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How to Get a New Driver License in North Carolina

Residents must obtain a North Carolina drivers license before they may legally operate a vehicle on public streets. To obtain a drivers license, residents must complete the application process through the Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). Before completing a drivers license application, residents must meet all eligibility requirements. If getting drivers license credentials as a minor, applicants must first complete the Graduated Licensing (GDL) Program and obtain a limited learner permit before obtaining a full license. To learn more about how to apply for drivers license in NC, review the information below.

North Carolina Drivers License Eligibility Requirements

To obtain a drivers license in North Carolina, applicants must be at least 16 years of age and have successfully completed a driver education course or they must be at least 18 years of age. As such, motorists may apply for a NCDMV drivers license without obtaining a learner permit if they are older than 18 years of age, as learner permits are only a requirement for minors. For additional drivers license information and eligibility requirements, review the sections below.

Driver License Applicants 18 Years of Age and Younger

To obtain a new drivers license, applicants younger than 18 years of age must first obtain a limited learner permit under the state GDL Program. Before obtaining a drivers license or a limited learner permit, however, students must first complete a driver education program and obtain a Driving Eligibility Certificate or a high school diploma. Additionally, students must be between the ages of 15 and 18 and reside in the state of North Carolina. NC driving license applicants who meet these eligibility requirements may obtain a limited learner permit and operate a motor vehicle with a supervising driver. Furthermore, applicants may get drivers license credentials under level two of the GDL Program once they turn 16 years of age. This type of driving credential is known as a limited provisional license. Motorists must hold a limited DMV driver license for six months before they may obtain a full provisional license under level three of the GDL Program.

Driving License Applicants 18 Years of Age and Older

Motorists may apply for drivers license credentials without obtaining a learner permit if they are at least 18 years of age or older. However, NC drivers license applicants may apply for a learner permit if they wish to receive additional driving practice before completing their knowledge exams and road demonstration, even if it is not a requirement. Furthermore, motorists who wish to obtain a new driving license must be able to provide proof of state residency, age and identity, liability insurance and evidence of a Social Security Number.

What documents do I need to get a new drivers license in North Carolina?

When applying for a drivers license in North Carolina, applicants must provide the NCDMV with all required documentation, including those proving age and identity. However, the specific documentation needed to get a drivers license varies depending on whether motorists are older or younger than 18 years of age. For additional drivers license information, review the following information.

DMV Driving License Applicants 18 Years of Age and Older

To obtain a North Carolina driver licensefor the first time, applicants must provide the NCDMV with proof of their full name and date of birth, state residence, legal presence and evidence of a Social Security Number. Additionally, drivers license applicants must submit proof of vehicle liability insurance. Furthermore, DMV drivers license applicants must provide the NCDMV with the following:

  • Two proofs of age and identity (such as a learner permit, ID card, certified birth certificate or an original Social Security card)
  • One proof of Social Security Number (such as a Social Security card, W-2 or 1099 form, DD-214, Medicare or Medicaid card or a payroll record)
  • One proof of North Carolina residency (such as a utility or cable bill)
  • One proof of legal presence in the U.S., if applicable (such as a permanent resident card)
  • Proof of automobile liability insurance coverage (such as an insurance binder, Form DL-123 or a policy card)

North Carolina Driving License Applicants 18 Years of Age and Younger

To obtain a drivers license in NC, motorists younger than 18 years of age must submit the documents listed above, in addition to the following:

  • A Driving Eligibility Certificate, GED or proof of high school graduation
  • Proof of completing a driver education course (consisting of at least 30 classroom hours and six hours of behind-the-wheel training)

How to Get a Drivers License in North Carolina

To apply for a driving license in NC, applicants must visit a local NCDMV Driver License Office to complete the process in person. Applicants cannot obtain a drivers license online or by mail. During the drivers license application process, motorists must submit all required documentation and pay all applicable fees. However, the specific drivers license cost may vary depending on the class of the driving credential. Furthermore, motorists may pay NC driving license fees by cash, personal check, money order, or by MasterCard, Visa or Discover credit card. When completing these drivers license services at a local NCDMV office, applicants must also pass a vision screening, road test and three written knowledge exams. The three knowledge tests are: traffic signs, regulatory signs and driving knowledge.

North Carolina Drivers License Restrictions

DMV driver license applicants do not need to follow any driving restrictions unless they are younger than 18 years of age and hold a level two limited provisional credential or a level three full provisional license. For instance, level two drivers license applicants may only operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. unless they are driving to or from work or they volunteer as a firefighter or medical service member. Additionally, new drivers license applicants may only transport one passenger younger than 21 years of age at a time, unless a supervising driver is present in the vehicle. Furthermore, NC driving license applicants cannot use a mobile telephone or any other type of technology while operating a vehicle (other than in an emergency). If obtaining a level three provisional driver license in NC, motorists may operate a motor vehicle without supervision at any time. However, new driving license applicants cannot use a mobile telephone or any other type of technology while operating a vehicle on public highways or streets.

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