How to Get a Driver’s License in North Carolina

North Carolina Adult Drivers License

North Carolina uses a graduated driver’s license program helping teens begin the process of licensing early-on at age 14 ½. NC teens willing to respect road laws, practice driving, attend school, and take a driver’s ed course can get their learner’s permit at 15 years old.

The second stage of this GDL program lets the teen get their intermediate license granting more freedom and responsibility. Before long, when they turn 18, they can get their full driver’s license.

Teens get an adult NC license 12-months after receiving a provisional license. This guide shares the exact step-by-step process of getting a driver’s license in North Carolina. It’s also applicable to those older than 18, getting around to licensing.

Those coming from out-of-state have 60-days (after residency) to provide proof of ID/residency and pass the DMV tests unless surrendering their existing license. Then, they file for a license the same as follows.

The Full NC Driver’s License: What to Do

A North Carolina license opens for those who graduate from the GDL program at 18.

The NC DMV requires everyone to pass a driver’s education course along the way. Plus, spend enough time behind-the-wheel logging experience and respecting road laws.

Steps to get a full driver’s license:

  1. Schedule and visit an NC DMV near you
  2. Provide personal identification
    1. Passport
    2. Birth Certificate
    3. Social Security Card
    4. W-2 or 1099
    5. Non-US citizen: SS card, W-2, DD-214
  3. Provide proof of residency
    1. Mortgage statement
    2. Utility bill
    3. Medical card
    4. Registration
  4. Provide a valid provisional license
    1. If doing the GDL program
    2. Not suspended or revoked
  5. Provide proof of insurance
  6. Pass the road test
  7. Pay the $5 per year application fee

Those who did not undergo the state’s GDL program need to pass a written and vision test when applying for their driver’s license. They will take a driver’s test, too.

The DMV driving test verifies adult drivers can show respect for the road. This includes being able to check for safety, control the vehicle, and obey traffic signs. The test also checks if you can signal properly and observe/communicate your driving abilities.


You’re now a new, proud owner of an unrestricted license! This is good for 8-years until you’re ready to renew your North Carolina license. The license is valid for 5-years if you are age 66 or older.

Note: Those unable to respect road rules & laws may see their license suspended. Refer to our suspended license guide for more details on how to get it reinstated if you find yourself in this position.