transfer license to North Carolina

How to Transfer Your Driver’s License to North Carolina: A Complete Guide

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Sep 23, 2021

North Carolina is quickly becoming one of America’s corporate technology hubs, with an influx of high-growth startups entering the local market. Nature is also abundant in the state for those who enjoy taking hikes or exploring national parks. The combination of these two have made the state a prime location for families and young professionals looking to start anew. 

Moving may sound exciting, but there are a few different steps you’ll need to take as you get settled. One of them is applying for a license transfer from your old state. Luckily, transferring your driver’s license to North Carolina as a new resident is not nearly as complicated as you may think. We’ll show you exactly how to do so in this guide. 

When Do You Need to Transfer Your Driver’s License to North Carolina? 

The state of North Carolina requires new residents to do three things within 60 days of moving:

  • Transfer their license or ID
  • Transfer vehicle registration
  • Change their address with NCDMV

60 days is an ample amount of time for you to get these tasks done at the DMV nearest to you. If you wait too long, you may receive citations and fines from law enforcement officers. Make sure to get these done early to avoid any complications. 

License Change of Address

Whether moving to North Carolina from another state, or simply moving from another city within the state, you’ll need to change your address with the NC DMV. If you only need to change the mailing address on your DMV file, you can easily do so online. However, you may run into trouble trying to change the physical address on your license card. For driver license or ID assistance, call (919) 615-6170.

When changing your address, you may be asked to present or upload:

  1. Proof of new address
  2. Proof of age and identity
  3. Proof of citizenship or legal presence

How to Transfer an Out-of-State Driver’s License to North Carolina

1- Make Appointment with North Carolina DMV

All DMV offices in North Carolina require drivers to make an appointment before receiving service. You can do so on with the NC DMV appointment scheduler. The majority of DMV locations in the state are open from 8am – 5pm and you’ll be able to choose whichever one best suits your needs.

2 – Pass Vision Screening

You’ll need to exhibit proper vision before being allowed to transfer your license to North Carolina. The minimum passing criteria is a score of 20/40 or better. If you do not pass this test, you’ll need to drive with corrective lenses or retake the exam for a better score.  

3 – Have Picture Taken

Since your old state’s Department of Motor Vehicle will not share data with the NCDMV, your picture will be taken to create your new file. No formal dressing is required. However, this picture will be around for several years, so you’ll want to make sure you look presentable. 

4 – Bring Documentation

At the time of your license transfer application, the NCDMV will require you to present certain documentation. All of these must be original copies. The clerk will not accept paper copies of these forms. You can find a full list of acceptable documents here. Here is a summarization:

  1. Out of State license, proving identity and birth date
  2. Social security card
  3. Proof of legal status or citizenship
  4. Proof of physical NC address
  5. Proof of liability insurance coverage

5 – Receive Your Temporary License

The written and road tests will be waived if you have a license from another state. Once your documents have been accepted, your out of state license will be rendered invalid. The Department asks you to properly dispose of the credential or surrender it to the following address:

N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles

Driver License Section

3120 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27697-3120

You will receive a temporary paper license that can be used to identify you when necessary. The permanent license card will be sent to your address on file and should arrive within 1-2 weeks.

We provide state-of-the-art courses to help you quickly prepare for any exam you may come across using practice tests, a summarized handbook, and much more. Even if you don’t need to take any knowledge exams, we recommend that you learn the specific traffic laws for your new state as it will save you a lot of headaches (and maybe even tickets) in the future.

What If You’re from Another Country?

Foreign residents and visitors are not allowed to drive in the state of North Carolina. NC law enforcement does not recognize any international driver licenses or permits. If you’re moving to the state permanently, you will have to apply for a new license and take the written and road exams.

Written Knowledge Exam

The written knowledge exam is designed to test new drivers’ knowledge of traffic laws and safe-driving practices across the state of North Carolina. For your convenience, it is also offered in several languages in case English is not native to you. There are 37 questions on the exam and you’ll be required to answer a minimum of 29 correctly to pass. There are 12 questions pertaining to road signs and 25 covering traffic rules. 

The driver’s manual can be a sufficient method of studying for this exam, but it doesn’t work for everybody. Zutobi combines gamified learning modules with practice tests to give you a complete driver’s education experience – directly front you home. 

Road Test

The road test assesses your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle and perform key maneuvers. You’ll need to bring your own vehicle for the exam and no other passenger will be allowed other than your assigned DMV examiner. You’ll be asked to demonstrate skills such as turning, reversing, stopping, following vehicles, and more. Be sure to get several hours of practicing under your belt to ensure you pass on the very first time!

What Happens If You Don’t Transfer Your License in Time?

The NCDMV requires new residents to transfer their driver’s license within 60 days after establishing residency. You will not receive a reminder when this deadline is approaching, so it’s best to keep note of when you arrived within the state. You may be subject to fines and citations if you are caught using an out-of-state license after 60 days of becoming a resident.  

That’s It!

That’s all you need to know about transferring your driver’s license to North Carolina. Contrary to popular belief, dealing with the DMV for a license transfer is not nearly as complicated as others may have you to believe. Be sure to reference this guide whenever you have any questions or concerns related to the process!

We highly recommend that you take a NC refresher course to learn about the specific driving laws throughout your new state. A great way to do that is through our popular course which goes through everything you need to know.

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