How do I?
Other Services

When applying for a North Carolina driver license or learner permit you can also:

  • Register to be an organ donor
  • Register for Selective Service
  • Register to vote
  • Voluntarily add a hearing impaired designation to your license

Learn More

Detailed up-to-date information regarding the "steps to getting" a NC Driver License or Learner Permit can be found in the:

New Residents

When moving to North Carolina you must obtain a North Carolina driver license BEFORE you can register a vehicle.

Apply for a Driver License

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 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

New residents must visit an NCDMV driver license office to apply for a North Carolina REAL ID driver license and take any required tests. Written and road tests may be waived for individuals with a valid license from another state.

International Driver License

The law enforcement authorities in North Carolina do not honor an International Driver License. A valid license issued by a government agency from a home state or country is required to legally drive in this State. In the United States, the American Automobile Association (AAA) issues an International License because some countries around the world require such issuance. You may locate your nearest AAA location by visiting their website, www.AAA.com.

Once North Carolina issues a driver license, out-of-state licenses are no longer valid and should be properly discarded or surrendered to: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

NOTE: 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.

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 their prior state of residence (usually 30 days), whichever occurs first.

Although new residents can initially register vehicles without an inspection, North Carolina requires a vehicle inspection before they can renew their vehicle registration.

Moving within North Carolina

Within 60 days of moving within North Carolina, license and ID holders must update their physical address with the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles and get a duplicate license or ID and vehicle registration.

Individuals who only need to change their mailing address, only have to call NCDMV (919) 715-7000.

Vehicle Inspections

Depending on where someone moves within North Carolina, their vehicle might also have to undergo an on-board diagnostic emissions inspection, which is required in 48 counties.

Leaving North Carolina

Locate Another State's DMV

To help make your moving plans happen as smoothly as possible we've provided a list of other DMVs nationwide:

Getting a New License From Another State

  • Apply for a driver license in your new home state of residence.
  • Surrender your North Carolina license or identification card to the proper authorities in your new home state of residence. If the issuing state does not accept identification cards, forward the card to the NC DMV Driver License Section:

Mail us:
N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles
3120 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697-3120

Do Not Cancel Your Insurance

North Carolina law requires you to have North Carolina liability coverage in effect on your vehicle during the entire time it is registered and the license plate is in your possession.

Learn More

Returning Your License Plate

  • Return the plate to the NC DMV Vehicle Registration Section at the address below.
  • Contact the Vehicle Registration Section at (919) 715-7000 to request a free printout of your receipt to be mailed to you.

Mail us:
N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles
3148 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697-3148