Drivers License

How to Get a North Carolina Driver’s License

A driver’s license in the United States is used for two different purposes. One is a permit to drive and the other is for identification. Each state has different rules governing the issuance and use of the license. In order to drive legally in North Carolina you must have a valid driver’s license. If you have an out-of-state license, (“state” meaning one of the states in the U.S. as well as a foreign state), it is recognized for the first thirty days you reside in North Carolina, then you must obtain a North Carolina driver’s license. North Carolina does not recognize the “international driver’s license.”

If you are 18 or older, you may apply for a Driver’s License in North Carolina.

See the following sites for complete information:

The NC Division of Motor Vehicles Website

Downloadable Driver’s Handbook

  • Download and study the Driver’s Handbook.  You will have to take a written test and a driving test even if you already have an International license.  If you have never had any Driver’s Education classes, or have never had a license in your home country, you should consider attending a Driving School.  You may find information about local schools on the internet.
  • Gather your identification documents.  You must have a proof of identity such as a birth certificate (if born in the US), a passport, your I-20/DS 2019, and your I-94.  In addition, you must have proof of residency, such as your official ECU transcript (obtainable at the Registrar’s office) or a bank statement sent to your ECU address. These must be ORIGINAL documents – no copies.
  • Coverage by, at minimum, liability insurance –get form DL 123 completed by your insurance agent and take it with you to the license office.
  • The issuance of any driver license, learner’s permit or ID card does not require the applicant to show proof of a Social Security Card. (F-1s with no Social Security Number and the F-2s can use their passports for ID and their I-94s and I-20s to indicate lawful status for the length of license. Same with the J-1s and J-2s and their I-94s and DS-2019s. Proof of Residency is needed – such as an electric bill, apartment lease, etc. You may call the local DMV for more information regarding this proof and it is recommended that you do so.)
  • Fees vary so check the Driver’s Handbook for the fee schedule.
  • Take North Carolina DMV Practice Test