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North Carolina Driver’s License: How to Apply

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Planning to drive around the beautiful highways of the Old North State? But for that, you must have a valid North Carolina driver’s license. Of course, driving without one will result in heft penalties and a reduction of points in your driving record. Don’t worry; our article will help you understand how to get a new driver’s license in North Carolina. 

Find a cheap car insurance in North Carolina

Do you need a driver’s license to buy a car in North Carolina? 

The person titling the car must have a North Carolina driver’s license or ID. However, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) allows the sale of a car to someone who does not have a license. The law got amended to offer transportation for senior citizens and people with disabilities. 

Do I need a North Carolina driver’s license to register a car? 

Yes. You must have one to register your car in the state.  

What documents do I need to get a North Carolina driver’s license? 

To apply for a driver’s license in North Carolina, you should be at least 18 years old. You must produce the following documents while going to the North Carolina DMV.  

  • Identity and birth date proof: It can be your valid US passport, birth certificate, foreign passport, REAL-ID, North Carolina motor vehicle driver’s record, North Carolina limited driving license, school documents, DHS documents, US military ID, and divorce decrees. 
  • Social Security Number (SSN) proof: It can be your Social Security card, a W-2 or 1099 form, DHS documentation, or a military record. 
  • Residency proof: It can be any North Carolina government document like vehicle registration, insurance policy or title, utility bills, voter registration card, financial statements, military orders, housing contracts, education records, or letter from a halfway house or homeless shelter. 
  • Liability insurance proof: It can be your car insurance policy, DL-123, or NC Form FS-1.  

How to get a North Carolina driver’s license 

Driver's license in North Carolina
Image courtesy: https://www.ncdot.gov

If you’re aged between 15 and 17, you must finish the North Carolina graduated licensing program (GDL). It involves three main stages. 

  • Limited learner’s permit 
  • Limited provisional license 
  • Full provisional license 

How to get a learner’s permit in NC

It is the first stage of getting a North Carolina driver’s license. Anyone can enroll if they’re at least 14 ½ years old or in school. Then you must do the following to obtain your permit. 

What to do

1. Gather documents that prove your identity, residency, and birthdate.

2. Then schedule your visit to the nearby DMV facility.

3. Your parent or guardian must accompany you when you visit the DMV office. Then fill up the application form and submit all required documents.

4. Pass the vision, knowledge, and road sign tests. 

  • You must have 20/40 vision in at least one eye to pass the vision test. 
  • The knowledge features 25 multiple-choice questions about North Carolina traffic laws and safe driving practices. To pass, you must answer 20 questions rightly.  
  • The MVD will ask you to identify and describe regulation and warning traffic signs based on color and shape for road sign tests.

5. Pay the permit fee via cash, check, credit/debit cards, or money order.

6. You’ll then receive the temporary license. Expect to get the permanent license via mail in 20 days. 

How to get a limited provisional license  

You should be 16 years old to apply for a limited provisional license. You must also pass a road test to get it. But before that, you must fulfill the following requirements too. 

  • You held the learner’s permit for at least a year. 
  • There have been no moving violations or seat belt infractions within the last six months before applying for a limited provisional license. 
  • You completed at least 60 hours of supervised driving practice time, of which 10 hours must be at night. Be aware that you can’t drive more than 10 hours every week.  

What to do 

1. Schedule an appointment for your road test.

2. When coming for the test, you must have the following.

  • Your learner’s permit 
  • A completed driving log (DL-4A form) 
  • Documents proving your identity, residency, birthdate, SSN, and liability insurance documentation 
  • Your parent or legal guardian must accompany you.  
  • The car you will use for the road test 
  • Your car’s registration and auto insurance 

3. Pass your driving test

4. Pay the fees

5. Then you’ll get a temporary license. You may get the Level 2 limited provisional license by mail within 20 days.

Restrictions on a limited provisional license

1. There’s a restriction on driving without supervision between 9 pm-5 am unless due to these situations.

  • You are heading to or from the workplace.  
  • You’ve volunteered for a rescue, fire, or emergency medical service. 

2. Usage of mobile phones while driving isn’t allowed.

3. You can only have one passenger under 21 in your car unless they are a family member. The restriction won’t apply if you’re driving under supervision. 

How to get a full provisional license 

These are the requirements you must meet to get a full provisional license.

  1. You must be between 16-17 and hold a limited license for at least six months. 
  2. There have been no moving violations, seat belt, or cellphone convictions in the past six months. 
  3. You must have an extra l 12 hours of driving experience, six of which must be at night. 
  4. Schedule an appointment using the DMV’s website.
  5. Produce the following documents at the DMV office – your limited provisional license, a completed driving log (DL-4B form), and the required documents to get a REAL-ID.
  6. Pay the license fee.  
  7. Then you’ll get the temporary license. You’ll receive the original license via mail within 20 days. 

How to get an adult driver’s license  

So, are you aged above 18? Are you applying for a North Carolina driver’s license for the first time? Then follow these steps to get one.  

  1. Gather documents that prove your identity, SSN, birthdate, residency (two), and liability insurance. 
  2. Get an appointment at your nearest DMV facility. 
  3. On reaching the DMV office, submit the required documents. 
  4. Pass the vision, knowledge, and road sign tests. 
  5. Then attend and pass the road test. 
  6. Pay the license fee.
  7. Get your temporary license. Your permanent driver’s license will reach you within some days via mail. 

How long does it take to get a driver’s license in North Carolina? 


Normally, you will get it within 20 days. North Carolina DMV also offers a REAL-ID driver’s license, which requires additional information. The state issues learner’s permits from a central location and mails them out within 20 days to applicants. 

How much does a North Carolina driver’s license cost? 

If you’re applying for the license at 18 years for the first time, the fee will be around $5. Drivers under 18 must pay between $5-$20 as they progress through the GDL program. 

When do I need to transfer my driver’s license to North Carolina?  

If you’re a new resident, you must do three things to transfer your license within 60 days of moving to NC.  

  • Transfer the license or ID 
  • Transfer the car’s registration 
  • Change the address with North Carolina DMV 

Ensure to do these within 60 days of moving. Law enforcement officials may impose citations and penalties if you wait too long.  

Where is the driver’s license number in North Carolina? 

The bottom left corner of the license will have your North Carolina driver’s license number printed. It will appear as the ‘Customer ID Number.’ The license will have 12 numbers on it.  

Can undocumented immigrants get a driver’s license in North Carolina? 

road in NC
Image by Devon Browning from Pixabay

According to North Carolina DMV, immigrants with permanent and indefinite status can get full-term driver’s licenses under state law. 

Can you get your driver’s license online in North Carolina? 

Drivers can get a replacement driver’s license or ID online or at any North Carolina DMV driver’s license office if it hasn’t got suspended, expired, or canceled. 

Can I renew my driver’s license online in North Carolina? 

Yes. You can renew online via the DMV’s website. Know more about the renewal process via our blog 

Can you get a driver’s license if you drop out of school in North Carolina? 

To remain entitled to the Driving Eligibility Certificate, anyone under 18 must enroll in school and progress towards a high school graduation or GED. When the North Carolina MVD receives notification from school authorities that a student has dropped out, it revokes the teen’s driving rights. 

Do you need a driver’s license to drive a golf cart in North Carolina? 

Drivers operating golf carts must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver’s license in NC. You must also have liability insurance to drive a golf cart on public roads. 

Getting auto insurance in North Carolina

Have you received your North Carolina driver’s license? Are you planning to buy a new car? You need an auto insurance policy with a driver’s license if you want to drive on the state roads. Also, be aware that NC is an at-fault state.

Driving without insurance will earn you many penalties. So, the challenge is finding affordable auto insurance that provides you with ample coverage. That’s where Way.com can help you! First, visit the Way website, and you can find North Carolina insurance quotes from various insurers. Then, compare and buy the best policy for you!

Experience the real power of real-time price monitoring with the Way.com Auto Super App. Our app helps you get an affordable parking spot, get quotes for home insurance, auto refinance, and auto insurance, find the nearest car washes and EV charging stations, and get cash back on gas. We can take care of everything you want for your car.   


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