License Plates & Placards in South Carolina
Do you need disabled parking plates? Our Disability Plates and Placards page has more details, including application information.
Keep reading for important details about license plates and tags in South Carolina.
The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues license plates for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles.
You must display a license plate on the back of your vehicle with month and year decals showing when your tag expires.
South Carolina's standard license plate features the state’s palmetto symbol; however, there are other design options available with different backgrounds and personalization.
The SC DMV also issues disabled parking plates to those who are eligible. Learn more about requirements and applications on our Disability Placards and Plates page.
Temporary License Plates
Temporary tags are valid for 45 days and allow you to drive while waiting for your SC license plate to arrive.
While using these tags, keep proof of ownership in your vehicle, such as:
- A bill of sale.
- A purchase receipt.
- The vehicle title assigned to you.
You can get a temporary tag:
- From your vehicle dealer.
- By visiting a SC DMV office and submitting:
- A completed Application for 45-Day Temporary Plates (Form 45-A).
- Payment for the $5 fee.
You must apply for South Carolina license plates by registering your vehicle with the SC DMV. This must be done within:
- 45 days of moving to SC.
- 45 days of buying a vehicle.
The SC DMV accepts registration applications by mail or in person.
See our Vehicle Registration page for complete details, including fees and document requirements.
Your SC tags and registration are valid for 2 years at a time and must be renewed before they expire.
You can renew your license plate:
- By mail.
- In person.
When you renew your plates, you’ll get a new expiration decal to put over the old one.
For more information, see our Registration Renewal page.
If your car's license plate is stolen, lost or damaged, you can order a replacement online at the SC DMV website.
You will need:
- Your vehicle registration certificate.
- A VISA, MasterCard, or Discover card for payment.
Be sure your mailing address is correct, as your replacements will be sent to the address on file with the South Carolina DMV.
For fees, alternative ways to order replacements, or other questions, contact the SC DMV:
- By phone at (803) 896-5000.
- By e-mail to email@example.com.
NOTE: You may want to report lost or stolen plates to the police to prevent fraudulent use, but a police report is not required to order replacements.
You can transfer SC license plates from your old vehicle to a new one you own when you register it. The transfer fee is $10 PLUS taxes and title fees.
You MUST surrender your license plates if you:
- Move to another state.
- Cancel your SC car insurance.
You can surrender your plates:
- In person at a SC DMV office.
- By mail to:
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016
NOTE: If you surrender your license plates by mail, let the SC DMV know if you want a receipt sent back to you.
The SC license plate fees below DO NOT include vehicle taxes, service fees, or other fees that you may owe the SC DMV.
- License plate (registration) fee (paid every 2 years):
- Passenger vehicle: $24.
- Motorcycle: $10.
- RV: $24.
- Temporary tag: $5.
- Transfer fee: $10.
South Carolina offers a wide variety of specialized license plates. You may want a tag designating your college or university, a chosen branch of the military, or a non-profit organization. You'll need to complete a Application for Special License Plates (Form MV-95), available online using the free Adobe Reader, to apply for a specialty tag. The costs range from free to $100, depending on the type of tag you choose.
Personalized License Plates
You can also apply for a customized, personal license plate for a fee of $30. You'll need to complete an Application for Personalized License Plates (Form MV-96) and submit up to three choices for your tag. After your application is reviewed, your license will be approved or denied. You are not guaranteed your first choice.
A vehicle or motorcycle must be at least 25 years old to be eligible for an antique plate. Additionally, the vehicle must only be used for antique exhibitions, parades, and other related activities.
Apply for the plate at a DMV office. You'll need to surrender your title, but you'll be issued another title reflecting the antique-vehicle status. The plate costs $10.
Once you relinquish ownership of the vehicle, you must surrender your antique plate to the DMV.
Year of Manufacture Plates
If you own a vehicle and have a South Carolina plate from its model year, you may apply to display the plate on the vehicle.
The plate must be unaltered, contain no more than seven characters, and be in a usable condition.
The DMV lists many other requirements on Application for Year of Manufacture License Plate (Form RG-505A) form.
Send the completed application, along with a color photograph of the vehicle, proof of your paid property tax, and payment for your registration fee and the $30.00 year of manufacture fee to:
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- P.O. Box 1498
- Blythewood, SC 29016