North Carolina

Last updated on June 11, 2024

This page has information about driver’s licenses for asylum seekers and other immigrants. Search for a different state here.

Asylum seekers with work permits

Asylum seekers with valid work permits are eligible for driver’s licenses in North Carolina! 

You will need: 

  • a valid work permit
  • a Social Security card 
  • 2 documents to show your home address in North Carolina
  • proof of automobile insurance

Learn more about the requirements and fees in North Carolina.

Should I bring other immigration documents that are not listed above?

In addition to your work permit card, it may be useful to bring proof that your asylum application is still pending – for example, your asylum application receipt notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or a notice of an upcoming hearing in immigration court.

If you applied to renew your work permit, you can also bring the receipt notice for your renewal application. If you applied to renew your work permit before your current card expired, your receipt notice is proof that your work permit is still valid for 540 days after the printed expiration date.

What documents should I bring to show my home address in the state?

To prove that you live in the state, you will need to bring official documents that show your home address and your full name. Some common examples include recent utility bills (such as an electricity bill), rental agreements, and official school records.

It is usually a good idea to bring several different documents with you, in case some are not accepted.

Where do I go to apply for a driver’s license?

The office where you apply for a driver’s license is usually called the “Department of Motor Vehicles,” or “DMV,” but it could also have a slightly different name. Type the name of your state and “Department of Motor Vehicles” in an internet browser such as Google to find locations and the most up-to-date information.

What if I brought all the documents I need but I am told that I cannot get a driver’s license?

If you are an asylum seeker with a valid work permit and you have all the required documents, we recommend trying again. You can try to go to a different DMV location in your state, or even try talking to a different employee at the same DMV.

Other immigrants

If you do not have a work permit or any immigration status, unfortunately you are not eligible for a driver’s license in North Carolina. 

However, if you have a different immigration status, you may be eligible for a driver’s license. Type the name of your state and “Department of Motor Vehicles” in an internet browser such as Google to find information about your state’s requirements. Or search for a local organization to ask for help.

“REAL IDs” and Airplane Travel

Starting on May 7, 2025, the U.S. government is updating the list of acceptable forms of identification that you can show to travel by airplane in the United States.

Some driver’s licenses qualify as “REAL IDs” that you can use to travel by airplane in the U.S., and others do not. REAL IDs typically have a star in the upper right-hand corner or have the word “Enhanced” on them.

However, if you have a valid work permit or a passport from your country of origin that has not expired, those do qualify as acceptable forms of identification. You can use your work permit or passport to travel by airplane in the U.S.!

Search for a different state.

This information from the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) is not intended to be legal advice.

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