If you have a birthday coming up, you may hear enthusiastic shouts of “happy birthday!” from your friends and lovers.

 However, if it’s a birthday that requires you to renew your North Carolina driver’s license, well, it might not be a very happy birthday after all.  In fact, it could be downright depressing because there are no available appointments anytime soon in Department of Motor Vehicle offices in Greensboro for driver’s license renewals. 

On Thursday evening, Sept. 29, for instance, the earliest appointments available at the East Market Street DMV and the one at Coliseum Boulevard were at the very end of October – one month away.  So, if you’re birthday is say, on Oct. 10, you are out of luck.

If you think you will just renew your license online like you did last time, well, you need to think again.  That’s because, if you renewed online last time, you aren’t eligible to do so this time around. 

One group of people who have to renew in person are those who “Used the online system for the previous renewal.”  The NC DMV webpage adds, “Individuals​ can only use the online system every other license renewal.​”

In fact, a person who meets any of the following conditions must visit an NCDMV driver license office to renew:

  • Has a suspended license or outstanding debt with NCDMV
  • Has a restriction other than “Corrective Lenses” on their driver license and/or “24” on their full provisional license
  • Needs to renew a commercial driver license, regular Class A or B driver license,​ limited provisional license, limited learner permit or learner permit
  • Has a US government document indicating legal presence.

You also, of course, have the option of just going down to an office with no appointment and waiting until they have time for you.  With any luck, a good number of people who were planning to come in for appointments on that day will have forgotten and you can be in and out in no time.

Here’s another strategy – this one suggested by the NC DMV administrators. Check back on the webpage constantly to see if you can find something.  The state’s motor vehicles webpage states, “Skip the line at driver license offices by making an appointment online. If you do not find an available appointment, please continue to check back as newly available appointments are added each day.”

You can also find earlier appointments if you’re willing to travel.  While the Winston-Salem and Yadkinville offices show no availability until late October, a DMV office in Raleigh, for some reason, had quite a few openings starting in mid-October.

Also, if you’re someone who plans ahead, you just have to think about the problem months before your birthday. You can renew your license in North Carolina up to six months before your license expires. So, if you schedule an appointment well in advance – rather than wait until the last few days like most people do – then you should be fine.