Car registration plates in South Carolina are required to be displayed on all South Carolina vehicles that are driven in the state. You will receive an SC DMV license plate and a registration card when you register your vehicle with the state. Valid car registration helps law enforcement officers to see at a glance that you possess a registered tag and vehicle.

Additionally, drivers can be identified based on the license plate number, which can be helpful in emergency situations. You can get a license plate easily online, in person or by mail. To learn more about license plate services and when you need to renew, replace or transfer your SC tags, continue reading the information below.

Types of License Plates in South Carolina

South Carolina offers many types of DMV license plates, including the standard “While I Breathe, I Hope” design. It features the state’s Palmetto tree and crescent in a white and indigo color palette. As in most states, the standard-issue SC DMV car tag is the least expensive tag option.

Other special car registration plates include antique plates, fraternity and sorority plates and license plates featuring health and charity causes and military-related affiliations. You can also car tags that have unique personalization, such as your name or a favorite word or phrase. Most specialty and personalized car registration plates require an additional fee.

How to Apply for a License Plate in South Carolina

Part of how to get a license plate in South Carolina involves applicants being current on any applicable property tax payments before obtaining a car tag. New registration plates in South Carolina are obtainable in person at one of the SC DMV branch offices or service centers located throughout the state.

If you have a car bought in a private transaction, you may apply for your car registration plates through the official SC DMV online portal. You will need your driver’s license, the vehicle’s title or bill of sale, proof of insurance and payment for the associated fees. You must also complete the Application for Certificate of Title and Registration for Motor Vehicle or Manufactured Home/Mobile Home.

How to Renew License Plate Tags in South Carolina

As with applying for new plates, you cannot renew license plate tags without having paid all property taxes due to the appropriate county. Once that is accomplished, you may get your license plate renewal in person, online or by mail. If renewing license plate tags online, you will simply need to enter your insurance information, credit card number and any information requested from your plate renewal notice.

To renew in person, bring those documents to your local SC DMV branch office. If you are wondering how the renewal process works by mail, you should know that that process is very simple. Simply send your renewal notice, insurance info and payment to the DMV.

Renewing your vehicle registration typically occurs at the same time that you renew your license plates. This process saves you both time and effort as you can accomplish both tasks simultaneously.

How to Replace License Plates in South Carolina

If your car tag is lost or stolen, you can replace your license plate in South Carolina for a small fee. Notify your local law enforcement authority as soon as you notice your license plate is missing, or if you have reason to believe it was stolen, so that you can begin replacing your license plate as soon as possible. When researching how to replace a license plate in South Carolina, you will need to show proof of insurance.

Replacement services for license plates are available online. If you wonder how to replace plate tags by mail, note that you can mail a request to the address above. However, it will take longer to receive your new plates than if you apply online or in person.

How to Transfer License Plates in South Carolina

You can transfer an SC DMV car tag to another vehicle as long as you can show proof of insurance on the new vehicle. Car registration plate transfers need to be handled in person at an SC DMV service center. If you choose not to transfer a tag from an old vehicle to a new one, you must relinquish the old tag to the SC DMV in person or by mail.

South Carolina License Plate Fees

There is a $30 fee for replacing license plate registration, in addition to a separate fee for license plate transfers. Moreover, personalized plates for passenger cars typically cost $40.

License Plate Lookups in South Carolina

SC DMV license plate lookups are available, but only if the applicant has permission from the individual to whom the information pertains. You may complete a Request for Vehicle Information and submit it with its applicable fee payment.

You will get a license plate or title information, including odometer information. The name and address of the registered owner will not be available due to privacy laws.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.