The reason my Costa Rican driver's license is so badly expired is that you can take in a valid foreign license and get a CR one same-day with no real problem. But if you don't have a valid US license, you're treated like a non-driver and have to take tests and courses and all kinds of things.
Since I know I'm a good driver, and the fine if you get a ticket for driving on an expired license is something like five bucks (maybe ten by now), I've just let it slide.
Okay, thinking about it, I guess I could have renewed my CR license before my NC one expired, but for some reason I didn't. Possibly I didn't realize in time, or maybe it was just that I wasn't dealing with non-essential things at that time last year, what with all the personal upheaval. Probably both.
In any case, my NC license expired on my last birthday, in July. I tried to renew it when I was in the States last year, but it was six months and one day before my birthday, and their system only accepts renewals up to six months in advance. The guy was nice, but he said I would have to come back the next day, which I couldn't do.
Anyway, it occurred to me this week to check the NC DMV website to find out if there was any way to renew it without going in personally.
After a long list of the things you have to do and present in order to renew a license, there was a small-print paragraph about how people living temporarily out of state could, under certain circumstances, renew by mail.
I contacted them for more information, and was answered within 24 hours with a list of the information they would need in order to determine whether I was eligible.
I've sent them all of that, and they sent it on to "the appropriate unit", and now I'm supposed to be contacted "within 10 days" with a response as to whether I can renew by mail or not.
If I can, the new license will be good for 8 years, or for 60 days after I next enter the United States, whichever comes first.
Works for me.