I Just Moved to North Carolina. How Do I Get My Driver's License and Vehicle Registered?

by Joshua on April 26, 2022

North Carolina, the Tarheel State, is quickly emerging as one of America’s corporate technology hubs, creating a booming location for startups, making NC a prime location for young professionals and families. If you’re considering making NC your home, you’ll need to transfer your driver’s license and vehicle registration to this state. Here’s what you need to know.

When Do You Need to Transfer Your Driver’s License to NC?

In North Carolina, residents of this state have 60 days to:

  • Transfer their driver’s license or ID to NC

  • Transfer their vehicle registration to NC

  • Change their address with the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (NC DMV)

As a new resident of North Carolina, you have 60 days to complete these three tasks, which can be completed at your local NC DMV branch. Failure to complete these tasks before the 60-day deadline will result in citations and fines.

Changing the Address On Your License

When you’re moving to NC from a different state, you need to change the address on your driver’s license with the NC DMV. If you only need to change your mailing address on file with the DMV, you can complete the required steps online. On the other hand, if you have difficulty when you’re trying to change the physical address on your driver’s license or ID, you can call (919) 615-6170.

When it’s time to change your address, whether you apply in person at your local NC DMV or online, you may be required to present or upload the following documents:

  • Proof of your new address

  • Proof of your age and identity

  • Proof of citizenship or legal presence

How to Transfer Your Out-of-State Driver’s License to NC

In order to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license to the state of North Carolina, there are different steps you need to follow.

Make an Appointment With Your Local North Carolina DMV

All NC DMV offices require drivers to schedule an appointment to have any services rendered. Most NC DMV locations are open from 8 AM to 5 PM. It’s best to choose your local NC DMV location to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license.

Pass the Vision Screening

Before you can transfer your out-of-state driver’s license to NC, you need to pass a vision screening. To pass the NC vision screening, you must have a score of 20/40 or better. If you don’t pass this test, you are required to operate a motor vehicle with corrective lenses or retake the exam at an attempt of a better score.

Have Your Picture Taken

The DMV in your old state will not share your data with the NC DMV, so a new picture of you will be taken to create a new file. You don’t have to worry about dressing up to take your picture. Casual dress is fine. Keep in mind, you won’t be able to take another picture for several years, so make sure it’s a picture that makes you proud.

Bring Documentation

When you submit your driver’s license transfer application, the NC DMV requires you to present specific documentation. Be advised, all documents must be original documents. The DMV clerk won’t accept paper copies of the required forms. The documents that are required for you to transfer your driver’s license to NC include:

  • Out-of-state license (providing your identity and birthdate)

  • Social security card

  • Proof of legal status or citizenship

  • Proof of physical NC address

  • Proof of liability insurance coverage

Receive Your Temporary Driver’s License

As a new resident of NC, the written and road tests are waived, granted that you have a driver’s license from a different state. Once your documents are approved by the NC DMV, your out-of-state driver’s license will be deemed invalid. Once you receive your temporary NC driver’s license, you must surrender your old driver’s license to the following address:

N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles

Driver License Section

3120 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27697-3120

Your temporary driver’s license will be a paper license you can use to identify you when required. Your permanent NC driver’s license will be sent to your address on file. Expect to receive your permanent driver’s license within 1 to 2 weeks.

What Should You Do If You’re From Another Country?

If you’re from a different country or a visitor, you are not permitted to operate a motor vehicle in the state of North Carolina. International driver licenses or permits are not recognized in NC. If you are from a different country, you must apply for a new driver’s license and take the written and road exams.

Written Knowledge Exam

The NC written knowledge exam is designed to test a new driver’s knowledge of traffic laws and safe-driving practices across the state of North Carolina. This written knowledge exam is offered in several languages, if English is not your native language. The written exam for NC includes 37 questions, and you must answer at least 29 questions correctly to pass the exam. 12 questions on this exam pertain to road signs in NC and 25 questions that pertain to traffic rules.

Road Test

The NC road test assesses a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle and perform essential maneuvers. You need to have your own vehicle to take the NC road test. Be advised, no other passenger is allowed in the vehicle during the road test other than the assigned DMV examiner. During this test, you must demonstrate different skills, such as reversing, turning, stopping, following vehicles, and similar instances.

What Happens If You Don’t Transfer Your Driver’s License In Time?

New residents of North Carolina are required to transfer their driver’s license within 60 days of establishing residency in the state. Keep in mind, you won’t receive a reminder when the deadline is approaching, so keep track of time as it passes. It’s possible to receive citations and fines if you are caught using an out-of-state license for more than 60 days after establishing residency in NC.

Now that we’ve discussed how to transfer your driver’s license to North Carolina, we can move on to transferring your vehicle registration to the state of NC.

Registering Your Out-of-State Vehicle In North Carolina

You are able to register your vehicle in the state of North Carolina at any DMV location by mail or in person. The documents you are required to submit include:

  • The vehicle title

  • Driver’s license

  • Proof of a valid auto insurance policy

  • Different affidavits and applications (some are available online)

  • Payment for all applicable NC registration fees

Individuals who are new to the state of North Carolina are exempt from an initial inspection, but be advised, you are required to have an inspection before your renewal date. In the state of North Carolina, your vehicle registration and vehicle titling are completed simultaneously with the same documents. Residents in this state must have proper registration in order to operate a motor vehicle.

Registering a Vehicle In North Carolina

When you’re transferring an out-of-state vehicle title to North Carolina, you are required to meet different requirements, such as submitting the required paperwork and paying all the applicable fees. When it comes to registering a vehicle in NC, the required documents for an out-of-state vehicle title transfer in NC may vary slightly depending on whether a vehicle transfer of vehicle ownership occurs.

The information and paperwork required to title and register a vehicle after you establish residency in NC are as follows:

  • A completed vehicle title application containing the owner’s notarized signature

  • An odometer reading statement (if required)

  • Proof of a valid NC auto insurance policy

  • A power of attorney form (if required)

  • An official identification document, such as a valid NC driver’s license or ID card (if required)

Be advised, if your out-of-state vehicle title is held by a lien holder, you will be required to submit your current registration card. If you’re transferring an out-of-state vehicle for a newly-purchased vehicle, you will be required to provide additional documentation. After purchasing a non-resident vehicle, to transfer the out-of-state vehicle title, you must submit a properly reassigned vehicle title, a damage disclosure statement, a lien release form, and a bill of sale.

Registering Your Vehicle In Person

In order to successfully register your vehicle in person, you need to visit your local NC DMV office and submit:

  • A valid NC driver’s license or ID card

  • Proof of a valid NC auto insurance policy

  • A notarized vehicle title (If a lien holder has your vehicle title, you must present your current out-of-state vehicle registration and odometer reading. If there are co-owners of the vehicle, all necessary documents are required to be presented or filled out for all owners.)

  • A lien release (if applicable)

  • The following forms need to be completed:

    • Vehicle title application (Form MVR-1)

    • Damage Disclosure Statement (Form MVR-181)

    • Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form MVE-180) This form is required for vehicles that are less than 10 years old

  • A bill of sale

The NC DMV accepts different forms of payments, such as cash, money, or check, to pay the $38.75 NC plate fee, and all other state taxes.

Registering Your Vehicle by Mail

For any reason you can’t register your vehicle in person, you can register by mail. Submit the above-listed documentation, plus a copy of your driver’s license, by mail to the following address:

Vehicle Titles/Liens, Duplicate Registration

3148 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27697

Registration Stops

The state of North Carolina can stop the registration process for different reasons. If you have any of the following issues, they must be settled before you can register your vehicle in NC:

  • Debt to the DMV - All debts are required to be paid to the NC DMV before you will be allowed to register your vehicle

  • Credit Warning - If you have ever provided the NC DMV with a bad check, you are required to contact the NC DMV at (919) 715-7000 to clear the stop.

  • Unpaid Child Support - You are required to contact the Department of Health & Human Services at (919) 855-4800 if you have neglected to pay child support.

  • Issues with Vehicle Documentation - your vehicle registration will be withheld if there are any problems with the vehicle’s title, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), loans, applications, or similar instances.

  • Unpaid County Taxes - county taxes are required to be paid before you can register your vehicle

  • Drunk Driving Charge(s) - any individual who has lost their license as a result of a driving while impaired (DWI) is required to contact the Administrative Office of Courts at (919) 890-1000.

  • Lack of Insurance - you are required to provide proof of vehicle insurance in order to register your vehicle in NC

  • Stolen Vehicle - If your vehicle has been reported as a stolen vehicle, you are required to contact the DMV License and Theft Bureau at (919) 861-3141 to resolve the issue with the report.

North Carolina DMV Locations

North Carolina has different DMV locations you can visit to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license and vehicle registration.

North Carolina DMV - Thomasville Branch

1033 Randolph St Ste 13

Thomasville, NC 27360

(336) 472-7334

Monday - Friday (9 AM to 5 PM)

Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

North Carolina DMV - High Point Branch

650 Francis St

High Point, NC 27263

(336) 884-1003

Monday - Friday (8 AM to 5 PM)

Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

North Carolina DMV - Lexington Branch

27 Plaza Pkwy

Lexington, NC 27292

(336) 248-2720

Monday - Friday (9 AM to 5 PM)

Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

North Carolina DMV - Greensboro Branch

5551 W Market St.

Greensboro, NC 27409

(336) 856-1510

Monday - Friday (9 AM to 5 PM)

Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

100% Money Back Guarantee If You Fail
If you don't pass your written test we will REFUND you 100% of your purchase with us.

What Are You Studying For?