How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in North Carolina

Registration Renewal in North Carolina Guide

Looking for information about an NC registration renewal? You’re in the right place!

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles recommends renewing registration by the date on your tag (yearly), though drivers have a 15-day grace period after expiration to get things done. Forgoing renewal may cause a suspended license, extra late fees, and/or penalties.

You’ll receive a notification 60-days before your vehicle’s registration expires.

Sometimes this is an e-mail notice if you signed up for the service. The notice explains the expiration date, fees, applicable emissions info, and vehicle information you’ll use during the renewal.

Call 919-715-7000 if you did not receive your renewal notice.

Vehicle registration renewal is available via:

  • Online
  • In-Person

…and by mail in some instances for qualified individuals.

What’s Needed to Renew

Your vehicle must pass safety inspections and may require an emissions test. These are done 90-days before the expiration. Certain vehicles may have applicable vehicle property taxes during renewal, too.

Collect the following:

  1. Identification
    1. Driver’s license
    2. NC ID
  2. Vehicle essentials
    1. Renewal notice or license plate number
    2. Last 5 numbers of the vehicle’s title
    3. Vehicle insurance
    4. Safety inspection
    5. Conditional: emissions test
  3. Valid payment method
    1. Renewal fees
    2. Vehicle property tax
    3. Local taxes and fees

Renewal fees are paid at the time of renewal and vary by county and vehicle type. You cannot use credit/debit cards at physical NCDMV locations. You may use them with online registration, though.

A 10-day trip permit is available if there are issues with your registration renewal. You will talk with NCDMV officials to learn if this opportunity is available for your circumstances.

How to Renew Your North Carolina Registration

The registration fees for most passenger vehicles cost $36, minus taxes/fees.

Your final price may also include the vehicle’s value and type. Heavier trucks cost $36 – $67+ while motorcycles run $24 during renewal. You may also pay a $13.60 safety inspection and $16.40 emission testing fee throughout the process.

Renewing Online

Renewing online is the easiest option (if you are living in a participating county):

  1. Visit the NC DMV site
  2. Fill in your personal information
  3. Enter your vehicle information
    1. Info on renewal form or license plate number
    2. Last 5 numbers of the title
    3. Safety inspection
    4. Proof of insurance
    5. Emission test (if needed)
  4. Confirm the details and pay the renewal fee
    1. Plus: vehicle property tax

It shouldn’t take long to receive your renewal tags by mail after completing the online process.

Renewing In-Person

Head down to your local NCDMV (find one in our NC DMV directory), then:

  1. Renewal information
    1. Option: Renewal form
    2. Option: License plate number
  2. Proof of auto insurance
  3. Safety inspection certificate
    1. If applicable: Emissions test results
  4. Funds for the registration renewal fee

You’ll receive your tag renewal letting you replace the old one right there in the parking lot. You’re not good to drive in North Carolina.

Renewing By Mail

Certain circumstances allow you to renew your NC vehicle’s registration by mail. The same documents brought to an NCDMV are sent by mail, to:

Registration Renewals

P.O. Box 29620

Raleigh, NC 27626

Call the NCDMV to learn the availability of mail-in renewals.

Need Help Locating or Replacing a Tag?

Did something happen to your vehicle’s title and/or tags? See our Title Replacement in NC Guide for more details if you need these when renewing your vehicle. Or, when transferring the vehicle during a private sale.