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How to Register a Vehicle in South Carolina

South Carolina law requires that motor vehicle owners must register their vehicle with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles before taking it on the road. Both new and second-hand vehicles must be registered, regardless of whether they are purchased from a dealer or an individual. In addition, new South Carolina residents who have registered their vehicle in another state must register their vehicle in South Carolina. The initial vehicle registration must be done in person, and registration renewals must be done every two years, either in person, online or by mail.

INITIAL REGISTRATION

If you are registering a motor vehicle in South Carolina for the first time, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Complete a vehicle title/registration form.
  2. Complete a Title or Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin.
  3. Visit your local DMV office, and bring the completed title/registration form with you, along with the above stated documents. In addition, you will need to provide proof of insurance, and the odometer reading, if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
  4. For vehicles that have been registered in another state, you must also bring the original, out-of-state title. If the title is unavailable, bring the registration document, along with proof of sales tax payment.

REGISTRATION FEES

When registering your vehicle at the local DMV office, you will be required to pay certain fees, typically as follows:
  1. The registration fee, which varies depending on the manufacturer's model year or the vehicle's total weight.
  2. Title application fee. Depending on the county, the title application fee is usually $15.
  3. South Carolina residents are required to pay a 5 percent casual sales tax as well for new vehicles.

RENEWING YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION

Owners of motor vehicles in South Carolina are required to renew their vehicle registration every two years, and can do so in person, online or by mail. See our Registration Renewal section for complete details.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Reviews of How to Register a Vehicle in South Carolina

I spoke to someone at the DMV and she informed me that when you move to SC from another state, you must pay a property tax on your vehicle before you can change the title and obtain SC license plates. She also stated that this could only be done at the County Treasurer's Office and that the Property Tax Receipt had to be taken to the DMV (along with the other required paperwork) to complete the title and registration process. Why is this not explained in this section "How To Register A Vehicle In South Carolina"?

 

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