North Carolina DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ

If you’re getting ready to apply for your North Carolina state driver’s license, then you’ll need to pick up a copy of the North Carolina Driver’s Handbook at your earliest convenience and start studying. Your written test will be entirely based on information found in that handbook. However, you may also find that the following FAQ helps you know what to expect from the application process and the North Carolina DMV experience in general.
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How old do I need to be before I’m eligible to apply for a North Carolina driver’s license?
Age requirements attached to different stages of the license application process vary from state to state, but in North Carolina, you need to be 15 years of age before you qualify for a learner’s permit. Once you have your permit, you can start driving under the supervision of a licensed driver.
What documents do I need to bring with me to the DMV when I apply?
As is the case in other states, North Carolina will require you to show official state-recognized documents before your driver’s license application can be processed. Make sure you arrive with:
  • Two government-recognized forms of ID
  • Proof of your social security number
  • Proof of your residency in the state of North Carolina
  • Your high school diploma or driving eligibility certificate
  • If you are under 18, your driver’s education certificate
What kinds of documents are acceptable for proof of residency?
While most people understand what to bring as far as proof of identity, social security number, and so forth, not everyone is clear on how to prove they are North Carolina residents. Most people bring a rental agreement or documents that show their enrollment in the North Carolina school system. Pay stubs, bank statements, and utility bills are all acceptable items to bring as well. If you are not sure whether something you would like to bring as proof will be deemed acceptable, contact a DMV rep ahead of time and ask to make sure.
I’m a teen applying for my first driver’s license. Do I need to bring my parents with me when I arrive to apply?
Yes. If you are under the age of 18, you will need the consent of your parent or legal guardian before you can be granted driver’s privileges. Many teens have their parent bring them to their application appointment so that they’re present to sign any necessary documents.
Once I have my learner’s permit, what are the requirements I’ll need to fulfill before I can get my actual driver’s license?
Once you’ve successfully passed your written knowledge test and a vision test, you will receive you permit. If you are under the age of 18, you will need to spend a full 12 months practicing your driving skills. Over that span of time, you need to log at least 60 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel training. If you are 18 or older, there are no requirements as to when you can apply for your license. If you wish, you can apply immediately after receiving your permit.
Are there any reasons I might not be allowed to apply for my North Carolina driver’s license?
Yes. If you have any unresolved circumstances that have led to your North Carolina driving privileges being suspended, cancelled, or revoked, you will not be allowed to apply for a new license. You will also not be allowed to apply for a new license if you’ve been deemed unfit to drive for any reason. (Please note that only the DMV or a court of law can deem you officially unfit to drive.)
Is there anyone in North Carolina that is not required to have a North Carolina driver’s license?
If you are considered a resident of North Carolina, then you are required by state law to have a North Carolina driver’s license or alternative state ID. However, there are certain people that would be considered non-residents despite the fact that they spend a lot of time in North Carolina.
  • Members of the military and/or any of their dependents
  • People attending a North Carolina college or university despite actually living out of state
  • Salespeople and other professionals that live in other states, but travel to North Carolina often on business
  • Anyone that lives out of state, but frequently spends time in North Carolina for any reason.
If you are not sure whether or not your situation qualifies you as a non-resident, you should contact a rep from the North Carolina DMV and ask just to be sure.
How much does it cost to get a new driver’s license in North Carolina?
In North Carolina it costs $4 per year in order to hold a Class A, B, or C license. That said, what you’ll be charged in order to obtain a new North Carolina license will depend entirely on how many years the license will be valid for.
  • If you are 18 to 65 years of age, your license will be good for 8 years, so you’ll be charged $32.
  • If you are 66 years of age or older, then you license will be good for 5 years and you’ll be charged $20.
My North Carolina license will be expiring soon. Can I arrange to have it renewed early or do I need to wait until it actually expires?
Although it’s fine to make note of the expiration date attached to your driver’s license, the DMV will send you a renewal card in the mail roughly 60 days before your license expires. However, you can renew your license as early as 180 days before it expires if you like. You do not need to have your license with you when you arrive to renew in person, but many people find it helpful to bring it anyway. If you meet certain eligibility requirements, you can also renew your license by mail. (You are not currently able to renew online in North Carolina.) Your renewal card will let you know if you have the option of renewing by mail this time around or not.