Detailed up-to-date information regarding the documents required to get a NC Driver License or Learner Permit can be found in the:

Proof of Residency Acceptable Documents

Listed below are acceptable documents you can use for a U.S. Citizen:

  • Any document issued by this State or county, city, or the federal government;
  • NC Vehicle Registration Card or title;
  • NC Voter Precinct Card;
  • Military Orders/Documents;
  • Utility bill or cable bill;
  • Housing lease or contract, mortgage statement, property or income tax statement;
  • Preprinted financial statement;
  • School records;
  • NC Vehicle insurance policy;
  • Letter from homeless shelter

Proof of Residency Acceptable Documents

Listed below are acceptable documents you can use for a non U.S. Citizen:

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card
  • Machine Readable Immigrant visa
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Card
  • Temporary I-551 stamp on I-94 or Passport
  • I-327 Re-entry Permit with supporting immigration documentation
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
  • I-20 accompanied by I-94
  • DS-2019 accompanied by I-94
  • I-571 Refugee Travel Document with supporting immigration documentation
  • I-797 Notice of Action
  • I-521L Authorization for Parole of an Alien into U.S. with supporting immigration documentation
  • I-220B Order of supervision with supporting immigration documentation

Proof of Social Security

One of these documents is needed to establish proof of Social Security:

  • Social Security Card
  • 1099 Tax Form
  • W-2 Form
  • DD-214 Form
  • Payroll Record
  • Social Security Document reflecting the Social Security Number
  • Military Record reflecting the Social Security Number
  • Medicaid/Medicare Card reflecting the Social Security Number

Proof of Identity

  • Must have a valid Driver License/ID.
  • If there are co-owners to be recorded on a title, all signatures on required documents must be notarized and accompanied by a black and white copy of the alternate owner’s valid Driver License/ID or a Power of Attorney must be provided to sign for the co-owners.

If you are a non-resident of the state of North Carolina, you will need to bring 1 additional document that proves one of the following:

  • Military active duty stationed in NC;
  • College enrollment in a NC school;
  • Vehicle garaged in NC for a minimum of 6 months each year;
  • Court-ordered sale of a vehicle;
  • Vehicle is co-owned;
  • Registration for a motor home; or
  • Documented medical condition

Proof of Age & Acceptable Identity Documents

Proof of age and identity includes providing your full name and date of birth.

Listed below are acceptable documents you can use, provided they include your full name:

  1. Driver License

    Driver License, Learner Permit or State-Issued Identification Card from NC or another state, Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, or a Canadian province that is expired less than two years. The DL/ID or learner permit submitted must reflect a photo.

  2. Birth Certificate

    Certified birth certificate issued by a government agency in the US, Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory or Canada, or U.S. Report of Consular Birth Abroad. No photocopies allowed, unless certified by issuing agency.

  3. Original Social Security Card

    When making application for an original identification card, learner permit or driver license it is required that you provide DMV with a valid Social Security number. If you are not eligible for a Social Security number, you must provide documentation issued by the United States government indicating legal presence.

  4. Tax forms

    Tax forms that reflect your full name and full SSN, e.g. W-2 or 1099.

  5. Motor Vehicle Driver’s Record

    Certified NC Motor Vehicle Record, Non-Certified NC Motor, Vehicle Record.

    Certified Out-of-State Motor Vehicle Record .

  6. School Documents

    NC school transcript/registration signed by a school official, or diploma or GED from an NC school, community college or NC university.

    Driver Education Certificates, Driving Eligibility Certificates and report cards are not accepted as proof of identification.

  7. US Military ID US Military ID Valid unexpired U.S. military ID, including DD-2, DD-214, or U.S. Military Dependents Card, U.S. Veteran Universal Access Card.
  8. Passport

    Valid, unexpired passport from any nation.

  9. Certified Marriage Certificate

    Certified marriage certificate from a Register of Deeds or government agency in the U.S, Puerto Rico, U.S. territories or Canada.

  10. NC Limited Driving Privilege

    Limited Driving Privilege issued by North Carolina court. Cannot be expired more than one year

  11. US Government Documents

    Valid, unexpired documents issued by the DHS/USCIS.

    • An expired immigration document may be valid if accompanied by a letter from USCIS extending the expiration date (e.g. I-797).
  12. Court Documents

    Court documents from US jurisdiction, Puerto Rico, US territories or Canada.

    • Divorce decree
    • Court order for change of name or gender
    • Adoption papers
    • Certified Court order for child support

Proof of Liability Insurance Acceptable Documents

North Carolina law requires that you provide proof of insurance when registering your vehicle. Your vehicle must be insured by a company licensed to do business in the State of North Carolina.

Proof of liability insurance includes providing insurance documents that show your name, the effective date of policy, the expiration date of the policy, and the date the policy was issued.

Even if you do not own or drive a currently registered vehicle you may still apply for a license, but a restriction will be placed on your driver license. This restriction limits you to only driving "fleet vehicles." To remove this restriction you'll have to pay the Liability Insurance Restriction Removal, Fee: $10.00 .

Listed below are acceptable documents you can use:

  1. Form DL-123 from your insurance agent
  2. Vehicle insurance policy reflecting your name and the issue and expiration dates
  3. An insurance binder
  4. An insurance card with your name, the policy number and issue and expiration dates

Lapse of Insurance Coverage

If you change insurance carriers or you have a lapse of coverage, your insurance company is required by law to notify the Division of Motor Vehicles. When the Division receives this information, they are required to send Form FS 5-7 Notice, and you are required to respond within 10 days.

If there has not been a break in coverage:

You must enter your correct insurance information on the Form FS 5-7 and return it to the Division within 10 days from the date on the FS 5-7 Notice.

If there has been a break in coverage:

You must re-certify with the correct insurance information and submit the listed penalty amount within 10 days from the date of the letter in order to retain your license plate.

Failure to respond within the required time can result in the loss of your license plate for 30 days.

Re-licensing after loss of license plate:

In order to relicense after 30 days, you must:

  1. Provide proof of insurance coverage Form FS-1 (which you can obtain from your insurance agent);
  2. Pay a civil penalty fee of $50.00, $100.00 or $150.00 (depending on how many prior paid lapses you have General Statute 20-311).
  3. Pay a $50.00 service fee;
  4. And pay the appropriate license plate fee.

Wrongful Termination of Insurance Coverage

If you feel the termination of your insurance is unjustified you do have a recourse. An insurance hearing may be requested when you feel the action is unjustified or when circumstances were beyond your control. You may call 919-715-7000 to set up a hearing. (An FS-1 is required for this option)

Graduated License - Identification Documents

Two of these documents are needed to establish identity; one must contain your date of birth:

  • Out-of-State Driver License
  • Original Birth Certificate
  • Original Social Security Card
  • Official School Transcript signed by a School Official
  • Unexpired U.S. Military ID/Military Dependents Card
  • Valid Unexpired Passport
  • Certified Marriage Certificate
  • Limited Driving Privilege issued by N.C.
  • Valid Unexpired documents issued by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration Services
  • Court Documents from U.S. jurisdiction, Puerto Rico, U.S. territories or Canada
  • U.S. Veterans Universal Access Card

Graduated License - Proof of Social Security

One of these documents is needed to establish proof of Social Security:

  • Social Security Card (no metal cards)
  • 1099 Form
  • W-2 Form
  • DD-214 Form
  • Property tax Record
  • Payroll Record/Pay Stub
  • Social Security Document reflecting the SS Number
  • Military ID Card/Military Dependents Card
  • Medicaid/Medicare Card reflecting the SS Number

Graduated License - Required Documents

These documents are required along with the Identification Documents and the Proof of Social Security:

  • Driving Eligibility Certificate
  • Driver Education Certificate

Registration Service Stops

Under the following circumstances, Vehicle Registration may be denied.

  1. Bad Debt Stop – If you owe money to the DMV. You can pay the debt in person at Headquarters or by mail at PO Box 29615 Raleigh, NC 27626
  2. Bad Credit Warning – If you have previously given a bad check to the DMV, the Division will allow cash services only. If "no service" is allowed you may clear this stop by contacting Fiscal Section of DMV at (919) 861-3662.
  3. Child Support Stop – If you fail to pay child support you must contact the Department of Health & Human Resources to clear the stop.
  4. Correspondence Stop – Plate Stop/Vehicle Stop – Depending on the problem such as vehicle identification numbers, any problems concerning title documents, application, lien or etc. you may or may not perform registration services through the License Plate Agencies.
  5. County Tax Stop – If the registration owner fails to pay county taxes on their vehicle they must contact their County Tax Department to clear the stop.
  6. DWI Customer Stop – When a person is driving while license is revoked as a result to a prior DWI. The seized vehicle may or may not be owned by the driver. You would contact the court as they are the ones who place the stops of vehicles.
  7. DWI Registered Owner Stop – If you are convicted of a DWI. You will need to contact the county Administrative Office of Courts.
  8. Inspection Stop – If your license plate has expired and the vehicle has not passed an inspection such as a safety/emissions inspection no more than 90 days before your plate expiration date, registration will not be allowed. If there are emissions problems with the vehicle, you should contact DMV Emissions at 1 (877) 421-0020.
  9. Insurance Stop – If your insurance coverage has been terminated and you do not have a Form FS-1 showing continuous coverage, your license plate will be revoked. Upon revocation, your license plate must be surrendered for 30 days to a DMV license plate agency. Your vehicle can be relicensed on the 31st day upon payment of the license plate fee, required insurance penalties and fees, and proof of liability insurance coverage (Form FS-1).
  10. IRP/Audit Stop – If you fail to pay IRP Audit fees within 30 days from the billing date. This can limit your ability to register a vehicle.
  11. Stolen/Stopped Vehicle – A stop occurs when the vehicle is sold by a mechanic or lien storage sale, sold at public auction, judicial proceedings etc. A stolen vehicle stop is placed against a vehicle record when the vehicle is stolen. The agency placing stolen stops must remove the stop. Any questions concerning stop/stolen vehicles should be directed to the DMV License and Theft Bureau (919) 861-3141.
  12. Unpaid Tolls – If you have unpaid tolls from using any of North Carolina's toll-based roads, your registration will be blocked when the payment is more than 60 days past due. You must pay for all outstanding tolls before the block can be lifted.

Vehicle Registration Requirements (Taxation & Inspection)

The following are the current Vehicle Registration requirements for North Carolina.

To retain vehicle license plate, liability insurance must be maintained continuously.

  1. In North Carolina, a vehicle that is subject to a safety or emissions inspection is required to be inspected no more than 90 days before the plate expires.
  2. Vehicle property tax will be collected at the time of registration renewal.
  3. Questions regarding vehicle values and appeals on tax values must be directed to the county tax assessor, not the DMV.

Title Application Submitted by Affidavits

Affidavits are used when the North Carolina Title or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin have been assigned to an entity or individual and lost.

A mandatory 15-day waiting period will occur before the title is issued.

  • Purchaser's Affidavit ( MVR-46A ) – Affidavit that purchaser had accepted the title, properly assigned before a notary and disposition made of the original title document.
  • Registered Owner Affidavit ( MVR-46B ) – Affidavit from the registered owner that the title was endorsed in the presence of a notary and delivered to the purchaser.
  • Dealer's Affidavit ( MVR-46C ) – Affidavit from the North Carolina dealer where the vehicle was purchased that they received the NC certificate of title duly endorsed to them.
  • Lienholder Affidavit ( MVR-46D ) – Affidavit by lienholder or separate lien release.

Driver License Renewal By Mail

Circumstances that may prohibit driver license renewal by mail:

  • Driver license has been expired for over one year (over two years for Military personnel)
  • Driver license has been issued twice by mail
  • Customer‘s license is not active or is active expired
  • Customer has no image on file in N.C.
  • Image does not meet requirements
  • Customer has shown no proof of residency
  • Military orders show customer reassigned, if applicable
  • Customer has a restriction change
  • Customer does not meet age requirements

Military Personnel - Driver License

General driver license information:

  • Customer may provide the address of a verifiable North Carolina host family if proof of residency is not available.
  • A vision waiver can be submitted for active duty military currently in a war zone.
  • A signed and dated National Sex Offender Affidavit is required.
  • Military spouses and dependents cannot change restrictions (vision) by mail. These changes must be made at a driver license examiner office.
  • Siblings of military families can upgrade to a Class C driver license if their license has not been expired for more than one year and they are 18 years of age. Customer will need to meet the out-of-state renewal requirements and fill out the out-of-state renewal application.

Military Personnel - Driver License Renewal

Driver license renewal information:

  • Customer may renew back to back no more than two times in a lifetime. (This includes military spouse and dependents.) If renewal is completed online, the Division adds a military designation to the license.
  • If last photo on file with DMV was issued for five years, customer can extend license to eight years. Customer can renew with an image older than five years. Military customer may renew back to back, extending the age of the image past eight years.
  • Driver license renewals may be made for more than one year prior to expiration date accompanied by military papers showing active duty status.

Military Personnel - Out-of-State Driver License Renewal

To get a renewal license for Military Stationed outside the U.S., a customer must:

  • Not be older than 69 at the date of request to renew by mail; may renew their license at any time.
  • Provide military orders and a copy of their military identification card, both front and back.

Note: A military customer does not need to go to a driver license examiner office when they return to North Carolina. They will not need to go in until time to renew their license.

Example:

  • If the military customer returns to North Carolina in 2010 and his license does not expire until 2014, the customer will not need to go in to office for renewal until 2014.

Military Personnel - Out-of-State Motorcycle Endorsement Renewal

To get motorcycle endorsement for renewal or duplicate issuances for Military Stationed outside the U.S., a customer must:

  • Have a photo on file not older than five years from the date of the motorcycle endorsement request.
  • Submit the written examination or proof that the written examination is equivalent to or exceeds N.C. requirements – a passing score of 80% or greater must be submitted.
  • Submit the actual skills test maneuvers equivalent to or exceeds N.C. requirements. The skills test results must reflect a "pass/fail" indication or a numeric score of 80% or greater.
    • If the written examination and skills test are unavailable, a Motorcycle Rider Card may be accepted. Written verification of its authenticity from the Safety Officer on the military installation must be included.
  • Submit a vision examination no expired beyond six months.
  • Submit skills and knowledge examinations must be submitted by a designation Safety Officer for the military installation. The scores may be submitted electronically.

Commercial Driver License Rules

For a complete listing of rules, view the Commercial Driver's Manual, Section 1. A few key rules include:

  • No one can drive a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL.
  • No one can have more than one license. If you break this rule, you can be fined for up to $5000 or put in jail.
  • Notify your employer and the motor vehicle licensing agency in the state issuing your CDL within 30 days of conviction for any moving traffic violations.
  • Notify your employer if your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, or if you are disqualified from driving.
  • Give your employer information on all driving jobs you have held for the past 10 years. You must do this when you apply for a commercial driving job.
  • It is illegal to operate a CMV if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is .04% or more. You will lose your CDL for one year for your first offense. You will lose it for life for your second offense. If your blood alcohol concentration is less than 0.04% but you have any detectable amount, you will be put out-of-service for 24 hours.
  • Fines for violations of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Out-of-State criteria must be paid when the citation is written.
  • It is a violation of State law to possess any alcoholic beverage (open or closed) while operating a commercial motor vehicle.
  • There is a minimum fine of $250 for speeding in highway work zones in addition to any fines or penalties that may be imposed for speeding violations.
  • There are now minimum limits of insurance requirements for commercial motor vehicles licensed in North Carolina, whether interstate or intrastate, private or "For Hire" in the amount of $750,000.
  • The court system can double any fine for operators of commercial motor vehicles that violate motor vehicle laws in which points are assessed.
  • There will be an increase in the number of points assessed to your driving record for motor vehicle law violations including railroad crossing violations and possession of an alcoholic beverage while operating a CMV.

Acceptable Photo Identification for Voting in North Carolina

  1. A North Carolina driver license issued under Article 2 of Chapter 20 of the General Statutes, including a learner’s permit or a provisional license.
  2. A special identification card for non-operators issued under G.S. 20-37.7.
  3. A United States passport.
  4. A United States military identification card, except there is no requirement that it have a printed expiration or issuance date.
  5. A Veterans Identification Card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for use at Veterans Administration medical facilities, except there is no requirement that it have a printed expiration or issuance date.
  6. A tribal enrollment card issued by a federally-recognized tribe.
  7. A tribal enrollment card issued by a tribe recognized by this State under Chapter 71A of the General Statutes, provided that card meets all of the following criteria:
    1. Is issued in accordance with a process approved by the State Board of Elections that requires an application and proof of identity equivalent to the requirements for issuance of a special identification card by the Division of Motor Vehicles under G.S. 20-7 and G.S. 20-37.7.
    2. Is signed by an elected official of the tribe.
  8. A driver license or non-operator’s identification card issued by another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory or commonwealth of the United States, but only if the voter’s voter registration was within 90 days of the election.