Being a military Family has its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantage: State residency. I am still a legal resident of my home state, as is my husband, and that allows us certain privileges there that aren’t available to non residents.
Disadvantage: Getting a new driver’s license or getting plates on my car. It can be difficult to navigate these problems if you’ve never had to before.
How to get I get plates on my car and what do I need? If I have to renew my out-of-state driver’s license, what do I do?
Driver’s licenses
This very much varies from state to state. For example, for me to renew my license, I can go online and download a couple of forms. I have to take an eye exam and send that in with a check to my state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, and a few weeks later I get my new ID in the mail.
The best way to go about finding out what you need to do if you intend to keep your residency in your home state is to go onto your state’s DMV website. Every state should have their own site with a section about renewing IDs.
There should be a provision for military personnel and Families who need to renew while out-of-state. In some states, you cannot renew without being present.
But the important thing is, you can find all of this information online and can prepare in advance for when the time comes to renew. You can start by going to
License plates
As Families and members of the military, we have the ability to have our cars registered in our home states if we are still residents. In some cases, it can lead to significant savings.
My husband’s truck is still registered in our home state, and the cost to keep it licensed there has been significantly lower than any other state we have lived in. We can renew that vehicle registration online through the DMV without issues.
My car, however, is registered in North Carolina, and so I have to jump through a couple of hoops. My plate renewal came up during my husband’s last deployment (isn’t that always the way), so I had to have extra documentation with me.
If you visit the North Carolina DMV’s website,, you’ll see the first thing required in renewing your car’s registration is a valid North Carolina ID.
However, if you scroll down the page, there is a military personnel provision under the “documents” section.
If you are a North Carolina resident, you have the ability to renew your registration online if you have had a recent emissions test done on your car.
However, military personnel can get a bit of a tax break by bringing in the right documentation, and currently that is not possible with online renewals.
When you go to the DMV, make sure you have all of the documents you need. You can find the full list online on North Carolina’s DMV site. If you are looking to get a military tax break, you absolutely must bring a current Leavings and Earnings Statement.
If you are renewing your registration without your spouse present and both of your names are on the title, it’s easiest to bring a valid Power of Attorney.
Make sure you have proof of insurance and have completed all of the necessary forms. The DMV will have to fax the LES to the state tax office to determine a military tax deduction, and this can be facilitated before even going to the DMV. Call a DMV office for the fax number about an hour before your visit to make your wait a little shorter.
The North Carolina DMV website is a great resource for everything that you will need for registering your car renewing your North Carolina license.
Everything that you need to bring with you is all right there, in an easy-to-navigate list with links to the documents that you may need to bring with you.