Renew your North Carolina driver's license

Determine the Status of Your LicenseRenew-License

You must have a valid driver’s license and auto insurance to drive legally in North Carolina. You can renew your license up to 180 days before its expiration date.

If you aren’t sure about the status of your license, you can order a copy of your driving record.

Valid License
Your license is valid for eight years if you’re between the ages of 18 and 53. If you’re 54 or older, it is valid for five years.

You must renew in person, unless you’re temporarily living out-of-state (for at least 30 days) or are away as a member of the military.

Expired License
It is illegal to drive with an expired license; however, you have up to one year to renew your expired license. If more than a year goes by, you must begin the testing process again.

Suspended License
You must follow a separate process to have your license reinstated. Expect to see an increase in your insurance rates.

Lost License
You must follow the process for ordering a duplicate.

Check Your Renewal NoticeRenew-License

You’ll be mailed a renewal reminder notice about two months before your license is set to expire. It will indicate your license’s exact expiration date. The notice is not necessary to renew your license.

Renew OnlineRenew-License

Renewing online is not an option.

Renew By MailRenew-License

If you live temporarily outside the state (for at least 30 days) you may renew by mail. You’ll be issued a temporary license and must apply for a renewal within 60 days of returning to North Carolina.

Active armed forces members and their families stationed outside the state for any length of time may renew by mail.

Mail renewals are looked at on a case-by-case basis. The DMV may ask for additional requirements. If you hold a commercial license, you cannot, under any circumstances, renew by mail.

For more information, call (919) 715-7000.

Renew In PersonRenew-License

You must renew your license at a driver’s license office in person. Bring your driver’s license or two acceptable documents as proof of your identity.

If the DMV does not already have your Social Security number on file, you must bring your Social Security card as well. If you aren’t eligible for a Social Security number, bring the documents demonstrating your legal presence in the country.

To renew, you’ll need to:

* Pass a vision test
* Pass a traffic sign recognition test (the DMV has a practice test page)
* Pay renewal fees

The examiner may in some cases ask you to take a road test, too.

Update Your Driving SkillsRenew-License

To keep your driving skills fresh, consider taking a traffic safety course. You’ll be updated o any changes in traffic law and may even lower your insurance rates upon completion.