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North Carolina Drivers License

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Find a licensing center

To obtain your driver’s license for the first time in North Carolina, you must apply in person at a NCDMV driver’s license office. You can look up the office nearest you.

Getting a license for the first time

Here’s all you need to know to obtain your license for the first time.
Teens 15 to 17
  • The details: Teens between 15 and 17 participate in a graduated licensing process and must first apply for a limited learner permit. They can apply if they’ve completed an approved driver training course.
  • What to bring: Pack up your Driver Eligibility Certificate and proof of having completed an approved Driver Education course, ID document, proof of address, and $21.50.
  • What you’ll need to do: When you arrive at the DMV, you’ll take a written knowledge test and a vision test. If you pass, you’ll receive a limited learner permit allowing you to drive between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. if supervised by a parent or grandparent or an adult approved by a parent of grandparent.
  • What comes next: You’ll need to practice your skills behind the wheel while supervised for at least 12 months and log at least 60 hours of driving. You also need to have no violations within the past six months, provide proof of insurance, $21.50, and take a road test. If you pass, you’ll receive a limited provisional license that allows you to drive unsupervised between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. with no more than one other person under 21 in the car. After six months, if you have no moving violations and have logged an additional 12 hours of driving, you’ll be eligible for a full provisional license for a fee of $5.50. To move through the steps for a graduated license, teens must remain in school. If they leave school before graduation, they will lose their driving privileges until they turn 18.
Age 18+
  • The details: If you are 18 years old or older, you may apply for a learner’s permit which allows you to drive while supervised by another licensed driver. If you choose, you may apply directly for a driver’s license, but you’ll have to pass the road test to receive it. What to bring: Bring your ID, proof of address, proof of insurance coverage, and $21.50 for a learner’s permit or $5.50 for a license.
  • What you’ll need to do: When you arrive at the DMV, you’ll submit take a vision test and knowledge test for a learner’s permit. A driver’s license also requires a road test.
  • What comes next: If you choose to receive a learner’s permit, you can return at a later date to pass your road test and obtain a driver’s license.

Renewing your license

You can renew their license your six months of its expiration date. Most drivers are able to renew their licenses online every other renewal. They must appear in person for the other renewals. Currently, you must make an appointment first because of the pandemic. What you’ll need to do: Complete the application and receive your license.

Do I need real ID?

Do you have to get real ID? Nope, but you probably want to. Starting October 1, 2021, your standard driver’s license will no longer be accepted as proof of identification at airports. You’ll need a passport or a Real ID instead. You can upgrade to a real ID by going into an agency office with the required documents and paying $5.50.

Upgrade your provisional license

Once you’ve reached your 18th birthday, you can upgrade to a full driver’s license online. The fee is $14.

Replace a lost or stolen license

If you’ve lost your license, you can obtain a replacement online as long as you don’t owe any outstanding fees to DMV.

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Last Verified:
Jun 14, 2022