Apply for North Carolina driver's license

Choose Your LicenseApply-License

North Carolina offers the following types of licenses:

* Regular License – Class A, B, C (most drivers only need a Class C)
* Commercial License – Class A, B, C
* Graduated License (provisional, limited learner, Level Two limited provisional, Level Three full provisional)

If you’re under age 18, you must complete a driver’s education class and get a permit before applying for your provisional license.

Take a Driver’s Education CourseApply-License

Younger than 18: You must pass a driver’s education course.
18 or Older: Completing driver’s education is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended.

Prepare for the TestApply-License

You must pass a written test about driving rules and safe driving practices in order to get a permit. The best way to study is to read the state’s driver’s manual and to take some practice tests.

Locate a Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) OfficeApply-License

You’ll take the test at your local driver’s license office. Make an appointment for your driving test.

Test-Day PreparationsApply-License

On test day, you must:

* Provide proof of residency
* Provide proof of age and social security
* Present your social security card (unless exempted)
* Show your driving eligibility certificate, high school diploma, or GED certificate
* Provide proof of completion of driver’s education
* Pass a vision test
* Take the written test
* Pay the fee if you pass the test: $15 for a learner’s permit, $4 for other classes of licenses. Depending on your age, licenses are issued for 5-8 years.

Take the Written TestsApply-License

Once you’ve studied the driver’s manual, taken some practice tests, and, if necessary, completed driver’s ed, prepare your paperwork and visit the DMV to take the test.

Get a CarApply-License

In order to take the behind-the-wheel test, you’ll need to provide a car in good operating condition. If you’re in the market and considering a used vehicle, it’s wise to obtain a vehicle history report, which will indicate salvage titles, flood damage, and other defects or discrepancies.

Get Car InsuranceApply-License

Insurance is required to drive in North Carolina.

Take the Driving TestApply-License

If you’re new to the state, already hold a valid, out-of-state license, and are at least 18 years old, it is up to the examiner to decide if you need to take the road test.

Everyone else is required to take the road test. It’s a good idea to make an appointment.

Once you pass, you’ll get your license at the driver’s license office. You’ll pay $4 per year, and licenses are issued for 5-8 years depending on your age.

If you fail, you must wait at least five business days before retaking the test.


Visitors who hold a valid license from another country may legally drive in the state for one year.

When you become a resident of the state, you must apply for a North Carolina license within 60 days of establishing residency.