To obtain a North Carolina driver's license or ID card, you'll need to visit the DMV in person and surrender your out-of-state driver's license. You'll also need to register your car by visiting your local DMV office.
New residents to North Carolina must get a driver's license, title, and registration within 30 days of establishing residency.
New residents are exempt from an initial vehicle inspection, but you will be required to have your vehicle inspected when your renewal date arrives, up to 90 days before your registration expires.
To register your vehicle for the first time, you must apply for a driver's license FIRST. Once you've done so, visit your localDMV office and present the following:
- Your new North Carolina driver's license.
- If your new license has not yet arrived, bring your out-of-state license AND your Temporary Driving Certificate, which you received when you applied for your NC license.
- Acceptable proof of insurance.
- A notarized vehicle title. If a lienholder has your vehicle title, present your current out-of-state registration and odometer reading.
- If there are co-owners to the vehicle, all necessary documents must be presented or filled out for both owners, and black-and-white copies of all owners' driver's licenses must be provided.
- A completed Title Application (Form MVR-1).
- Cash, check, or money order for the $36 plate fee, plus other state taxes (see below for a list of all possible fees and taxes).
If you have a valid out-of-state license and want to continue to drive legally, apply for a NC driver's license within 60 days of establishing permanent residence in the state.
You will need to bring proof of identity, residency and social security number when you apply. You must pass the vision exam, written test, and road signs tests. Once you pass, you'll receive a Temporary Driving Certificate; your permanent North Carolina driver's license should arrive by mail within 20 days. You may be exempt from the written and road tests if you surrender your out-of-state license which is valid or expired for under 2 years.