Updated On July 9, 2021
South Carolina has a few “untraditional” driving laws such as the minimum age to drive an ATV is six. Yes, that’s for an all-terrain vehicle not a toy car for kids. You can’t drive a vehicle with a bumper sticker or decal that’s obscene or indecent. And golf carts aren’t allowed on the street at night, unless you’re on a barrier island.
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When it comes to driver licenses, South Carolina gives drivers with clean driving records and a license for at least three years the option of registering as an uninsured motorist. It costs drivers about $550 every year, for the privilege of driving an uninsured motor vehicle. But, there’s no actual insurance. You’re responsible 100% for any damage to your car, property, and other vehicles involved in case of accident. South Carolina has close to 4.9 million licensed drivers; for more information on licenses keep reading
South Carolina Driver’s License Renewal Guide
How to Renew a South Carolina Driver’s License
What do I need and how do I renew my South Carolina driver’s license? Good questions.
Renewing a driver’s license in South Carolina is relatively easy, but you do need to have your paperwork in order.
South Carolina is one state that requires you have proof of car insurance before you receive your new driver’s license. You will also have to take an eye exam or show that you have had one in the last 12 months before you can get a South Carolina drivers license renewal. Renewing a license in SC also requires you to prove your citizenship and address.
SC license renewal requires you do it in person at a DMV office or by mail. You may also renew online under certain conditions, like not needing to make any changes and having a good driving record.
Renewing Your Driver’s License By Mail
To renew by mail you must have a current, valid SC driver’s license, your license must not be expired or suspended, you must not have previously renewed by mail, and not be a convicted violent offender.
The state of South Carolina operates on a point-based system. Drivers get points for each moving traffic violation, and if you have too many you will not be able to renew by mail. At some point, the point total can result in a suspended license.
If you are active military or a college student in another state, you may renew by mail. There is currently no system for renewing online. If you are in the military or a family member that has been stationed out of state, you will get an extra 60 days after returning to the state to renew your license without penalty, regardless of how long it has been expired.
Driver’s License Renewal Periods
When do I need to renew my SC driver’s license? When does my South Carolina license expire?
Renewing a driver’s license in South Carolina must be done every eight years. The license always expires on your birthday. You may renew your license up to one year in advance, or up to nine months after the expiration date.
Required License Renewal Documents
What documents are required to renew my SC driver’s license?
If you are a foreign national you may renew your license but you will need extra certification to show you are in the country legally and must go through a foreign customers part of the state’s DMV to get South Carolina drivers license renewal.
If your license has been expired more than nine months, you will have to provide proof of South Carolina residency. In this situation, the license renewal process is treated like a first-time application. You must take the knowledge test and a driver’s test.
Acceptable forms of residency and address verification include a recent utility bill or a copy of a tax return showing your name and current address.
The first time you get your license, your proof of US citizenship is put on file. As long as it is in the system you do not have to provide it again. This can be a passport, permanent residency card or employment authorization card. A social security card is also required.
Even if you are past the nine months grace period you will still not have to provide this again if it is still on file.
Reinstating a Suspended Driver’s License
If your license is suspended, you must wait until your privileges are restored. You also have to pay a $100 fee to get your South Carolina drivers license renewal in that situation.
License Renewal Fees
SC license renewal costs $25 for the normal eight-year license. Renewing a driver’s license in South Carolina costs $12.50 for non-citizens, but the license is good for only two years. There is an additional fee for renewing by mail or online.
Scheduling a DMV Appointment to Renew Your License
Drivers can schedule an appointment by contact the SC DMV location nearest you, though this is not required to renew a driver’s license in the state of South Carolina.
Should you have further questions specific to your situation regarding how to renew a SC driver’s license, it is recommended to contact your local SC DMV.