How to Get a Motorcycle License in NC

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If you want to ride a motorcycle in North Carolina, you’ll first need to get a motorcycle license.

We’ll go over all the requirements, steps, and options to get your endorsement and ride legally.

Overview of NC Motorcycle License Requirements

You must be at least 16 years old and already hold a standard driver’s license to be eligible for a North Carolina motorcycle endorsement.

To apply for a motorcycle license or endorsement in North Carolina, you’ll need to:

Riders under 18 years old must complete a motorcycle training program and have parental consent.

Please visit https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/Pages/default.aspx for official application information and to schedule appointments. 

Learn more about other types of licenses and vehicle types in North Carolina:

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North Carolina Motorcycle Learner’s Permit

A motorcycle learner’s permit is available if you already hold a standard provisional license, regular full driver’s license, or CDL.

In order to apply for the permit, you’ll need to:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Complete a Basic Rider Course, if your are under 18 years old.
  • Have signed parental consent, if you are under 18 years old.
  • Pass a vision exam.
  • Pass the motorcycle knowledge test.
  • Pass a NC road sign test.
  • Pay the permit fee.

NC motorcycle permits are valid for 12 months and can be renewed 1 time for an additional 6 months.

The permit allows you to practice your riding skills to prepare for the NCDMV motorcycle skills test.

Permit holders cannot ride with passengers.

If you are prepared to take the skills test or have a skills test waiver from your Basic Rider Course, you do not necessarily need a permit first.

Appointments are required for skills tests.

Basic Rider Course

A motorcycle education and training course is available to new riders in North Carolina.

The course is offered by North Carolina Community College System and the NC Motorcycle Safety Education Program.

The course will consist of 20 to 22 hours of classroom instruction and on-bike training.

After you pass the course, you’ll receive a skills test waiver.

For more information and to find a course near you, please visit: https://ncmsep.org/

Learn more about the Basic Rider Course in North Carolina.

NC Motorcycle Skills Test

Applicants who don’t complete a Basic Rider Course will need to schedule an appointment for a motorcycle skills test.

The tests are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at select NCDMV locations throughout the state.

What is the NC motorcycle skills test?

The skills test takes place off-street and is designed to:

  • Test your knowledge of the bike.
  • Demonstrate your ability to accelerate, brake, and turn.
  • Show that you can stop, turn, and swerve quickly while remaining in control.

You can find the exact skills that will be tested in the back of your NC motorcycle handbook. The basic exercises you’ll need to pass include:

  • A serpentine course.
  • A slow, controlled U-turn with a long entry and exit that consists of an upshift and downshift.
  • A slow moving entry and exit from a u-turn.
  • Quick stop and go.
  • Right turn with a quick stop.

How Much is a Motorcycle License in NC?

The cost of your North Carolina motorcycle license may include:

  • Motorcycle learner’s permit: $21.50.
  • Motorcycle endorsement: $2.55 per year.
  • Basic Rider Course: $135-$250.

Transfer an Out-of-State Motorcycle License When Moving to North Carolina

If you’ve recently moved to North Carolina, you can transfer your out-of-state motorcycle license or endorsement. To do so:

  • Visit your local DMV office within 60 days of establishing residency in North Carolina.
  • Surrender your out-of-state license.
  • Complete the application and provide proof of your identity, residency, and legal presence. 
  • Pay the required application fees.
  • Pass an eye exam.
  • Pass the North Carolina motorcycle written exam.

If your out-of-state motorcycle license/endorsement is valid you typically will not need to pass a road test or complete another motorcycle safety course.

Once you’ve received your motorcycle license, be sure to come back to MotorcycleZombies.com to learn how to title and register a motorcycle in North Carolina.