Auto registration in South Carolina is administered by the SCDMV, or South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. Car registration and car titling are two of the ways that the SCDMV works to provide safe travel for state drivers. Vehicle registration follows similar procedures for new cars, used cars and vehicles brought into the state by new residents. Whether obtaining registration of vehicle documents for a purchased, gifted or inherited vehicle, the state generally allows 45 days to complete the process. To learn in-depth SC vehicle registration information, continue reading the sections below.
South Carolina Vehicle Registration Information Required
South Carolina car registration applicants must be current on all property tax payments, if applicable, before obtaining a new registration. Prior to car registration, check with the auditor's office in your county of residence to make sure your property tax account is current.
After meeting this requirement, collect vehicle registration information as detailed below:
- Valid photo identification, preferably a South Carolina driver's license or state-issued ID card.
- The vehicle's Certificate of Title or Bill of Sale.
- Proof of insurance that shows the insurance company's name and policy number, or proof of self-insurance status or uninsured motorist status.
- Completed copy of car registration Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title and Registration for Motor Vehicle or Manufactured Home/Mobile Home.
Where to Register a Car in South Carolina for the First Time
South Carolina auto registration services are obtained through the SCDMV network of branch offices and service centers located throughout the state. First-time car registration can be completed at any of such location. The SCDMV recommends calling ahead because hours of operation can vary and some centers offer appointments for certain transactions. Learn real-time auto registration service waiting times by visiting the SCDMV website "Locations" page during normal business hours.
Some drivers can also choose to initiate vehicle registration on the SCDMV's EZ Title and Registration online page. This DMV car registration option is open to motorists who bought their vehicle from another person or a business that is not a car dealership. Click the "Title or Register My Car Online" tab and answer the questions. Then print the completed new car registration documents and bring them to an SCDMV branch office to complete the registration process. Applicants getting car registration at a SCDMV branch office may pay with cash, credit card, debit card, personal check or money order. Make checks or money orders out to SCDMV.
How to Register a New Car In South Carolina
South Carolina drivers who get car registration after purchasing a brand-new car from a dealership usually find that the dealer handles the initial registration process for them. If not, SC car registration is a simple process outlined above. New car registration applicants must provide the SCDMV agent with the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO). SC motor vehicle registration laws do not require drivers to obtain vehicle emissions inspections prior to obtaining the registration. If you need help calculating the total amount of your car registration payment, use the contact information below or check your county's local government website. Many South Carolina car registry applicants find that county websites offer interactive vehicle tax estimators that offer quick payment estimates. Note that the figure obtained is just an estimate and the actual amount you owe may vary somewhat.
How to Register a Used Car in South Carolina
Motorists wondering how to get car registration for a used car can follow the same steps outlined above. Look in the sections titled South Carolina Vehicle Registration Information Required and Where to Register a Car in South Carolina for the First Time for a list of required documents and how to file them. If there is a lien on the vehicle, be sure to include a copy of the lien agreement that shows the name and address of the lienholder.
New residents getting car registration in SC on a vehicle brought into the state have 45 days to obtain their new car title and registration documents. South Carolina only permits motor vehicle registration on vehicles that are physically located in the state.
Temporary South Carolina Vehicle Registration
If you are wondering, "How can I register my car in South Carolina temporarily?" the SCDMV provides 45-day temporary license plates to those who need them. Complete temporary vehicle registration Form 45-A, Application for 45-Day Temporary Plates and submit it along with the applicable fee at a SCDMV service center. Temporary car registration plates allow drivers to legally operate their vehicle while taking care of permanent titling and registration. Once obtained, the temporary car registration expires and the document should be removed from the vehicle. These 45-day tags are issued to one car and cannot be transferred to another vehicle or driver. Motorists obtaining temporary auto registration must have valid auto insurance that meets South Carolina state minimum requirements.
For additional vehicle registration information, help with documents or finding an SCDMV service center, email email@example.com or call (803) 896-5000. The toll-free information number is (800) 442-1DMV. Use this address if a SCDMV agent asks you to mail registration-related documents:
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016