This Step: Get a Drivers License
Get a Drivers License in North Carolina
Ensure You’re Eligible to Apply for a Driver’s License
Teens 18 and Older
For those older than 18, you must have passed a vision, traffic sign and written test before taking your driving test for a regular drivers license. Check out the requirements and details below.
Teens Younger than 18
To graduate your learner permit to a limited provisional license, you must be at least 16 years old (but not older than 18). You must also have held your learner permit for at least 12 months and have had no motor vehicle moving violation convictions or seat belt/mobile telephone infractions within the preceding six months. Your parent or guardian must sign for you when you apply.
B) Make a Road Test Appointment at the NC DMV
If possible, schedule your road test appointment at a North Carolina DMV examining station. Not all locations book appointments, so you must call a specific office to get more details.
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C) Gather Required Documents and North Carolina License Fees
When applying for your driver’s license, be prepared to submit the following to the state:
- One document showing proof of residency
- Two documents showing proof of age and identity; one document me a Social Security card or documentation issued by the U.S. Government indicating legal presence
- Permit fees; the NC DMV accepts cash, money order or personal checks
- Current registration and proof of liability insurance for your road test vehicle*
*You must provide a road test vehicle driven to the testing site by a licensed driver. Before your road test begins, an examiner will ensure it is in safe working condition.
Teens younger than 18 must also present a certificate showing you passed a state-approved driver education course (30 hours of classroom instruction and six behind-the-wheel training hours). You must also bring your parent with you when you apply for a license to sign for you.
D) Take the Road Test
With your required documents and fees in hand, head to the NC DMV examining station to take any required tests and apply for your drivers license. All first-time applicants will take their on-the-road driving skills test once they have passed their written and vision tests.
E) Get Your North Carolina Driver's License
Limited Provisional License
If you are younger than 18, you’ll receive a temporary driving certificate, valid for 20 days, until your limited provisional driver license is ready. Until you graduate to a full license, you must abide by the following restrictions:
- You may only drive unsupervised from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- You may only drive unsupervised when heading directly to or from work or any volunteer fire, rescue or emergency medical service
- You may have no more than one passenger who is younger than 21 years old in the vehicle when driving unsupervised; this doesn’t apply to members of your immediate family or those whose primary residence is the same as yours (however if this family member is younger than 21, no other non-members younger than 21 can ride along)
- You may NOT use a mobile telephone or other additional technology associated with a mobile phone while driving on public vehicular areas (unless you are faced with an emergency; in that case, you can call an emergency response operator, hospital, physician’s office, health clinic, ambulance company, fire departments, law enforcement agency or your parent, legal guardian or spouse)
After holding your limited provisional license for six months, you can graduate to a full provisional license. You must have no moving violation convictions or seat belt/mobile phone infractions within the preceding six months.
Full Provisional License
With a full provisional license you can drive unsupervised at any time; the restrictions on level one and two regarding time of driving, supervision and passenger limitations no longer apply. The only restriction is that you still can’t use a mobile telephone while driving.
Regular Driver License
For applicants 18 and older, you’ll receive a temporary driving certificate, valid for 20 days, until your driver license is ready. All license holders younger than 21 will receive a vertical license that indicates your age with color-coded bars.