Replacing a Lost License in North Carolina

Replacing a Driver's License in North Carolina

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recommends replacing a lost North Carolina license, permit, or identification (ID) card as soon as possible.

Without these documents, you can't legally drive and will have a more difficult time providing photo identification.

Report Your Lost or Stolen NC Driver License, Permit, or ID

North Carolina doesn't require you to report a lost or stolen driver's license to law enforcement, but the DMV strongly recommends it. Having a report on file can be extremely helpful in combating identity theft.

To do so, contact your local DMV office and your local police station to cover all of your bases and make sure you're protected against any fraudulent activity.

Replace Your Lost or Stolen NC License, Permit, or ID

You can replace a lost North Carolina license, permit, or ID card in person or online.

REAL IDs and License Replacements

If you plan to upgrade to a NC REAL ID upon replacement, you'll need to do so in person and follow the steps for a first-time REAL ID application. Jump over to our license guide for help.

In Person Replacement

You are eligible to replace your license if:

  • Your license has been lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Your license, permit, or ID is valid and not expired.
    • The DMV will not replace suspended, revoked, or canceled licenses. Learn more about how to reinstate your NC driver's license at our Suspended License section.
  • You don't have any outstanding DMV fees or fines.

To apply for a replacement NC driver's license or ID, visit your local DMV office and bring:

  • Your original license, if you have it. (This applies to drivers with damaged or otherwise unreadable licenses.)
  • 2 documents from the state's Proof of Age and Acceptable Identity Documents. Common documents include:
    • Certified birth certificate from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, or another U.S. territory.
    • Social Security card.
    • Valid photo ID card such as a state identification card, student ID, or military ID.
  • Proof of name change,* if applicable. Examples include:
    • Certified marriage certificate.
    • Certified divorce decree.
  • Cash, check, or money order for the applicable fee:
    • Driver's license: $14.
    • Learner's permit: $14
    • Graduated driver's license: $14
    • ID card: $14, or free if you're blind, homeless or had your ID canceled due to disease or disability..

If you would like to replace your license by upgrading to the Real ID, then you will need to bring proof of your:

  • Identity/Date of Birth/Legal Presence/Lawful Status.
  • Social Security Number.
  • North Carolina address (multiple documents).
  • Name change (If applicable).

The North Carolina DMV website has full lists of acceptable documents for each requirement if you are unsure what to bring in. 

An NC DMV agent will take your picture for your temporary permit; you'll receive your permanent duplicate license by mail. (See below for temporary permit information.)

* By North Carolina law, you must change your name with the Social Security Administration before applying for a duplicate license. The NC DMV recommends waiting at least 36 hours after you visit the SSA before applying for a duplicate.

Temporary Driving Certificates

North Carolina's individual DMV offices no longer issue driver licenses immediately to those applying in person. NC now issues permanent driver licenses from the central office in Raleigh.

This doesn't affect how you apply for a first-time driver license OR how you apply for a duplicate license. This policy only affects how long it takes you to receive your driver's license.

After you apply for your duplicate license, you'll receive a Temporary Driving Certificate (TDC) immediately. The TDC is valid for 20 days, and you should receive your permanent driver license by mail within 20 days. The NC DMV asserts most drivers receive their permanent licenses within 20 days. If you do not receive it in a timely manner, please call your local DMV office.

Online Replacement

You are eligible to replace your license online if:

  • You have a valid, non-expired:
    • Regular driver's license.
    • ID card.
    • Graduated learner permit or graduated license.
    • A commercial driver's license (CDL) or a CDL permit. (See below for specific CDL information.)
  • Your license is not suspended, revoked, or canceled.
  • You don't owe fees or fines to the DMV.
  • The DMV has your latest image on file, plus all of the following information:
    • Your Social Security number.
    • Your individual taxpayer identification number.
    • A U.S. government document proving your legal presence.

Plus, in order to use the online system, you must also have:

  • Your license or ID card number.
  • A Visa, MasterCard or Discover credit card.
  • A valid email address.

Once you have everything, you can apply for your duplicate license online:

  • Visit the Duplicate Driver License section of the NC DMV's Online Services.
  • Follow the prompts to provide the appropriate proofs as well as make any necessary changes:
    • Verify your name and address.
      • You cannot change your name using the online system.
      • You can change your residential and/or mailing address, if applicable.
    • Select whether you need a duplicate license or ID card, and then confirm that selection.
  • Pay the $14 replacement fee.
    • You may pay with a MasterCard, VISA, or Discover credit card.

You'll receive your permanent replacement license by mail within 20 days. If you don't receive it within 20 days, the DMV recommends contacting them by:

Out-of-State or Military License Replacement

You can replace a lost North Carolina license while out of state or on military assignment online as long as you meet the same criteria as listed above. (See “Replace Your Lost or Stolen NC License, Permit, or ID" above to learn how to apply online.)

Military and Early Renewal

If you're a military member or dependent you can go ahead and apply for early license.

Our Renewing Your License in North Carolina section explains how military members can renew by mail.

Replacing a Lost or Stolen CDL in NC

You can replace your commercial driver's license (CDL) in person or online. You may replace your CDL online if you DO NOT have a commercial driver license with a P or S endorsement. CDL's with a P or S endorsement can only be replaced in person.

To apply online, use the same process as explained above in “Replace Your Lost or Stolen NC License, Permit, or ID."

NOTE: You must provide a medical examiner's certificate if you have a non-excepted interstate certification. If you do, contact your local DMV office first to determine if you're eligible to apply online.

To apply for your replacement CDL in person, follow the same procedure as outlined above under “Replace Your Lost or Stolen NC License, Permit, or ID," but also:

  • Complete the application at your local NC DMV . Be sure to:
    • Mark the box for “duplicate."
    • Indicate which CDL (A, B, or C) you're applying for, as well as each endorsement you have.
    • Initial the line beside which certification you have.
      • If you have a non-excepted interstate certification, you must provide a medical examiner's certificate.

Your duplicate CDL fee is $14. Pay in cash or with a personal check or money order.

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