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New Drivers

New Driver
To get a North Carolina driver license for the first time, an individual must be at least 18 years old and apply in person at an N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles driver license office.

Note: Individuals at least 18 years old may also apply first for a learner permit. Teens 15 to 17 years old must apply for a limited learner permit as a part of a graduated licensing process.

Qualified applicants must successfully complete required knowledge, road sign recognition, vision and driving tests and take the following required documents to an NCDMV driver license office.

Note: NCDMV also offers an N.C. REAL ID driver license, which requires additional information and requirements.

North Carolina issues learner permits from a central location and mails them to applicants within 20 days. Applicants receive a Temporary Driving Certificate to use until their permit arrives.

Note: Applying for a North Carolina driver license will cancel any licenses from other states through the State-to-State Verification program.

License Fees

Applicants must pay a fee to be issued a North Carolina license. The amount depends on the type of license and endorsements. View a list of licenses and fees.

Other Services

When getting a license for the first time, applicants may also register to vote, sign up to be an organ donor or register for Selective Service.

NCDMV also offers drivers the option of getting a deaf or hard of hearing designation added to their license.

License Expiration

Licenses issued to adults age 18 to 65 are valid for eight years; licenses issued to adults age 66 and over are valid for five years.

Additional Requirements & Restrictions

  • Additional requirements may apply, depending on the type of license and individual needs. 
  • An individual who does not own or drive a currently registered vehicle can still apply for a license but might be restricted to driving only fleet vehicles. To remove the restriction, they must present proof of financial liability insurance and pay a duplicate-license fee.
  • NCDMV might not license an individual who suffers from a mental or physical condition that might keep them from driving safely. A person with a disability might be issued a restricted license, provided the condition does not keep them from driving safely.

Learn More

4/22/2019 1:04 PM

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