How to Renew Car Registration in North Carolina
Applying for a North Carolina car registration renewal is an action you must take once per year before your vehicle’s license plates expire. As part of the state’s Tag and Tax Together program, you must renew your vehicle’s license plates and pay vehicle property taxes at the same time.
To complete the DMV registration renewal process before your vehicle’s license plates will expire, you can choose between one of three available methods: online, in person and by mail. As a reminder to apply for a tag renewal each year, the NCDMV will typically send you a renewal notice about 60 days before your license plates are scheduled to expire.
It will include specific information about the steps you must take to renew your registration credentials, as well as a list of the fees you must pay. To learn more about how to renew your license plates, review the sections below.
Requirements for a DMV Car Registration Renewal in North Carolina
Before you attempt to renew registration online or through another application method, you must complete a safety and/or emissions check within 90 days of the license’s expiration date.
As part of the vehicle’s annual safety inspection, a licensed mechanic will examine its brakes, headlights, windows and several other components to ensure that the automobile is in good working order.
There are 22 North Carolina counties that require motorists to also complete an annual emissions inspection before applying for the license plate renewal in NC.
To perform a car reg check and safety inspection prior to renewing the vehicle’s registration credentials, you must visit a participating inspection station. If your vehicle does not pass its annual inspection, you may qualify for a repair waiver.
Download our guide for more information about registration requirements and to learn more about the process.
Applying for an Auto Registration Renewal in North Carolina
Once you pass the vehicle inspection and meet any other requirements for the renewal, you can start the renewal process online, in person or by mail. Learn more about each of these application methods in the sections below.
Note: If your registration has been lost and is not expiring soon, you may be able to order a car registration replacement instead.
To renew registration online in NC, you must be able to provide your vehicle’s license plate number and the last five digits of its title number. To locate this information, refer to your vehicle’s current registration card or your most recent NCDMV renewal notice.
You may also choose to check vehicle registration status online and obtain a list of the requirements you must meet by downloading the myNCDMV app to your iOS or Android device.
When renewing online, you must agree to pay a small transaction fee in addition to any standard renewal costs. If you cannot pay these registration fees with a credit card or bank account, you can visit any NCDMV office to apply in person, or submit your application materials by mail.
If you cannot perform your North Carolina car registration check and renewal on the NCDMV’s website or the myNCDMV smartphone app, you must visit NC license plate agency near you to complete the registration renewal process in person. When you renew your registration materials in person, you will receive your new credentials before leaving the office.
If you prefer to apply by mail, you may submit your application materials to the address provided on your renewal notice. Your NCDMV vehicle registration renewal notice will provide you with a list of the requirements you must meet prior to applying for renewal, as well as the amount due for your annual registration fees.
Download our helpful guide to learn more about renewing vehicle registration credentials.