Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to file a police report if my license was lost or stolen?
Yes, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles advises drivers to report their lost drivers license or stolen drivers license. Filing a police report will help prevent any fraudulent activity on your license. Once a report has been made, bring it in to your local DMV branch. You will also need to present a completed Affidavit for Lost/Surrendered Driver s License. You will need to fill out “Section 2” of this form and include your signature and date at the bottom.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated South Carolina Driver’s License or ID Card

How can I obtain a copy of the driver manual?
If you would like to get a copy of the South Carolina driving license manual, you can do so here: South Carolina Driver s Manual. Within the guidebook, you will find an assortment of in-depth information about the state s road safety rules, drivers license requirements, traffic safety and other relevant information.

Some of these topics include the following:

  • Classes of Licenses
  • Identification Cards
  • Licensing Procedure
  • Changing Your Name
  • Changing Your Address
  • Learner s Permit

You may also request a hard copy of this manual by visiting your nearest Department of Motor Vehicles office.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver s License in South Carolina

How can I renew my drivers license?
In South Carolina, there are two ways in which you can renew license: in person or by mail.

By Mail To renew your license by mail, you must be a United States citizen with a drivers license that has not been expired for more than nine months. You must have also taken a vision screening examination by a licensed professional in the past year.

Send a completed Application To Renew License, along with vision report and payment for any fees to the address below:

SCDMV PO Box 1498 Blythewood, SC 29016-003

In Person Visit your local DMV office with your current South Carolina drivers license.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in South Carolina

How do I apply for a drivers license?
In order to obtain a SC drivers license, you will need to visit a DMV office and adhere to a few steps as listed below:

  • Show proof of South Carolina residency
  • Show proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Show proof of identity
  • Show proof of Social Security Number
  • Fill out an Application for a Non-Commercial License
  • Pass a vision exam
  • Pass a written exam, if applicable

You will also be required to submit payment for any necessary fees, such as your drivers license application and written exam.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver s License in South Carolina

How do I get a hardship license?
In the state of South Carolina, a provisional drivers license is considered a hardship license. Only first-time offenders of a DUI are eligible to obtain this restricted license to drive. However, you must have also completed an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program and had no other suspensions. In order to apply for a SC provisional driver s license, you will be required to pay a $100 fee (may vary). To find out if you are eligible, contact the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles at 803-896-5000.

You can also send a written letter to the address below:

The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Driver Records Post Office Box 1498 Blythewood, SC 29016-0028

For more information: Suspended License Information for South Carolina

How do I get a replacement license if I am in the military and stationed elsewhere?
The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles offers the option to get a duplicate drivers license online. To get started, you will need to visit the SC DMV Public Services website and identify yourself. You are only authorized to make an online request once in a 12-month period. Additionally, your drivers license must not be suspended or revoked to complete the online process. Make sure to have a Visa, Discover card or MasterCard readily available for payment.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated South Carolina Driver’s License or ID Card

How do I obtain a duplicate license?
In order to replace drivers licenses, you can make your request online or at a DMV office. However, you are not allowed to utilize the online service if you are replacing a CDL drivers license or a beginner s permit.

Online Replace your drivers license online by visiting the SC DMV Public Services website.

In Person To get a SC drivers license copy at a local DMV office, you will need to fill out an Affidavit for Lost/Surrendered Driver s License. If this is your second or third time asking for a duplicate within 12 months, you may be asked to show proof of other items.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated South Carolina Driver’s License or ID Card

How do I reinstate after a revocation as a Habitual Traffic Offender?
If you have a South Carolina drivers license suspension as the result of committing multiple offenses, you will need to follow the terms of your suspension period. The state of South Carolina defines a Habitual Offender as:

  • A driver who has accumulated three or more convictions for serious offenses within three years.
  • A driver who has had 10 or more four-point moving violations within three years.

If you have been classified as a Habitual Offender, you will receive a notice in the mail stating so from the SC DMV. You will be required to surrender your drivers license to the DMV.

For more information: Suspended License Information for South Carolina

How do I reinstate my suspended license?
To reinstate your South Carolina suspended drivers license, you must first review all the terms and conditions of your suspension period. You will need to abide by all the reinstatement requirements before you can request to have your South Carolina driving privileges restored. Some reinstating suspended drivers license requirements may include but not be limited to what s mentioned below:

  • Complete an alcohol awareness program (if applicable)
  • Complete community service hours
  • Complete your suspension period
  • Pay reinstatement fees and court-ordered fees

For more information: Suspended License Information for South Carolina

How do I renew my license if I am in the military and stationed elsewhere?
If you are currently serving in the military outside of South Carolina, you can renew driving license upon your return to the state, or complete the process via mail. To renew by mail, you must send an Application to Renew License, a vision report from the past 12 months and proper payment to this address:

SCDMV PO Box 1498 Blythewood, SC 29016-003

You must be a United States citizen to be eligible for mail renewal. The fee is $12.50 for a drivers license that does not have a veteran designation.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in South Carolina

How do I replace my license if I am a non-U.S. citizen?
The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles does not have any legal status requirements in place to replace DMV drivers license. However, if you are requesting a duplicate online, you need to identify yourself by inputting the following information on the screen:

  • Your drivers license number
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your date of birth

If you intend to visit your local DMV office for your duplicate request, you will need to fill out an Affidavit for Lost/Surrendered Driver s License.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated South Carolina Driver’s License or ID Card

How do I replace my license if I lost it out of state?
If you lost your South Carolina driving license while outside the state, you can request a duplicate drivers license online. Visit the SC DMV Public Services website to get started. You will be asked to enter information to identify yourself, such as the following:

You will not be able to complete your duplicate request online if you currently have a suspended license. Additionally, to use the online service, you must be a United States citizen.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated South Carolina Driver’s License or ID Card

How does the DMV check my vision?
When taking your vision exam, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will test your eyesight with a mechanical device. If you wear corrective lenses, you will be required to have them on during the time of testing, and once you are issued your SC drivers license, a proper coding for lenses will be listed.

In order to pass the SC vision exam, you must have a minimum visual acuity field of 20/70 or better in at least one eye. You must meet these vision standards with or without corrective lenses.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver s License in South Carolina

How long will I have a suspended license for not taking a chemical test?
By law, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will issue a suspended driving license for a mandatory period of six months should you refuse to take the Breathalyzer test and this is your first DUI offense. You may also face additional penalties and consequences that you will need to adhere to before you are allowed to reinstate your drivers license. South Carolina has a standard reinstatement fee of $100. However, this fee may change without notice.

For more information: Suspended License Information for South Carolina

How soon can I renew my driver’s license?
To find out how soon you can begin your request to renew license, contact the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. You can speak to a DMV representative on their Customer Service line by calling 803-896-5000. Their hours of operation are from Monday to Friday during regular business hours.

To avoid having to re-take any exams, such as a written knowledge exam or a road skills test, you must not allow your drivers license to be expired for longer than nine months.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in South Carolina

If I file a police report, will my replacement fee be waived?
Whether or not your replacement fee can be waived is to the discretion of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. The standard duplicate drivers license fee in South Carolina is $10. This fee applies both in person and online. If you are submitting your payment online, you are authorized to use one of the following credit cards:

  • Visa
  • Discover
  • MasterCard

When completing your request in person, you will be required to fill out an Affidavit for Lost/Surrendered Driver s License.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated South Carolina Driver’s License or ID Card

Is there an age limit to renew your license?
The state of South Carolina does not have any age restrictions to renew your drivers license. However, you are required to meet a certain set of requirements when requesting a license renewal. Some of these may include but not be limited to the following:

  • Application to Renew License
  • Vision Report that was conducted in the past 12 months
  • Your recent South Carolina drivers license
  • Payment for any necessary fees

South Carolina offers two options for renewing license: in person or by mail. The service to renew drivers license online is no longer available.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in South Carolina

What address will my replacement license be mailed to?
You can expect to receive your drivers license replacement at the residential or mailing address you have on file with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. If your address recently changed, you have 10 days to notify the DMV. The DMV allows you to make an address change online, in person or by mail.

If you would like to submit your address update by mail, you will need to send the appropriate application, along with a correct fee to this address:

DMV Alternative Media Office PO Box 1498 Blythewood, SC 29016-0035

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated South Carolina Driver’s License or ID Card

What are requirements for seniors to renew a driving license?
Adults under the age of 65 are issued a 10-year driver s license in the state of South Carolina. However, if you are a senior older than 65, you will be issued a five-year drivers license. To renew your drivers license, you will need to stop by your local Department of Motor Vehicles branch to complete the process. During your visit, you may be asked to take a vision exam. In order to pass, you must have a minimum visual acuity field of 20/70 or better in at least one eye.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver s License in South Carolina

What are some violations that may constitute in a suspended license?
In the state of South Carolina, you may be issued a drivers license suspension as the result of a violation or offense that can include any of the following:

  • Failure to pay child support
  • Failure to maintain car insurance
  • Failure to appear in court
  • Aggressive, reckless driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Accumulation of points on your driving record

There are other types of offenses that can see you facing a SC suspended driving license or revocation. Abide by road safety laws and regulations in South Carolina to avoid losing your driving privileges.

For more information: Suspended License Information for South Carolina

What are the consequences of driving with a suspended license?
If you choose to ignore the terms of your South Carolina drivers license suspension, you will face additional penalties and consequences that may consist of the following:

  • Lengthier suspension period
  • Possible imprisonment sentence
  • Mandatory court-ordered fees
  • Mandatory completion of community service hours

In order to avoid these unwanted consequences, follow the rules of the road at all times.

For more information: Suspended License Information for South Carolina

What are the fees for a duplicate drivers license?
Whether you replace your SC drivers license online or in person, the fee is the same: $10. This fee is subject to change without notice. If completing your South Carolina drivers license replacement request online, you must make your payment with a credit card. The following types of credit cards are accepted:

  • MasterCard
  • Discover
  • VISA

To complete your online transaction, you must be a United State citizen without a suspended or revoked South Carolina driver s license.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated South Carolina Driver’s License or ID Card

What are the reinstatement fees I will have to pay for a suspended license?
The fees in which you will be required to pay may vary, depending on the type of offense you have committed, and whether or not you have committed this violation before. As a general rule, however, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has a $100 reinstatement fee in place unless otherwise noted. Fees may change without notice.

Since 2011, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has allowed their drivers to sign up for a reinstatement fee payment plan if they are facing financial difficulties. This program is available specifically to those with a suspended license in the state.

For more information: Suspended License Information for South Carolina

What are the suspensions eligible for a hardship license?
The state of South Carolina refers to a hardship license as a provisional driver license. This specific type of drivers license permits driving to and from, to and from school, to and from any other authorized activity. Only first-time offenders of a DUI are considered eligible. However, to apply, you must have no other additional suspensions, and you must complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action program. The fee for this license is $100. Fees may vary without notice.

For more information: Suspended License Information for South Carolina

What do I need to do to get my driver’s license if I fail the driving test?
In the event that you fail your drivers test, you will have to retake it at a later date and reapply for your South Carolina drivers license. The following techniques will be tested:

  • Stopping as smoothly as possible
  • Backing your vehicle for a distance of up to 100 feet
  • Properly coming to a complete stop at Stop signs
  • Ability to parallel park
  • Yielding the right of way
  • Proper turning in to a lane
  • Proper clutching

You will also be tested on other types of vehicle operation. In order to be prepared for the test ahead, you must use a vehicle that is in safe working condition.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver s License in South Carolina

What documents do I need to get my drivers license?
To get your license to drive in the state of South Carolina, present the following documents:

  • Proof of Social Security Number
  • Acceptable examples include a Social Security Check, a Social Security Card, a marriage license or military ID.
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship
  • Acceptable examples include Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, U.S. Birth Certificate or United States passport.
  • Proof of SC residence
  • Acceptable examples include a utility bill, statement from your financial institution or Voter Registration Card.
  • Proof of identity
  • Acceptable examples include United States birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, current U.S. passport or U.S. government issued Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

In addition to the aforementioned documents, provide proof of your South Carolina car insurance.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver s License in South Carolina

What documents do I need to present to renew my drivers license?
The process to renew your South Carolina drivers license will require you to submit this documentation:

If you are a U.S. citizen, you will be required to complete the South Carolina drivers license renewal process at an SC DMV International Customer Office. You will need to present proof of the following:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of Social Security Number (or ineligibility)
  • Proof of date and place of birth
  • Proof of SC residence
  • Proof of car insurance

The fee for a five-year South Carolina drivers license is $12.50 (may vary).

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in South Carolina

What documents will I need to present to replace my drivers license?
When replacing your South Carolina drivers license at a nearby DMV office, you will need to present the following documentation:

To replace license documentation, follow the steps you see on the screen when visiting the SC DMV Public Services website.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated South Carolina Driver’s License or ID Card

What languages is the written test available in?
The written knowledge test may be available in other languages aside from English. To find out what they are, contact the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles at 803-896-5000. Their hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are also open on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. When taking your written test, make sure to bring the proper form of payment with you.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver s License in South Carolina

What penalties will I face if I do not renew my expired drivers license?
If you have an SC expired drivers license and do not take the necessary steps to get it renewed, you may face late fees, in addition to other penalties. If your drivers license has been suspended for a lengthy amount of time, you will be required to do the following:

  • Pass a written knowledge exam
  • Pass a road skills test
  • Show proof of identity
  • Show proof of Social Security Number
  • Show proof of SC residency

To avoid any potential issue, renew your South Carolina drivers license before the expiration date. You can do so by mail or at your nearby DMV office.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in South Carolina

What should I do if I have not received my renewed license?
If you completed the required steps for a South Carolina drivers license renewal and have yet to receive it, contact the SC DMV at your earliest convenience. You can reach them by phone at 803-896-5000, or you can visit a DMV branch in your neighborhood to speak to a Customer Service agent. You can also email the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles by writing to help@scdmvonline.com

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in South Carolina

What tests will I need to take for my drivers license?
If you are obtaining your regular South Carolina driving license, you will be required to pass a vision exam. In order to pass, you must have a minimum visual acuity of 20/70 or better in at least one eye, with or without corrective contact lenses.

In some cases, you may also be asked to take a written knowledge exam. This exam must be completed in person, at a local Department of Motor Vehicles branch.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver s License in South Carolina

What type of noncommercial license will I need?
The state of South Carolina offers five different types of noncommercial drivers licenses, such as the ones listed below:

  • Class D Issued to operate a noncommercial, passenger vehicle that does not exceed 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight
  • Class E To operate noncommercial vehicle that exceeds 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight
  • Class F Issued to operate noncommercial, combination vehicles that exceed 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight
  • Class G Issued to operate a moped
  • Class M Issued to operate a motorcycle or three-wheel vehicle

You will need to apply for the appropriate drivers license class, depending on the type of vehicle you would like to operate.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver s License in South Carolina

When can I reinstate my license after it has been suspended?
By law, you can only reinstate suspended drivers license once you have fulfilled all the requirements set forth in your suspension summary. For example, if you have a South Carolina suspended drivers license as the result of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and this is your first offense, your license will be suspended for a period of six months. Only thereafter, and once you have complied by all the rules and regulations of your reinstatement requirements, will you be able to have your driving privileges restored.

For more information: Suspended License Information for South Carolina

When will I need to renew my license?
You must renew drivers license materials before its expiration date. The expiration date will depend on the type of drivers license you have. The state of South Carolina issues both five-year drivers licenses, as well as 10-year drivers licenses. If the last time you conducted a license renewal was at a DMV branch, your license will be good for 10 years. Seniors who are 65 or older are only issued a five-year drivers license.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in South Carolina

When will I receive a replacement license after applying?
In order to find out when you can expect to receive your drivers license copy, contact the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. You can reach them at 803-896-5000 during regular business hours. Their Customer Service line is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also call on Wednesdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you are replacing your SC drivers license in person, you can speak to a DMV representative about obtaining your duplicate.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated South Carolina Driver’s License or ID Card

Where can I check to see if my license is suspended?
If you would like to check the current status of your South Carolina drivers license, you may do so in one of three ways: online, in person or by mail. You will need to complete an SCDMV Request for Driver Information to obtain a copy of your driving record. Find out more by contacting the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles at 803-896-5000 during their regular business hours. You will need to have your drivers license number on hand to identify you in their department records. You can also send an email to the department by writing to: help@scdmvonline.com.

For more information: Suspended License Information for South Carolina

Where can I get a new drivers license?
To begin the process of applying for drivers license, stop by your nearest DMV office to complete the proper paperwork and submit to any necessary testing. Before visiting a local branch, you will need to gather proof of residency, proof of U.S. citizenship, proof of identity and proof of Social Security Number. You will also need to show proof of valid car insurance in the state of South Carolina.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver s License in South Carolina

Will I be required to take a vision test for a drivers license renewal?
In SC, you are required to present proof of a recent vision screening report when renewing drivers license. If you are completing the process in person, you must do one of the following:

  1. Pass a vision screening exam
  2. Provide proof of a vision report that was conducted by a licensed eye doctor in the past 12 months.

If you are under the age of 65, you will be issued a 10-year drivers license. However, if you are a senior who is 65 or older, your SC drivers license will be good for a period of five years.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in South Carolina

Will I get a drivers license renewal notice in the mail?
To find out whether or not you can expect to receive a renewal notice in the mail, contact the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. Their Customer Service phone line is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also reach them on Wednesdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Simply call 803-896-5000. When calling the SC DMV Customer Service Center, make sure to have one of the items on hand to identify you in their records:

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in South Carolina