3 tips to navigating the DMV and becoming an official North Carolinian

3 tips to navigating the DMV and becoming an official North Carolinian
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share by Email
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share by Email

If you need a new license by the end of this year, you should probably make your appointment now.

  • The first available slot at many locations isn’t available for at least a month.

Why it matters: The DMV is a fact of life in our state, and in a fast-growing city like Charlotte the locations can be packed with people trying to make the transition to becoming an official North Carolinian. People in recent months have waited in line for hours only to get turned away.

  • I asked DMV communications officer John Brockwell what was up with the lines these days, and he told me, “That’s just how it is. … There are only so many appointments available.” 

The state of play: You have 60 days to get a North Carolina license after moving to the state. And you’ll have to go to more than one location to get your license, registration and plate.

  • You can thank North Carolina legislators for that rule. In 1961, they created a mandate that separates driver’s license offices (run by the Department of Transportation) and license plate agencies (independently owned businesses). 

If you need a REAL ID you still have some time to make that happen. The new deadline is May 3, 2023.

If you’re new to the area, here’s a DMV guide to help you get settled in:

Advertisement

Photo: NC DOT

Step 1: Get a North Carolina driver’s license. You won’t be able to do anything else until you get this done.

What you’ll need:

  • Out-of-state license, or another document that has your name and date of birth.
  • Social Security Card
    • For those not born in the U.S.: a document that proves your legal presence
  • One document with your N.C. address on it (like a bill)
  • Proof of insurance

Where to go: Here’s a list of DMV offices in Mecklenburg County:

Step 2: Register your vehicle with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

What you’ll need:

Where to go: Here’s a list of DMV offices in Mecklenburg County where you can get your registration:

Step 3: Get your plates! You can do this at the same office you get your registration.

Pro tip: According to the Charlotte Ledger, there’s one DMV office with significantly shorter wait times than others: Charlotte North (9711 David Taylor Dr.). They also found a secret DMV in Pineville you might want to check out.

The bottom line: You won’t be able to do all of this in one day, so plan accordingly.

Story Views:
SIGN UP
Join the 107,149 smart Charlotteans that receive our daily newsletter.
"It's good. I promise." - Emma   Emma Way