Renewing Your License in South Carolina
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You must have a driver's license in order to legally drive. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires you to renew that license every five or 10 years, depending on your age and for how long you renewed your license the last time.
You must also cover your vehicle with a car insurance policy that meets minimum liability coverage requirements. Our Insurance Center explains those requirements and helps you shop for an affordable car insurance rate.
The DMV offers various types of licenses, and you must renew your license every five or 10 years. You have three options for renewing your license, and we discuss each of these options at length below:
- By mail
- In person
You can check your driving record to determine whether your current license is valid.
NOTE: Commercial licenses carry their own set of renewal procedures. Visit our CDL section for details.
If your driver’s license hasn’t been expired for more than nine months, you can usually renew using one of the same three methods as listed above:
- By mail
- In person
If you’re not sure how long your license has been expired, check your driving record. If you find it’s been expired for more than nine months, you’ll most likely have to renew in person and should contact your local DMV office for details.
License suspensions carry hefty reinstatement fees and, in some cases, even heftier reinstatement requirements. Checking your driving record is an easy way to determine whether your license is suspended, and our section on license suspension outlines the fees and requirements.
If you find out your license is suspended, you may want to consider shopping for a lower car insurance premium at our Insurance Center. Suspensions, especially those involving DUI, will most likely increase your current rate significantly.
You can’t renew your driver’s license if you don’t know where it is. Fortunately, ordering a duplicate isn’t difficult. Visit our section on replacing lost licenses for details.
As a courtesy, the DMV may send you a license renewal notice with information about which method you can use to renew your license, required tests, and fees.
If you don’t receive a notice, don’t panic. You can always call the DMV Customer Service Center at (803) 896-5000 if you have questions about renewing your driver’s license.
This option no longer exists due to a clause in the South Carolina statutes that requires a vision test as part of the renewal process.
If you don’t receive your renewed license within a few weeks, call the DMV Call Center at (803) 896-5000.
For more information about renewing your South Carolina driver’s license online, visit the DMV’s Driver’s License Renewal page.
Like online renewals, mail renewals are valid for five years. You can renew your driver’s license by mail if you meet each of the requirements listed above for online renewals; however, you don’t have to be younger than 65.
- Download and complete a Form DL-63 (your eye care specialist must complete the second part).
- Have a check or money order for $12.50.
- Mail everything to:
- SC Department of Motor Vehicles
- P.O. Box 1498
- Blythewood, SC 29016-0035
NOTE: You must mail your renewal form at least 15 days prior to your driver’s license’s expiration date.
As is the case with online renewals, if you don’t receive your renewed license within a few weeks, contact the DMV Call Center at (803) 896-5000.
If you need more information about renewing your driver’s license by mail, visit the DMV’s Driver’s License Renewal page.
When you renew your license in person, you’ll receive a 10-year license if you’re younger than 65, and a five-year license if you’re 65 or older.
You must renew your driver’s license in person if:
- You last renewed your license online or by mail.
- You don’t meet the requirements listed above to renew online or by mail.
Follow these steps to renew in person:
- Have the appropriate fee ($12.50 for a five-year renewal, and $25 for a 10-year renewal}.
- Have proof of car insurance.
- Be prepared to pass the vision test or provide an eye exam certificate from your eye care specialist.
- Be prepared to pass the written test if you have more than five points on your driving record.
- Be prepared to pass the written and driving tests if you’re license has been expired for more than nine months.
- Head to your nearest DMV office.
Visit the DMV’s Driver’s License Renewal page for more information about renewing your driver’s license in person.
You can keep your driver’s license for up to 10 years before you must renew it, but how often during those 10 years do you refresh yourself on traffic laws and rules of the road? Check out a supplemental training course for a great way to keep up with changing laws and refresh your driving skills.
Plus, your car insurance provider may even offer a discount on your premium when you successfully complete a course. Ask your car insurance agent if such discounts are available; if they’re not, head to our Insurance Center to shop for policies with carriers that do provide discounts.
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We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.