Renewing Your License in North Carolina
Renew Your North Carolina Driver's License
To continue to drive legally in North Carolina, you must renew your driver's license before it expires. The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handles all driver license renewal applications.
For information about other types of driver's licenses or permits in NC, please refer to any of our following pages:
When to Renew Your NC Driver's License
The NC DMV will send you a renewal card approximately 60 days before your driver's license expires. However, you can renew your driver's license up to 180 days before its expiration date.
While you are not required to have the card with you when you renew in person at a NC DOT driver's license office, it may prove to be helpful.
Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Driver's License
If you've misplaced your NC driver's license that is close to expiring, you may be able to renew it instead of applying for a replacement. To verify, contact your local NC driver's license office.
For additional details about how to replace a lost, stolen, or damaged driver's licenses, please read our page about Replacing a Lost License.
Renew Your North Carolina Driver's License
You can renew your NC driver's license online (if eligible) by mail or in person at your local NC DMV office.
In order to renew online you must have:
- A valid driver's license
- The last 4 digits of your Social Security number.
- No vision changes in the last 6 months.
The North Carolina DMV allows certain individuals who meet the eligibility requirements to renew their driver's licenses by mail.
For more information and step-by-step details about this renewal process, see “ Out-of-State & Military License Renewals" below.
- Bring your current North Carolina driver's license.
- If you don't have your driver's license, you'll be required to show 2 documents to prove your identity.
- Provide your Social Security card, if your Social Security number (SSN) is not on file with the NC DMV.
- If you are not eligible for a SSN, you must show documents to prove your legal presence.
- Pass a vision test.
- Pass a traffic sign recognition test.
- Submit payment for the driver's license fee.
- See “Fees to Renew Your NC Driver's License" below.
For a complete list of accepted identification documents required during the renewal process, visit the DMV website.
NOTE: If you need to process a name change, you will be required to bring additional documentation. Visit our Changing Your Name page for more details.
Out-of-State & Military License Renewal
To be eligible to renew your license by mail, you must meet any of the following criteria:
- You will be temporarily residing outside of North Carolina for 30 days or more.
- You are in the armed forces and stationed outside North Carolina on active duty.
- See our >Drivers in the Military page for additional useful information.
If you're eligible to renew by mail, you'll only receive a temporary driver's license. You will need to visit your local NC DMV office to obtain your permanent North Carolina license within 60 days of your return. You must have:
- A permanent and verifiable residential address in North Carolina.
- A NC driver's license that has not been expired for more than 1 year.
- A photo on file with the DMV that was issued within the past 5 years.
- Record of your SSN on file with the NC DMV.
- Vision statement.
The North Carolina DMV reviews each mailed-in renewal application on a case-by-case basis, and could ask for additional requirements.
For specific renewal-related questions and to find out how to proceed, call (919) 715-7000.
Fees to Renew Your NC Driver's License
Depending on your age and the duration of your NC driver's license, you will have to pay the renewal fee of $5 per year:
- 18 to 65 years old: 8 years.
- 66 years old and above: 5 years.
Accepted Payment Methods
You can pay your NC driver's license renewal fees using any of the following payment methods:
- Money order.
- Personal check (with identification).
- NOTE: Your check must be issued by a North Carolina bank or an out-of-state bank that has a NC branch.
If you decide to renew your driver's license in person, you will not be able to use a credit or debit card. For online transactions, the NC DMV will accept credit and debit cards only.