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Guide to the North Carolina DMV

North Carolina DMV Guide

If you’re new to North Carolina, or have recently purchased a car, you may need to understand the vehicle licensing and registration process.

North Carolina Vehicle Registration

To register your vehicle with the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you will need your vehicle title, driver’s license, proof of insurance, a title application, a declaration of eligible risk, and payment for your registration fee. In general, if you bought your car from a dealership, the dealer will handle registration paperwork for you. New residents must sort out a driver’s license, title, and registration within 30 days of establishing residency.

North Carolina Vehicle Inspections

Most vehicles in designated counties are required undergo safety and vehicle emissions inspections. Inspections aren’t required for vehicle registration, but when it’s time to renew your registration, you will have to undergo a safety and smog check.

North Carolina Vehicle Registration Renewal

You will need to renew your registration annually with the North Carolina DMV before it expires.

You will usually be notified that your term is coming to an end by mail or email. You’ll have a 15 day grace period after your registration expires to renew. You can renew your registration online or in person at your local DMV. You will also have to pass a vehicle safety inspection and potentially an emissions test within ninety days before the expiration date. Fees to renew your vehicle will depend on the type of vehicle you own. It will cost between $24 and $67.

Getting a Vehicle Title in North Carolina

When you purchase a car, you will receive a title, signed by the seller. To transfer your car title with the North Carolina DMV, you’ll have to provide that title, along with proof of insurance, residence, and identification, and a Title Application (Form MVR-1). You will also have to pay all applicable fees.

Titling fees are:

  • $52 transfer fee
  • $15 for late fees
  • $98 for an instant title
  • 3% Highway Use Tax (HUT)

Getting You North Carolina Driver’s License

New residents are allowed to transfer their out-of-state licenses within sixty days of establishing permanent residence in the state. You will also have to pass a vision exam, a written test, and road sign tests. After passing these, you’ll receive a Temporary Driving Certificate; your permanent license will arrive by mail within the next month. You might be exempt from the written and road tests if you surrender your out-of-state license.

North Carolina Auto Insurance Requirements

North Carolina liability insurance is required for every vehicle in North Carolina. You are also required to have uninsured motorist coverage with the same minimums as required for liability coverage. These limits are:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury liability per person, per accident
  • $60,000 for bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 for property damage liability per accident