New to North CarolinaPage OverviewSUMMARY: New North Carolina Residents
To obtain a North Carolina driver's license or ID card, you'll need to visit the DMV in person and surrender your out-of-state driver's license. You'll also need to register your car by visiting your local DMV office. Registering to vote can be done by mail and should be done before the election deadline date. Registering as an organ donor can be easily done online. You can also find North Carolina residency requirements.
This guide will help you get all the information you need to obtain your North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) documents.
Upon establishing residency in North Carolina, you'll want to get familiar with the state departments you may be dealing with along the way.
In North Carolina, vehicle- and licensing-related services are provided by the Department of Transportation's Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Additionally, you may find yourself interacting with:
- The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission: Handles boat registration and licensing.
- The Administrative Office of the Courts: Responsible for traffic tickets within the state.
- The State Board of Elections: Regulates voter registration and NC elections.
If you've just moved to North Carolina and you've brought your out-of-state car with you, you'll need to register your car with the DMV within 30 days of moving to the state. You can find out more about the topic on our Car Registration in North Carolina page.
Register a Special Vehicle
If you own a moped, recreational vehicle (RV), custom-built car, or an off-road vehicle, you will also need to register those, but the requirements may vary a little. For more information, please refer to our Special Vehicles in North Carolina page.
Before the NC DMV will allow you to register your car in the state, you must show proof that you have car insurance. Moving states can be the perfect time to re-evaluate your current policy and make sure you're getting the best value for your money. You can compare rates from all the names you trust on our Car Insurance in North Carolina page.
In North Carolina, most vehicles will need to undergo a safety and emissions inspection. Whether this requirement applies to you depends on the age of your vehicle and what North Carolina county you live in. You can find out more on our Car Inspections in North Carolina page.
If you have a valid out-of-state driver's license, you must transfer it for a NC license within 60 days of moving to the state. You will need to visit a NC DMV office in person and surrender your out-of-state license. You will also need to pay the required driver's license fee and pass the vision exam, written test, and driving exam.
If you're a teenager, you may be able to transfer your out-of-state driver's permit for a North Carolina permit as long as the driving training you received in your previous state meets the NC graduated driver's licensing (GDL) requirements.
For more information about applying for a NC driver's license or permit, visit our following pages:
If you don't need a driver's license, you can apply for an ID card to use as proof of your identity and age. In order to get one you'll need to provide some required documents, which you can learn more about on our Identification Cards in North Carolina page.
If you were registered as an organ donor in your previous state, you'll need to re-register in North Carolina, as each state has its own registry. If you're unsure about organ donation and would like to learn more, visit our Organ Donation Facts page.
Similarly, if you were registered to vote in your previous state, you'll need to register again in North Carolina. Your previous registration won't be carried over to the North Carolina registry. Make sure you're aware of the deadline date to register to make sure you'll be eligible to vote come election day. See our Voter Registration page for more information.
If you're an active-duty member of the U.S. military, you may be entitled to some exemptions when it comes to vehicle registration and driver's licensing. Our Military Drivers in North Carolina page has some useful information that may apply to both you and your spouse, and/or your dependents.
Locating your nearest DMV office just got easier. Our DMV Office Finder will help you locate any DMV in the state.
For more information about driving in North Carolina, refer to the DMV's driving manuals: