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Motorcycle Registration in South Carolina

All residents of South Carolina are required to register their motorcycles with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Use this guide to learn more about motorcycle registration if you're new to the state OR if you've been a long-time resident.

Need to renew your SC motorcycle registration? Jump over to our registration renewals guide for more.

New to South Carolina

Upon establishing South Carolina residency, you must register your motorcycle either in person OR by mail with the SC DMV within 45 days.

You'll need to pay vehicle property tax in your SC county of residence BEFORE registering your motorcycle. You can pay these taxes at your county auditor's office. Keep the receipt for proof of taxes paid.

After paying your vehicle property tax, start the registration process by gathering the following items:

To complete your motorcycle's registration, you can:

  • Take the items above in person to your local South Carolina DMV office.
    OR
  • Mail the required items to:
    • South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
    • P.O. Box 1498
    • Blythewood, SC 29016

Once accepted, your motorcycle registration will be good for 2 years.

Still settling in after your move? Check out our South Carolina moving guide for more helpful tips.

Registering Your SC Motorcycle

When you purchase a motorcycle in South Carolina, you'll have 45 days from the sale date to register it with the SC Department of Motor Vehicles.

The steps required for motorcycle registration vary depending on whether you purchased your motorcycle from a dealer OR a private seller.

Regardless of how you register, South Carolina motorcycle registrations are valid for 2 years.

Motorcycles Purchased at a Dealership

When you buy a new or used motorcycle at a South Carolina dealership, the dealer can handle the registration for you. For a breakdown of the motorcycle registration costs you'll need to pay, see below.

The dealer may give you a temporary registration while you wait to receive your official license plates and registration in the mail.

Motorcycles Purchased from Private Sellers

If you purchase a motorcycle from a private seller in SC, you'll need to handle the registration process yourself. The DMV allows you to register your motorcycle in person OR by mail.

Once you've paid vehicle property tax at your county auditor's office, begin the registration process by gathering:

Once you have all the items above you can:

  • Take them in person to your local DMV office.
    OR
  • Mail them to:
    • South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
    • P.O. Box 1498
    • Blythwood, SC 29016

If you still need to title your motorcycle, head over to our South Carolina title transfers page.

Temporary Motorcycle Registration

If the vehicle you purchased does not have license plates, you may need to apply for temporary registration and plates while you wait for your permanent documents to arrive in the mail.

To apply for a temporary registration permit, which is valid for 45 days, visit your local SC DMV office branch with:

While operating your bike with temporary registration and license plates, you must have the motorcycle's bill of sale OR title with you as well. These documents will be needed for a date-of-purchase verification if you are stopped by law enforcement.

Motorcycle Registration Fees & Taxes

You may be required to pay the following fees and taxes when you register your motorcycle with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles:

  • Motorcycle registration: $10.
  • Vehicle property taxes: Vary according to your county of residence—check with your county auditor's office for specifics.
  • Sales tax: 5% of the motorcycle's purchase price.
  • Temporary registration: $5.
  • Late fees for initial registration—Varies by delinquency period:
    • 46 to 60 days: $10.
    • 61 to 75 days: $25.
    • 76 to 135 days: $50.
    • Over 135 days: $75.

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