If you are new to Johnston County, you must register in the county in order to vote in all local, state and national elections. Also, if you're new to North Carolina, you must establish official residency by means of a North Carolina Driver's License and vehicle registration.

Obtaining a North Carolina Driver's License

You have 30 days after establishing residency to get your North Carolina Driver's License.  You need to apply in person at the nearest driver's license office. If you already have a license from another state, you will be required to take a written road sign recognition and vision tests. A road test may be required. It's an excellent idea to study the North Carolina DMV Driver Handbook. Also, you need to bring each of the following with you:

  • Proof of Residency: You will need to provide any document issued by the State of North Carolina or any of its political subdivisions (county, city, tax district, etc.) or by the federal government, an apartment lease, housing contract, or mortgage statement, a utility bill (ie. power bill, cable bill, water bill, etc.) OR Matricula Consular issued by the Mexican consulate.
  • Proof of Age: You will need a total of TWO documents from this category, one of which must show your date of birth. If you recently moved, an unexpired "out-of-state" driver license with photo counts as one form of identification.
  • Proof of Liability Insurance
  • Proof of Social Security Number: You will need your Social Security Card, a computer generated W-2 tax form or other computer-generated document from the IRS or a state or county revenue department OR a payroll stub

Johnston County Driver's License Offices

3783 US Hwy 301 South
Four Oaks, NC 27524
Phone: 919-934-3187

208 Butternut Lane 
Clayton, NC 27520
Phone: 919-550-2351

Both offices are open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Fees for North Carolina Driver's Licenses

  • Learner Permit - $15.00/ 18 months
  • Class A - $4.00 / yr.
  • Class B - $4.00 / yr.
  • Class C (the most common type of license) - $4.00 / yr.

Registering a Vehicle in North Carolina

You must register your motor vehicle at the expiration of the registration of your vehicle in your prior state of residence (usually 30 days) or when gainful employment is accepted, whichever occurs first.

You need to apply in person at the nearest Vehicle Registration and License Plate Renewal office. In Johnston County:

North Carolina License Plate Agency
102 N. Fourth Street 
Smithfield, NC 27577
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

You need to bring each of the following with you:

  • Proof of Identification: As of September 2007 you are required to present a valid North Carolina Driver's license. However, another state's vald license may be accepted if you can provide proof of one of the following: Military active duty stationed in N.C.; college enrollment in an N.C. school; vehicle garaged in N.C. for a minimum of 6 months; court-ordered sale of a vehicle; vehicle is co-owned; registration for a motor home; or documented medical condition
  • There are four different cases to registering a vehicle and all require slightly different documentation. Please visit the North Carolina DMV site for specific document requirements.
  • Certificate of Title - $40.00

Fees for vehicle registration in North Carolina

  • Instant Title - $75.00
  • License Plate Registration Fee for Private Passenger Vehicles - $28
  • License Plate Registration Fee for Private Truck Under 4,000 lbs - $28.00
  • Transfer of Plate - $4.00
  • Highway Use Tax: Based on Vehicle's Purchase Price or Value - 3%

Insurance requirements in North Carolina

The state of North Carolina requires proof of automobile insurance carrying the minimum requirements of liability insurance for a private passenger vehicle which is is $30,000 for bodily injury for one person; $60,000 bodily injury for two or more people and $25,000 property damage. North Carolina law requires each company to notify the DMV when coverage has been canceled.

Registering to Vote

Voting Voter registration may be completed at the Johnston County Board of Elections, located at the courthouse in Smithfield, or at any public library. The Board of Election is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration closes one month before an election.

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