How to Get a New Car Title in South Carolina
Getting car title documentation in South Carolina is an easy process by mail or in person. An SC car title provides proof of vehicle ownership and must be obtained as soon as possible after purchasing a new car or receiving one as a gift. New residents and other applicants have 45 days to obtain a new car title, counted from the date of the move or car purchase.
When using the SCDMV auto title application, drivers can choose to apply for a new car title only or get a car title and registration simultaneously. To learn more about how to get car title documentation from the SCDMV, review the information contained in the sections below.
Where to Apply for a Car Title in South Carolina
In most cases, after purchasing a new car from a dealership, the car title application is handled by the dealer on behalf of the buyer. If you are getting a car title on your own, you may do so in person at any one of the Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) offices located throughout the state.
Most locations can handle certificate of title transactions Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., but some are only open on certain days of the week. It is always best to call before bringing your vehicle title application paperwork to your SCDMV branch office.
A new or used car title, sometimes called a pink slip, may also be obtained through the mail, by sending the application and supporting documents to the address shared below. Although South Carolina offers many DMV services online, applying for a DMV car title is not one of them.
The South Carolina Auto Title Application
The first step to get car title documentation is downloading and completing the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Application for Certificate of Title and Registration for Motor Vehicle or Manufactured Home/Mobile Home (Form 400). This auto title application contains several pages of instructions to help you fill it out. It requires detailed information about the vehicle, including its body style, make, model, color and year of manufacture. An odometer mileage statement is included on the document.
When getting a title for car ownership on a vehicle more than 10 years old, you are exempt from entering its mileage. Vehicle owner information includes your full legal name, driver license number and date of birth. If you have a secondary car title owner, you must include their information as well.
If the vehicle is leased or if there is a lien against it, complete sections E and F. The vehicle title application is not complete without entering the date of purchase and the date that the vehicle was first driven in the state.
Documents You Must Provide When Applying for a New Car Title in South Carolina
If you are only applying for a South Carolina car title, then one additional document you need to provide is the original Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO) or the vehicle’s current auto title. You should always have your SC driver license handy to verify your ID when you visit the DMV. If you are applying for a car title with registration, you will need to add the following:
- Paid property tax receipt.
- Valid insurance card showing your name, policy number and expiration date.
If you are obtaining a new car title along with a plate transfer, you must also list the previous tag number and include a copy of the last registration that shows the previous owner’s name. All car title applicants must pay for sales tax and title fees.
If you get car title documents and car registration at the same time, an additional registration fee will apply. Moreover, if a vehicle title transfer is part of your transaction, you must also pay a title transfer fee.
The SCDMV requests check or money order payments made payable to “SC DMV.” Although you should never send cash through the mail, it is accepted at SCDMV branch offices, and credit card payments can also be processed in person.
What is a South Carolina car registration?
Drivers can apply for South Carolina new car registration at the same time they apply for a car title. Vehicle registration is the process by which the state determines a car’s roadworthiness through gathering information about the vehicle and its owner.
A valid auto registration is required for all vehicles traveling daily on public roadways, and operators will be fined if caught driving a vehicle without a current registration. Motor vehicle registration is also how drivers receive the license plates and validation stickers that must be displayed on vehicles at all times.
What is the difference between a car title and a vehicle registration in South Carolina?
SC DMV car registration and car title documents are frequently confused by those who are unfamiliar with motor vehicle procedures. However, they are two different documents, both required to legally drive in the state. A car registration provides proof that a car meets the safe performance standards outlined by state law.
After you get car registration in SC, the document should be carried inside the vehicle at all times, along with proof of insurance. A car title simply proves ownership of a vehicle and should be stored with other legal documents. Titles are valid for the length of ownership while car registration must be renewed on an annual basis.
Applicants with questions about SC car titles or certificates of registration can phone the Customer Call Center at (803) 896-5000. Drivers wishing to mail in car title applications can send them to the following address:
SC DMV P.O. Box 1498 Blythewood, SC 29016 - 0024
Car Title Costs in South Carolina
The cost of a vehicle title in South Carolina is $15. Keep in mind that this fee does not include the required property tax payment. Some applicants may also be required to pay an Infrastructure Maintenance Fee.