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NEW DRIVERS AND FIRST TIME APPLICANTS
Following are the basic requirements for applying for a North Carolina driver's license:
- Applicants must be 15 years or older.
- Any individual under 18 should provide parental consent and must complete the graduated licensing program. For additional details, see Beginner Drivers and/or Learner's Permits for Beginner Drivers.
- Everyone must pass the vision, written, road sign recognition and road tests. See Practice Tests and Driver's Handbook for more information on the written examination. Driver education programs can help individuals prepare for their road test.
- Applicants must provide two acceptable proofs of identification.
- Applicants must provide proof of North Carolina residency and liability insurance.
- Applicants must provide the social security card, or letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration.
- Applicants must provide proof of legal presence in US.
North Carolina residents holding a driver's license from another state need to pass all three tests. The road test may be waived at the discretion of the examiner. However, like other applicants, new residents must provide proof of identification, residency, liability insurance on the car, legal presence and social security number.
Non-US citizens residing in North Carolina may apply for a North Carolina driver's license, as long as they can provide proof that they are legally authorized to be in the United States, and meet all the other requirements. Note that a North Carolina driver's license issued to a foreign national will expire no later than the last date on which they are authorized to be in the United States by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The cost for a North Carolina driver's license is $4 per year.
DURATION AND RENEWAL OF LICENSE
Your license will expire on your birthday depending upon your age at time of
issuance as shown below:
Age at Time of Issuance Duration
18-65 8 years
66 and older 5 years
- In no event shall a license expire later than the authorization for the
applicant's legal presence in the United States.
With certain restrictions, an individual can legally drive in North Carolina with a learner's permit. See more information on learner's permits here.
- See also Renewing Your License.
- For information on other types of licenses, see Commercial Driver's Licenses, Motorcycle Licenses.
- It is necessary to have active Auto Insurance in order to drive legally in North Carolina.
- New drivers see our Driver Education , Driving Schools, Beginner Drivers and Learner's Permits for Beginner Drivers sections.