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How to Renew a Driver's License in North Carolina

Drivers License Online Services Guide

North Carolina Drivers License Renewal

Renewing drivers licenses with the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles can be accomplished in a variety of ways including online, in person and by mail. To renew drivers licenses online or by mail, residents must meet certain eligibility criteria. All drivers are permitted to renew drivers licenses in NC up to six months prior to their license expiration date. North Carolina drivers license renewal fees and lengths of validation are dependent on the driver's age at the time of application. For further details on renewing drivers licenses in North Carolina, continue reading below.

How to Renew Your NC Driver's License



Renew North Carolina Drivers License

Note: The North Carolina drivers license expiration date is listed under the card holder's date of birth on the front of their credential. Reference your driver's license card to verify the date of expiration.


To renew drivers licenses in North Carolina, drivers can either apply online or in person at a DMV office. Residents are permitted to renew drivers licenses online every other renewal cycle—if your previous renewal was done online, then you must apply for your next one in-office. Online drivers license renewal applicants must visit the North Carolina DMV web-services site with their current drivers license in hand and certify that their information has not changed since their last renewal. Renewing drivers licenses in person requires a driver to pass the vision and traffic signs tests. Applicants must provide two proofs of identification or their current drivers license at the time of application.

Fees

North Carolina drivers license renewal fees vary based upon the length of validity of one's credential. The fee to renew a Class C drivers licenses is $5 per year of validation. Therefore, the eight-year drivers license renewal fee is $40. The fee for five-year drivers license renewals is $25.

When to Renew Your North Carolina Driver's License

Renew your drivers licenses in NC up to six months prior to the expiration date. As a reminder, the North Carolina DMV will mail drivers license renewal notices approximately 60 days before they expire. Drivers may renew expired drivers licenses up to one year following the expiration date.

Expired License

North Carolina drivers are given 180 days to renew expired drivers licenses before having to apply for a new driver's license. Though, drivers convicted of driving with an NC expired drivers license more than one year following its expiration date will be penalized. Apply for a drivers license renewal to avoid a traffic conviction and having points added to your driving record.

Temporary License

In lieu of NC DMV license renewal, residents located out-of-state for 30 days or more, such as active duty military members, may apply for temporary licenses by mail. Temporary licenses are valid while the applicant is away and up to 60 days following their return to the state. To qualify for a temporary license, residents:

  • Must have a verifiable NC residential address.
  • Must have a NC Class C driving license that has not been expired for longer than two years.
  • Must have a photo on file with the DMV that was issued within the previous five years.
  • Must have Social Security Number on file with the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Must provide a statement on the condition of your eyesight.
  • Must complete and sign a National Sex Offender Affidavit.
  • Must be younger than 72 years of age.
  • May only renew by mail once every other renewal cycle.

Out-of-State Military Renewal

To renew their drivers license by mail, active duty military members and their dependents, located out-of-state must meet the same requirements for a temporary license. Military members must also meet the following additional qualifications to renew their driving credential with the state:

  • Must have a verifiable North Carolina address on file with the DMV, either your own or that of a host family.
  • Must provide copies of both your military orders and military ID card.
  • Military members may not renew drivers licenses more than two times during their lifetime.

Upon their return to the state, service members need only visit an NC DMV office to renew their drivers license before the expiration date.

Requirements to Renew a North Carolina License

To renew a drivers license in North Carolina, an applicant must meet the eligibility criteria of the method of renewal in which they utilize — whether online or in person. Drivers are allowed to renew drivers license online every other renewal. During online drivers license renewals applicants must certify that they have no vision problems. In-person applicants must provide either their drivers license card or two documents proving identification, as well as proof of Social Security Number.

Drivers license renewal applicants must also pass the vision and traffic signs test. The road test may also be administered, at the discretion of the driving examiner.

Renew a NC Suspended License

NC driving license renewal applicants with a suspended license must follow through with the steps to restore their driving privileges before they can apply for renewal. Once those obligations have been met, the applicant can then proceed with visiting a North Carolina DMV office to complete the renewal process.

NC Drivers License Online Renewal

To renew drivers licenses online in North Carolina, residents must have not renewed online during their previous renewal period. Drivers who utilize the online system must verify their identity, street address and that they have no vision problems that would affect their driving. Users renewing drivers licenses online must be sure to provide their drivers license renewal fee in the form of a major credit or debit card. Renewed drivers licenses ordered online are mailed out seven to 14 days following application.

Online drivers license renewals in North Carolina are not permitted for applicants who have restrictions on their licenses, other than corrective lenses, those in the medical review program or drivers with a license that is expired, suspended or revoked.

Renewing Your NC Drivers License in Person

Residents must renew drivers licenses in person with the NC DMV at least once every other renewal cycle. Also, drivers must appear in person to renew North Carolina drivers licenses if they have special circumstances such a suspended or revoked drivers licenses. Beginning up to six months prior to the expiration date, residents renewing drivers licenses in person must visit a NC DMV location and bring the following documentation:

  • Two proofs of identity, if you do not have your current license on hand.
  • Proof of Social Security Number, if the DMV does not have it on file.

Note that applicants must also pass the vision and knowledge test. A driving skills road test may also be administered at the discretion of the driving examiner. To get a preview of the types of questions on the written portion of the North Carolina DMV exam, order a practice test by clicking here.

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