The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (NC DMV) is responsible for issuing driver's learner's permits, driver's licenses, vehicle title and registration, promoting highway safety and record keeping. It is important to note that even if you have a license from another state, *everyone moving to North Carolina MUST take a WRITTEN TEST to get their license!*
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New North Carolina Drivers License
Who needs A License?
Anyone wishing to operate a motorized vehicle in the great state of North Carolina needs to first obtain a driver’s license. There are several levels of licenses offered in the state including the Standard License which is available in class A, B and C, the Commercial Driver’s License or CDL, the Graduated License for new drivers and the Motorcycle License for those wishing to operate any form of vehicle with a detached motor on the road. The average person wishing to driver a vehicle for commuting, to and from work or school or just out for a regular drive needs to obtain a Class C standard License, including new residents to the state.
Which License is For You?
The type of license that you will need will depend on what you will be using it for. Drivers under the age of 18 that have never had a driver’s license will need to begin with the graduated license and follow the necessary steps. You can find a complete list of Driver’s License types online to choose which best suits your needs.
What Tests Do I need to take to get a License?
If you are applying for a first time license or you are over 18 and have never held a license before in any state, you will first need to take your Learner’s permit test which in includes the Traffic Signs test. No matter the type of license you are applying for you will be required to take the Driver’s Knowledge written test and the Driver’s Skills road test after completion of the other steps. The tests questions and requirements for the road test will depend greatly on which license you are applying for so be sure you obtain the right study material. There are many great practice resources available online to assist you in preparing for the tests including Online Practice Tests from dmvcheatsheets.com.
Taking a Driver’s Education Course
If you are over the age of 18 and applying for a standard class C license you do not need to take a drivers education course. The exception would be if you were upgrading to a different type such as the CDL or another Class in the same category. It is mandatory for all new drivers to take drivers education, and this can be done through many private sources such as your high school or a company and even online driver’s education through reliable sources like idrivesafely.com which is approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Although adult drivers are not required to take drivers education, it is recommended by the state they attend a voluntary Driver’s preparation course. You can find great learning tools such as practice sheets and tests at dmvcheatsheets.com.
Taking the Written Test
Many drivers fail the written tests the first and sometimes second time they take it, and much of this has to do with being prepared. The best way to be prepared is assure you completely study the North Carolina Driver’s Manual in detail. Every question on the multiple choice test will come from the information found in this manual. Take a look at some other resources online that will provide you with tips for taking the written tests such as How to Get Your First Driver’s License in North Carolina and learn about the Obscure but important North Carolina driving laws you need to know.
Scheduling an Appointment
The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle Branch does not require an appointment and are on a walk-in basis for all written tests. You will however need to schedule an appointment to take your final road test through an independent source.
What to Bring on Test Day
You will need four documents with you the day you take the written test. These will include proofs of identity such as your birth certificate and social security card, proof of residency such as school records, lease contracts or utility bills in your name. In addition, two forms that provide proof of identity are required such as School Documents or tax forms. One must contain a photo, such as a state or school ID. You will also need a proof of liability for car insurance. Remember you can only use the proofs in one category and cannot be doubled up with another. Check out the Complete Document Lists online at the North Carolina DMV website.
Costs of Driver’s Test
There are several fees involved in getting your driver’s license including:
- Learners permit and motorcycle learners permit- 15$
- Limited Learners permit license (level 1) for graduated licenses- 15$
- Limited Provision license (level 2) for graduated license- 15$
- Full provision license (level 3) does not have a one-time fee but will cost 4$ per year to continue driving
Other special fees will apply in specific situations such as obtaining your commercial driver’s license or a special endorsement. You can find a complete list of license fees on the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles website.
Proof of Insurance
You will be required to provide proof of insurance on the day of application. Even if you don’t currently own a vehicle you may still apply for your license but a restriction will be placed on your license. There is a 10$ fee to remove this restriction the day you register your first vehicle.
Taking the Driver’s Test
The road test is the most dreaded portion of the testing process for many new drivers but with preparation and planning you will ace your test on the first try. Be sure to get lots of road practice with a licensed driver, especially night and adverse weather driving. You can find many great resources online that will give you some excellent tips for taking this test including Secrets to Passing the DMV test from dmvcheatsheets.com and Driver’s License Test Taking Tips from DMV.org.
Taking the Written Test
The written test is divided into two portions; the written test consists of tests on regulatory and warning signs and knowledge you have obtained from the Driver’s Manual. Remember to obtain as much knowledge as you can and utilize other resources for study such as practice tests and learning tools from DMVCheatsheets.com. In the case of your written test, you can obtain a bundle package contained valuable study guides and practice tests combined to assure you pass on the first try. You may retake the test multiple times but it is best to simply be prepared and only take the test once.
Renewing your North Carolina Driver’s License
Who needs to renew their license?
Anyone who is currently licensed in the state of North Carolina wishing to continue driving needs to renew their driver’s license on or before its expiration date.
How do I renew my North Carolina Driver’s License?
There are three steps to renewing your license. You must be sure to bring all required documentation to the DMV the day of your renewal to avoid any delays.
- Meet the requirements including your required proofs of identity and certificate showing you have passed your written tests and pay the applicable fees.
- Provide the required documents including your current license and proof of citizenship.
- Take the written Signs test and vision test. In some cases the examiner may require you to retake the road test but this is on an individual basis at their discretion.
What is the cost to renew my driver’s license?
The fee for renewal in the state of North Carolina is based on the number of years until your license expires. For example, drivers over the age of 18 are required to renew every 8 years, so the fee will be 4$ per year for 8 years or 32 dollars.
Steps to Renew Your License
There are several mandatory steps you must take in North Carolina if you wish to successfully renew your driver’s license:
- Prepare for the renewal day by gathering all of the required documents, and studying for your signs test using the Driver’s Manual. Use practice tests from DMVCheatsheets.com and study resources online for additional tips.
- With the required documents and your renewal letter, mailed to you shortly before expiration head to your local department of motor vehicles branch to begin the renew process. Take the short vision test administered in the branch. Then provide your proofs to the examiner and he or she will give you the written signs test to take.
- Take the written signs test and be sure to concentrate. Eliminate all distractions to assure you pass on the first try.
- After passing the test, you will take a new photo and pay the fees for your type of license. Then you will be administered a temporary license and your new photo driver’s license will arrive in the mail within a few weeks.
Getting a North Carolina Learner’s Permit
A learner’s permit is required for all new drivers’ license applicants in the state of North Carolina. There is no length of time required for those drivers over the age of 18 to drive on a permit before taking the driver’s test, but anyone under the age of 18 must follow the proper time restrictions during the process.
Requirements for getting a learner’s permit
For applicants under the age of 18 that are getting their license for the first time, there are several pieces of required documents you must bring to the DMV when you apply. These include two proofs of identification, proof of citizenship in the form of a Social Security card and certificate proofs. You must also provide proof of a supervising driver in the form of a parent or guardian, grandparent or licensed driver approved by the parent or legal guardian in advance. In addition bring with you the required fee of 15 dollars.