Any North Carolina driver with a stolen, damaged or lost drivers license should seek immediate replacement of this vital document through the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Replacing drivers license documents in a timely manner is important because doing so can protect motorists from identity theft and fraudulent use of their license. In addition, it is illegal to operate a vehicle without driving credentials on hand. Drivers put themselves at risk for receiving a traffic ticket if they drive without a valid license.

You may replace drivers license credentials in North Carolina online or in person. To complete the process you will need to furnish certain details and documents as well as pay the fee for a replacement card. Keep reading to learn details on how to replace drivers license documents in NC, including what to do if you are temporarily living out of state.

When is a replacement drivers license required in North Carolina?

If you are a licensed NC driver, then you are required to obtain a duplicate drivers license whenever your original license is lost, stolen or incurs a significant amount of damage. If any of the content on your copy of drivers license is no longer easy to view due to fading, creasing or other damage, then you should replace your license. You also must update and replace documentation within 60 days of having a legal name or address change.

If you are requesting a replacement drivers license because of a name change, then you must first change your name with the Social Security Administration and allow 24 to 36 hours for them to update your records before visiting the North Carolina DMV. You must show the DMV proof of the name change via marriage license, divorce decree or other court order.

It is illegal in North Carolina to operate a vehicle without having a valid copy of drivers license credentials, so not replacing damaged or lost drivers license puts you at risk for being ticketed for illegal driving. There are also practical reasons to replace credentials quickly, such as avoiding the inconvenience of not having your primary form of photo identification on hand.

If you apply for replacement the next business day following any kind of loss or damage, then you can avoid many of these problems and get back to driving legally.

How to Replace Your Drivers License Online in North Carolina

You may be eligible to order a drivers license copy online if the NC DMV has your last license photo and your Social Security Number on file. You may not replace lost drivers license documentation online if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have a suspended license or an unresolved debt with the NC DMV
  • You are applying for a commercial drivers license with a P or S endorsement
  • You are not a U.S. citizen
  • You wish to apply for an NC REAL ID license

If none of the above apply to you, then start your NC DMV duplicate license application by creating an account or logging into the NC DMV’s website. You will need to have your driver’s license number, date of birth, and a Social Security Number, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or a U.S. visa. You must also have a valid email address and a major credit or debit card to get copy of drivers license credentials online.

How to Replace Your North Carolina Drivers License in Person

Many motorists still prefer to replace drivers license documentation via the traditional method of appearing in person at one of the DMV branch offices. If you have questions over replacing your copy of drivers license credentials or would also like to renew your drivers license, then this is probably the best way to handle your replacement. If your original copy of drivers license is damaged, then bring it with you.

If you have a stolen or lost drivers license, then bring two ID documents from the DMV’s list of acceptable documents. Examples of proper identification include a certified birth certificate, an original Social Security card, a U.S. military ID card or a certified copy of your NC motor vehicle record. You will need to pay the fee for the clerk to process your application.

Out-of-State Drivers License Replacement in North Carolina

If you are wondering, “Where can I get a copy of my drivers license if I am out of town at the time and for the immediate future?” then you may request a temporary license through the mail. To qualify for mail-in drivers license replacement, you must be a student or worker temporarily residing out-of-state for 30 or more days or an active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces stationed outside of NC.

You must contact the NC DMV directly to obtain the latest information on applying for a temporary NC replacement drivers license through the mail. Call the DMV Customer Service Office at or use the email contact form located on the NC DMV website.

North Carolina Drivers License Replacement Fees

The current NC replacement drivers license fee of $13 can vary depending on the type of licensing credentials you have. If you replace drivers license documentation at a DMV office, then you may pay the fee by cash, money order, personal check or major credit card, including Visa, MasterCard and Discover.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.