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DMV - New driver license in North Carolina

Application for a driver鈥檚 license in North CarolinaNorth Carolina Driving School





Driving is a legal privilege and responsibility. If you are 18 years of age or older you may apply for an original North Carolina driver license or a learner permit.


To receive an original driver license in North Carolina, you must bring at least two acceptable forms of identification. At least one must reflect your full name, including your middle name. If both forms of identification has only a middle initial, and your birth certificate is not one of the forms of identification you are presenting, you must present certified documentation indicating the same. At least one form of identification must include your date of birth.


You must complete and pass the written, sign, and vision tests. If you surrender a valid license from another state, the road test requirement is at the discretion of the Examiner. No driving skills test will be initiated after 4:00pm. Proof of residency and liability insurance on your car are required in addition to your Social Security card. If you are not eligible for a Social Security card, you must provide documentation issued by the United States Government indicating legal presence.


Trained driver license examiners throughout the state provide fair testing and give prompt and courteous service. Most examining stations are open from 8:00am to 4:30pm, but it is recommended that you verify office hours online by clicking office locations.


Step 1 - Requirements: 


To apply for a Driver License or Learner Permit:


To obtain an Original North Carolina Driver License or Learner Permit you have to be age 18 or older.


Before arriving at the Driver License Office you will need to determine what type of license or permit you will be applying for. For further information regarding a Driver's License or Learner Permit view the Driver's Handbook - Chapter 1: Types of Licenses, Permits and Certifications Section.



Step 2 - Gathering Your Documents: 


In order to avoid inconveniences make sure you have all necessary documents before making your visit to the Driver License Office.


In order to apply for the first time issuance of a North Carolina Learner Permit or Driver License you will need to gather documents from the following categories:


1. Proof of Residency:


Proof of residency includes providing your name and current address. You will need one document from this category. A few examples of documents you can use to prove your residency are:


         Any document issued by the State of North Carolina or any of its political subdivisions (county, city, tax district, etc.) or by the federal government;

         An apartment lease, housing contract, or mortgage statement;

         A utility bill (ie. power bill, cable bill, water bill, etc.);

         Matricula Consular issued by the Mexican consulate FOR North Carolina




2. Proof of Age & Identity:


Proof of age and identity includes providing your full name (including your middle name or initial) and date of birth. You will need a total of two documents from this category, one of which must show your date of birth. It is required that you present DMV with a valid Social Security card. If you are not eligible for a Social Security card, you must provide documentation issued by the United States Government indicating legal presence. If you have just recently moved to North Carolina and are applying for your original North Carolina driver license your valid, unexpired "out-of-state" driver license with photo counts as one form of identification.


You may not use two documents from the same section. For instance, using a report card and school transcript would not qualify as two forms of identification because they both come from the "School Records" section.


Acceptable Proof of Identity Documents:


         Valid, unexpired Driver License or State-Issued Identification Card from another state, Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, or a Canadian province.

         Certified or original birth certificate.

         Original Social Security card.


         Official North Carolina School Registration records signed by a school official and Diplomas issued by North Carolina schools, including secondary schools, community colleges, colleges and universities.

         Unexpired U.S. Military Identification, including DD-2, DD-214, Common Access Card, and U.S. Military Dependents Card.

         Valid, unexpired Passport from any nation.

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

         Limited Driving Privilege issued by North Carolina.

         Valid, unexpired documents issued by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration Services (BIS) formerly known as Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS).

         Court documents from U.S. jurisdiction, Puerto Rico, U.S. territories or Canada.

         U.S. Veterans Universal Access Card.



For the complete list of documents that may be used to provide proof of age & identity visit the Driver's Handbook: Chapter 1 - Requirements.




3. Proof of Liability Insurance:


Proof of liability insurance includes providing insurance documents such as:


DMV form DL-123;

or an original liability insurance policy binder;

or an insurance card with: your name, policy number, issue and expiration date.

The liability insurance documents must 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" and costs $10.00 when you are ready to remove it from your license.


For the complete description of liability insurance visit the Driver's Handbook: Chapter 1 - Requirements.




4. Social Security Card Requirement:

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



Step 3 - Paying Your Fees: 


The fees for an original North Carolina driver license and learner permit are as follows:


Type of License or Permit Fee


Learner Permit $15.00/ 18 months


Class A $4.00 / yr.*


Class B $4.00 / yr.*


Class C (the most common type of license) $4.00 / yr.*



Your license will be issued for a period of 5 or 8 years depending on your age. Ages 18 through 53 will be issued for 8 years. Ages 54 and older will be issued for 5 years. The cost of your license and any endorsements will be computed based on the yearly charge.


For the complete description of the types of Driver Licenses and Learner Permits visit the Driver's Handbook: Chapter 1 - Types of Licenses, Permits and Certifications.


For a broader listing of the fees associated with a Driver License or Learner Permit visit the Driver's Handbook: Chapter 1 - Schedule of Fees.



Step 4 - Restrictions: 




Individuals may not be licensed if they suffer from a mental or physical problem that might keep them from driving safely. A handicapped person may be issued a restricted license provided the disability does not keep him/her from driving safely.





Learner Permit:


A learner permit authorizes the permit holder to drive a specified type or class of motor vehicles while in possession of the permit. The permit holder must, while operating a motor vehicle over the highways, be accompanied by a person who is licensed to operate the motor vehicle being driven and is seated beside the permit holder.




No matter what type of license you are applying for your vision will be checked to see that you meet certain standards. If you need corrective lenses to bring your vision up to the required standards, you must wear the lenses at all times while driving and your license will indicate that you must wear corrective lenses. The penalty for driving without the proper corrective lenses is the same as driving without a license.



Step 5 - Organ Donation, Voting, & Selective Service: 


When you apply for your North Carolina driver license or learner permit you will be able to make selections regarding:


Organ Donation: For more information regarding organ and tissue donation see www.organdonor.gov.



Registering to Vote: For more information about the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, visit the State Board of Elections.



Selective Service Registration: For more information regarding Selective Service Registration visit the Selective Service System website.




Step 6 - Taking the Tests: 


The final step towards getting your original North Carolina driver license or learner permit is passing the driver's tests.


To get your Learner Permit you only have to pass the first three tests: vision; traffic signs; and driving knowledge. But if you plan on getting your Driver License you'll have to pass all four tests.



         Traffic Signs

         Driving Knowledge

         Driving Skills (Road Test)


Source: DMV 


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