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Out-of-state students are expected to obtain in-state residency as soon as possible because the University’s out-of-state tuition waiver funds are very limited in number. This means that it is helpful for students to do a few things as soon as they arrive in North Carolina. We strongly suggest that students obtain an NC driver’s license, register their car here, register to vote, actually vote in November, and perhaps join the public library (Carrboro/Chapel Hill). Students need to apply one year after they “set up residency” in NC (July or August after their first year). You should review the guidelines and on-line application for in-state status: (

NOTE: You cannot get a NC license or register your car until you have valid car insurance. This often means getting insurance in the state and bringing proof of insurance with you.

To get your car registered, you need to bring your license (and another ID), the title, and proof of insurance to the DMV registration place. There is one conveniently located at the corner of Elliot Drive and Franklin Street. They will then tell you to get your car inspected and get the inspection sticker, which you could do all at once if you drop your car off first at  Chapel Hill Tire 942-8723 at University Mall (shopping center by Harris Teeter on Estes Drive) or at another inspection station (see options at the following link):

To get your license, you will have to take the eye test and NC drivers test on the computer, so reviewing the driving rules first is a good idea ( The most convenient location is off of NC 54 bypass and NC 54 business (104 V Carrboro Plaza, 919-929-4161). Be sure to bring your old driver’s license, proof of your residence (lease, any bill/letter mailed to your new address with your name on it, etc), your insurance, and your checkbook (check the online list of items to bring for identification (

The driver’s license office usually has a long wait, so be sure to have all the correct identification before you go. Arrive before they open if you don’t want to wait. You will need your social security card or passport for this purpose. See the NC DMV Newcomer’s guide:

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