Two reasons for applying for a new license in South Carolina would be if you are a new resident to the state, or if you have never held a driver's license, regardless of your age.
1) Choose Your License
- Class D (regular passenger license)
- Class E (non-commercial single unit vehicles, such as trucks and motor homes)
- Class F (non-commercial combination vehicles, such as trucks and motor homes with a towed trailer or vehicle)
NOTE: If you've never owned a driver's license, you must hold a beginner's permit for a minimum of 180 days before being cleared to apply for a license.
2) Take a Driver's Education Course
Younger than 18―Driver education is required.
18 and Older―Although not mandated by the state, you should consider enrolling in a driver education course, such as the one offered by our sponsor. A supplementary driver education course will provide you with invaluable tips on how to be a better driver.
3) Prepare for the Test
South Carolina's Driver's Manual is your single-best source on preparing for the written exam. All of the questions on the test are based on material contained in the manual.
4) Locate a DMV Office
Written tests are given on a walk-in basis at any Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.
5) Make Test-Day Preparations
Bring with you:
- Your Social Security number
- Proof of U.S. citizenship
- Proof of South Carolina residency
- A parent or guardian, if younger than 18
- Cash or check to pay a $2 test fee and, if you pass, a $2.50 beginner's permit fee
6) Take the Written Test
After studying the Driver's Manual and meeting all of the requirements described above, you'll be ready to take the written and vision tests.
If you fail you must wait at least one business day to take the test again.
NOTE: Tests are offered in English, Spanish, German and French.
7) Get a Car
As you get closer to obtaining a license, you'll eventually need a car. Owning a vehicle will allow you to practice, outside of a driver training program, and give you the needed confidence before taking the road test.
Before buying, be sure to get a vehicle history report on any used car you're considering. This will help shield you from any undetected defects (such as odometer fraud) and potentially expensive repair costs.
8) Get Car Insurance
Car insurance, regardless if you own a permit or a license, is mandatory. To weigh different rates and learn more, visit our Insurance center.
9) Take the Driving Test
If you hold a license from another state you DO NOT have to take the road test provided your license is current or has not been expired for more than nine months.
Bring to the test:
- Proof, if under 18, that you completed a driver ed course and you've held a permit for a minimum of 180 days.
- A car in good working condition that's legally registered and insured.
Once You Pass
You'll be issued your new license, right there at the test location.
If You Fail
You must wait at least 2 weeks to take the test again if you're a beginner driver, or 1 week if you've had previous driving experience. If you're a beginner driver and fail the test 3 times, you then must wait 60 days to re-take the exam.
You are allowed to travel in the state with your foreign license provided it is valid and accompanied by an International Driving Permit. If, however, you remain in South Carolina for more than 90 days, you must apply for a South Carolina driver's license.