Registration Renewal in North Carolina

Vehicle Registration Renewal in North Carolina

Before your North Carolina vehicle registration expires, you will need to renew it with the NC Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV).

Along with submitting your vehicle registration form and fee, you'll need to get a vehicle safety inspection and pay your vehicle property taxes.

On this page you'll find information on renewing your vehicle registration online, by mail, or in person.

If you've already renewed your registration, you can check the status of your order by contacting the NCDMV.

Renew Your NC Vehicle Registration

The NCDMV will mail you a registration renewal notice about 60 days before your vehicle registration expires. It will include your vehicle information, registration expiration date, and the fees/taxes you owe.

You can also receive an e-mail renewal notice in lieu of the mailed notice. You must provide written authorization to the DMV.

The North Carolina DMV allows a 15 day grace period after your vehicle registration expires to renew. During this time you can not be given a ticket but you will be charged up to $25 in late fees for not renewing before the expiration date.

You can renew your NC vehicle registration online or in person only. You cannot renew it by mail.

NOTE: To renew your registration with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, your vehicle must pass a vehicle safety inspection and possibly an emissions test within 90 days before the expiration date. Please see the “Vehicle Emissions & Safety Inspections" section below for more information.

DID YOU KNOW?: Car insurance is REQUIRED to renew your registration!

Compare rates and buy your policy online: Open the Insurance Center >>


To renew your vehicle registration online, visit the North Carolina DMV website and:

  • Provide your license plate number.
  • Provide the last 5 digits of your vehicle title number.
  • Pay the registration renewal fee (see “Fees to Renew Your NC Vehicle Registration" below).

In Person

To renew your vehicle registration in person, visit your local North Carolina DMV office and:

  • Provide your renewal notice OR license plate number (if you don't have your renewal notice).
  • Provide proof of insurance, such as a:
    • A FS-1 form.
    • Your car insurance policy.
    • Your car insurance card.
  • Pay the fee. (Refer to your renewal notice or see the “Fees to Renew Your NC Vehicle Registration" below.)

Renewal Fees in North Carolina

Registration Renewal Fees

Fees to renew your vehicle registration in North Carolina differ depending on the type of vehicle you own:

  • Passenger vehicles: $38.75.
  • Trucks under 4,000 lbs.: $38.75.
  • Trucks under 5,000 lbs.: $56.75.
  • Trucks under 6,000 lbs.: $67.25.
  • Motorcycles: $25.50.

NOTE: Additional county fees and taxes may apply.

Vehicle Testing Fees

To have your vehicle tested in North Carolina before you renew your registration, it will cost you the following fees:

  • Vehicle safety inspection: $13.60.
  • On-board diagnostic emissions test: $30.

Contact your local NC inspection station for more information about vehicle testing fees.

Accepted Forms of Payment

For vehicle registration renewals in person, the North Carolina DMV accepts payment by:

  • Cash.
  • Check.
  • Money order.
  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards

NOTE: NC DMV offices do not accept credit/debit cards.

For online vehicle registration renewals, the NCDMV accepts VISA, MasterCard, and Discover credit/debit cards only.

Military Member & Out-of-State Renewals

If you are an out-of-state North Carolina resident, including military members, you can renew your NC vehicle registration online. See the “Renew Your NC Vehicle Registration" section above.

You can have your vehicle safety and emissions inspection completed anywhere out of state that meets the U.S. Environmental Agency's requirements.

If you have any questions, contact the NCDMV at (919) 861-3500.

Vehicle Emissions & Safety Inspections

In North Carolina, you will need to have your vehicle pass the following tests before you can renew your vehicle registration:

  • Vehicle safety inspection.
  • Vehicle emissions test – only required for certain NC counties.

You can have your vehicle tested at your local North Carolina inspection station or any approved out-of-state inspection station.

Vehicle Safety Inspection

Your vehicle must pass a vehicle safety inspection, unless it is 3 years old or older.

Vehicle Emissions Testing

If your county requires a vehicle emissions test, you'll need to pass the inspection within 90 days before your NC registration expires.

The DMV provides a complete list of North Carolina counties that require emissions testing.

Your vehicle must also pass an on-board diagnostic (OBD) emissions test, unless it is:

  • 3 years old or older.
  • Model year 20 years old or older.
  • A diesel vehicle.
  • Licensed under a farmer rate.

NOTE: If your vehicle passes the safety inspection but fails the emissions test, you may be eligible for a vehicle inspection waiver. To qualify for the inspection waiver you must:

  • Have passed the safety inspection.
  • Have paid to repair your car after the first failed inspection.
  • Have failed the emissions test again.

For more information or to request an emissions testing waiver, please contact the North Carolina DMV at (877) 421-0020.

Lost, Stolen, or Damaged License Plate

If your license plate or vehicle registration sticker is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can request a replacement either in person or by mail. You cannot request a replacement license plate online.

You will need:

  • A completed Application for Replacement Plate and/or Sticker (Form MVR-18).
    • The application will need to be notarized.
  • Your North Carolina driver license to prove your identity.
  • Proof of your liability insurance, such as:
    • A FS-1 form.
    • Your car insurance policy.
    • Your car insurance card.
  • Payment for the $21.50 replacement fee.

Take the above to your local NCDMV office in person, or mail all of it to:

NC Division of Motor Vehicles
3148 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697

North Carolina Registration Renewal: FAQs

Can I renew my car registration online in North Carolina?

Yes, you can renew your car registration online in North Carolina as long as your renewal notice states you're eligible to do so.

How much is a car inspection in NC?

A car inspection in North Carolina costs $30 for an on-board diagnostic inspection, $13.60 for a safety inspection, and $10 for a tinted window inspection. Emissions inspection costs vary by testing location.

Where can I renew my car registration in North Carolina?

You can renew your car registration in North Carolina online or by mail, or you can visit any NCDMV office in person.

What do I need to register my car in North Carolina?

To register your car in North Carolina, you need its title (or, if it's financed, your registration card), proof of car insurance, an odometer disclosure form, a passed safety and emissions test (if applicable), and a valid driver's license. You'll also need to complete a title/registration application form. Your emissions testing information will be electronically submitted to the NCDMV.

How do I get a 10-day temporary tag online in NC?

You can't get a 10-day temporary tag online in North Carolina; you must visit a DMV location in person to apply.


Application for Replacement Plate and/or Sticker
Request replacement license plates OR registration stickers from the North Carolina DMV.
DMV.ORG BBB Business Review