Real ID requirements will be in place on October 1st, 2021. If you intend to get a REAL ID, you will likely need to visit a DMV in person.

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An application for a driver’s license renewal in South Carolina may be submitted online, in person or by mail. Typically, an SC license will expire every eight years on the applicant’s birthday. Exceptions may apply. Only eligible drivers are permitted to renew their licenses online or by mail. Your residency status and identification documents may restrict your options.

DMV license renewal fees vary depending on the type of license you are purchasing. Additional postal fees may apply. REAL ID cards are available to eligible applicants only. Although REAL ID cards will be mandatory in 2020, South Carolina residents are not currently required to purchase an upgrade when renewing a license.

Eligibility for Drivers License Renewal in South Carolina

South Carolina Drivers License

Note: To find out your driver’s license expiration date, locate it on the front of your card.

South Carolina’s driver’s license renewal methods vary and are subject to eligibility. The following requirements must be met before applying to the DMV.

  • DMV license renewals online are only available to applicants who are citizens of the United States and who;
    • Hold a Class D, E, F, G or M license;
    • Do not have an expired license;
    • Do not hold a commercial license;
    • Have up-to-date information attached to their Social Security Number;
    • Have not been issued with more than five points in the previous two years;
    • Do not have a suspended license;
    • Did not renew their drivers license online or by mail the last time it was renewed;
    • Are not a convicted violent offender; and
    • Do not have a restricted license.
  • DMV license renewals by mail may only be submitted by applicants who are citizens of the United States and adhere to the above rules. However, the name attached to your Social Security Number does not need to match what is on record at the Social Security Administration. You may only renew using this method if the last attempt was not completed by mail.
  • DMV license renewals in person may be completed by all eligible applicants. Restrictions may only apply for international drivers.

If the correct identification documents are on file at the DMV, REAL ID cards may be purchased online or by mail. If not, residents must apply in person. Drivers may check their eligibility through the state’s online portal.

Instances When You Cannot Renew Your Drivers License in South Carolina

If you do not meet any of the above-mentioned requirements, you cannot renew your license in South Carolina. Furthermore, you must renew your ID cards in person at a driver’s license office if you are not a citizen of the United States. If you have an expired driver’s license for more than nine months, you cannot renew online or by mail and must retake knowledge and skills tests to be eligible.

How early can you renew your drivers license in South Carolina?

South Carolina law states that drivers must operate vehicles on valid licenses. Therefore, it is recommended to submit a DMV license renewal application as early as possible. Online driver’s license renewals must be submitted at least three days before the expiration date. Mailed-in applications must be submitted at least three weeks before it expires. Applicants may submit an application nine months after a license has expired without incurring a fine. However, all applications must be made in person if renewed after the expiration date.

South Carolina DMV License Renewal Options

The state of South Carolina offers residents the choice to renew their licenses online, by mail or in person. In addition, eligible applicants are invited to apply for REAL ID cards in place of a standard license. Payment methods and fees differ for each process.

How to Renew Your Drivers License Online

Eligible applicants may complete the DMV license renewal application online by logging on to the state’s DL portal. Drivers must enter their license number, Social Security Number and date of birth to begin the process. Once entered, follow the online prompts and pay the $25 renewal fee. If you are eligible, you may select a REAL ID card instead of a standard license. The photograph and signature on file at the DMV will be used on the new license.

After the driver’s license renewal has been processed, you will be sent your new card within seven to 10 business days. The card will be sent to the address on file at the DMV.

How to Renew My License by Mail

If you did not renew your license by mail last time, you may send an application form to the DMV through the USPS. Follow the below steps to renew your license by mail.

  1. Complete the driver’s license renewal form.
  2. Include a check or money order for $25. Do not send cash. Checks must be made payable to the SCDMV.
  3. Send the above items to the following address.
Alternative Media
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0035

How to Renew Drivers License Cards in Person

DMV license renewals may be completed in person at a local DMV office. You must complete the following steps to submit an application.

  • Provide the name of your vehicle’s insurance company.
  • Provide all necessary identification documents, if applicable. Specific ID requirements must be met before a REAL ID card can be issued.
  • Pass the knowledge test, if applicable. This is only required if you have received more than five points on your license or have an expired license.
  • Submit a completed renewal application form.
  • Pay $25.

Details on where to renew driver’s license cards differs for non-citizens. Foreign applicants must visit an international driver’s license office to renew their cards. There are 21 offices in SC specifically equipped to process international renewals. Non-citizens must bring additional documents proving residency, identity and legal status.

Military & Out of State Renewal in South Carolina

Military members stationed outside of the state may renew their licenses online or by mail. DMV license renewals by mail must include the following items.

  • A completed driver’s license renewal form. You must include a special mailing address at the top of the form if you need the license sent to a military location.
  • A color photograph. The photograph must capture your entire face from the top of your head to your shoulders.
  • A military order confirming your absence.
  • The $25 DMV license renewal fee.

If you are stationed outside of the state and you have an expired driver’s license, you may submit a renewal application by mail. However, the license must be expired for less than nine months to be eligible. Furthermore, you must be on active duty for at least 90 continuous days when your license expires. The following drivers are eligible for out-of-state renewals.

  • Military members
  • Dependents of military members
  • Employees of the Department of Defense.

If your SC license expired and it was renewed while on active duty, you must visit the SC DMV within 90 days of being discharged. You must bring valid discharge documents and your military ID with you. You may be asked to complete knowledge and skills tests.

South Carolina REAL ID Drivers License Renewal

REAL ID DMV license renewals will be mandatory after 2020. However, residents of South Carolina currently have the choice to renew their standard licenses instead of applying for an upgrade. REAL ID cards require specific identification documents. Therefore, in order to upgrade your standard license to a REAL ID card, you must bring the following items to the DMV.

  1. A completed drivers renewal application form. You must select the box at the top of the form titled REAL ID.
  2. Proof of identity, such as a birth certificate or valid United States passport.
  3. Proof of Social Security Number, such as a W-2 or Social Security card.
  4. Proof of residency in South Carolina. You must provide two forms of proof, such as a valid SC driver’s license and current utility bill.
  5. Proof of any legal name changes, such as a marriage certificate, if applicable.
  6. Payment for the REAL ID card. Fees may vary.

Once the DMV has all of the required DMV license renewal documents on file, applicants may be eligible to purchase new REAL ID cards online or by mail in the future.

South Carolina Drivers License Renewal Fees

Driver’s license renewal fees vary. See below for a breakdown of license and renewal costs in the state of South Carolina.

  • Driver’s License (Five years or less) $12.50
  • Driver’s License (Eight years) $25
  • Duplicate License $10
  • Knowledge Test $2
Last updated on Monday, April 4 2022.