Driver’s License and State ID
North Carolina Driver's License
While North Carolina does recognize valid driver licenses issued by another state or country as documentation for legal driving in this state by students, it is strongly recommended that you apply for a North Carolina driver license if you will be staying and driving in the state for more than a month. Particularly if your home country's license is issued in a language other than English and you do not have an accompanying International Driver's License, you will want to apply for a NC license. To get a NC driver license, follow these steps.
Purchase car insurance if you own a car.
If you do not own a car, you will either (1) purchase a "non-owners" insurance policy (2) have a friend or family member add your name to his/her insurance policy, or (3) sign an insurance waiver at the DMV—this will restrict you to driving only fleet vehicles (rental cars or company owned vehicles, such as those from the Davidson Motor Pool).
Bring the following documentation to the DMV:
- Proof of legal presence (also serves as proof of age and identity): Valid passport, I-94, I-20 or DS-2019, and visa stamp
- Proof of North Carolina residency: An enrollment letter from the Registrar's Office, noting your North Carolina address will satisfy this requirement (can also serve as proof of age and identity)
- Social Security card: If you are not eligible for an SSN, your legal presence documents will satisfy this requirement
- Proof of insurance: See above
- Application fee: $4/year (license is issued for five or eight years depending on your date of birth, or until the expiration of your legal presence). This fee can only be paid by cash or check.
To pass the following tests, use the North Carolina Driver's Handbook to study:
- Traffic signs
- Driving knowledge
- Driving skills/ road test (Cars are not supplied by the DMV. You must rent or borrow a car for the test.)
Driver License Office (State ID or Driver's License)
533 Patterson Avenue, Mooresville, NC 28115
Charlotte Area Driving School
Helms Driving School
North Carolina Identification Card
Students who do not plan to drive in the United States should apply for a North Carolina photo ID at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This card is not related to driving, but serves as government-issued identification, and is useful when a photo ID is required locally. The following documents are needed to make the application:
Proof of legal presence (also serves as proof of age and identity):
- Valid passport, I-94, I-20 or DS-2019, and visa stamp
Proof of North Carolina Residency:
- An enrollment letter from the Registrar's Office, noting your North Carolina address will satisfy this requirement (can also serve as proof of age and identity)
Social Security Card:
- If you are eligible for a Social Security Number, you must present your SSN card for this application
- If you are not eligible for an SSN, your legal presence documents will satisfy this requirement
- ID cards cost $10, and will be issued for five or eight years depending on your date of birth, or until the expiration of your legal presence
- Fee must be paid with cash or check only (no credit or debit cards)