Obtaining A North Carolina Driver Learner’s Permit

You must be 15 or older to get your NC learners permit. There are three levels of graduated licensing in North Carolina:

  1. Level 1 – Limited Learner Permit involves parents, guardians and/or other responsible drivers in the training of young drivers.
  2. Level 2 – Limited Provisional License protects young drivers during the night time hours when they are most at risk.
  3. Level 3 – Full Provisional License rewards violation-free driving.

Level 1 Learner’s Permit

The following is from the NC DMV website regarding Level 1:

  • Must be 15 or older, complete driver’s education and obtain limited learner permit.
  • For at least 12 months, the Level 1 driver must be supervised by parent, guardian or other approved licensed driver who has been licensed at least five years.
  • Supervising Driver — A supervising driver shall be a parent, grandparent, or guardian of the permit holder or license holder or a responsible adult approved by the parent or guardian. A supervising driver shall be a licensed driver who has been licensed to drive for at least five years.
  • All people in vehicle driven by Level 1 driver must wear a seat belt, and only the supervisor can ride in the front seat.
  • For the first six months, a Level 1 driver may only drive from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. with his or her supervising driver.
  • After six months, a Level 1 driver may drive at any time with his or her supervisor.
  • The use of a mobile/cell telephone is prohibited. This includes the use of any features related to a mobile/cell telephone, such as a camera, electronic mail, music, games, or the Internet. This applies only when the vehicle is in motion while driving on a street, highway, or public vehicular area.

Note: Before graduating to Level Two, you must keep Level One for at least 12 months and have no convictions of motor vehicle moving violations or seat belt/mobile telephone infraction in the preceding 6 months.

Level 2 Limited Provisional License

The following is from the NC DMV Website:

  • Drivers must be at least 16 years old, but less than 18.
  • All passengers must be restrained by seat belt or child safety seat.
  • Supervising driver must be seated beside the driver.
  • You may drive without supervision from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. and at any time when driving directly to or from work or any volunteer fire, rescue or EMS (emergency medical service), if you are a member.
  • The number of passengers allowed in a motor vehicle under the age of 21 is restricted to ONE when the driver of the vehicle is the holder of the Level 2.
  • If all passengers under the age of 21 are members of the driver’s immediate family or members of the same household as the driver there is no under 21 limit.
  • If the supervising driver is in the car, this restriction does not apply.
  • The use of a mobile/cell telephone is prohibited.

Note: Before graduating to Level Three, you must keep this license for at least 6 months and have no convictions of moving violations or seat belt/mobile telephone infractions within the preceding six months.

Level 3 Full Provisional License

The following is from the NC DMV website:

  • Unsupervised driving is allowed at any time.
  • The restrictions on Level One and Level Two concerning time of driving, supervision and passenger limitations do not apply to a full provisional license.
  • The use of a mobile/cell telephone is prohibited.

Steps To Getting Your License

There are six steps to getting your North Carolina license:

  1. Meet the requirements
  2. Gather your the Needed Documents
  3. Pay The Fee
  4. Restrictions
  5. Organ donation, voting and selective service
  6. Take (and pass) the tests

Requirements

You need to be 18 to get a North Carolina driver’s license. You also must have a license from another state or a learner’s permit with all educational courses completed. Make sure you are prepared for the NC written test by using the $CSLINK.

Documents

You will be required to proof the following:

  • Residency
  • Age & Identity
  • Liability Insurance
  • Social Security Card

Paying The Fees

The fees for a Class C drivers license is $4.00 per year and licenses are issued for 5 or 8 years, depending on age. If you are 18 to 53 years old, the license lasts 8 years. If you are 54 or older, than the license lasts 5 years. Checks and cash only!! No Credit Cards!

Restrictions

Individuals must be in good mental and physical health to obtain a North Carolina driver’s license. You must also pass a vision test, so if you wear corrective lenses or contacts you will be required to bring them to the exam.

Organ Donation, Selective Service and Voting

You will be asked to make decisions regarding organ donation, registering to vote and selective service registration while obtaining your NC license. All three are optional and will not impact your ability to obtain a license.

Taking The Tests

No matter if you are a first time driver or if you have been driving for years, you will be required to take a written test among other tests. The following tests must be passed:

  1. Vision
  2. Traffic Signs – (hint: this is tough in NC. You need to know the signs but also be able to know which signs are associated with which SHAPES. They will show you the shape of a sign without anything in it and ask you to tell them what the sign says!)
  3. Driving Knowledge / Written Test
  4. Driving Skills / Road Test
North Carolina DMV Cheat Sheet Screen Shot
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The North Carolina DMV Cheat Sheet contains

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  • What to bring to the DMV
  • Requirements for getting your license
  • DMV Fees
  • 50 Essential Question & Answer study guide questions
  • Traffic signs & signals you MUST know!
  • Website and Phone for your state's DMV if you have questions
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