Obtaining Your North Carolina Permit

North Carolina has a Graduated Driver License process for anyone under the age of 18.

To begin the process, you will enroll in a driver education class. After you have completed the class and the behind-the-wheel training, you will go to any NC DMV office and test for a permit. For this first permit test, the Level 1 Limited Learner Permit, you will take a signs test, a multiple choice test on knowledge of the handbook, and a vision test. To obtain the Level 2 Limited Provisional License, students will take a signs test, a vision test, and an on-the-road driving test with a DMV Examiner.

Before you go to the DMV for your first permit, please refer to the NC DMV website for the latest requirements regarding the documents you will need to present to them. This information is also covered in Chapter 1 of the NC Driver Handbook (download a copy).

Once you have obtained your first permit you are in the graduated licensing process until you turn 18 years old.

Levels of the Graduated Licensing Process

Level 1: Limited Learner Permit - one year

The Limited Learner Permit allows you to drive a vehicle while supervised.

Requirements

  • Completed an approved driver education course
  • Be 15 years old but less than 18 years old
  • Pass written test, sign test, and vision test
  • Driving Eligibility Certificate or High School Diploma or equivalent


Restrictions

  • While driving, a supervising driver will accompany you
  • The first six months, you may only drive from 5am to 9pm with your supervising driver
  • The second six months, you drive any time with your supervising driver
  • You are not permitted to use a mobile telephone or other additional technology associated with a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle on public vehicular areas



Level 2: Limited Provisional License - 6 months

The Limited Provisional License allows you to drive unsupervised from 5 AM until 9 PM, or when driving directly to or from work or any volunteer fire, rescue or emergency medical service

Requirements

  • Having kept a Limited Learner Permit for 1 year
  • No convictions of moving violations or seat belt/mobile phone infractions within the preceding six months
  • Be 16 years old but less than 18 years old
  • Pass signs test, a vision test, and an on-the-road driving test with a DMV Examiner


Restrictions

  • You may only drive unsupervised from 5am to 9pm, and supervised anytime
  • You may drive unsupervised outside of 5am to 9pm when driving directly to or from work or any volunteer fire, rescue or emergency medical service
  • When driving unsupervised, there may be no more than one passenger under 21 years of age in the vehicle
  • You are not permitted to use a mobile telephone or other additional technology associated with a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle on public vehicular areas


Level 3: Full Provisional License - until you turn 18 years old

The Full Provisional License allows you to drive unsupervised at any time


Requirements

  • Having kept a Limited Provisional License for 6 months
  • No convictions of moving violations or seat belt/mobile phone infractions within the preceding six months

Restrictions

  • You are not permitted to use a mobile telephone or other additional technology associated with a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle on public vehicular areas


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