Within 60 days of establishing a permanent residence in North Carolina, new residents who plan to operate a motor vehicle must get a North Carolina driver license and title and register their vehicles with the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.
Because each state is different, new residents should also familiarize themselves with the
North Carolina Driver's Handbook, which outlines North Carolina's laws and regulations regarding roadway safety.
Getting a License
To apply for a North Carolina driver license, new residents must visit
an NCDMV driver license office with the following:
Note: An individual's name must match the name on the documents above, otherwise they must provide a proof of name change, such as a certified marriage license or certificate, divorce decree or document from the courts or Register of Deeds.
- Written and road tests may be waived for individuals with a valid license from another state.
- Once North Carolina issues a driver license, out-of-state licenses are no longer valid and should be properly discarded or surrendered to:
N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles
Driver License Section
3120 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697-3120
- Additional requirements may apply, depending on the type of license and individual needs.
- A valid license issued by a government agency from a U.S. state or another country is required to drive legally in North Carolina. North Carolina law enforcement authorities do not recognize international driver licenses.
More information about applying for a driver license for the first time can be found on the New Drivers page of this website.
Titling & Registering a Vehicle
After obtaining a North Carolina driver license, new residents must also register their vehicle when they accept gainful employment or at the expiration of the time granted by the reciprocity agreement between North Carolina and their prior state of residence (usually 30 days), whichever occurs first.
To register, take the following to
a local license plate agency:
Although new residents can initially register vehicles without an inspection, North Carolina requires
a vehicle inspection before they can renew their vehicle registration.
|$52||Certificate of Title (if moving to North Carolina)|
|3% of vehicle value (not to exceed $250)||Highway-use tax|
|$36||Standard plate fee (excluding Durham, Orange, Randolph and Wake Counties)*|
|$37||Standard plate fee (Randolph County)*|
|$51||Standard plate fee (Durham, Orange and Wake counties)*|
*In addition to registration fees, Durham, Orange, Randolph and Wake counties also charge regional registration taxes.