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  • Plate Surrender in South Carolina

    The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires all vehicle owners to surrender their licenses plates when they move to another state, and there are other reasons you might want to surrender them.

    Moving to South Carolina

    You don’t have to give the DMV your old license plates when you move to South Carolina. You’ll register your vehicle here and receive new license plates.

    How you handle your old license plates is up to you and your former DMV. To find out your old state’s policies, scroll to the top of this page and choose that state from the drop down menu.

    Moving from SC

    You must surrender your SC license plate when you move to another state.

    Once you register your vehicle in your new state (and get new plates), you can return the plate to a DMV office.

    If you’re due a refund on your property taxes, be sure to get a receipt after returning the plate.

    Also, don’t cancel your car insurance until after you return the plate; if you do, the DMV can fine you.

    Selling a Used Car

    South Carolina license plates stay with the vehicle owners, not the vehicles. So, when you sell your used car (or give it as a gift or charity donation) be sure to remove your plate.

    As long as you’re up to date on your property taxes, you can transfer the plate to another vehicle you own.

    Otherwise, you must return the plate to an SC DMV office.

    Buying a Used Car

    The former owner will remove his license plate after you buy a used car. You can transfer your valid license plate or apply for a new plate.

    This means if you:

    • DO have a plate you want to transfer, you can go ahead and put that plate on the vehicle, but you must keep the bill of sale and title, as well as the old vehicle’s registration, in the vehicle until you complete the title transfer and registration. (By “old vehicle,” we mean the vehicle the plate used to belong to.)
    • DO NOT have a plate to transfer, you must apply for 45-Day Temporary Plates.
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