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How to Apply for a New Driver's License in North Carolina

Residents of North Carolina need to apply for driving license if they want to legally operate a motor vehicle on the public roads in the state. The North Carolina drivers license serves as an identification document as well. Drivers must follow certain North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles requirements before completing a drivers license application.

Did you know? More than 50 percent of the drivers license applicants fail the written drivers test. Get prepared for the exam day by using our online practice driving tests.

How to Apply for a North Carolina Driver's License:

  • Schedule a DMV appointment.
  • Visit an NC DMV location.
  • Provide a North Carolina learners permit, if you have one.
  • Present the required documentation.
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Pass the DMV written exam.
  • Pass the driving test.
  • Pay the NC drivers license fees.

Find out how to get drivers licenses in North Carolina by reviewing the sections below.

Types of Drivers Licenses in North Carolina

North Carolina residents can apply for driving licenses if they meet the requirements set by the NC Division of Motor Vehicles. They can apply either for a learners permit or drivers license, or for a commercial drivers license. Here are the available types of drivers licenses in the state:

  • Class A drivers license - Issued to drivers who operate a combination of vehicles with a weight of 26,001 pounds of more (GVWR).
  • Class B drivers license - Issued to drivers who operate any single vehicle with a weight of more than 26,001 pounds (GVWR).
  • Class C drivers license - Issued to drivers who operate regular passenger cars and trucks.

First-Time Driver (Under 18) in North Carolina

North Carolina residents need to apply for driving licenses in order to legally drive a motor vehicle on the public roads and highways in the state. If they meet the NC Division of Motor Vehicles requirements, they can get drivers licenses. First-time learners permit applicants are required to pass several exams and provide certain documentation while applying for drivers licenses.

For more information, visit our Learner's Permit page.

North Carolina New Drivers (Over 18)

One of the requirements set by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is to pass a written drivers test when applying for drivers licenses at the NC DMV.

NC Driver's Study Guide and Driver's Practice Test

North Carolina drivers license applicants who are 18 years of age or older must pass a written drivers exam. Get prepared for the written drivers test by taking a learners permit practice test. Our North Carolina driving permit practice tests is the perfect way to get familiar with all traffic laws and regulations in the state. You will also be able to practice what you have already learned from the North Carolina Driver's Handbook.

How to Apply for Drivers Licenses in NC

When you decide that you want to apply for North Carolina drivers licenses, schedule a DMV appointment at the nearest NC DMV location. When you go to your scheduled appointment, bring with you the following documents:

  • Proof of age and identity.
  • Proof of Social Security Number.
  • Proof of residency.
  • Proof of liability insurance.

NC Eligibility Requirements

North Carolina drivers license applicants must be at least 15 years of age when applying for a learners permit. They must provide certain documentation to the NC DMV office and pass a vision test, written drivers test and driving skills test as part of the application process. Applicants who pass these examinations will gain full driving privileges in North Carolina.

NC Written/Driving Test

During the North Carolina drivers license application process, you will be required to take a series of exams. Once you pass the vision examination, you will be required to take and successfully pass both the written drivers test and the driving skills test. Utilize our practice driving tests and get prepared for the North Carolina DMV drivers license exams. You will be able to practice questions similar to those on the actual exam, taken from the contents of the North Carolina Driver's Handbook.

NC Driving Test

The North Carolina driving skills test is part of the examinations you are required to pass in the process for getting NC drivers licenses. This test examines the future driver's gained knowledge and their ability to:

  • Approach intersections and three-point turnabouts.
  • Follow and obey the traffic signals and stop signs.
  • Use turn signals and horn.
  • Back the vehicle.
  • Follow another vehicle.

Once you pass the driving skills test and you pay the applicable fees, you will be issued a new North Carolina drivers license.

Drivers have the option of completing a behind-the-wheel course for additional practice.

New North Carolina Resident

New North Carolina residents, who have an out-of-state license to drive, need to apply for an NC drivers license within 60 days of the move. By surrendering your out-of-state drivers license, you will be exempt from retaking the series of examinations required by the state's Division of Motor Vehicles. Visit the nearest NC DMV office prepared with two proofs of age and identity, one proof of Social Security Number, one proof of residency and one proof of liability insurance.

Additionally, when transferring your out-of-state drivers license to North Carolina, you will also need to title and register your vehicle with the NC DMV. Bring the following documentation:

  • Valid North Carolina drivers license.
  • Power of Attorney.
  • Valid out-of-state drivers license along with a North Carolina Temporary Driving Certificate.
  • Proof of liability insurance.
  • Completed appropriate forms.
  • Payment for the applicable fees.

Replace Drivers License in North Carolina

North Carolina drivers can get duplicate drivers license in case the old credential has been stolen, lost or damaged. They can replace NC drivers licenses online or in person at any local NC DMV office. For more information about the process for drivers license replacement in North Carolina, click here.

Locate a DMV in North Carolina

Browse through our NC DMV locations page in order to find the nearest North Carolina DMV location to you. Here you will be able to find a complete list of DMV offices throughout the state, as well as their hours of operation and phone numbers.

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