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How to get a North Carolina Driver's License

North Carolina Drivers License
  • North Carolina Driver's License Guidelines
  • How to Prepare for the Written Exam
  • Required ID and Paperwork

NC Driver's License Rules and Requirements

Find out the steps to get your drivers license, pass your DMV written test, replace your out-of-state license and the required paperwork to bring to the DMV office to get your driver's license.

Try Sample Test!

All applicants need to be familiar with the North Carolina Driver's Manual. Think you know the material? Take our DMV practice test now and test your driving knowledge.

Get your NC Driver's Permit

You must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a North Carolina Drivers License.

If this is your first driver's license, you will need to apply for a North Carolina learners permit which requires a written exam on traffic signs, motor vehicle laws and safe driving techniques.

Once you receive a valid learners permit, you will then need to pass a road skills test and vision test to receive a NC driver's license.

Applicants under 18 must have held a learners permit for 12 months before taking the road skills test.

Prepare for the Written Knowledge Test

All new drivers are encouraged to study for this driver education exam so you don't miss the opportunity to get your learners permit as soon as you reach the approved age. Online practice tests are available that provide real sample questions from the DMV Exam - Take the North Carolina practice test now and test your driving knowledge.

New North Carolina Residents

New residents with an out-of-state license must obtain a North Carolina driver's license upon establishing a permanent residence in NC. When heading to the DMV, be sure to bring the license from your former state as you will be required to surrender it in order to obtain the new license.

The written exam and vision test are required to change a valid out-of-state license to a NC driver's license, however the road skills test may be waived at the discretion of the examiner.

If your out-of-state driver's license is more than 12 months expired, you will be required to apply for a license as a new driver pass all required testing.

International Drivers

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. After becoming a resident of the State, you'll be required to take the, knowledge test, vision test, traffic signs recognition test and the driving skills test (if the examiner deems necessary) to qualify for a NC driver license.

Required Paperwork

Before you head to the North Carolina DMV Office, make sure you have all of the following required documents to get your driver's license:

Once your licensing requirements have been met, you will receive your new:

  • Intermediate Driver's License (16 to 20 years of age) valid up to 8 years.
  • Full driver's license (21 and older) valid up to 8 years.

Remember... the safe operation of a vehicle requires practiced skill, knowledge, and a respectful understanding of the limitations imposed by the other drivers and the environment.

North Carolina Driver's License Resources

Free Driver's License Practice Test
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