Guide to Chapel Hill


We hope you find the following driver's license and vehicle information helpful as you consider relocating to North Carolina. Additional information for newcomers can be found on the NC Department of Motor Vehicle's website, especially designed for new North Carolina residents.

Drivers License

New residents are required to obtain a North Carolina driver's license within 30 days of establishing permanent residency. You should bring proof of insurance and your current driver's license to the testing location.

New residents must pass a written exam, a vision test, and a road sign recognition test. Your valid out-of-state driver's license must be surrendered at this time. An out-of-state driver's license usually exempts you from taking a road (driving) test; however, you may be required to take one at the examiner's discretion. The North Carolina Driver's Handbook, a study guide for the written test, is available from the Division of Motor Vehicles.

North Carolina law requires a DL-123 form to be filled out and signed by your auto insurance agency prior to receiving your license. Obtain this form from one of the testing locations, or your insurance provider.

The cost of a driver's license $40 for 8 years and $25 for 5 years. Your exact fee depends on how many years you have before it’s time to renew, and that time period depends on your age. Ages 18 to 65 years: 8 years; ages 66 years old and older: 5 years.

Information and forms available online at www.dmv.dot.state.nc.us. You may get your driver's license, a handbook, and/or Form DL-123 from the following locations (you may also register to vote at this time):

Carrboro: Carrboro Plaza, NC 54 West, (919) 929-4161, 8AM to 5PM (M-F)
Durham: 101 South Miami Boulevard, (919) 560-6896, 8AM-5PM (M-F)
Durham: 3825 South Roxboro Street, (919) 560-3378, 8AM-5PM (M-F)

Vehicle Registration

New residents are required to register their vehicle(s) within 30 days of establishing residency or accepting employment in North Carolina. To transfer an out-of-state title and tag, an owner must show the title, proof of liability insurance and a North Carolina driver's license. Regulations regarding vehicle registration vary, because some requirements are based on the regulations of the previous state of residence. The cost is $36 (cars, trucks, vans) and $18 (motorcycles) for the license plate, $40 for the title transfer, and a user's tax of 3% of the vehicle's value.

For more information or to obtain a license plate, vehicle registration, and/or a North Carolina certificate of title, visit their website: http://www.dmvusa.com/state.php?id=28

Durham: 1058 West Club Boulevard, Suite 626, (919) 286-4908, 9AM-5PM (M-F)
Durham: 5410 NC Highway 55 West, Suite AB, (919) 544-3662, 9AM-5PM (M-F)

Vehicle Inspection

New residents are exempt from an initial vehicle inspection, but are required to have one within 90 days of the registration expiration date. For vehicles registered in Durham and Orange County, the cost is $30 for the on-board diagnostic emissions test and $13.60 for the vehicle safety inspection. Windshield stickers are no longer issued; once you pass your inspections, results are entered into the DMV database.