How to Apply for a Drivers License in South Carolina
New drivers licenses cannot be obtained online or by mail. Instead, you must apply for a new license in person at a local DMV. While there, you must pass a vision screening, a written exam and a skills test. To make sure that you are prepared, download our informative online drivers license guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to complete this application easily and quickly. In it, you will get in-depth details on how to complete other important licensing transactions, such as updating personal information on your license, renewing your license and replacing a lost one.
2. In Person at the DMV
To obtain a new drivers license at the DMV, you must submit identification documents and pass mandatory tests. A birth certificate or passport can verify your name and age, and a utility bill can prove your state residency. Generally, you must pass a written knowledge exam and a road skills test. You must also fill out a drivers license application form and pay the applicable fees. However, you may not know which forms to complete or if you are already eligible to take your exams. Arriving at the DMV unprepared may result in long wait times and potential mistakes, which could mean having to redo the process.
Motorists as young as 15 years of age can begin the process of applying for a driver’s license in South Carolina, as long as they can meet the requirements established by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). An SC DMV license can be requested by new drivers after they have held a beginner’s permit for the necessary amount of time and can demonstrate that they can safely operate a motor vehicle. Furthermore, licensed motorists who move from another state are also required to apply for a new driving credential in South Carolina.
A DMV driver’s license will be issued after an applicant has submitted a complete application packet, including supporting documentation and processing fees, and passed the necessary state exams. With that said, it is important to note that the application process and eligibility criteria for motorists younger than 18 years of age is somewhat different than it is for other applicants. Keep reading to discover the details about how to get a driver’s license in South Carolina.
How to Apply for a Driver’s License in South Carolina as an Adult (18 or Older)
Adults who would like to request a new driver’s license for the first time must follow the same basic steps as applicants who are younger than 18 years of age, including the need to graduate from a beginner’s permit before being able to access a fully unrestricted license. In addition, the eligibility requirements for how to get a driver’s license are the same for new motorists of all ages.
On the other hand, licensed motorists transferring from another state and registering with the SC DMV for the first time must present the same information but do not have to follow all of the same application procedures.
South Carolina Driver’s License Eligibility Requirements for Adults
First-time motorists must meet South Carolina driver’s license requirements that include submitting a number of supporting documents within an application package. In general, this documentation can be provided in various DMV offices throughout the state. Furthermore, it is important to note that these documents must be presented in their original form, not as photocopies. All of the following documents must be included with the SC DMV license application:
- Proof of identity, U.S. citizenship and date of birth
- Proof of a Social Security Number (SSN)
- Two proofs of current state address
- Proof of legal name change history, if applicable
- Auto liability insurance information, in the case of a full license
Steps to Obtain a New Driver’s License in South Carolina as an Adult
Adults who would like to apply for a driver’s license in SC can start this process by obtaining a beginner’s permit, which is widely also referred to as a learner’s permit. To do so, an applicant will need to undergo the following steps:
- Prepare the necessary supporting documents, including an appropriate form of ID, SSN card and two proofs of residency.
- Print out or pick up an “Application for Beginner’s Permit, Driver’s License, or Identification Card” form. Complete and sign the document.
- Prepare an acceptable payment method for the applicable fees.
- Head to a local DMV with all necessary paperwork.
- Undergo a vision screening.
- Take the written knowledge exam.
A provisional driving license application can only be submitted by new adult motorists after they have held a beginner’s permit for at least 180 days. These applicants must also have completed the requisite number of training hours behind the wheel. At this point, adult drivers can submit a new application for driver’s licenses services at a DMV office, taking the necessary road skills test. After a motorist has had a combination of these permits for at least one year and passed all the necessary skills-based exams, he or she will automatically receive a full, unrestricted license in the mail. On the other hand, motorists who have received any traffic citations during this period will be excluded from this state policy.
Getting a South Carolina Driver’s License as a New Resident
Licensed motorists who have recently established residency in South Carolina have 45 days to request a new DMV license issued by the state. In these cases, the driver’s license eligibility requirements are much simpler. For instance, the DMV does not require these applicants to take any driving skills exams to receive an SC license. Instead, new residents must simply prepare the following documents:
- Bring your previous license and surrender it to the South Carolina DMV.
- Submit an acceptable form of legal identification, SSN card and two proofs of residency.
- Complete and sign an “Application for Beginner’s Permit, Driver’s License, or Identification Card” form.
- Provide a payment method for the SC driver’s license cost.
- Head to a local DMV with all of the aforementioned documentation.
- Undergo a vision screening and take a picture that will be displayed on the driving credential.
How to Apply for a Driver’s License in South Carolina as a Teen (Younger Than 18)
Residents who are younger than 18 years of age and wish to obtain a driver’s license in South Carolina must follow a graduated permit schedule, which is similar to the one outlined for adults. Applicants as young as 15 years of age can begin the process to get a learner’s permit. The issuance of a full driving license happens automatically when the motorist reaches 18 years of age if he or she does not have any traffic violations on record.
South Carolina Driver’s License Eligibility Requirements for Teens
The basic driver’s license eligibility requirements for teens are the same as those for new adult drivers, with some additional steps included. Teen motorists in South Carolina should expect to prepare the same documents as adults to receive a learner’s permit, including:
- Proof of identity, date of birth and U.S. citizenship.
- Proof of a Social Security Number (SSN).
- Two proofs of current state address.
When applying for a provisional driver’s license in SC, motorists who are younger than 18 years of age must meet other requirements. Applicable driver’s license requirements for minors applying for this type of driving credential include:
- You have held your beginner’s permit for at least 180 days.
- You have completed a state-approved driver’s education course.
- You are enrolled in school with satisfactory attendance.
- You have practiced driving under the supervision of a licensed motorist for at least 40 hours, including ten hours of driving at night.
All applicants who are younger than 18 years of age must undergo the SC graduated driver’s license program before they can access a full license at 17 years of age. In general, teen motorists in South Carolina can start the process by requesting a beginner’s permit. Then, applicants may request a provisional DMV driver’s license once they have held a permit for six months.
After this portion of the graduated process, motorists will automatically receive an unrestricted driver’s license in the mail, as long as they do not have any traffic violations in their records.
Drivers Ed Requirements to Get a Driver’s License in South Carolina
All motorists who are younger than 18 years of age and applying for a driver’s license in South Carolina are required to enroll in and complete a state-approved driver education program. There are many ways that young drivers can choose to obtain traffic safety and driver’s license information, but certain topics must be covered through programs that meet SC DMV standards. For example, eligible courses must include at least eight hours of classroom instruction and six hours of on-the-road training.
South Carolina Drivers License Costs
The standard driver’s license cost in South Carolina is $25. This fee covers the cost of a license that is valid for up to eight years.