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How to Apply for a New Driver's License in South Carolina

Getting a driving license is a requirement if you wish to operate a motor vehicle on South Carolina roads. To obtain a license to drive in the state, residents must meet certain requirements, such as drivers education training, which depend on their age. All South Carolina drivers license applicants must, however, pass a written test and a road test and provide documents proving their identification.

Did you know? 7 out of 10 new drivers license applicants fail the written driver's exam on their first try. To avoid becoming like the majority of drivers, take our driving practice test to prepare.

How to Apply for a South Carolina Driver's License:

  • Be at least 17 years of age.
  • Hold a beginner's permit for at least 180 days.
  • Present the required identification documentation, including proof of parental consent if younger than 18 years of age.
  • Provide proof of car insurance.
  • Pass a vision screening.
  • Pass the road test.
  • Pay the driving license fee.

Continue reading below for more information on getting drivers licenses in South Carolina.

Types of Drivers Licenses in South Carolina

South Carolina drivers license applications are available for several types of licenses. Applicants can only hold one class of DMV license at a time. The following are the classes of licensure offered by the SC DMV:

  • Class D driver's license - issued to drivers of non-commercial passenger automobiles including three-wheel cars.
  • Gross vehicle weight must not exceed 26,000 pounds.
  • Class E driver's license - issued to drivers of non-commercial single-unit vehicles whose weight exceeds 26,000 pounds (GVWR). Drivers may also operate a three-wheel vehicle.
  • Class F driver's license - issued to drivers of non-commercial combination vehicles whose weight exceeds 26,000 pounds, such as trucks and motor homes. Drivers may also operate a three-wheel car.
  • Class M motorcycle license - issued to operators of two- and three-wheel motorcycles.
  • Class G moped license - a moped-only operator license available to applicants 14 years of age and older.
  • Class A, B and C commercial drivers licenses - issued to operators of commercial motor vehicles.

First-Time Driver (Under 18) in South Carolina

All first-time drivers are required to obtain a DMV learners permit to qualify for driving license credentials in South Carolina, regardless of their age. Beginner drivers 15 to 17 years of age will be granted the type of drivers permit that is appropriate for their age, whether a beginner permit, a conditional license or a special restricted South Carolina drivers license. The SC graduated driver license program outlines the requirements and restrictions for all drivers license applicants younger than 17 years of age.

For more information, visit our Learner's Permit page.

South Carolina New Drivers (Over 18)

To obtain a license to drive in South Carolina, applicants must pass a written exam, a road test and a vision screening.

SC Driver's Study Guide and Driver's Practice Test

Beginner drivers of any age can benefit from taking a practice DMV drivers permit test. Our South Carolina driving permit practice test includes all of the traffic law and safety information you need to prepare for your official SC driving permit exam.

How to Apply for Drivers Licenses in SC

When applying for drivers licenses in South Carolina, an applicant will need to provide the necessary documentation at an SC DMV office. The following types of documents must be presented to get driving license privileges:

  • Proof of identity.
  • Proof of Social Security Number.
  • Proof of South Carolina residency.
  • Proof of car insurance.

SC Drivers License Eligibility Requirements

South Carolina driving license applicants must be at least 17 years of age. The other qualifications needed to obtain a drivers license include having held a beginner's permit for at least 180 days and passing the driving test and the vision exam. Finally, all drivers license applicants must be able to prove their identity, legal presence, South Carolina residency and that they have vehicle insurance.

SC Written/Driving Test

The first step in the process for how to get a drivers license is passing the SC knowledge test for a learners license. The most efficient way to prepare for the exam is by taking a sample test. Our online practice driving test is a thorough resource for test-takers who want to pass their SC knowledge exam on the first try.

SC Driving Test

South Carolina new drivers license applicants must take a road skills test. Prior to the driving test, the examiner will ask the applicant to locate and use the following items on their vehicle:

  • Headlights.
  • Windshield wipers.
  • Turn signals.

Vehicles used in the driving exam must be properly insured, registered and in safe working condition.

New South Carolina Resident

New residents applying for drivers licenses in South Carolina must visit an SC DMV location to submit their driving license application. Applicants must bring their out-of-state drivers license, along with proof of identification, proof of Social Security Number, proof of South Carolina residency and proof of auto insurance. Drivers who present the required documentation only need to submit to a vision screening in order to obtain their SC DMV license.

Replace Drivers License in South Carolina

Applicants can apply for a replacement for a lost drivers license by visiting an SC DMV office or by applying online. To find out which documents you need to present, as well as the fee associated with applying for a duplicate drivers license, click here.

Locate a DMV in South Carolina

Our South Carolina DMV locations page has listings for each DMV office in the state. Most driving license and vehicle registration services can be handled at any office site. Check out the services offered portion of the listing to ensure that you are visiting an appropriate location for your needs.

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