DMV.com is a privately owned website.* Privacy

Applying for a North Carolina New Driver’s License – Under 18

DMV Practice Test Only $14.99

  • Get the Official DMV.com Study Guide.
  • BONUS - FREE access to the Road Signs Practice Test

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 North Carolina 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.

Note: Drivers license applicants are required to take a written drivers test as part of the application process. Get prepared to pass the exam on your first try by using our learners permit practice tests.

How to Apply for a North Carolina Learner's Permit:

  • Be at least 15 years old.
  • Pass a drivers ed course.
  • Pass the written and the sign exams.
  • Take a vision test.
  • Present the required documentation.
  • Pay the NC learners permit fees.

Applying for an NC Learners Permit

New applicants for North Carolina drivers licenses are required to complete a Graduated Driver Licensing program. The first step of this program is the limited learners permit, after which follow the limited and full provisional licenses.

What is the Graduate Driver Licensing Program in North Carolina

The North Carolina Graduated Driver Licensing program consists of phases you must complete in order to get an NC drivers license. Each consists of the following:

  • Limited learner permit.
  • Limited provisional license.
  • Full provisional license.

Certain restrictions must be followed, along with a list of NC DMV requirements, in order to move on to the next stage of the Graduated Driver Licensing program. By completing the program phases, you will be able to legally drive a motor vehicle on the public roads in North Carolina.

How To Get An NC Learners Permit

Learners Permit Requirements in North Carolina

The first step of obtaining your driver's license requires you to fulfill set criteria for getting a North Carolina learners permit. Eligible applicants must meet the following:

  • You must be at least 15 years of age.
  • Complete a driver's education course.
  • Pass the written and the sign tests.
  • Pass the vision exam.
  • Provide a Driving Eligibility Certificate or a high school diploma.
  • Complete a Driving Log to Advance to Level 2 Limited Provisional Driver License form.
  • Pay the applicable fees.

Preparing for a North Carolina DMV Written Exam

New North Carolina drivers are required to pass written and sign exams in order to get an NC learners permit. The written exam consists of questions about the traffic laws and safe driving, while the sign test consists of questions about the traffic signs and their shapes and colors. A total of 25 questions are part of the written test, out of which you need to answer 20 correctly.

Get fully prepared for the DMV written exam by using our online practice driving tests. These learners permit practice tests will give you a chance to see what type of questions you may be asked on the actual exam day.

You can take the written exam at any North Carolina DMV location. Click here for a list of all DMV offices within the state and choose the nearest to you.

Be Prepared! Study with our DMV practice test and we guarantee you'll pass!

NC Drivers Education

North Carolina residents, who plan to apply for learners permits, need to complete a drivers education course first. You must be at least 14-and-half years of age and enrolled in school. You will receive a Driving Eligibility Certificate for a successful completion of the course, which will enable you to apply for a Level One Limited learners permit from the Graduated Driver Licensing program. The North Carolina drivers education course consists of the parts: classroom phase, eye exam and driving phase.

North Carolina Teen Online Drivers Ed

Covers Road Rules And Signs.

Get you licesne fast, easy, and online.

  • Study all online - anywhere, anytime!
  • Easy and fun interactive lessons
  • NC DMV-approved course

Powered by CyberActive

North Carolina Learners Permit Restrictions

North Carolina learners permit holders are allowed to operate a motor vehicle only under certain restrictions. A supervising driver must accompany you while driving on public roads in the state. You will not be allowed to drive from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. without a supervising driver during the first six months. Moreover, usage of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle is strictly prohibited for learners permit holders.

Note: In North Carolina, you can apply for a limited provisional license only if you hold a learners permit at the moment of application.

North Carolina Provisional Licenses

Two types of provisional drivers licenses are available in North Carolina: the limited provisional license and the full provisional license. Both of the provisional licenses are part of the Graduated Driver Licensing program. Therefore, the limited provisional license requirements are the following:

  • You must hold a limited learners permit for one year.
  • You must not be less than 16 years of age.
  • You must not have convictions of moving violations in the last six months.
  • You must pass a road skills test.
  • You must provide proof of liability insurance and a completed Driving Log to Advance to Level 2 Limited Provisional Driver License form.

Once you get a limited provisional license, you can move on to the next level of the Graduated Driver Licensing program. The requirements for a full provisional license are fewer:

  • You must hold a limited provisional license for six months.
  • You must not have convictions of moving violations in the last six months.

A North Carolina full provisional license allows you to operate a motor vehicle unsupervised, any time of day.

NC Provisional License Driving Restrictions

Since two types of provisional drivers licenses are available in North Carolina, two sets of driving restrictions apply. On the one hand, holders of limited provisional license have the following restrictions:

  • You may drive unsupervised from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • You may drive unsupervised when driving to or from work.
  • You may not transport more than one passenger less than 21 years of age when driving unsupervised.
  • You must not use a mobile telephone or other electronic while driving.

On the other hand, holders of full provisional licenses have only one restriction: the prohibition of using mobile telephones or other electronic while operating a motor vehicle.

Replacing an NC Learners Permit

You can replace your North Carolina learners permit if it has been lost or stolen. Apply for a duplicate learners permit either online or in person at any NC DMV office. For more information about the process for learners permit replacement, click here.

Locate a North Carolina DMV

Browse through our website and find out our list of North Carolina DMV locations. Search for the nearest DMV office to you and either visit them during office hours or call them on the given phone numbers.

Submitted by emilysu62 on 4th Mar 2016

I got my permit 7 months

I got my permit 7 months after I turned 16; how long do I have to wait to get my license? I live in North Carolina, and I've heard that I only have to wait 6 months since I got my permit after I turned 16. Is this true?

Submitted by cobragirl1123 on 16th Dec 2015

My friend is 25 does he still

My friend is 25 does he still have to get a learner's permit even tho he is over the ages of 15 and 18? if so what type?

Submitted by Mads on 5th Jul 2015

I'm 18 and still don't have

I'm 18 and still don't have my permit. Can I just go ahead and get my license? or do I still have to get a permit?

Submitted by cmsaunders on 12th Feb 2015

I wonder if I can apply for

I wonder if I can apply for my driver's license on my birthday on August 28, 2015, technically September 12, 2015 would be one year of me having my permit. So is it possible for me to apply on my birthday or on the 1 year anniversary of me having my level 1 limited learners permit which is September 12, 2015?

Submitted by ashley1997 on 22nd Jan 2015

I am turning 18 in july, by

I am turning 18 in july, by them I will have my drivers permit for 6 month, and I able to get my license once or after I turn 18???

Submitted by _anaa._ on 2nd Jan 2015

Both my parents don't have a

Both my parents don't have a valid license, does that mean I won't be able to go in the DMV to get my permit or is there a way I can get it otherwise?

Submitted by sumduck on 28th Sep 2014

I have had my level one

I have had my level one permit for about four months, I am fifteen. Am I allowed to drive to work between 5-9 without a supervising driver?

Submitted by zzpentland on 15th Oct 2014

Lol, im 15 and got my permit

Lol, im 15 and got my permit 7/03/14. Anyways, no you cant. You can only drive with your guardian/parent/someone they trust. Then after one year, you can drive by yourself with ONE passenger under the age of 21.

Submitted by Ejman1998 on 18th Aug 2014

So I have a question i lost

So I have a question i lost my paper work for my learners permit and I'm suppost to get my license in about 2 weeks Am I going to have to wait until I'm 18?! I don't know please help?!

Submitted by bar1421 on 10th Jun 2014

I want to know if my learner

I want to know if my learner permit has expired on my 18 years old birth date I am not ready to drive solo yet can i renew my learner permit

Submitted by Oscar1111 on 5th May 2014

Got Charged with driving

Got Charged with driving without supervision what do i do im 17 i have the learners permit

Submitted by zzpentland on 15th Oct 2014

Shouldve waited another year

Shouldve waited another year and just got your full license...learner permits are for 15 year old age group...now you have a bad record..-,-

Submitted by Danny 12345 (not verified) on 25th Sep 2013

I'm 17 I just got my level 1

I'm 17 I just got my level 1 permit yesterday, can I drive from work to school without a supervisor after 5:00 am and before 9:00 pm

Submitted by wellercurphey (not verified) on 4th May 2013

We live overseas as

We live overseas as expatriates, so our children are never in the states for very long and technically they don't have a "resident" state. Can they register to vote in NC and get a license to drive using their grandparent's home?

Submitted by Addis Ababa (not verified) on 13th Jun 2013

From personal experience

From personal experience getting a drivers license in the US as an expat takes forever! I assume that as long as you show proof of residency of some sort you should be ok. However, I would bring the grandparents along to be the claim to the residency. But overall my advice would be to just wait until they're 18 and things get a lot easier.

Submitted by dawnmerg (not verified) on 14th Feb 2013

Does my child need to be put

Does my child need to be put on my insurance policy when he has a learners permit?

Submitted by mmatthews798 (not verified) on 16th Dec 2012

I am 16 and I got my

I am 16 and I got my learner's permit in April 11,2012. When can I get my license?

Submitted by jwblkoerber@yahoo.com (not verified) on 23rd Apr 2012

are learner permit holders

are learner permit holders from nc allowed to drive in other states if they are supervised by a licensed driver over 21 and who at that time is the custodian of the permit holder?

Submitted by beka538 (not verified) on 30th Mar 2012

I'm turning 15 in may and Im

I'm turning 15 in may and Im taking driver's ed this monday, ending on friday. Can I get my permit after the class, or do I have to wait until I turn 15?

Submitted by fred little (not verified) on 26th Jan 2012

im 17 an i wont to no how can

im 17 an i wont to no how can i get my driver's permitt

Submitted by jayare (not verified) on 4th Jun 2013

Learn to spell and write.

Learn to spell and write. That might just help.

Submitted by courtney123 (not verified) on 25th Oct 2011

I'm in North Carolina and I

I'm in North Carolina and I want to know can I get my full license when im 16

Submitted by Sydner (not verified) on 10th Oct 2011

I am 25 I drove when 15 lost

I am 25 I drove when 15 lost permit after few months and going to start driving now that I need it... I want to know can I apply for a permit or am I just going to be turned down and have only the option of getting full license?

Submitted by forkliftguy (not verified) on 1st Sep 2011

My niece has moved from NY to

My niece has moved from NY to NC and has a permit she is 19 and plans on taking her test for he license in a few weeks. Is it legal for her to drive on her permit to used to the narrower road and my vehical until she takes her test? New York says yes but I can't find anything from North Carolina to answer the question

Submitted by jdm_k20z (not verified) on 1st Aug 2011

i got my license taken at

i got my license taken at court when i was 16, i got a charge of driving after previously consuming alcohol under the age of 21 a day before i turned 16. i have no other traffic violations and i completed all requirmemts for that charge. i called dmv and they said that my license status was cancelled, what does that mean? and also if i go to dmv can i get my license now that i am 17 and have previously had my permit for 9 months, or will they give me a permit again for the 3 month period that i had left since my license was only cancelled?

Submitted by jessicanmoore (not verified) on 12th Jul 2011

I was wondering since I'm 20

I was wondering since I'm 20 year old, do i still have to get my learner's permit if i never had my license.

Submitted by nwilli25@cpcc.edu (not verified) on 10th Jul 2011

Im 21 and not ready to drive

Im 21 and not ready to drive solo. my learners permit just expired cani renew it online?

Submitted by Jasson (not verified) on 5th Jun 2011

If i lost my learners permit

If i lost my learners permit and state ID how can I renew it, but I'm 17 years old. or can i still renew both or only the learners permit?

Submitted by mw6523 (not verified) on 4th Jun 2011

If my child has a Florida

If my child has a Florida Learners permit, is she eligible to drive in the state of NC with adult supervision?

Submitted by newspire (not verified) on 28th Jun 2011

No. The same thing happened

No. The same thing happened to me. I had to start the whole process over. They do not accept Florida permits.

Submitted by Anonymous on 10th May 2011

How long do you have to drive

How long do you have to drive on learners permit if your sixteen and have high school diploma?

Submitted by Anonymous on 28th Apr 2011

how can i renew my permit

how can i renew my permit online or do i have to go in person

Submitted by Anonymous on 22nd Apr 2011

if i am 16 and i have had my

if i am 16 and i have had my permit for 6 months can i get my licence

Submitted by doerico (not verified) on 21st Apr 2010

Yes

Yes

Submitted by Maniyah (not verified) on 22nd Aug 2009

Ready to get my permit

Ready to get my permit driver's Licence

Submitted by Anonymous on 21st Feb 2011

YES

YES

Submitted by rage (not verified) on 30th Dec 2011

when i turn 16 caould i get m

when i turn 16 caould i get m lisinse if i had my permit for 9 monthes if i got it late or do i have to wait a full year

Submitted by Khid Trippa (not verified) on 7th Sep 2011

I need some help?

I need some help?

Submitted by doerico (not verified) on 21st Apr 2010

yes

yes

Submitted by Todd16 (not verified) on 16th Jun 2009

I want to know if you get

I want to know if you get your learners permit at 16 do you just go to learners permit 2