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Office of International Student and Scholar Services

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UNC Transportation Webpage (Department of Public Safety): Information regarding bus schedules, shuttles, on demand and disability access. As well as other transportation information regarding getting to and around campus.

Parking On-Campus: On-campus parking is restricted. Persons approved for on-campus parking will be issued a parking permit. These permits allow for parking in specific lots only. Metered parking spaces are available in some areas around campus for persons without a parking permit. Note: The parking lots are strictly monitored and unauthorized vehicles are ticketed and/or towed.

North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles

North Carolina Driver's License
A driver's license in the United States is used for two different purposes. One is a permit to drive and the other is for identification. To drive in North Carolina you must have a valid driver's license. This can be a license from your country or a North Carolina driver's license. Students in possession of a valid license from their home country may drive in North Carolina as long as they intend to return to their country, and do not make North Carolina their permanent residence (unless they obtain a North Carolina identification card, then they are assumed to be a resident, and their home country license is only good for 30 days). Although it is not required, we recommend that students who remain in North Carolina for more than one year apply for a North Carolina driver's license because the driver's license is used widely for identification purposes in the U.S.

What do you need in order to get a North Carolina Driver's License?

  1. You will have to take and pass both a written and a driving test as well as a vision test. The written test is made up of 25 questions taken directly from the rules discussed in the Driver's Handbook (A copy of this handbook can be checked out from the Office of International Student and Scholar Services or downloaded from the Department of Motor Vehicles website). A passing score of 72% is needed. For the driving part of the test you will need to provide your own car - either your own, a friend's or a rental.
  2. Take Form DL123 from your automobile insurance agency. The DL123 form demonstrates that you are the owner of a "liability" insurance policy. Liability insurance is the minimum amount of auto insurance you must have in order to drive in the state of North Carolina. For the past several years, the rule was not enforced if the new driver was a student who lived in a dorm. Now it IS enforced.
  3. You need at least TWO forms of the following identification:
    • your passport
    • I-20 or DS-2019
    • valid or expired international driver's license
    • birth certificate
    • social security card or ITIN number now required

    Note: The UNC One Card is NOT acceptable as one of your forms.

    Take your UNC-Chapel Hill identification or a copy of your current class schedule. Spouses should take the student's proof of UNC-Chapel Hill attendance. Because North Carolina is phasing in a new five-year license, fees will range between $10.00 and $20.00 in cash for your license.

What if You Do Not Own a Car?
Because of the requirement that a driver carry liability insurance in order to get a license, it is becoming increasingly difficult for someone without a car (and therefore insurance) to get a license. As a student without a car, seeking a new North Carolina driver's license, you have two options:

  1. You can get a restricted driver's license that will only allow you to drive a rental or fleet car. If you are caught driving a vehicle of an individual, you will be ticketed as if you were driving without a license. It is not necessary for you to have auto liability insurance to get this license, but if you ever rent a car, you MUST accept the rental car company's offer of insurance.
  2. You can buy an auto liability insurance policy for people who do not own a car. This is sold at all insurance agencies. However, effective October 1, 2006, the North Carolina Auto Insurance Rate Bureau ( will no longer acknowledge prior driving experience in your home country (unless you are from Canada or Puerto Rico). This applies to ALL INTERNATIONAL DRIVERS who arrived in the United States, purchased a car & bought insurance after 10/1/2006. You will be classified as an Inexperienced Driver and therefore have to pay very high fees – roughly $1,500 for six months of required liability insurance. (However, you may be able to find a lower rate by calling around to a few insurance offices.) Obviously, if you are a brand new driver, you will have to pay the insurance fee for inexperienced driver and pay the same premiums.

Identification Cards
If you do not drive, but would like an identification card to use in all those places that ask for your driver's license, you can receive an identification card from the same office. Items 3, 4 and 5 from above also apply for the identification card.

North Carolina Driver's License Examiners
Carrboro Plaza
Carrboro, NC 27510

Click it or Ticket - Seat Belt Laws
It is the law in North Carolina for all passengers in the front seat of a motor vehicle to wear their safety belts. The state has launched a campaign called "Click it or Ticket" during which there are periodic road checks to see if passengers are buckled in their seatbelts. Those who are not buckled are ticketed. There is a $25 ticket per person unbuckled in a front seat, $85 per child regardless of where they are seated and a $60 court fee on top of that. Children under the age of 6 years are required to be buckled even if sitting in a back seat. Children under the age of five years and five inclusive are required to be in a safety or infant seat that is properly secured. For more specific information you may call the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Chapel Hill and Triangle Transit Authority Bus System
Chapel Hill Transit offers a bus transportation system. The UNC Department of Public Safety wishes to make sure your experience this academic year is a positive one. As such, please take a moment to review important information related to transportation, parking, and personal security through the Fall 2009 Transportation, Parking, and Safety Update link from the Public Safety homepage:

In addition to regular buses, the "U" Bus is specifically a campus route bus and is free of charge. There is a small fee for rides within the UNC-Chapel Hill campus zone. Discounted semester or academic year bus passes are available. For more information, stop by the Campus Traffic Office, the Post Office in the basement of Student Stores, or call Chapel Hill Transit, 968-2769, 968-2770 or 968-2755.

The Triangle Transit Authority (TTA) is a regional bus service that serves Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, Cary, Research Triangle Park, and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Passes and books of tickets are available for purchase. For more information and schedules, call 549-9999.

For both the Chapel Hill Bus System and TTA Service, exact fare is required. The driver cannot make change.

Taxis and Airport Shuttle
There are several taxi companies in Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Check the listings in the Yellow Pages of your local phone book for more information.

Ground Transportation Airport Shuttles run shuttles between Chapel Hill and the RDU Airport. You can either call in advance for a reservation or you can use the courtesy phones that are located in each terminal when you arrive. For more information call 919-840-0262 or 1-800-840-2738.

Transportation to Other Cities
For information regarding bus service to other cities, contact:

Carolina Trailways

Local Greyhound Office
311 West Franklin St.

Or if you wish to travel by train:


International Student and Scholar Services | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill