How to Get a North Carolina Driver’s License?

North Carolina Adult Drivers License
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North Carolina uses a graduated driver’s license program to help teens begin licensing at 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 request. 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 they surrender their existing license. Then, they file for a license, the same as follows.

The Full North Carolina 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. Plus, spend enough time behind-the-wheel logging experience and respect 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 must 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 checking for safety, controlling the vehicle, and obeying traffic signs. The test also contains 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 five years if you are 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.

North Carolina offers a few options for those who wish to obtain their driver’s license. The requirements are simple, and the process is relatively straightforward. Those who follow the steps outlined in this post should have no trouble obtaining their NC driver’s license in no time.