How to Get Driver’s License in South Carolina

If you’re new to South Carolina, the first thing you should do is to get your papers in order. You must make arrangements to get your driver’s license in SC. If you were a resident in another state and become a permanent resident here, you must get a driver’s license in South Carolina.

Accepted Forms of Identification

Everyone who applies for an SC driving permit, a license, or ID card must specify their SSN and provide originals or government-approved copies of these documents:

  • Certificate of identity, Citizenship in the country, and date of birth
  • The location where you are registered is in South Carolina, with at least two documents proving the validity of the address.
  • Name change records (if you’ve ever changed your name)

If your birth certificate states a different name than the one you currently use, you must provide all the documents documenting your history of the name change. You use documents like marriage certificates, divorce files, or court files from your past.

The documents must demonstrate all of your name change records. If you currently hold a valid passport under your name, you can use it as a substitute for other name change documents. SCDMV will issue a new driver’s license under the name that is printed on the passport.

To learn more about the accepted documents, read United States Citizens’ Checklist (SCDMV Form MV-93), which specifies the guidelines. International customers must meet a unique set of prerequisites.

All US citizens are expected to meet the same requirements. If you were born in a foreign country, you might need to translate the birth certificate into English. You can use Translation Document (SCDMV Form DL-4030) as a reference.

SC Driver’s License

Most individuals receive a driver’s license that is valid for eight years in South Carloina. The license fee is $25.

For any candidate applying for a driver’s license in SC, the governing body will look over your past offenses on the road. Those who receive a driver’s license in SC forfeit their existing licenses from other states and provinces. If you’ve decided to take up residence in SC, it’s better to turn in your old license and get a new one there.

REAL ID

Sample of SC REAL ID.

REAL ID driver’s documents and identification cards are possible to purchase. Applicants for South Carolina driver’s licenses have the option to get a license that can substitute a real ID card. Such documents have a gold star. Candidates can also qualify for a standard license, with the caption that says “Not for Federal Identification”.

Starting in 2023, an identification card that declares “Not For Federal Identification” and doesn’t have a gold star badge is not compatible with getting on a plane or gaining access to a protected building.

What is the process?

A candidate applying for a driver’s license must pay a visit to the local branch of SCDMV. A candidate must present the following documents to validate their identity:

  • Certificate of identity, Citizenship in the country, and date of birth
  • SSN
  • The location where you are registered is in South Carolina, with at least two documents proving the validity of the address.
  • Name change records (if you’ve ever changed your name)

The following web pages can give you a good idea of approved documents:

United States Citizens’ Checklist (SCDMV Form MV-93) International Customers’ Checklist (SCDMV Form MV-94)

To get a driver’s license in South Carolina, a candidate must have their vision checked and pay the associated costs. At this moment, the state charges $25 for a license that is valid for eight years.

Do I have to take a test?

If your expired driver’s license from outside the state expired at least nine months ago, you are supposed to participate in knowledge, road, and vision tests.

I am moving to SC for school. Do I need to get a new driver’s license?

An individual moving to SC for a short period is not obligated to get a new driver’s license specifically for this state. Still, it is essential to have a working driver’s license from outside the state. Without the active out-of-state driver’s license, you won’t be allowed to drive in SC.

I just moved within the state. How do I update my address on my driver’s license?

The residence address can be updated online, in person at the office, or remotely by mail. Changing your address doesn’t cost anything; the office will automatically send you a new car registration file. Getting a new license is not required, but you do have the option of buying a new one. Once you’ve changed the address, you have ten days to change the information on the file.

What about my vehicle?

A candidate is required to register any car under your ownership in the state within a month and a half. To learn more, check out the SCDMV page about titling and registering your car in the state.

What are the insurance requirements in SC?

In order to qualify for a driver’s license in this state, a candidate must have insurance coverage. You must specify the name of your insurer every time you register a car with the state or extend the registration. The coverage must come from an insurer that is licensed by the state. It is strongly recommended always to carry proof of insurance with you in the car.

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