1. Get Started With Car Registration Renewal Assistance Online

In order to renew your South Carolina car registration, you need to complete a number of important steps when applying. In order to simplify the process, you will need to gather the necessary documents, calculate your required fee payment before being able to renew your South Carolina car registration. Online assistance can help you complete all of these steps quickly and easily by providing you with all of the information you need to know about replacing your license. Start simplifying your application process today.

2. By Mail

Rather than get ahead with online assistance and services, some South Carolina residents prefer to handle their DMV transactions via mail. Drivers can complete a few different procedures by mail, but payment methods are restricted, and the transactions have inconvenient and lengthy turnaround times for results.

3. Via a DMV Office

Certain transactions must be completed in person at a South Carolina DMV office. However, before visiting a local branch, be sure to verify that the location offers the service you require. Not all DMV procedures can be completed at every location. Additionally, note that wait times are typically lengthy. So make sure to take advantage of online assistance to prepare for your visit.


Drivers must renew car registration in South Carolina every two years, but only after the state has received verification that property taxes have been paid to the appropriate county. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SC DMV) manages vehicle registration renewals for the state and receives automatic updates on registrants’ property tax status. SC drivers must have liability insurance to renew car registrations and maintain coverage while the vehicle is in use. South Carolina meets all federal clean air standards without requiring its drivers to have vehicle emissions tested. Motorists may renew car registration online, by mail or in person at an SC DMV branch office, but there are some limitations to each method of registration, described in the sections below.

When to Renew Car Registrations in South Carolina

South Carolina vehicle registration renewal takes place every other year, although drivers are responsible for paying property tax on their vehicles annually. The SC DMV mails car registration renewal notices well in advance of the expiration date. Drivers may renew car registration before the printed expiration date, provided that their property tax account is current. There is no grace period for renewing car registration; drivers who renew expired car registration documents must pay late fees. Expired car registration late fees begin accruing the day after expiration and increase until reaching a maximum late fee at 90 days past due.

How to Renew Car Registrations in South Carolina Online

Motorists can obtain vehicle registration renewal services online only after receiving an MV1 form from the SC DMV requesting insurance verification or payment of additional fees. Additionally, renewing car registration online is limited to residents of 14 counties detailed on the SC DMV website. Check to see if your county is eligible. If so, renew car registration online in South Carolina by visiting the SC DMV Online with the following information on hand:

  • License plate number or driver’s license number
  • Vehicle registration renewal certificate
  • Auto insurance company name and policy number (or self-insured or uninsured motorist status)
  • Valid credit or debit card, or the checking account information required to pay by e-check

If the address or other information on the car registration renewal form is incorrect, drivers may make some of these changes online by clicking on “Change Your Address” before proceeding with the renewal transaction.

How to Renew Car Registrations in South Carolina in Person

Motorists may choose to renew vehicle registrations in person instead of by mail or online. Drivers wishing to renew car registration in SC who have an adjusted tax bill, owe the state a penalty, or require registration corrections to reflect a senior citizen discount must apply in person at an SC DMV branch office. Use the interactive branch locator map on SC DMV Online, where you can also receive real-time updates on how long you can expect to wait in line. Bring the documents listed above for online auto registration renewal transactions, but note that DMV branch offices can accept cash and checks in addition to credit and debit card payments. Most SC DMV vehicle registration renewal agents are available between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with some offices also offering Saturday hours of operation.

How to Renew Vehicle Registrations in South Carolina by Mail

Renewing car registration by mail is one of the easiest options for SC drivers. Simply provide the information requested on the South Carolina vehicle registration renewal notice, including insurance information, and enclose a check for the exact amount due. Make the check payable to SCDMV and mail all documents to:

SCDMV
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016

Drivers can expect a new vehicle registration renewal certificate and new tag decals to arrive within 10 business days.

How to Renew a South Carolina Car Registration as a Military Member

Military members wondering how to renew car registration in SC can contact the DMV through one of the methods outlined above. Military personnel renewing car registration with an out-of-state home of record are exempt from paying personal property taxes on their vehicles while they are stationed in SC. The registration must be in the service member’s name to qualify for 100 percent exemption. Military vehicle registration renewal tax exemption is good for one year and must be reapplied for on an annual basis. Apply by completing a Military Exemption Application, having it signed by a commanding officer and submitting it the county auditor’s office along with a copy of the latest Leave and Earnings Statement (LES).

How to Renew a South Carolina Vehicle Registration on Someone Else’s Behalf

Car owners may wonder how to renew car registration in South Carolina on someone else’s behalf, particularly if the owner is a senior citizen, disabled or in other need of assistance. DMV vehicle registration renewal can be done on another person’s behalf via mail or online transactions, provided that the registrant is comfortable sharing their personal information with a helper.

South Carolina Car Registration Renewal Fees

SC car registration renewal fees include taxes based on a percentage the vehicle’s fair market value multiplied by the current millage rate. Other factors that influence auto registration renewal fees include the type of vehicle and its gross weight, the owner’s county of residence and whether the owner orders custom license plates. Most specialty plates come with added fees, but some are free, such as the plates designated for disabled veterans and medal of honor recipients.

Last updated on Friday, September 21 2018.

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