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How to Get a North Carolina Driver's License


A driver’s license in the United States is used for two different purposes. One is a permit to drive and the other is for identification. Each state has different rules governing the issuance and use of the license. In order to drive legally in North Carolina you must have a valid driver’s license. If you have an out-of-state license, (“state” meaning one of the states in the U.S. as well as a foreign state), it is recognized for the first thirty days you reside in North Carolina, then you must obtain a North Carolina driver’s license. North Carolina does not recognize the “international driver’s license.”

If you plan to write checks in the area, you will soon realize how often the driver’s license is used as a form of identification. If you would like an identification card and would not like to drive, you can get one from the license office if you provide them with items 3, 4, 5 and 6 listed below.

The state of North Carolina requires six things to issue a North Carolina driver’s license 

1. The ability to see, drive and have knowledge of the rules of driving in North Carolina. This is proven by taking and passing a test. The test has four parts: written, sign recognition, driving and a vision test. The written test is taken directly from the Driver’s Handbook. A passing score is 80. Note: they do test your vision; if you wear glasses, take them with you to get your license.

2. Coverage by, at minimum, liability insurance –get form DL 123 completed by your insurance agent and take it with you to the license office.

3. Two forms of identification. Motor vehicle laws require proof of your full name and date of birth. The following documents are acceptable: passport with your I-94 card, I-20 or DS-2019, an authentic document from INS, certified or original birth certificate.

4. Proof that you are a “resident” of North Carolina. This means that you are living in North Carolina. Effective November 1, 2001, in accordance with North Carolina General Statutes 20-7(b1), every customer applying for an Original Driver License, Permit or Identification Card must provide one document showing proof of residency in North Carolina. This policy is for first time issuances only. This is in addition to the requirement for two forms of identification, unless one of the required ID documents has the applicant’s residence address on it. Requirement: Any document presented must have the customer’s current North Carolina residence address and name. Both the name and residence address must appear on the Driver License, Permit or Identification Card. Take some proof that shows you are employed or studying in the area.

5. Effective September 1, 2006, the issuance of any driver license, learner’s permit or ID card does not require the applicant to show proof of a Social Security Card. (F-1s with no Social Security Number and the F-2s can use their passports for ID and their I-94s and I-20s to indicate lawful status for the length of license. Same with the J-1s and J-2s and their I-94s and DS-2019s. Proof of Residency is needed – such as an electric bill, apartment lease, etc. You may call the local DMV for more information regarding this proof and it is recommended that you do so.)

6. Fees vary so check the Driver’s Handbook for the fee schedule.

In Greenville the office is located in the Carolina East Center. The office is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. You can call and make an appointment for the driver’s license tests. Your license or identification card is issued while you wait. Below is the address and telephone number:

Department of Motor Vehicles
3400 S. Memorial Drive
Greenville, NC 27858
Telephone: 830-3456