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How to Get a Learners Permit in North Carolina

Residents must obtain a learners permit in North Carolina if they are younger than 18 years of age and wish to begin the process of learning how to operate a motor vehicle. Motorists do not need a DMV learners permit if they are 18 years of age or older and wish to obtain a driver license. However, motorists may obtain a North Carolina DMV drivers permit even if they are 18 years of age or older, as there are many benefits of doing so. To get learners permit credentials, applicants must be at least 15 years of age. To learn more about how to get a learners permit in NC, review the information below.

North Carolina DMV Learners Permit Eligibility Requirements

To obtain a North Carolina learners permit, applicants must be at least 15 years of age before they may enroll in the state Graduated Licensing (GDL) Program. When applying for a learners permit, motorists must also be able to submit proof of identity and Social Security. As such, eligible motorists may obtain a limited permit for driving under level one of the GDL Program. However, specific requirements for learners permit credentials pertain to each level of the GDL Program. For additional information on getting a learners permit in NC, review the sections below.

Level One: Limited Learner Permit

To obtain a limited DMV drivers permit under level one of the GDL Program, applicants must be between 15 and 18 years of age. Additionally, learning permit applicants must complete an approved driving education course and obtain a Driving Eligibility Certificate, GED or a high school diploma before they may apply for a learners drivers license through the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). To get a learners permit in NC, applicants must also pass a vision screening, written examination and a regulatory and warning signs test.

Level Two: Limited Provisional License

After holding a DMV learners permit for at least 12 months, motorists may obtain a limited provisional license under level two of the GDL Program if they are between the ages of 16 and 18. To obtain a level two learner driver license, applicants must practice driving with a supervising adult for at least 60 hours (including 10 nighttime hours) and they must complete and submit a Driving Log (Form DL-4A) as part of the application process. To get a level two permit for North Carolina driving, applicants must pass a road skills test and they must not have any seat belt/mobile phone infractions or moving violations.

Level Three: Full Provisional License

After holding a level two NC learners permit for at least six months, motorists may obtain a full provisional license under level three of the GDL Program. However, motorists may only get a learning permit under level three of the GDL Program if they did not receive any moving violations or mobile phone/seat belt infractions within the previous six months.

Learner Driving License Applicants Older than 18 Years of Age

Motorists do not need to obtain a DMV drivers permit in North Carolina if they are at least 18 years of age. However, motorists may apply for a learners permit if they wish to receive additional driving practice before they complete their driver license road skills test and written examinations. Instead of obtaining a limited learner permit, however, applicants older than 18 years of age may obtain a standard permit for driving a vehicle. To get a DMV learning permit in NC, applicants must be able to submit proof of their age and identity, Social Security Number and evidence of automobile liability insurance. When applying for a learners permit, applicants must also pass a vision screening, traffic signs test and a driving knowledge exam.

Where to Get Learners Permit in North Carolina

Residents cannot obtain a learners permit online in North Carolina, as applicants must submit supporting documentation and answer several important learners permit questions as part of the application process. Instead, applicants must obtain a DMV learning permit in person at a Driver license Office. To obtain a learning permit through the NCDMV, applicants must also pass a vision screening, written examination and a warning and regulatory signs test. When getting a learners permit in NC, motorists must also submit the following:

  • Two proofs of identity, such as a birth certificate or Social Security card (one document must contain a date of birth)
  • Proof of a Social Security Number (such as a W-2 form, Social Security card or 1099 form)
  • Proof of state residency
  • A Driving Eligibility Certificate, high school diploma or GED – as part of level one under the GDL Program
  • A Driver Education Certificate – as part of level one under the GDL Program
  • A Driving Log – to advance to level two in the GDL Program
  • Proof of automobile liability insurance coverage – to complete a road demonstration and advance to level two in the GDL Program
  • Payment for obtaining a learners drivers license in NC (specific fees may vary depending on the level of the GDL Program)

North Carolina Learners Permit Driving Restrictions

After getting a learners drivers license in NC, motorists must follow several learners permit rules and restrictions, depending on their GDL Program level. For additional information about these learning permit rules, review the following sections.

Level One: Limited Learners Permits

With a level one DMV learners permit, motorists can only operate a motor vehicle with a supervising driver beside them in the passenger’s seat. Additionally, North Carolina DMV driving permit applicants can only operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. during the first six months. Furthermore, learner permit holders cannot use a mobile phone while operating a vehicle.

Level Two: Limited Provisional Licenses

With a level two learner permit, motorists may operate a motor vehicle without the supervision of another licensed driver. However, these NC learner permit rules only allow motorists to operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., unless they are driving to and from work or they volunteer as an emergency medical service member. Additionally, motorists with a level two learners permit cannot transport more than one passenger younger than 21 years of age at a time, and they cannot use a mobile telephone while operating an automobile.

Level Three: Full Provisional Licenses

After motorists hold a North Carolina DMV drivers permit for at least six months, they may apply for a full provisional driving license. With a level three learner drivers license, residents may operate a vehicle without the supervision of another licensed motorist. Additionally, level three drivers may operate a vehicle at any time. However, motorists cannot use technology such as a mobile phone while operating a vehicle on public roadways.

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