In order to drive in the US, you will need to have a legal driver’s license. If you are 18 or older, you may apply for a Driver’s License in North Carolina. More information can be found on the NC Division of Motor Vehicles Website.


How to Obtain an NC Driver’s License

  1. Download and study the North Carolina Driver’s Handbook.

    You will need to take both a written test and a driving test even if you already have an international license. If you have never had any driver’s education classes, or have never had a license in your home country, you should consider attending a Driving School in addition to your review of the NC Driver’s Handbook. You may find information about local driving schools online.

  1. Gather your identification documents.

    You will need:

    • Proof of identity, such as a birth certificate (if born in the US) or your passport
    • Valid Form I-20
    • Recent I-94.
    • Proof of residency, such as your official HPU transcript or a bank statement sent to your HPU address. These must be original documents, copies will not be accepted.
  1. Take the written test.

    The local DMV office is located at:

    650 Francis St.,
    High Point, NC
    +1 (336) 884-1003

    Hours are 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Applicants must arrive before 3 pm if you plan to take the driving test that day; however, making an appointment one week before you plan to take the test is advisable, as it can cut down on the wait time. Call the DMV office to schedule your appointment.

    WARNING: There is usually a line at the DMV, and it is not uncommon to wait an hour or two before being called. This process will take a couple of hours at least, so don’t plan to go on a morning when you have a class before 11 am. We recommend that you arrive no later than 7:45 am in order to be at the front of the line.

  1. Take the driving test.

    You do not have to take the driving test on the same day that you take the written test. You must pass the written test before you will be allowed to take the driving test. Prior to taking the driving test, you must obtain Non-Owner’s Insurance from the insurance carrier of your choice. The Office of Global Education has a list of local agents who offer this type of insurance. Usually, there is a deposit of around $150, with monthly payments ranging from $135 and up, depending on driving experience, age, and driving record (if you have one). You can call the insurance company and purchase a policy with a credit card. Print the policy information that is provided to you and take it with you to the DMV.

    HPU does not provide a vehicle for you to drive for the test, so you should ask if a friend is willing to take you to the site and allow you to drive his or her car. Do not drive your friend’s car to the testing site yourself. You should not drive until you are licensed. Many driving schools will allow you to use their vehicle for the driving test if you have paid for a certain number of lessons.


Purchasing/Leasing a Car:

For helpful information about purchasing a car in the US, visit Cars & College: A Complete Guide.


Short-Term Car Rental:

If you do not plan to purchase or lease your own car, but would like a license so that you can drive a rental, you are not legally required to maintain the non-owner’s insurance after passing the test; however it is advisable to have your own insurance if you are going to borrow friends’ cars.