Drivers in the Military in North Carolina

When it comes to driver licenses in North Carolina, military service personnel have special privileges. For example, if you are a North Carolina resident who is out of state on military duty, you can renew your license by mail. So can your spouse and dependent children. However, you must meet certain criteria, as the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reviews each military renewal by mail on a case-by-case basis. The DMV reserves the right to apply conditions accordingly. Check with the DMV for more details.

If you are a Reservist will need to officially renew your license within 60 days of your return to North Carolina. You will have to show your military orders proving you were on active duty out of the state.

When Can't I Renew by Mail?

You can only renew by mail back-to-back 2 times in your life. However, you can renew your license more than 1 year in advance if you provide military documents showing your active duty status. (If you come home on leave within this period, that would be a good time to renew your license in person.)

Under the following conditions, the DMV cannot renew your license by mail:

  • Your image is not on file with the DMV.
  • Your driver license has been expired for more than 2 years.
  • Your military orders show you have been reassigned.

Also, you cannot change your name on your driver license through the mail.

Foreign Vehicles

If you are in the military and coming from overseas with a foreign title, foreign registration, or military registration card, you must call (919) 861-3330 to have your vehicle registered. For a general overview on how to register a vehicle, visit Registration and Titling.

If you bought your vehicle overseas, you are not exempt from paying the Highway Use Tax. You will be taxed at 3% of the purchase price if you bought it from a dealer, or 3% of the vehicle's value if you bought it from an individual―whether that person is a resident or non-resident. The value is determined by a schedule database kept by the DMV.

  • Overseas vehicles with military registration: Taxed at 3%, up to $250.
  • Overseas vehicles without registration: No maximum tax; 3% of price on bill of sale.

Vehicles from overseas do not require notarization; however, you must have a bill of sale or completed assignment in order to register them.

Renewal Questions?

Call the DMV at (919) 861-3330.

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