Buying and Selling FAQs in South Carolina

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I found a car across the border in Tennessee that I want to buy. How do I get a South Carolina tag for it?

Complete an Application for Certificate of Title and Registration for Motor Vehicle or Manufactured Home/Mobile Home (Form 400) and submit it by mail to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV):

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016

You can transfer a valid license plate from a previous car, but you'll still need to register the vehicle in South Carolina within 45 days of purchase. For more information, please contact the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).


I'm moving out of state. What should I do with my South Carolina car tags? Do I need to return them or can I keep them?

You'll need to surrender those license plates to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You can drop them off at your local DMV, or you can return them by mail to:

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016

One of my friends got a super cool car from Italy, so now I'm thinking of buying one. How do I import an Italian car to South Carolina?

For general information about importing a vehicle, explore the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. After studying all its resources, contact your local South Carolina DMV to get specifics about which forms you'll need to present during the registration and titling process, and whether you'll need to have the vehicle inspected.


The dealer put a temporary tag on my car when I bought it. How long is it valid?

Temporary license plates are valid for 45 days in South Carolina. When driving with one of these tags, be sure to carry the bill of sale, title, and rental contract (if applicable) with you at all times. You don't have to keep the originals in the car (in fact, you should never keep an original title in the car); copies will suffice. For more information or if you need an extension, please contact the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).


How much will it cost to register my new car in South Carolina?

The registration fee for a regular passenger vehicle is $24. If you're a senior, you'll only pay:

  • $22, if you are 64 years old.
  • $20, if you are 65 years old or older, or disabled.

The title fee is $15 and you'll also pay property taxes on your purchase. For more information, visit our registration and titling pages.

Be sure to register on time. The SC DMV assesses stiff penalties for being late, that range from $10 to $75, depending on how late you are to register or renew.

It's important to remember the other costs you'll be responsible for when purchasing a new or used car. Some additional costs include:

  • South Carolina state and local taxes.
  • Titling fees.
  • Vehicle inspections fees.
  • Car insurance.

For more information, please contact the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Forms

Application for Certificate of Title and Registration for Motor Vehicle or Manufactured Home/Mobile Home - 400

Apply for an original, transferred, OR duplicate (title only) South Carolina vehicle title and registration with this DMV form.

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