are another type of proof you could try using, and they can often be obtained online as well. As it is very early on in the year, most classes probably do revision rather than any new work in the early weeks of the year, so I wouldn’t be too worried. It may be useful though to find out what school supplies are needed so you can at least get your children as completely prepared as possible. If you talk to the school, I am sure they will be supportive.

  2. We’re in even worse situation – I need to register two kids (8 and 9 years old) in Kearny, NJ. We’re coming back from Poland, and my children, athough both are citizens had never been in US school system. I’m not sure if they can be registered in February, or will they have to wait till next school year. Another thing is the English level. They took ESL classes at their school, but the level is much lover than expectations for their age. How schools will deal with that? Is there any programm for kids speaking other language?

    • Hi Norbert.
      Thanks for the comment and I think I can help with your questions. You should be able to enrol your kids in February or even March when you arrive as long as you will have the documents that they require; and of most interest, will be the fact that you are living in the school district you are applying for. You will likely need some proofs of your residency but basically, if you live there, then the school has to provide places for your kids. We registered in our town in March, and the kids started in April, so I am pretty sure that you won’t have to worry about waiting for the next school year. There are NJ regulations that require children to have schooling provided once they reach a certain age, so I am sure the school district will accommodate you somehow.

      Regards ESL, in my work as a destinations services consultant, I provide assistance to families relocating into NJ regularly. Many families come here when their children speak no English, and sometimes the parents English skills are not that well-developed either. All NJ public schools have some sort of ESL support they can provide. However, depending on the school budget, the service level may vary in quality and depth. I would recommend that you try to get an appointment to meet with the ESL teacher at your intended school asap on arrival, to see what they will be doing to help your children along. For the most part though, schools find that young children learn the language very quickly as they are immersed, which is the recommended way to learn fastest. The ESL teachers provide some support but most of the time they will be in their normal (English-provided) classes.

      It will help of course, if the schools are multicultural and any other children are there who know Polish, at least at the beginning. If you can, it might help to get extra help for the kids by enrolling them in English lessons outside the school as soon as you arrive, for perhaps a few weeks, and then continuing on weekends/after school. The fact that you speak English fluently already should also help them too. Two good language schools that are used by many corporations for helping families with English lessons, include Inlingua (http://www.inlingua.com/)and Berlitz (http://www.berlitz.us/summit/) each of which has offices at Summit, Ridgewood and NYC.

      I hope the above helps. Let me know if you have any questions and Good Luck!

  3. Hi,
    My family and I are moving to NJ in June, from Australia. I was hoping that you could advise me on what grades they might be placed in when they start school in September 2015 🙂
    My eldest was born in December 2000, my middle child was born in September 2006 and my youngest was born in March 2008.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    Im feeling very overwhelmed, lol! Its all so different.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Maree,
      Thanks for your question.

      I truly understand how overwhelming it all is, and having the school year here run at different times to Australia is very confusing, and can be daunting for the children a bit too. The decision of what grade they will be in is not something I can answer in black & white nor guarantee, as it depends much on whether they will go to public school or private school; which township you are in (as they have different rules and age benchmark dates for school start e.g. children need to be a certain age by September 1st in some, October 1st for others), and what grades your children are moving from in Sydney. Initially, they will start by looking at their ages and grade completion and how that translates to the NJ system.

      Some schools will use their school academic records, school reports to work out what level they are at, and some will test the children (in addition), if it is not clear and in the case where your children would have a significant age gap between Sydney and NJ when starting school here e.g. if they were enrolled young in Sydney for instance.

      From what I can estimate, your children would mostly likely start school in September 2015 at 9th grade (Dec 2000 BD), 4th Grade (Sept 2006 BD), and 2nd grade ( Dec 2008 BD). This means you will have the eldest starting first year of high school here (high schools mostly go from Grade 9-12), which is called freshman year. The other two will be in elementary school (most of these cover K-grade 5). There are exceptions to how schools are set up but the K-5grades (elementary); 6-8 grades (middle school) and 9-12 grades (high school) are the most common organization used for public schools and many private schools.

      If you are looking to get your children into a private school starting here in September, I would encourage you to investigate these options very quickly as most good private schools have waiting lists, and will test the children, interview the family well ahead of the school year start date, so to have a fair chance at getting in, you need to be well-prepared in advance.

      Public schools in comparison, have to cater for the children in their township, so you don’t need to book ahead. However, in the vast majority of cases, the township you choose, to live in and then the actual section of town where your home is located, will determine which school you are allocated. In some popular towns, it is not easy to get housing at short notice, so it is advisable to look ahead and organize housing further out than the school start dates.

      If you are able to, a pre-trip is very advisable, so you can do some homework on where you might want to live-there are a lot of location options, and choosing is very difficult from afar.

      Let me know if you have any further questions-don’t hesitate to email me as I well remember the confusion and challenges of our move here, and happy to help.

      Kindest Regards


      • Natasha shestakov says:

        Hi I am moving to Wildwood nj this week with my 8 an 10 year old do u think the process of getting them in school will be of any problem

        • Natasha shestakov says:

          Hi I am moving to Wildwood nj this week with my 8 an 10 year old do u think the process of getting them in school will be of any problem can u please contact me at 215 349 0626 thank you

  4. Hi,
    Thank you so much for your detailed response! You have certainly made things more clearer 🙂
    I will definitely email you closer to the move date. We are still waiting for further details from my husbands employer.
    I have to admit I so was excited to find your blog. Its such a wealth of information and I’m really grateful to have found it!
    Many thanks 🙂

  5. Your education system is good as I am interested to be part of it. My son is 6 year old wanted to get admission there in new Jersey . we are from India pls reply us thank you .

  6. Zelle Ochoco says:

    My son (born Feb 12,2009) is currently a Grade 1 student in an International School (with IBS curriculum) here in the Philippines. His school year starts August 2015 and ends June 2016. I am planning to move to New Jersey this year. My dilemma is that I see the registration for Grade 2 will happen on Feb 2016. One of the requirements is his school card which will be completed come June 2016. What do you advice that I should do? Should i bring him to NJ for registration in February, then have him come over again after June? How about the requirement for a complete school year card? Can that be to follow once he has completed grade 1 here in Manila?

  7. Helli, my question is what happens if a child doesn’t register at all?. My neighbor kids are home all day n I know they are of school age.

    • From my understanding there is usually follow up by either school or police but I am not sure. Not wanting to go to school isn’t usually a problem with most expats or even American families as education is highly valued. Its a shame for these kids whoever they are as NJ schools are actually very good quality.

    • Maybe these children are homeschooled. Get to know your neighbor. It’s always good to be concerned. Better to be cautious and not jump to unnecessary conclusions.

  8. Dear ,

    i am moving my children 7th grade and 9th grade from a school in Saudi Arabia to new jersey USA , and my children transfer time will be in the time of midyear school , what is the best procedures to make to move the kids without losing any academic year ,

    your prompt Reply will be highly appreciated ,

    Kind Regards

    • Hi Tambi,
      This is a very good question and not easy as most relocations cause disruption in your life as well as for your family.
      Firstly, timing is very important if around mid-year. Remember that most public school districts in NJ, finish their school year in mid-late june. So if you are arriving after that, then you will not have to worry about registration at schools until a few months time when schools resume in September for start of new school year. To start school though, your children need to be registered prior. In nearly all cases, you will need to prove that you reside in an area to register your children at the local public school where you live. Depending on the school, they will need specific proofs which may take a little time to obtain e.g. rental lease, utilities bill, credit card bill, NJ license all showing NJ residency where the children will attend school.

      So to answer your question, I would try to arrive in summer vacation to allow you time to adjust to life here before starting school, and also get housing settled first, then obtain the necessary documents to allow you to register in time for new school year. You should try and register them at least a few weeks ahead of school start in case there is a delay in getting approval or your documents aren’t accepted (that would be unusual).
      Let me know if you still have any questions,

      • Hi
        My children are 6 and 7.5 yrs old and will be moivng to NJ from India. They are currently in kindergarten (KG2) and primary school (grade 2). We plan to move by early Jan to NJ. Will they be able to secure admissions soon enough, if yes, will be they be able to join at the same schooling level/ grade?
        They are at present studying in English Medium school here (ICSE board).
        Or is it better to wait and get them admissions in next academic year?

        • Hi Pady
          Sorry for the delay in answering your question. Your children should be able to join a NJ school in January without a problem. However, it is difficult to say whether they would continue on in their exact same levels in NJ at January, as this is around the time when half the NJ academic year has already been completed. I would expect the school to test them to see whether they can continue at these grade levels without any real issues, as that is what would be preferred-assuming the Indian levels are the same as NJ. Certainly if that is what you wish for the children, you should make it very clear to the school when enrolling them. If you have some flexibility regarding moving dates, it is always better to start a new school at the beginning of the new academic year which is September in NJ. If I could choose the best time to move, it would be June, when summer vacation starts, and children have a few months on holiday to get used to American life before starting a new school. There are more options for finding housing in summer than winter (January) as well.
          Hope that helps!
          Best wishes and Good luck
          Anne Marie

  9. Hi,
    My 16 year old daughter is moving to NJ from the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is a US citizen, but I wanted to make sure if she would be able to register in a high school at this time of year when she gets there, or is it too late. Also, there isn’t an exact date on when she is leaving since we really want to know when the best time is and if she can get into a high school when she gets there first. When do you recommend that she register/transfer to a high school in NJ or would she have to wait till the next school year starts? By the way she is already a senior, and she will be staying with my sister in Paterson, NJ. …. One last thing, if she is able to do so, what documents or papers does she need to take with her from here.

    • Hi Nancy,
      My sincere apologies for such a late response and perhaps this is not needed now but I will try and answer your question.

      To register at school, your daughter will need to have proofs of residency that the school district requires. Every school district is different but mostly they like to see leases, utility bills etc. They will possibly expect her guardian (your sister) to supply these, and sign any paperwork confirming her guardianship etc. She should bring her birth certificate, passport and school records from the prior school, which will prove her status as a senior and helpfully allow a smooth transition into the same year here. There may be lots of other issues to address as well, as including how the Paterson high school interprets her existing credits completed so far towards completion of high school in Paterson. Not sure if total credits required is the same in every high school but unlikely. Also if she is moving mid-way from classes in Virgin Islands to a new schedule here, then how will that work out? Are the subjects in Virgin Is the same and recognized by Paterson NJ? I would think she will need to spend some decent time with the guidance counselor to try and make sure her schedule is appropriate and suits her needs considering her change over. A lot of challenges! I would be talking to the Paterson School district registration personnel asap to get a full idea of what is involved with a transfer like this.
      Sorry I couldn’t be more useful!

  10. We are moving back to nj after living abroad for 4 years . My daughter is 13 and in 8th grade. She is very young and not as mature as other children . She struggles with school a bit.I m having her evaluated for learning difficulties. I would like for her to repeat 8th grade in NJ. Is it possible? What is the process like in Monroe twp NJ?

    • Hi Julie,
      I don’t know much about how the school district would approach this but I would contact them asap prior to your move and ask them. If you know your new Monroe address then perhaps you can check on what school she would likely attend, as I would think they would make the decision: http://www.monroe.k12.nj.us/domain/1362

      However, perhaps you could get some general information from the Board of Ed. registration person as to whom you can approach for more specific requests such as this. I would imagine they might consider your request but either test her themselves or examine any external testing info you can provide to support your case. It may not be that difficult to do, and while repeating is not great, it will giver her a chance to make some local friends and build her confidence before she moves onto high school, which is a bit of a challenge for all kids really.
      The best of luck to you and let me know if you have any other questions.


  11. Hi,

    We are moving into New Jersey by Jun, 2016 and I am hoping that you could advise me on what grades they might be placed, when they start school in September 2016.

    Our kids were born in Dec, 2007 and Sep, 2009 and they would have completed their 3rd and 1st grade respectively, when they reach US. I am afraid whether they would be required to repeat their grades in NJ, due to the age restriction or whether they would be joining 4th and 2nd grade during Sep, 2016 in NJ. Your valuable inputs and comments will be highly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi Rajkumar,
      Welcome to NJ and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have so far!
      The decision on what grades the kids will be in does rest with the school. They usually have a cut off date for acceptance into a higher grade of being the right age by 1st Sept or 1st October. If your children are below these dates as they seem to be for the grades you mention, then it will be up to the school to recommend their grades. My experiences so far have been that most schools will try and continue the children onto their normal school program which for your kids would mean go onto 2nd and 4th grades instead of repeating. Sometimes this is just assumed by the school as they don’t want kids to repeat unnecessarily. Where it does come up or the school is not sure whether they should go ahead to the next grade, they may test the children to assess their ability to do the next years work.

      I would contact the school district where you are likely going to live and check what their policy is. I am pretty sure your kids would be fine but in the case where the school wanted to keep them back against your wishes, you can protest /request testing to show the kids are better off in the higher grades. I don’t think any school would try and make them repeat just because of their age being past the cut off date by such a small amount as a few months like your kids. Best idea though is check!!
      Let me know if you have any other questions,

    • Also Rajkumar – make sure you bring their school records to prove they completed the prior school years – this may help and the school prefers to have these anyway for their records.

  12. Hi Madam,

    I am from India I have a 6 year old son (In 2nd grade here) & would be moving to Edison, NJ in June 2016. From what I’ve gathered uptill now, sessions start in Edison public schools on October 1 2016 & new enrolmets have already started. My biggest concern is if I bring him in Sept/ October (that is when I can bring him here soonest along with my wife), would I be still allowed to get her admitted at that time. I am afraid of seats fetting filled by that time.

    Also if I admit her in October, he would be admitted in 1st grade. He turns 7 years on 12 Dec. So if I admit him after that he would be eligible for grade 2 in Edison which is his current class & would not lose a year.

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Vivek,
      From my understanding the Edison school district does not operate the way you have described. I understand how worrying it is from afar trying to understand the school system but I do not think you need to worry too much. Here is what I would assume after looking at the school website which can often help provide some information : http://www.edison.k12.nj.us/edison
      1. The normal school year starts in September. Here is a link to the school calendar: http://www.edison.k12.nj.us/Page/2. Here you can see that around the 1st week of September in 2015, all classes started the new school year. This is the same in nearly all school districts in NJ. This calendar does not state what the 2016 start date is but it is not usually October.

      2. If you have a residential address in Edison, the school district is required to provide your child a ‘seat’ regardless of when you arrive. The only thing that the school may not guarantee is possibly which school your daughter will attend. Many expats have this same problem of arriving after the official date of school start and it is not usually a problem. If you are concerned, you should endeavor to ring the school district Enrollment Center to confirm what the situation will be. The phone number is +1 732-452-4570. Here is a link for enrollment information: http://www.edison.k12.nj.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=1372

      3. You will need to prove you live in Edison by supplying specific proofs to the district to meet their requirements. This is also listed in the website.

      4. All school districts have cut off dates for determining what school year a child should likely move into, starting with Kindergarten. Every district sets its own dates but these are usually 1st September or 1st October. This is possibly what you are referring to in your question. Although this is a guideline they may use, if your son has already completed Grade 1 in the current school year, and is due to continue onto 2nd Grade in 2016-2017 school year, the district is most likely to put him in 2nd grade. If however, he is considered too young because of his birthday, and they want to put him 1st grade, to repeat, then you have a right to negotiate/argue this point with the school. In these cases, where a child gets put above his age group, they can test him at the school to ensure he is on par to do the higher grade work without problem. If you have good cause for your son to go into a higher grade than what is recommended, you are entitled to push your own case, not just accept what the school says.

      5. Whatever date you arrive should not impact any of the above. Your son should start his school year in the right grade from the very first day of school, once this is agreed with the school (assuming they did not just automatically put him in 2nd grade which is likely anyway I would think).

      Hope that answers all your questions and concerns. Feel free to email me personally for more information if needed.

      Good Luck!

      Anne Marie

  13. Hi,

    I too have similar query. My daughter she is in 7th grade now and 12.3 yrs (in April) we will be moving to NJ in month of May. I am having tough time as not able to decide if to move or not only coz of age difference.

    As I have read so far required age criteria for 8th grade has to be 13 to 14 yrs by September but she will be 12.8 yrs only. I am ok for assessment-ESL to be done but don’t want her to repeat her year. What if after assessment they put her in 7th grade only?

    She is has completed her 7th grade in India. If you can help me understand what to do in such case?


    • Hi Raj,
      I replied a few minutes ago but somehow my reply just went into the ether so I will try again:)
      I know the whole situation of getting your children into a good school and making sure it is right for them, is usually a parent’s largest concern when moving. No matter how bad things are, as long as our kids are happy and being looked after, the rest is not so bad.

      As mentioned to Rajkumar in his above questions, it is the school who decide what level your daughter will go into.
      Don’t be too worried about the cut off birthdates though-as long as she has finished her 7th grade year in your home town, she is very likely to just get enrolled into next logical year-8th Grade. For Kindergarten they look at the age cutoffs (no schooling done prior) pretty rigorously. However, once the kids have already started into the school system, it wouldn’t make sense to make them repeat a whole year just because they are a few months ahead of the school’s normal age. I would not be too worried if it was me.

      However, the best thing to make sure what their approach is, would be to ring the school district where you are headed. If you do not know, perhaps you may at least have some idea and try to ring at least one or two different school districts to put your mind at ease.

      If for some reason, you found they did want to make your daughter repeat, you can push back and query what they are doing. You may need some independent testing to support your case but hopefully the school records showing completion of the previous grade would be enough. However, keep in mind that repeating is not the death knell for your daughter. If she is younger than the other children, repeating would allow her to mix with girls closer to her age. I would expect that if testing by the school showed she needed to repeat, it may also be highlighting some real issues that your daughter would face going onto 8th Grade. Curriculums taught in the US can vary a bit to other countries, and you would definitely want her to be well-grounded before moving onto high school which is pretty intense here and can entail children doing college /university level subjects as early as 10th Grade (if appropriate schooling courses completed prior). Sorry I cannot give you a straight answer as you will only get that from the school you intend to register with. Hope this helps a bit though!

  14. Jayesh Patel says:

    My Son Birth date Is Nov. 05 2006, We Move In NJ Iseline In 31 March 2016, My Son Passed 4 th Grade In India, Now woodbrige School granted Him 3 Grade, How Can I Change This Decision Because He Go To 5 Grade And Now He is In 3 Grade. Can You Suggest Any Suggestion To Solve This Problem, In US Any Upgrading System Is Working If My Son Pass Both Exam 3 And 4 , Then They Upgrade him to 5 Or NOT ? Can My Son Give Both exam ? Tell Me ……..


    • Hi Jayesh,
      Two things are important to remember for NJ schools
      1. They try and place your child in the most logical year to follow from where they have finished from before moving there.
      2. The NJ school year goes from September to June every year

      If you arrive between school year start and finish, as you have ( and my family did as well), they will place your child in the most logical place. Even though your son finished third grade, if he was placed in fourth grade NOW, he would only receive a tiny amount of the full year’s teaching between April-June. Most of the school work is done prior to May, so he would get a very small amount of 4th Grade teaching, and probably not enough to justify he then move onto 5th Grade in September. So to avoid this, the school places him with the children who he will be doing 4th Grade with starting September which are most likely going to be his age as well. Unfortunately he now will be repeating a small amount of school while waiting for the 3rd grade class to catch up to him, since your home school has timing ahead of NJ school (same as my children).

      At worst, he will possibly be bored for 2-3 months but this is better than being thrown into a class of older children who have all completed work your son may not have covered. This may even be another stress to place on him, in addition to the stress of moving here and leaving family and friends behind, which children suffer as well as adults.

      If you still feel that he would have been better off being placed into 4th Grade, you will need some good arguments to support your request and the school will have the last say. In this case you would need talk if possible to the principal (or their intermediary) of the school where he is being sent to start. Call the school office and explain you want to discuss the grading given your son. Without downplaying the situation you face, I can see why the school would prefer he finishes with the current 3rd grade before starting 4th Grade in the new year.

      But if he is way ahead of normal 3rd grade standards, you could request he be tested to ensure he is at the right level. If he does not speak English, this will give the school additional reason to want to allow him some time to acclimatize which he would have, by repeating the last two months of 3rd Grade. I hope this is clear but feel free to contact me again if you have further questions. Understand the school will be trying to do the right thing for your son in this case I believe:)

  15. My son will be 5 on August 5th. I know he is eligible for kindergarten but I do not think he is ready. Do I have the ability to hold him out of school until next year and register him for kindergarten as a 6 year old?

    • Hi Mike,
      This is a very good question and one that is not easy to find a clear answer on. Both state and municipal governments have regulations governing age requirements. I am not an expert on school issues but my impression is that your child would probably be OK at 6 to enter Kindergarten, noting that this is the age when school becomes compulsory in NJ. Also local districts are allowed to decide on whether they will provide a Kindergarten grade or not except in poor income districts (mandatory there). In practice virtually all districts do provide some type of K grade albeit half-day sometimes vs full-day.

      To confirm your child’s requirements, I would contact the actual district where you live or are moving to, and get their confirmation, as each district varies in their own regulation of several aspects of schooling. Sorry I couldn’t be more useful

  16. Hi my son born in the month of December 2011. We moved in new jersy.He will be 5 years by the end of December 2016. Will he be eligible for kindergarten?

    • Hi,
      You really need to check with the school you are planning on sending him to. From my own experience though it is likely he will not be able to enroll until the September 2017 school year starts when he is 5 yrs and 9 months old. Every school district makes its own cut-off date but I do not know of any that are flexible with Kindergarten cutoffs which usually require the child to be 5 years age by September or October 1st in the school year they are enrolling. Your son would only be 4 years and 9 months at school start in Sept 2016, so therefore likely to be rolled over until the next school year.

  17. Hi.

    My name is Rejina and we are in voorhees city NJ. My daughter has completed her 8th grade in India. But when we tried to enroll her in 9th grade , they said like she is little under age for high school(she is completing 13 years and 3 months in sep 2016). We did not want to wast one year .So We tried in Philly , they also said the same thing.
    My question is , is there any middle school with 9th grade?(heard that some schools have).

    How to know the school names? If I google , it is very confusing.
    Pls Help us. THANK YOU.

  18. Bhavesh Rathod says:


    My son was current on 6th October 2011, will he be eligible for current academic year. Please let me know if there are any schools in Ney Jersey who can give him admission.

  19. Bhavesh Rathod says:


    My son was born on 6th October 2011, will he be eligible for current academic year. Please let me know if there are any schools in Ney Jersey who can give him admission.

  20. Luciana Quinonez says:

    Hello my newphew is coming from Brazil to leave with me he is from 12/18/1997 so 18 now and also an American citizen that leaved here until 3rd grade ! He is there in his senior year ! But here should start senior year on September, went to a public school and heard that he may not be able to attend because he is already 18 !!!!! Is that true ? Is that legal ???

  21. Simone Saboya says:

    Hi my name is Simone And my son CHRISTOPHER is 18 from de 18,1997, citizen and he was already in NJ school system until his 3rd grade And Now is going back to livre with my sister who is a citizen in Springfield NJ and today she went for application and they said cause he is 18 already a senior he may not de allow to go to Dayton School cause his age … My question is this is by the law cause sound me as a discrimination cause he still need the 12th grade to complete…

    • Hi Simone,
      Sorry for the late reply,
      I am unsure of these regulations but I would definitely complain or pushback as it seems unfair by all means. However my own son told me that he thinks that his school has the same regulation-they won’t let anyone who is 18 start a new school year, if not already enrolled I believe. The only option is to complete high school via the GED system in the US, which I think you can take almost any location.
      Sorry I couldn’t be more useful:( Good luck and hope all goes well with your son.

    • Hi Simone,
      I found some interesting information on school age laws in NJ on a legal website I cam across by accident. Perhaps you can read this and check out if you have a case for discrimination:
      It says here that children up to the age of 20 have the right of education at a public school where they live. Perhaps there is a chance you can argue this or contact a legal office for an opinion?

      Good Luck and I would be very interested to know how you get on:)

  22. my daughter attends a school that i would like to change i want her to go to another district how can i do that.

  23. My daughter will be starting kindergarten she is a us citizen but i am from another country. How can i provide 4 forms of proof of residency when we are being allowed to live with a friend? I dont have utilities in my name or paystubs or insurance ofcourse…the administrator who handles registration is saying they wont accept the application if i dont have those 4 forms for proof of residency.

    • I only have access to 2 proof of residency. Lease and mail from welfare

      • Hi Lala,
        You should check with the school exactly what they need. Every school has its own list, often spelt out on their website but if not, ring the Board of Education to ask. Usually as relocating people are often in the same situation, having few documents at the beginning, with name and address, the schools give you a bit of time to accumulate the needed documents, Don’t be too worried but keep the documents you get safe-don’t throw anything out and always try and get an original is possible.

    • Hi again Lala,
      Sorry I didn’t see your first entry with this information, which sounds extremely frustrating from your point of view.
      Your two documents sound very legitimate, and perhaps you could get a Driver license changed to get a third, or an ID if you don’t drive.
      I would not let the school’s response discourage you. If you are legitimately living in someone else’ s home as many people do, your child has a right to school education at the public school from what I understand, although please know this is my opinion not a legal advice.

      I found this article which talks about your situation and perhaps you can use the “Affadavit” approach according to this, although it also states that schools must accept other types of proof if you cannot provide the type they request.


      I hope you can get through with this info and I would definitely stand my ground with the registration people. Often it seems they are the officious type who love to have regulations and are overly obsessed with doing things one way only! The registration person has a boss, so I would insist they meet you if the registrar isn’t helpful. If that fails, I would go to the County and at worst the state (NJ Dept of Education), to make an official complaint and seek redress.
      I would love to know how you get on if you have the time to drop me an email:)


  24. We will be relocating within NJ during the month of September. My children (entering grades 5 and 7) currently attend a charter school. I am assuming they MUST attend the charter school for the 3 weeks we will be living in our current location before we move to the new location? I wasn’t sure if they could just wait to begin the school year until we have officially moved to the new location as long as I am in the process of enrolling them in the new school as soon as we can provide documention of our future address?

    • Hi Staci,
      I am afraid I am unable to help on this issue. I would check with NJ State Department of Education to see what is legally required before making any plans. I am not sure that much actual work is done during the first month of school but personally I would be trying to get them into the new school asap, so they can make the changeover as fast as possible psychologically, and to catch the revision work that seems to occur upfront, to make sure they are up to the same levels at the new school. Hard to do though if there are timing issues I know! Best of luck to you,

  25. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem too be
    running off thhe screen in Firefox. I’m noot sure if this is a format issue or something
    to do with browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to leet you
    know. The style and design look great though! Hope yyou get the problem
    fixed soon. Cheers

  26. Hi,This is Senthil.My son will be moving to Jersey city on September 30th.He is in 4th grade in India now.He will be supported by his mother who works in jersey city since April 2015.Will he be allowed to get admission in any nearby public schools?His mother arranged multilingual assessment appointment on October 4th.

    • Hi Senthil,
      Any family living in a school district with school-aged children is entitled to a place at the local school district’s school. Usually this will be the neighborhood school which is determined by your address. As long as your wife has the following:
      1. Proof of residency (PSE&G electricity or gas bill or a telephone Bill) from her Jersey City address
      2. Proof of age (Birth Certificate) – your son’s birth certificate,. If in another language, you will need to have a translation with this in English.
      3. Immunization records (need also to be in English) – very important so the medical staff understand what your son has already received, so they do NOT double up on immunizations. Then there should be no issue in getting registered. She should also bring if possible a transcript of your son’s school record from India or at least a copy of his most recent report card (desired but not compulsory).

      You may be aware of this but Jersey City public schools do vary a lot in quality. if you want to see what I mean, look at the following link where the schools are reviewed: http://www.greatschools.org/new-jersey/jersey-city/jersey-city-public-school-district/

      Here 10 is the best and 1 is the lowest. As you will see, some schools are wonderful, and others are scraping to get by. If you are interested, check your son’s school against this. If your wife stays in Jersey City, the only way to get around the poor schools is to move near a good school e.g. Cornelia Bradford Elementary or other. Other options are to move to a town with better schools which of course is much harder logistically and financially, so it may not be possible. If you need any more information, feel free to email me or drop me a line in the contact page.
      Good luck,

      Anne Marie

  27. Hello,

    I just had query regarding admission of child into kindergarten which says after age 5. My kids birthdate is 14 September and I read few articles which say child should be of age 5 before 1 September for admission. Is it like my kid won’t kid admission for just 14 days, will he need to wait for 1 long year to get admitted to kindergarten? Can you please help me with my query? Let me know if there is way we can get exception for 14 days as he will complete 5 year next year on 14 September and I wanted him to get admitted to Kindergarten…

    • Hi,
      The September date is quite common but each school sets its own date, and some actually use October 1st rather than September 1st. To find out which one the school uses, you would need to know the school you are applying for and then check their website for registration details for kindergarten or call them via phone. The schools set the rules but I have yet to find one that has any leniency with the set date, no matter how close your child is for Kindergarten (14 days included). The only way to know though is to call them and ask.
      Hope that helps,

      • Hello Anne,

        Thanks lot for your reply…

        Do we have some link or list of schools schedule. We will further plan to move to that location where the school starts in October or has leniency with the set date?


        • Hi,
          I wish I could give you a list of such schools in NJ but it doesn’t exist to my knowledge. You may want to try looking at some possible locations that might suit you for work/transport/cultural reasons, and then get a short list of the school districts (one school district per township usually) and try looking at the school district websites or calling them to ask (if information not available on website). It really is a town by town decision.
          Hope that helps!

  28. Saheli Mukherjee says:


    The above informations are really valuable.We shifted to New Jersey on 24 Sept,16.
    My son ‘S birthday is 31 Jan , 2012. He is a 4 yrs old but was going to Kindergarten in India. Please advise when is the right time for us for registration . Following the informations I found out that he has to wait until next year to start school.

    We would be locating at Edison .Please advise which school we should send him.

    Thank you in advance ,

    • Hi Saheli,
      Now that you have moved here, you can register him technically, whenever you want before school starts, as legally, once you are a resident of a township, the public school district has to find your child a place in their school system.

      That aside, you will possibly find that the school district which includes all the schools in your township, will have a specific registration time for new kindergarteners-often in February before the school year starts. For your child it would perhaps mean February 2017. However, you should contact the school district to find out how they will approach registration. When you move to a township like Edison, the district allocates you a particular school-you don’t get to choose it. It will usually be based on your address in Edison-each school usually have their own area in the town which they serve.
      Let me know if you have any other questions,

  29. Hi,
    This is Rajneesh .we will be moving to New Jersey near Near Moorestown nj.
    My son is in 2nd studying in Bangalore expecting his travel on first week of December please help me with the following information to get admission in 3rd .
    1-session ends in march in Bangalore Halfyearly exam result TC migration certificate is fine to get admission in 3rd ?
    2- When session starts in NJ public school ,is it possible to get admission in between ?

    Please help since we are new and do not have idea about USA NJ admission system

    • Hi Rajneesh,
      The school year for most NJ public schools has already started, with September being the usual time it commences. The exact date will depend on which school district you are going to be sending your child to. School registration is often done via the School District Registrar. Any information required by the district to enroll your child will be provided to the new students parents. Often the district will give you a group of papers to complete (called a packet), and these need to be filled in by the parents before registration can be completed. As per my article, the school district usually requires several proofs that you will be residing in their geographic area. As you can see from Moorestown School District’s website at http://www.mtps.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=255011&pageId=1057567#NewReg, they require 5 proofs of residency which will be needed for your registration. If you are attending a different school district you must find out exactly which one it is, and then look up their requirements online as I have. If these are not listed, then contact the school district administration office and they will provide you with any information needed.

      Registration is usually required before any decisions are made about which level/grade your child will be placed in. This is decided by the specific school that he will be attending in the school district. They may ask for evidence of school completion in Bangalore but they may also need to test him to assess his school skills versus the NJ school requirements. If you feel he should be placed in 3rd Grade and they are intending to put him in 2nd Grade, you can ask that they assess him to see if he can manage 3rd Grade but this is a school decision. All you can do is to query the results if you feel they have underestimated him. However, be aware that schooling skills vary between countries, and even between states. Even if he does repeat-have to complete Grade 2 here, remember that he will already be readjusting to a new country, new house, new town, and perhaps a new language. In these situations, repeating some school may make at least his school work easier when there are so many other adjustments to make.
      Kind Regards


    • Hi again Rajneesh,
      I realized that I didn’t answer all your questions. You can register you child at any time during the school year, which lasts from September-June approximately. As soon as you have housing organized in the school district area where your son will attend, then contact the school district for registration requirements. It may take some time to get all the information required by the district. Bring all the certificates and information possible from your son’s old school to show the school here. However if your school information is not in English, it will need to be translated by a recognized translation agency. Your child’s immunization records also need to be brought along, and again if not in English, these should be translated-these are best done by your doctor or medical colleague who can understand the medical language used in any local certificates of immunization. You will need your child’s passport or birth certificate, and lastly you will probably be required to get a full medical exam by a local NJ doctor, who will probably need to complete the school district’s own medical questionnaire for your son. This is often required for all new students, regardless of where they come from in the US or elsewhere in the world.

  30. Hey,

    Thanks for writing such a helpful blog post. I’ve 4 year old son (Sept 2012 born) and I moved here last week. I’m looking for school for him, provided details to Dept of Education and still waiting for appointment. Couple of questions:
    1. Whether 4 year old (pre-K) is eligible for public school?
    2. Generally, How long I may need to wait for confirmation for admission?

    • Hi Pandu,
      Many public schools in NJ do provide pre-K, although not all. To find out you need to look at different school districts to see if it is offered by the school district, and if there is a particular school that offers it. There is no general NJ state rule, as each school district (usually one per town), sets their own classes, often based on whether they have funds to cater for pre-K.

      Also, it is important to know that many districts offer pre-K classes preferentially to children with specific/special learning needs, over those who would be considered average, so that they have an opportunity for extra learning before Kindergarten starts the year after. This means there is limited to no places available for other pre-K children who are expected to be catered for at home or through a private pre-K which the parents can choose to pursue at their own cost. Not all school districts follow this approach but many do. Of course, there are usually a number of private kindergartens or preschools that are available in most areas in NJ. These will charge fees for attendance, while public schools are usually free or limited costs.

      Places in public school pre-K are often allocated a long time ahead-perhaps up to one year ahead or at least several months in advance. Like kindergarten registrations, parents must prove they live in the area that the public school pre-K caters for. This like in previous answers means having between one – five residential proofs e.g. some proofs may include a signed lease, electricity bill, driver license, again something the school district controls. You will likely need to apply to a school district to get into pre-K but if your son is 4 now, then nearly all school pre-K classes will have started (school year begins in September) and you are likely too late. Your best option is to try and register your son for kindergarten starting in September 2017, and get him into a pre-K that is privately run beforehand.

      I hope that answers your questions,
      Kind Regards


  31. Hi Anne-Marie,

    This is Seema and we will be moving to NJ in Jan 2017 and we have a daughter who is Oct 2011 born. I have few questions which are as below:
    1. Will the schools accept admission in the middle of academic year
    2. Also my daughter has not received all the required vaccinations. So will there be any complications in her admission. And what can be done now.

    • Hi Seema
      1. I think its unlikely that a public school will allow your daughter to start half-way through the year in her first year of school in kindergarten, as January is approx. half-way. The only way to know for sure though is to ask the school district of the town where you are relocating to. I suspect they will ask you to defer to Sept 2016 instead, however I am making a guess. Best to check yourself when you arrive.

      2. Vaccinations are expected to be complete before school starts. NJ immunization requirements can be found at: http://nj.gov/health/cd/documents/k12-parents.pdf
      You can either get these done at home or after you arrive in NJ. The other important thing is that the records showing your daughters vaccinations (from both in NJ and back home) be in English. If not in English, then they must be translated by a reputable source, such as a doctor or specialized medical translators.

      I hope that helps

  32. Pallavi sinha says:

    I am Pallavi and we will be moving to NJ by mid December. I have a daughter who is May2007born. I want to know will admission be possible for her in public school in mid session. Also all her vaccinations are done except one pending which is at 10years. Can it be done after shifting to NJ..will it have any problem in her admission?

    • Hi Pallavi,
      Once you are a resident in any NJ town with school-aged children, the local school district must find a place for your child in their school system. Many children start mid-year including my own so this is not usually an issue. If you have all the necessary immunizations for your daughter’s age, then there should also be no problem. Your daughter should be given a place but you may not get a choice in exactly which school this is, if for instance there is more than one suitable school.

      For the new vaccination required e.g. the one required at age 10, you can get this done in NJ at a doctors surgery. The school nurse will also check your child’s immunization records once she starts school and will notify you when the next one is due. So don’t worry about it til then. I have listed the link to the NJ school immunizations list in a previous answer, so you can also check her records against this to be sure you have everything done.
      Good luck and I hope your family enjoys NJ

      • Pallavi sinha says:

        Thanks for ur reply…one more concern is do I need to take TC transfer certificate from school she is attending in India or just a printout of her marksheet is sufficient.As she will be midway class 4 so only recent grade sheet of half sem required?

        • I would take both with you. The more information the school has, the better they can assess your daughter to see what grade she should move into in her new school.

  33. Hello Anne-Marie,

    My son was born in NY and is an American Citizen, but we live in Istanbul Turkey.

    He has never attended any school in USA as we came back to Turkey when he was two (now he is 15).

    We are now planning to enroll him in a public high school in NJ for 2017-2018 school year starting from 11th grade.

    However, we cannot move to US but we know a family who currently resides in NJ, who are also ready to become my son’s parental guardian by signing caregiver authorization documents.

    I know that my son can enroll in a public school, but my question is; if he stays with the non-relative family in NJ, do we have to pay a tuition fee to the public school or will it be free.

    Thank you so much in advance.


    • Hi Mehmet,
      This is a great question. I would expect that as long as you have legally bonafide authorization documents showing the NJ family are his guardians, and they provide all the required proofs showing residency in the school district he will be attending, then in principle, he should be entitled to attend the school as per other residents children (no tuition fees but some ancillary costs for field trips, etc). There are different categories for school administration to accept children, and it seems if you have legal guardianship, then this is more straight forward, than other options.

      However please be aware of the following:
      1. This is just an opinion, I am not a lawyer, so my opinion may not be correct. You should in fact contact the actual school district he is planning to attend, and check if they have any special criteria that may affect your son’s admission outside normal requirements.
      2. Normal requirements for registration can be rather complicated in the number of documents needed to be signed, as well as other documents needed to bring as proofs. I am including some links to NJ school info to help you grasp what’s likely to be needed. However, every school district has their own way of approaching registration, including the parents/guardians giving proof of residency. Residency proofs are usually needed first before registration. Again, you are better off checking with the actual school district he is applying to attend. Best to ring ahead early to see if there are any likely issues that you are not aware of.
      3. From what I have read, there is a 6-month waiting period between the granting of legal guardianship and then the child’s school registration being even considered. I do not know if this waiting period requires your child to live with the guardian for the 6 months at the guardian’s address. This would complicate things for you I am sure, so that will need to be clarified. Also you will thus need to plan ahead for getting the guardianship established at least 6 months before your son’s intended start date.
      4. You will need to make your friends/guardians aware of what is involved with the paperwork, so they are not unpleasantly surprised by this, and can be prepared.
      Here are some links for you:
      Example school registration requirements: Madison NJ School district: http://www.madisonpublicschools.org/domain/58
      Example school registration requirements: Woodbridge NJ School District: http://www.woodbridge.k12.nj.us/cms/lib010/NJ01913008/Centricity/Domain/88/HIGH_SCHOOL_RegPkt.pdf

      If in the unlikely case your son is denied acceptance, the school should notify the guardian by letter. You can it seems appeal this decision, and if so you only have 21 days in which to lodge a petition to the Commissioner of Education. Hopefully that will not be the case but just as a back up, some information on this is included in the document at this link on pages 11-17: http://www.nj.gov/education/code/current/title6a/chap22sample.pdf

      You will need your son’s greencard, school records (translated into English), health and immunization records (also translated into English by a suitably trained person e.g. a family doctor). He will be expected to meet current NJ immunization standards which are located in the school information in the links provided-you will need to go through all the packet to find it unfortunately. Also he will need a health examination before school enrollment, at which the doctor completes a provided health form from the school. There will be questions on the forms that only his parents will know the answers to, so perhaps try and help out by reading the forms first and providing any info to the guardians. Missing info may hold up your son’s enrollment so hence, good to see what is required at the beginning.

      I hope all that helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  34. Thank you so much for such a clear and helpful reply.

    Yes, I will also check with the school district accordingly, and in case need more advise, will write you back.

    Best regards from İstanbul

  35. Hi,

    We are moving to NJ in April 2017 from India. My son will complete 2nd standard in India. Now iam worrying that in NJ for 3rd grade by september he should be 9. But he will was born on November. Three months difference is there. Will they allow him for 3rd Grade in NJ?

    • Hi Venkat
      I can’t predict accurately whether your son will be placed in 3rd grade or not unfortunately. This decision will be made by the specific school which he will attend. My viewpoint, for what it is worth, is that if he has already completed 2nd year/grade in India, he is likely to be put into the next grade at the start of a new school year, even if his birthday is a little different (November is only 1-2 months after most school cutoff dates) than American children. They use the cutoff as a hard rule mostly for kindergarten.

      However, the question you will face is more where he will be placed if he arrives in April with you. This is part way through the NJ school year. I suspect if he starts school in April here he will have to go into 2nd grade until the school year finishes in June. Then assuming he would be passed by teachers, he would naturally proceed onto 3rd grade. If however, your son is not joining you until after the NJ school year ends (June onwards), then he would start the new school year in September.

      If the school recommended that he repeat Grade 2 in September because of his age etc, then you have the right to push back and request the school do testing to help decide. You do not have to accept their decision without arguing your case. However, in the end, if testing is done and it proves he is not at an academic level to proceed, then perhaps it is not a bad thing.

      If I were you, I would bring from India, all information available about his school results, curriculum and school reports in case this is needed. Even bring examples of his tests to show what level of work he has done, to help build your case. The school has the ultimate say but you have a right to protest/argue against it.
      Best of luck to you and your family

  36. Hello!

    My brother goes to school in Newark and my mother lives in Jersey City and that is where we plan for him to go to high school. There was a miscommunication in what school he should apply to so he ended up not applying to any Jersey City high schools. He was accepted to Marist but we cannot afford the tuition. How should we approach this? We are looking into Dickinson, County Prep, and McNair and I am well aware that their deadlines have passed…

    • Hi Alyssa,
      Unfortunately I am not sure I am going to be of much help. If you missed the deadlines of the public schools you were looking at e.g. magnet schools or those accepting students outside standard catchment areas, then your choices are perhaps limited. See if there is anyway you can get on a waiting list for those schools you missed-do they have a second offer approach or perhaps their applications are shut tight until next year? I am not familiar with these actual school requirements.

      If you cannot find a private school (affordable) or a public charter school in J City that you can still apply for, then your only choices are to accept the high school which your brother would be normally scheduled to attend in Jersey City (the JC school district has to offer one high school place) or move to a different catchment area in Jersey City for a better high school, although that is not a very promising option either.

      The two schools you mention: County Prep and McNair are very well rated and get consistently good results from what I can see. These really would have been the best. However, there is also Infinity Institute which is extremely well-rated. Outside Dickinson and Liberty High School there seem to be no public high schools that offer much for your brother in that they are rated poorly.

      The only other option you might have is to see if Marist Brothers have any options for getting help with fees or fee relief? Are there scholarship options? Even if you could just get him through one year of Marist College until the application dates for the same JC public schools came up again or look for transferring to these schools after starting at Marist? It is all pretty messy and not too sure how easy it is to transfer to these type of schools either.

      I am truly sorry I could not be more helpful but let me know if there is something else you need info on.
      Wishing you the best of luck,

  37. Hi,
    My son was born on Oct 10th 2012 and misses the NJ School District cut off by 9 days for Kindergarten. From what i read and hear (from talking to our local elementary school principal) is that this is a strict deadline. But I also read in several sites the use of words like “usually” not flexible which leads me to believe that there may be some exceptions made. Can you suggest somewhere to find if historically any exceptions have been made? Our son appears to be academically and socially on track for KGN and I want him to be in an environment where he is challenged. He is certainly not going to be intellectually stimulated enough if he has to do one more year of preschool.

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Hi Niki,
      Unfortunately I have not come across one person who has had an exception made for them, and the strict rule on cutoffs is what I have heard generally. I do not know how you would get around this other than trying to do Kindergarten in a private school which might be more flexible, as you are paying. I understand what you mean about another year in preschool being too long, as my son was similar and I could not have coped with another year but in Australia we were within their cutoff dates luckily. If the private school is a no-go, I would try ringing the Department of Education to see if they can be of any assistance or make suggestions for you. Unfortunately I don’t have any suggestions beyond this, Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful,
      Regards and Good luck,

  38. Home schooled to public/private says:

    My niece has been homeschooled, now 8 soon to be 9 and is thinking about going to public/private school. What requirements are there for homeschool chilren entering public/private school?

    • Hi Eileen,
      Unfortunately I have little knowledge of home schooling or its requirements but you can look up this information on state education websites, assuming the child is in NJ. There are several Frequently Asked Questions listed on NJ State Education website: http://www.state.nj.us/education/genfo/faq/faq_homeschool.htm

      One of these says the following:
      13. How will grade placement be determined for a child educated elsewhere than at school who returns to school?

      When a child returns to school following a period of homeschooling, the local board of education treats the child as any other new or returning child (i.e. assessed as to the acceptance of credits and the appropriate grade level for purposes of placement). There are no special provisions made for the child who was educated at home. Placement should be based on an objective assessment that is given to all students for that subject or grade. In assessing the child educated elsewhere than at school, the child may not be held to a higher standard than similarly situated students within the district or transferring from other public or nonpublic schools. Also, if a child educated elsewhere than at school re-enrolls in the public school in order to obtain a high school diploma, an assessment is made as to the child’s compliance with state and local requirements, as the board of education would with any new or returning student, since no diploma can be issued when such requirements are not met. A determination on a student’s grade placement may include scores on the state assessments applicable to the proposed grade of entry.

      Here is another article that may be useful:
      http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/homeschooling/reentry-when-homeschool-students-enroll-in-traditional-schools/I would probably call the Dept of Education to speak to a staff member if you have specific concerns or failing that call the local Board of Education at the public school where your niece is headed. They should be able to answer most of your questions.

      Sorry I can’t be of much use to you 🙁 Good luck to your niece and her family!

  39. Hi Anne-Marie,
    First, thank you for putting up such an exhaustive guide for expats. Have gone thru quite a few of your post in past couple of days as I plan to relocate to NJ early of May17. Much appreciate you putting your experience as an expat.

    I will be relocating along my 8 year old who has just completed his 2nd grade here in India.

    Regarding my queries,
    1) By age and his current grade, he should start with grade-3 in Oct’17; but given we will land in May..would you suggest getting him enrolled in May/Jun itself for Grade-2 or just start with Grade-3? Does school allow such a late enrollment May/Jun? Don’t want him to be at home for 3-4 months and lose rhythm.
    2) As I will be working in NYC and living in NJ, my primary consideration to pick a locality/township will be good schooling.. based on your experience..pl suggest public school that should be high on my priority list.

    Much appreciate your insight.

    Thanks, Puneet

    • Hi Puneet,
      Thanks for the great comments. You ask two very good questions.

      1. Schools normally finish their school year in mid-late June. I don’t know if there is a cut-off date where it is too late to enroll for the year. Whether to enroll your son may depend on whether you arrive in early May versus late June. The earlier you get here the more sensible it would be to enroll him. Plus there is an advantage in having him go to the school to get used to it and adjust somewhat, when he can have a break away after only 1 month or so. I would be tempted to do that myself but it really depends on how practical it is.

      One thing I would suggest is to enroll him in a summer camp if you can afford it. This is like daycare for school children during the holiday period when parents are still working and can’t get enough vacation leave or time off to be with their children for the entire 8-9 week summer break! It also keeps the children engaged and depending on the type of camp you choose, it can be sports focused, academic focused, activity focused or something else etc. Parents usually try to choose one their child has an interest in. The schools often receive information about what camps are offered in the local area. Many are run in the public schools during the vacation period. Most only go from early July to 1st week of August. A limited number continue during August until school resumes, as most people take some vacation time in August. Not sure if you had thought about this but just a suggestion. Having the kids go off the boil academically is a common problem that occurs as it is a very long break. Many schools give their children a reading list over the break, to encourage keeping up their skills.

      2. Where to Live is a really big question. There are so many things to consider and nearly 500 towns in NJ to choose from, albeit only 100-150 would really be suitable since you are commuting to NYC. A good school district is critical but you need to consider other issues:
      a. How far away from NYC will you be happy to be-is there a commuting max time limit? This is often a starting point for many people and important to work out as it determines your quality of life-how much free time you have when you get home from work etc.
      b. Are you planning on catching public transport to work? If so, perhaps being on a train line is important. If driving, then it doesn’t matter but I will assume you would catch a train or bus, like many others.
      c. What type of town do you wish to be in? One that has groups of people from you home country, or multi-cultural or it doesn’t matter. I am assuming you are coming from India (apologies if I am assuming too much!!). if so, will you need to be near Indian grocery stores versus American supermarkets or perhaps that doesn’t apply?
      d. Will you be planning to rent or buy a house? Some towns have almost no rentals but many do, especially if they have high numbers of people from overseas or students etc.
      e. What level of housing will you be able to afford? North NJ is horribly expensive in some areas, and the pricing can sometimes be rather shocking for new expats arriving, regardless of where they arrive from.

      Start with answering these questions, and then you will have a basis for picking a place. I can recommend almost 50 different towns that would suit various needs but they are not all suitable for everyone.
      Let me know if you still need some further help.

  40. Malathy R Krishna says:

    We are residents of NJ moving from one district to another in June 2017. My son is a special ed student in an out of district placement. He is going to finish in one district and start afresh in another district in September. The period during the summer where he receives ESY (extended school year) is in question as he is going to be moving from one district to another. The district he is going to be moving to will do the student registration only in mid July for september and by the time he is registered he would have missed most of the ESY. Please advise us as to what we can do for him to receive ESY services this summer.

    • I am sorry to take so long to answer however I am not certain that I know how to help. If you are still living in your old district, then could that district not help provide schooling (via the out of district placement, until your new registration is done in mid-July. I guess it may depend on whether you have to move to the new district earlier but are prevented from registering until mi-July. if that is the case and your son misses out on a critical time period, I would be talking to my new school district to discuss how they should address this, if they are at fault for him missing out. It should be either your old district or the new school district who is responsible for the lapse, and thus they should be approached for a solution, so your son doesn’t suffer as a result. Stand your ground and persist, but keep your conversations polite. Don’t let them steamroll you. If they persist in not covering your son, then consider getting a professional opinion (e.g. legal) about your rights. Also consider contacting the county and/or state department of education for any recommendations.

  41. Hi Anne-Marie,

    Thanks for putting this exhaustive guide for newcomers in NJ.

    We are moving from Montreal, Quebec, Canada to New Jersey. Historically, my son completed grades 7 and 8 in Singapore. Did not finish grade 9 in Singapore.

    Have to repeat grade 9 upon moving here in Montreal. Will soon finish grade 10 before moving to NJ this summer.

    My questions are:

    1. Will there be any difficulty for my son entering Grade 11 in NJ?

    2. Any chance of repeating grade 10?

    3. Will NJ school credits all his grade 9 and 10 subjects taken in Montreal, Canada to comply with the high school graduation requirements?

    4. Will he be re-assessed again?

    My son was born on October 2000 and we plan to relocate on July 2017.


    • Hi Antler,
      I am not really an ‘expert’ in how schools assess children entering from other countries into the NJ public school but I can give you my best guess, for what that is worth. Remember though that every school makes its own determination, and there is no real way to predict for certain what the school’s attitude will be. You will need to find that out from the actual school where your son will be attending:
      1. If Canada has approximately the same start and finish times for school years, there is no reason to think that if you finish Grade 10 in Canada this year, there would be any issue with moving onto Grade 11 in Sept 2017. This assumes your school is a K-12 school, starting in Sept and finishing June.

      2. The only mitigating factor I can think of would be if Grade 10 in Canada was not the same as Grade 10 in USA, as occurs in some international countries. I cannot say if the that is true but I imagine you have a better idea. If the grade 10 completed in Canada, is comparable to USA, then I can’t see why your child would need to repeat. If they don’t offer to assess your child, then perhaps request it if you feel that he would benefit from repeating. An assessment should help establish where he is placed versus NJ curriculum/expected progress at this stage.

      3. I have no idea if they will but I would think so, as long as the Canadian K-12 system is very comparable. I would ring the department of education to see if there is a state guideline for how they treat incoming overseas high school students.

      4. I am not sure how often they assess students, that are new. I suspect its only the once. When he arrives though he will be able to take the pSAT and that will give you an idea of how he is progressing. Once he starts it will be important to talk with his teachers and guidance counselors about how he is managing and how you can assess it. Keeping up an open dialogue with the school is very important. Most of the schools have electronic reporting systems that you can see daily and weekly what grades your children are achieving.

      Be aware too that there is an age limit to when children are allowed to continue high school to, which I believe is 20. That means there may be room for your child to do one repeat year but possibly not two (??). I imagine that it is unlikely you would need to be too concerned about that but it is a good thing to know (check with the school about age limits).

      Good luck with your move. I hope my information is useful but to be certain check with your new school,


  42. I have students coming from Asia and the school year is different where the school year begins in March until Jan of the following year rather than the Sept to June. My question is that a child born in 2006 would have finished 1st semester of 5th grade and child born in 2004 would have finished 1st semester of 7th grade but would like to enroll them into 6th and 8th grade respectfully, would that even be possible with the Tenafly school district or will they have to repeat the 5th and 7th grade? I would like them to attend class with peers their age.

    • Hi
      I think you need to ask the school at Tenafly for the best answer. I think they would like to put them in the same class as peers their age as well. However it is possible having missed half a year of equivalent school in their home country (assuming you are talking about of 2 semesters per year at home) that they will be significantly behind their peers at the beginning of the new US school year, which would be a big disadvantage. Here the school will probably make their own decision weighing all the factors to see what the best net outcome would be. You may not get to make the final decision but you can certainly discuss your preferences and ask for them to be tested to accurately ascertain where the children would be versus NJ class levels. Definitely mention your concerns and push to get what you want but understand the school is in a good position to make an assessment. Tenafly is a very good district as well. Other than that I can’t really contribute much.
      Good Luck-I know it is difficult doing this, as my children had to do the same thing coming from Australia to NJ. They ended up repeating part of a year, which was hard at the time but made no difference at all in the longer term.


  43. Carla Seminario says:

    I really need help, my son is 6 soon to be 7 in November and is in kindergarten, teacher is recommending retention, he goes to school #5 in garfield nj, he would be 8 when he goes to 1st grade, my question is if I move to another town, can he go to 1st grade in another school as normal, or the new school would ask me for report cards from last school? Or does the schools are able to see if a child attended kindergarten before, please help me, I’m a desperate mom,

    • Hi,
      Wow this is a tricky situation, and I am not an expert on schools, so any answer I give is just my best guess. I do think if you went to another school district that your son’s records would be obtained and any recommendation for him to repeat would probably be followed at the next school. I don’t understand exactly why you would want to avoid your child repeating if the teacher’s recommendation is accurately based on your son’s progress. Normally they do this only when it is needed.

      If you feel the recommendation is not warranted, then I would take this up with the school principal and school district to demand that they test your son to see what skill level he truly has, rather than just make him repeat. Is it a problem with that particular teacher not working for your son-some teachers do not click with some students or worse, can pick on them, resulting in failure for the child. Don’t know if this applies or not. Does your son need to repeat because of problems passing in just one area or is it across the board? If it is in one area, could he move up to 1st grade and then get remedial help from the school in just one subject?

      If the recommendation to repeat though is warranted and you are concerned mostly because of his age, then I am not sure how you could avoid this. If you were able to afford it, could you have him tutored over the summer break to upgrade his skill levels before school resumes-then you could ask that he is tested again at school start as part of your conversation with the school district. If you cannot get him any help during the summer break, then it will be hard to see why he shouldn’t repeat as suggested. That will mean he is perhaps 19 when graduating high school. That is not unusual. There are always a small number of kids who are 19 or 20 yrs old in 12th grade. If the school district is failing you all-round which does also happen sometimes, then a move to another town may help but it may not stop him repeating.

      At worst, you may even try contacting the NJ Department of Education at Trenton via their website to ask them for assistance if you feel that your son is not getting fair or the best treatment at your district: https://www.state.nj.us/education/parents/contact.htm

      Here is a link to some basic resources that you may find useful: https://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/hyc.html

      I am not sure if any of this has been helpful!

      Good luck!
      Kind Regards


  44. Hello Anne-Marie ,
    Thanks for all he info you are providing here for nj newcomers.
    we are expected to arrive to New Jersey by jan 2018 , from Germany , my daughter will be exactly 6 .
    The problem is she doesn’t know any English. So what’s the situation then , will she attend kg untill october 2018 to be in 1st grade ? Or should she wait to the following year ?
    And would a school accept her with no English knowledge? And does the school provide any kind of English classes to such cases ?
    So sorry about all this questions , but i’m really worried from the impact of language change on my daughter.
    Your reply will be much appreciated

    • Hi
      Children regularly start school here in NJ without being able to speak any English-children from many other parts of the world. They always get by, as they are nearly always able to absorb a new language very quickly. They also get special ESL (English Second Language) classes at public school from an ESL teacher, which are not exactly the same as ‘English classes’ but they are intended to support foreign speaking children.

      Kindergarten is the first formal year of school in NJ and it is not optional (starts at age 5 years). If your daughter arrives here without any previous schooling, she will have to start Kindergarten in September 2018. This means she would be 6 and 1/2 when starting school and older than most of her peers.

      If your child has already started Kindergarten in Germany before arriving here in Jan 2018, then she would probably continue here and if passed her grade assessments, tests etc, would likely then move onto 1st grade in 2018/2019 year. While it may be optional to do Kindergarten in Germany, it is not something you can avoid in USA (at least in NJ). So to fit into life here, I would seriously consider enrolling your daughter in a suitable school to assist her transition.

      Also, it might be helpful to prepare her to start getting exposed to English, with books, movies/TV, and if you can afford it, pre-arrival English lessons would be a very useful addition.

      Hope that helps

  45. Hello, I am thinking about moving to west orange NJ next year 2018. My daughter will be starting full day pre-k in NYC this coming September. She has a Nov 10th 2013 birthday. In NY she would qualify for kindergarten next school (sept 2018) even though she wil still be 4 when the school year begins. Do you think it would be possible for her to start kindergarten in NJ even though the cut off is Oct 1 if she has school records from New York that states that she has completed a NYC DoE pre-k and that she is registered for Kindergarten in NY. I would hate for her to complete pre-k in NY and then move to NJ and have to repeat Pre-k again.

    • There is no black and white rule that every school follows so you will need to call them first to check, however my prediction would be that if that their enrolment deadline for birthdates is October 1st, then they will not likely accept your child at 4 years of age, to enter Kindergarten. Perhaps being enrolled in NY state kindergarten carries some weight with NJ school districts but I am unaware of that, so it may just be my lack of knowledge. The only way to see is to ring them and ask-ring BOE and speak to the registrar, and see what they say.

      Another option would be to enroll your child in a private Kindergarten, then switch her to public school 1st Grade the following year. They are more flexible with older grades I believe, so this may get you around the problem… Some preschools offer the K year as well as pre-K so it may be a good possibility. Good luck with your application:)

  46. Sulakshana Singh says:

    This is Sulakshana from India, we are planning to move to New Jersey in April 2018.
    I would like to enroll my son into kindergarten, his date of birth is 19/11/2012 and currently he is studying in junior kindergarten in India and his session will be finished by March 2018.
    As mentioned in this blog that sessions for kindergarten starts from September and registration should be done by Jan – Feb.
    So I would like to know for registration presence of kid is essential or not?
    As I discussed we will move by April so he will sit idly for 4 months so what can I do to make him engage, can i enroll him into play school?

    Thanks and regard,

    • Hi Sulakshana
      A few points to make:
      1. It is not mandatory for you to enroll your child for the new school year in Jan/Feb prior, although it is possible if you have all the documents needed to complete registration. If you are a resident in the school district borders, you can enroll anytime before September, assuming your child will be the right age to start school.

      2. If your son was starting school in September for the first time, he would go into Kindergarten, and if he has been attending your country’s version of preschool, then it would make a lot of sense to enroll him in a private pre-K class where you will be living, once he arrives. It will be nearly 5 months between arrival and public school start so, to keep him occupied, and continuing to learn, pre-K is a great idea and what virtually every other child will be doing before starting Kindergarten. It is also a great way for him to make friends with some kids who will be starting school in September possibly in the same class/school if a local preschool, which always makes the process a bit easier.

      3. To enroll, there are a lot of documents needed, including immunization records, passport, completed medical history forms and medical examination, done by a local doctor in the US. It may take a while for you to gather all of this, together before you can enroll, so it may be easier to do enrolment once your son is here, a couple of months later. Perhaps make an appointment to meet school registrar in Jan/Feb so they can explain what the school needs to complete the process. It will also take a few months to gather all your proofs of residency such as utility or credit card bills showing your home address in the school district. The school will need to find your son a place, as a resident, no matter when you enroll, so you can be flexible about the time. Your son does not need to attend registration meetings or the process but he needs to be available here to do the medical exam the school will request.

      I hope that answers all your questions and I wish you the best of luck in your move here-it is a wonderful place to live!

      Kind Regards

      Anne Marie

      • Sulakshana Singh says:

        Thanks Anne for reply… yes definitely it helped me a lot… will gather all the documentation required once we reach there. I hope my kids will like the place ?.

        • Hi again,
          Just wanted to say that I have now found some schools here DO require your child to be at the registration process. Apologies if my last information was incorrect. It will not matter too much in your case, if you wait til your son arrives to register for school, as they will allow you to register anytime, as long as you have the right documents,including proof that you reside in the school district,

          Let me know if you have any other questions,


          Anne Marie

  47. Hi Anne-Marie,
    Hope you are doing well!!
    Need your suggestion, As I have been moved from India To USA four months back and staying Columbia Ave Jersey City, now my family is joining me on 27th Sep 2017. I would like to know what would be procedure to take admission in PS.
    Do I need to take any appointment or directly I can go or is there any site where I can enroll.
    Your early response will be appreciated.

    • Hi
      For registration, it will depend on whether your child speaks English as a first language or not, and what grade they are going to be in for me to recommend whom to contact.
      Almost no schools allow registration online, however you can download some of the school’s required paperwork prior to going to register, and complete if beforehand to save time.

      To register, Parent/Guardian must bring:
      1. Proof of student’s age: original birth certificate/passport
      2. Parent’s photo identification (driver’s license, passport)
      3. Proof of address (telephone or gas/electric bill)
      4. Original school documents from foreign country indicating grade and promotion (report card,
      promotion certificate)
      Student must be accompanied by a Parent/Guardian in order to be registered.

      There are several options that are listed on this website page:

      You need to work out which one applies to you and your child. You must have proof of residency, and your child’s immunization papers as well as the things listed above.

      Try to enroll as soon as possible, as the school years has already started here.

      Good Luck!

  48. Hi there,
    We are in the process of moving to New Jersey from England, UK. We have three children in the age group of 17 (Year/Grade 12 A levels), 15 (Year/Grade 10 GCSE) and 8 years (Year/Grade 3). My eldest is reading Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Economics as his subject choices in A Levels, and he is currently in first year of two years A levels. The second one is doing her first year of two years GCSE (Year 10 and 11). We are expecting to be in New Jersey in June 2018, we would like to know the following;

    1.Cutoff date for the application or admission into High School in NJ
    2. What Year/Grade would they be admitted into?
    3. Subject choices: Can they continue with their Science and Maths subjects? if they wish to study Science and Maths, do they need to goto a specialist school or any High School in NJ offers these subjects?

    We understand that in USA the Grades 9-12 is considered to be High School where as in England it takes slightly different route where kids study 2 years of GCSE (called Year 10 and 11) and 2 years of A levels (called Year 12 and 13) and then they goto University for an Undergraduate Programme. In A levels students pretty much focus on the choice of subjects they want to proceed further in their Undergrad programme.

    Please throw some light and help us with the advise and info


    • Hi Bob,
      This is a challenging question that requires a detailed answer so I may not do it justice via this venue however I hope I can clarify it a bit.
      Firstly I am unfamiliar with the UK schooling system so will not be able to give meaningful insights other than below.

      1. There is no cut off date for public high school, as any resident in an area can register their children in local school district including the local high school and expect them to be accepted. Proof of your residency in the local area though is nearly always compulsory, requiring often between 2-4 different proofs as per individual school district requirements. Private high schools however are different, as they will have a cut off date to apply by, again which is set individually by the school. This can often be many months ahead so you should make enquiries now to see what your situation would be like at the particular private school you may wish to apply for.

      Although there is no cutoff point for your children in public schools, it is really a better idea to avoid arriving at the last minute in August/Sept, as your children will end up possibly with less options for subjects they want to pursue if they arrive after the first semester schedule is developed. This is when some classes may fill up, and latecomers miss out on or have an unattractive schedule as a result. To avoid this, it is better to try and arrive in early summer e.g. June/July, but visit/talk to the schools guidance counselors well before then to see what their planning is like and to get your children to understand what their subject choices are, so they can choose wisely the first time around. Changing your schedule after the first round, is difficult, messy and often disappointing.

      2. I really would have to guess but I think your 17 year old sounds more like a Junior (11th Grader) or perhaps a Senior (12th Grader). The second child sounds like a Freshman (9th Grader) or perhaps a 10th Grader. The school will have to assess what their academic standing is then decide how their current study translates to the NJ version of high school and consider their age as well. The last one sounds like a 2nd Grader or possibly 3rd Grader but would be attending an elementary school, separate from the other two. The school district chooses their levels but be sure to bring past school reports, examples of work done etc to argue your points and help the school understand. They would probably test the kids to assess them individually. Again, this would be ideally done well ahead, so you can plan their schedules more effectively.

      3. Science and Maths are offered at every school in some form but most general public schools offer both at various levels. The closest thing that sounds comparable to the UK’s ‘A’ levels in NJ/USA is the Advanced Placement class levels which are equivalent to undergraduate university level. In fact sometimes, the successful completion of these in high school (with a high mark) will obtain a credit at some universities (undergraduate level). Nearly all schools offer a good range of AP classes however, some offer a very wide range, including Math at several levels and specialized Science classes in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and then more specialized beyond this i.e. Anatomy/Physiology; Medical Science etc. Math tends to be taught in the USA in a more single strand oriented way e.g. Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus Trigonometry etc.

      There are also selective STEM schools in NJ, as well as County Prep High schools (also selective), which require some assessment to gain entry. These schools tend to be rated higher than standard/general public schools. However, there are some excellent public schools in NJ, so don’t be worried your choices are limited, as they are not, as long as you relocate to a town with a good school district.

      Hope that helps,
      Good Luck with your move!

      Anne Marie

  49. Raj Kaushik says:

    Hi Marie,

    Trust you are doing great.

    I am from India I have two kids. The younger one is 2.5 years old and the elder one is 10.5 years old (in 6th grade here in India) & would be moving to Edison, NJ in Sept. 2018. From what I’ve learned so far, that school sessions starts in Edison Public Schools from Sept. 1, 2018 & new enrolments have already started I guess. My major concern is that if I bring him in Sept/October (that is when I can bring him here soonest along with my wife & younger kid), would I be still be allowed to get him admitted at that time. I am afraid of seats getting filled by that time.

    Also if I admit him in October, he would be admitted in 6th Grade. He turns 11 years on Sept. 11th. So if I admit him after that he would be eligible for Grade 6th in Edison, NJ which is his current class hence he would not lose a year.

    Request you to please advise at the earliest. I really need your help to come out from this fear.

    Appreciate for your help & guidance in advance.


    • Hi Raj,
      Do not worry about the number of school seats available in Edison. Every NJ school district is required by law, to provide a seat to any new child living in their school district, as long as they are a verified resident. This means as long as you can prove you live in Edison, then your child will attend one of their schools. Since you are planning to arrive after the school term starts, it might be more of a concern that you can actually get accommodation but I would assume this is possible in Edison due to the large population, and many rental apartments that have a lot of turnover. So even if you arrive after the start of school, as long as you are a resident, your child CAN attend the local schools.

      If your son will be in 6th Grade in India in the new school year there, and you move to NJ, it is likely they will want him to continue the same grade here in NJ (Assuming India grades are equivalent to US which I believe they are). Sixth grade in NJ is often the first year of middle school. In Edison your son would most likely attend one of the four available middle schools in the district (Thomas Jefferson M. School, John Adams M. School, Herbert Hoover M. School or Woodrow Wilson M. School). Edison schools have a good reputation, so that is something to look forward to.

      You will need to provide quite a few documents for school enrolment, which you may already be aware of. If not, it is wise to visit the following webpage from this school district, which lists everything you need to have, so you can plan ahead before you leave India to bring everything required e.g. birth certificates, immunization records etc. The web page link is: https://www.edison.k12.nj.us/Page/1375 .

      I hope that answers your questions, but please let me know if you need further assistance!

      Best of luck and enjoy NJ-it is a lovely state to live in 🙂
      Anne Marie

      • Hi Ann Marie,

        I can’t thank you enough for giving such a great advise and help. I would certainly carry all the required docs and will meet you in-person once I am there. Thanks a lot again for all your help & guidance. Stay blessed!!

        Raj Kaushik

  50. Arnold Dela Cruz says:

    Hi, I have a 9 year old son and he wants to move here in Deptford, NJ for this school year. He was from Guam, USA its a US territory in the pacific. Can he be able to enroll for this school year? Thanks.

    • Hi Arnold
      As long as he becomes a resident that lives in the school district of Deptford NJ, I can’t see why not. You may need to sign some sort of guarantee such as an affidavit or similar document for the school district, to confirm your son is staying/living with you in this town. You can usually find out this information on the school district’s website although sometimes you need to ring to enquire. I just looked up this detail and the registration for enrollment is done by the School Registrar as below:

      Loretta Winters, Registrar
      Address: 890 Bankbridge Road, Sewell, NJ 08096
      Phone: 856-415-9540 X 2057

      You can ring or email this lady to ask what is needed however they request you complete a packet of forms for registration that includes proof of residency of the parent, as well as several other documents needed such as immunization records, your child’s school records from his previous school, proof oc custody (if not living with his combined family currently). If you visit this website page (Link ) at http://www.deptford.k12.nj.us/registration/ you can see what information is needed yourself. As these lists can be a bit confusing, do feel free to call to get anything explained that is not clear.

      Hope this helps!


      Anne Marie

  51. I would like to have some advice on my Child’s school. My son is going to go to Year 10 In September. Until now he was studying in the UK , however due to his UK visa refusal he could not go back after summer vacation. Therefore, I would like to enrol him in a school in Iselin New Jersey , we already own a property there and it is given on rent. We have also re-applied for His Uk Visa although it is taking longer than expected and it still very well could be declined. It is already August 16th and his old school will re-open on September 4th. We are considering moving him to USA public school in NJ as he was originally born in the USA and holds a valid Passport. My question is that if he arrives in NJ at the end of September or even a later date , what would be the chances of him getting into his choice of school and will they take him in. As well his choice of subjects in High School
    Thanking you in Anticipation

    • Hi Sara,
      If you have proof of residency, that your son is staying in Iselin, then the school district is legally obliged to provide him a spot, no matter when he arrives. Of course, the later he enrolls, the less chance there is that he will have much choice in electives. Usually the class selections are submitted in the prior school year (April or May), then the school works out a schedule over the summer break, providing it to students either during the vacation period or during the first week. Almost all provide them earlier before school starts, with a short period given in the first week, to make changes if the schedule has problems in it or student wants to changes it. I would recommend that you make a decision on enrolment as fast as possible, to start the ball rolling.

      If you must wait on the outcome of the visa, then perhaps contact the school in Iselin (JFK High School) now, and start to ask about electives, and what choices your son would get. You can still prepare for the NJ enrolment even if you don’t proceed with it eventually. I would not wait until late September to make enquiries at the NJ school, mostly because the schedules get filled up quickly, and your son’s schedule may end up being sub-standard due to missing out on the best courses. You don’t need to tell the school about your UK visa application, since your son is a US citizen with his own passport. I would ring the school, and speak to the administration office and the guidance counselling department who develop the schools schedule. They usually allocate specific counsellors to a particular Grade, so ask for assistance.

      To enroll your son, it is likely you will need to have a few proofs of residency in Iselin such as deed of property ownership plus a utility bill in your name for this address. If he is going to live with other people (not his parents), you will also need to have an affidavit or similar papers to prove his residency with them in Iselin. The full package of what you need is found on the Board of Education’s website at: https://www.woodbridge.k12.nj.us/cms/lib/NJ01913008/Centricity/Domain/88/HIGH_SCHOOL_RegPkt_rev_2017.pdf

      If he is going to switch to NJ from the UK, you and he will have a lot to think about and plan for since the US system is very different to the UK. You will need to become familiar with the SAT/ACT testing process, and understand how the school will assess your son’s performance in the UK as contributing to the NJ requirements for graduation. It is no small matter to switch school systems unfortunately!!

      That is all I can add just now but if you have further questions, I will try to answer them for you if possible,

      Kindest Regards

      Anne Marie

  52. Hi Ann Marie,

    I can’t thank you enough for giving such a great advise and help. I would certainly carry all the required docs and will meet you in-person once I am there. Thanks a lot again for all your help & guidance. Stay blessed!!

    Raj Kaushik

  53. Hi Anne Marie,

    Got questions about pre-k admission in NJ, especially in Edison township. This is for my daughter who turn 4 in Jan 2019. Please help.

    -Is there free pre-kindergarten available in the area?
    -What is the process of applying to such pre- kindergarten programs?
    – what are the timelines for admission to such program?

    I’m confused as we couldn’t get any email back from Department if Education and each preschool/ daycare centers seem to have their own ways of running the programs.

    We will be moving to the area around April 2019. Please advise. Thank you.

    • Hi Jyoti
      There are no free preschools available that I am aware of. Even the public school pre-school has an associated fee of $3000. The public preschool though has a limited number of seats available to Edison residents each year. Getting a place is via lottery system as there are not enough seats available for every child. If you wish to pursue a public school preschool place, then you need to submit an application form around 6 months earlier. See attached link for the preschool application used this school year in 2018-it had an application deadline for 29th March 2018, so next year’s process would be similar-

      Outside the public school district, possibly all others will be privately run places, which will charge fees, have different opening hours and may be either long term daycare (available during longer work hours for parents), or be more like the public preschool, which is open during school hours e.g. 9am-3pm full day, 9am-12pm/12-3pm -half days. This system is much like Australia, except there are no public preschools here. Because preschools do cost a fair amount of money in the USA, you have to make sure that your job pays enough to make it worthwhile in many cases, otherwise it may be worth one of you staying at home. Admissions to the private preschools and daycare centres can depend on whether they have any vacancies. Sometimes very popular schools have a waiting list but that is not the case for most, unless you are arriving close to school year start in September. It is always best to come earlier than school start in September by a few months to get available housing, and get school sorted out. Most people come in summer or earlier if possible. Avoid fall and winter months if you can 🙂 April is a good time to arrive.

      Please understand that enrolment in Kindergarten in public school district is free and there will be a place provided for your child once she is 5, as it is required by law if you are an Edison resident (must be 5 years old by 1st October in the year she is registering for kindergarten at the school district-in your case this would be Sept 2020).

      Back to preschools for a minute- here are two lists of some of the preschools in Edison. Because it is such a large town there will be more available than on this list, and you may want to get a school closer to where you will be living so you do not have to drive or walk too far from home. In that case you will probably need to know your new address before registering with a school or centre.


      However, if distance doesn’t matter, then you can go ahead now and request information from any preschool that interests you. There will probably be some information on the preschool’s website but you likely have to email the preschool Director for enrolment forms and fee information. Be aware that there are some different style of pre- schools that may or may not interest you. For instance some are run by Christian/Jewish organizations and may include elements of religion (or not). If in doubt ask about what their curriculum is and if it includes religious instruction at all. Other styles of preschools can include Montessori etc.

      Timelines for the enrolment process can vary but if there is no vacancy the preschool director may put your name down on a waiting list. If there is a vacancy at the time when you arrive, they may ask for a deposit to hold your place until you start. If you pay any deposits, make sure you get a receipt and keep this in a secure place until you start at the school. This should be refundable if you change your mind or credited to your fees if you do proceed to start your child there. Regardless of which school you choose, all preschools will want proof that your child has all the required vaccinations that NJ health department requires (your child’s health records in English). Make sure you bring this with your child’s original birth certificate. Both are needed for preschool AND public school when you enroll in the following year.

      It would be advisable to start making enquiries now to ensure there are at least some private preschools available to place your child, if this is necessary for you to start work straight away on arrival. Do not wait until you arrive to start looking if it is critical for your employment. If it is not critical, then you can still make some enquiries to see what availability and fees are like before you arrive.

      Hopefully that answers all your questions but if not, please email me any other queries.

      Good Luck-NJ is a great place to live!


      Anne Marie

  54. Hi Anne,

    I seek your advise on high school admission process for my son in grade 11 starting Sept 2019. We are currently living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and will be relocating to the US (New Jersey). My Son is currently in grade 10, studying in an American Curriculum school in Dubai, UAE. He will complete his grade 10 in Dubai by summer 2019 and will need to start his high school 11th grade in the US.
    Most high school websites that we checked only mention about admission process in 9th grade. The process of international relocation’s in higher grades is not mentioned in the school websites.
    We prefer to be living in NJ and seek admissions in one of the best high schools preferably in Bergen county such as Bergen County Academies .We are flexible in terms of location.
    Please advise who we should contact and the process for high school admission in 11th grade.

  55. Hi Anne Marie,
    MY son is in 1st grade in india and we are planning to move to new jersey in early december will it be possible to get him in mid year to any public school in NJ?

    • Hi Parul,
      It doesn’t matter when you arrive during the school year September-June, assuming he is NOT starting kindergarten, your son will be given a place in a NJ public school in any town that you move to live in permanently. As long as you have the right documents to prove you are living there permanently, the school is obliged to find a place for your child. Every school has their own list of residence proof documents that they ask parents to supply. For example they may ask for a copy of your rental lease or electricity bill that shows your name and address, and proves you are living in the town’s catchment area. You will need to find out what documents your NJ school will require.

      A more practical consideration for you might be what Grade level he would start (assuming not kindergarten), given you are arriving after the school year has started. That will depend again on the school policy. Most schools try to keep children in normal grade progression following where they stopped in last country. They will possibly test your child (quite normal so do not worry) to ensure they are going to do alright in the grade that they are planning. If your son is already in school in India 1st or 2nd grade, then they would probably just continue that grade in his new NJ school. A lot depends on what your child’s situation is. The schools will try and do the best for them, which is good for everyone. It is a good idea to bring your son’s Indian school reports so that the NJ school can see what his progress was before leaving.

      Sometimes children who come part way through the year have to repeat the same grade they may have finished prior to moving, as they have missed too much to catch up. My children had to do this but we started in NJ much later in the school year, which made it difficult to avoid. I wouldn’t expect this to happen in your case.

      I hope that answers your question. Please let me know if you need any further explanation.

      Good Luck to you and your family in NJ-it is a great place to live!

      Kind Regards

      Anne Marie

  56. Hi Anne
    what about when I need to go to another country for 10 days my son is in kindergarten and he needs to go with me I have to re-register him for school when I will be back how the process work I have to fill out all papers and documents one more time?

  57. Hi Anne,

    I can imagine how this whole page is so useful for everyone.
    My kids (of age 15.9 son and 12.6 daughter) are moving here in NJ. They have already cleared their 10th and 7th grade in India. My questions are:-
    1- Documents required
    2- Which grade they will be admitted to?
    3- which specific immunisation reports are required?
    4- will there be any admission test?
    5- They would like to continue their current grades of 11th & 8th.

    Please help me get the answers.

    Thanks in advance.


Leave a Reply to Expat Aussie in NJ Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.