Here's How to Get Your Driving License In North Carolina

NC Driver's License You`ve finally reached the legal driving age, and you`re more than eager to apply for your NC driver`s license. Or you could be an experienced driver, but you`ve recently moved to North Carolina, and you need to apply for it. Either way, getting your new driver`s license is quite exciting.

Acquiring your DL in North Carolina for the first time requires you to visit the closest state`s department of Motor vehicles office. On the other hand, if you want to renew your DL, you can do it without visiting the DMV offices.

Therefore, study thoroughly for the driver`s test. If this is your first driving license, you have to do well in both the driving and written tests. To prepare for it, you can take a driving education course. When it comes to the written exam, go through the driver`s handbook a few times and familiarize yourself with the warning signs.

So, how do you get a driver`s license in North Carolina? There are two different ways depending on the individual applying. If you are applying for your first DL and are an NC resident, the process is quite different from a non-resident driver. Here we will cover both application procedures.


Let`s get started!

Application for new drivers


1.Get all the necessary documents

To get your NC driver`s license; you must present;

  • One original document to verify who you are and when you were born
  • One document proving your social security number or permissible presence in the country
  • One document verifying your physical address in NC
  • Evidence of liability insurance

Some of the acceptable documents include;

  • Date of birth/ identity; birth certificate, valid Military ID or US passport, Citizenship certificate
  • Social security number; W-2 form, or social security card
  • Evidence of residency; mortgage or lease, property taxes receipt, existing vehicle insurance policy with your address and name, or corporate or bank statement featuring your address and name.
  • Automobile Insurance; insurance card with policy number and name or insurance policy

While it is not necessary to get a REAL ID, you will have to present additional documents if you want to get it. This will come in handy if you wish to use your DL as an ID to fly locally or access federal buildings according to federal law. Besides the documents mentioned above, you must present two documents verifying residency instead of one.

3.Visit the closest office of the Department of Motor vehicles.

To get your first DL, you have to visit the DMV office in person. If you reside in a densely populated region, you might need to make an appointment to take the test. Though this is not compulsory, the appointment will reduce the waiting time.

4.Take the driver`s test.

It’s now time to take your driving tests; upon reaching the DMV office, you`ll take the practice tests with one DMV officer, the vision and warning signs tests, and the written exam. The written exam features multiple choices, and it comes in various languages. Besides, you can ask for an oral test.

If you have contact lenses or glasses, you can opt to do the vision test with or without them. If you don’t do well in the test without your lenses, your DL will have a restriction. The practical tests will analyze how you drive through normal traffic, such as turning, switching lanes, backing, and so on.

5.Pay the DL fees

Once you pass all the tests and have all the necessary documents, your DL will be issued when you pay the DL charges. Typically, your NC driver`s license is useable for eight years. However, for people aged 66 years or more, it is only usable for five years before you require renewing it.

6.DL photo

A DMV officer will take your driving license photo and signature. These will be included in your DL.


New in North Carolina

1.Get all the necessary documents

If you`re new in NC and want to apply for your DL, you must assemble all the needed documents. Additionally, you should apply for your NC driver`s license within 60 days of coming to the state.

You`ll require original documents to verify your residency, citizenship status, and identity. Besides, you`ll need evidence that you have vehicle liability insurance.

Note: upon acquiring your NC driver`s license, any DL you had in any other state is invalid. If you have your previous state`s driver`s license, you`ll have to give it up.

2.Visit the closest DMV office.

You`ll have to visit the DMV office in person. If you`re busy, you could call ahead and make an appointment, precisely if you live in a highly-populated area.

3.Vision test

Since your DL is from a different state and is valid, you will not need to take the written and driving skills test. Nonetheless, you`ll need to do the vision test. In case you can`t pass the test without corrective lenses, your DL will feature a “Corrective lenses” restraint.

4.Pay the DL fees

Since 2019, the charge for an NC driver`s license is $5 annually for a Class C DL. It allows you to drive a light truck or personal vehicle. As mentioned above, North Carolina DLs are usable for eight years and five years for a driver with 66 years or more; thus, you will have to pay $40, or $25 respectively, for the DL to be issued. There are multiple payment methods accepted, such as debit or credit cards.

5.DL photo

After you pass the vision test and the documents you present are accepted, a DMV official will take your DL photo and signature. These two will be featured in your license. Avoid wearing anything on the top of your head for your DL unless you have to due to religion. On the other hand, in this case, your whole face should be noticeable for the picture.


After getting your North Carolina driver`s license, it`s now time to buy a car, or hire one, for the new drivers. Either way, you`re free to drive throughout North Carolina without worrying about not having a valid NC driver`s license.