How to Get a North Carolina Limited and Provisional License?

North Carolina Teen License Guide
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If you’re a driver who’s just moved to North Carolina, or even if you’ve been here for a while but now need to get your license, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll walk you through the process of getting both a limited and provisional permit in North Carolina – from applying for it through what documents you’ll need. Whether this is your first time applying for a driver’s license or it has been quite some years since the last time, don’t worry- we’ll help you through every step. So let’s start by discussing how best to apply for these licenses in North Carolina.

Getting your limited and provisional license is the second stage of North Carolina’s graduated license program – this process includes the following:

  • Learner’s
  • Limited / Provisional
  • Unrestricted

A limited provisional license (the “teen” license) comes before a flexible intermedia license. This gives you a couple of extra months to practice driving before gaining extra freedom. The requirements to receive both are generally the same – you’ll learn what’s needed in this guide.

Limited Provisional License: Step-by-Step

North Carolina teens, age 14 ½, begin the GDL process with driver’s education. They can then get their learner’s permit at age 15. Teens holding their learner’s permit for 12 months can apply for a limited provisional license when they reach age 16.

The 1-year gap gives you plenty of time to practice 60 hours of driving (10 at night). Do not accrue traffic violations; you will forfeit licensing until you turn 18. Teen drivers can apply for their initial license at age 16 after completing these basic GDL requirements.

That 18+ can skip ahead to getting their adult NC license (given they take a driver’s ed course).

Ready to get the provisional? You can schedule an appointment by phone or online. Else, swing through an NC DMV near you and the driver exam station; the wait shouldn’t take long.

Limited Provisional Licensing Requirements:

  • Age 16
  • Held a learner’s permit for 12 months
  • Show the educational certifications
    • Provide proof they’re attending school
    • Approved driver’s education course
  • Provide proof of identity & residency
    • ID examples: ID card, Social Security card, original birth certificate
    • Residency examples: High school diploma/transcript, bank statement
  • Proof of behind-the-wheel experience
    • 50 hours (with 10 hours at night)
    • Logged and signed by parent/guardian
  • Having no traffic convictions
    • Including: Following local curfews

At the DMV:

Your parent(s) or guardian(s) should be present when submitting:

  1. NC learner’s permit
  2. Behind-the-wheel log (DL-4A)
  3. Certificates (driver’s ed)
  4. Show proof of insurance
  5. Pay the $20 licensing fee

You will take a driving test on location.

The DMV office will take your photo and process your new, limited provisional license. You can now drive between 5 AM and 9 PM unless specified. You can have (1) passenger under 21 ride with you unless a family member accompanies the extra.

Provisional License: Step-by-Step

The provisional license happens six months after getting the limited provisional.

There are a few requirements when going from limited to provisional:

  • 12 hours of supervised driving (6 hours at night)
    • Logged with the DL-4B form
  • Maintain safe driving
    • No moving, seat belt, or phone violations

Teens can then apply for their full provisional license.

The steps for getting a full provisional include the following:

  1. Going to the DMV office
  2. Presenting your limited provisional license
  3. File the DL-4B driving log
  4. Pay a $5 processing fee

Congratulations! You’re one step closer to getting your full NC license! You’re free to drive as you would a full license with no limits to curfew and passenger count. You will need to respect the rules of the road, of course.

Getting Your Full North Carolina Driver’s License

Those with the patience to go through NC’s graduated licensing program can apply for their unrestricted (“adult”) license at age 18. This includes passing multiple tests, showing driving responsibility, completing a driver’s education course, and staying in school.

Next up is a trip to your local DMV. You’re almost there!

Ready to hit the roads? Read our North Carolina Full Driver’s License Guide.