North Carolina License Renewal Guide: Step-by-Step

North Carolina License Renewal
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The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles will send a notice to renew your NC license 60 days before its expiration. You have a 180-day grace period after its expiration date to renew the license.

Renewing your license validates for another eight years if you’re between 18 to 65 years old. Those 66 years old and older have their NC license renewed for five years. An NC license is suitable as long as you’re repaying the $5 per year renewal fee.

You can renew a North Carolina license online, in person, or by mail.

This guide helps you understand the NC driver’s license replacement steps. Keep reading to understand which documents you’ll bring and file.

How to Renew Your NC License

Renewing your license requires you to retake the traffic sign recognition test if doing so in person. Besides this, you can practice well in advance with online practice tests; your only requirements are a few documents and payment processing.

Let’s explore your options.


Consider making an appointment, then head over to an NC DMV office near you to:

  1. Provide your driver’s license and/or ID
    1. Full legal name
    2. Date of birth
    3. Social Security Number
    4. NC residency
    5. Citizenship or legal presence
    6. Marriage/Divorce cert if the name has changed
  2. Pass a traffic sign test
  3. Pass the vision test
  4. Pay the $5 per year renewal fee

About the Vision Test

Vision screening tests are required and done on location. Those wearing corrective lenses will need to have them at the time of the vision test.


Can you renew your North Carolina license online? Yes!

To renew online, you must have these requirements:

  • Valid license
  • SSN

Your vision should be the same as before. If not, you’ll need to apply in person to do the vision test.

You will do the following:

  1. Visit the NC DOT site
  2. Provide your information
    1. Full name
    2. SSN
    3. DoB
    4. License info
  3. Pay the renewal fee

You should receive your license by mail not long after.

By Mail

Mail renewals are reserved for eligible applicants such as out-of-state drivers and military members. The process includes sending your information as you would through online means. Plus, include a check or money order for your renewal fee.

A Note about Expired Licenses

You’re wondering, “Can I drive with an expired NC license?”. That’s a definitive no. You will likely receive a hefty fine of up to $250. Plus, you may have your license suspended or revoked. Those facing this situation should read our Suspended NC License Guide.