New to South Carolina

SUMMARY: New South Carolina Residents

When you become a new South Carolina resident, you'll need to visit your local DMV office in person and apply for a driver's license and register your car. You may also wish to register as an organ donor and register to vote once you become a resident.

Continue reading this page for more information on how to complete your transactions with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

South Carolina State Agencies

As a resident of South Carolina, it's important to know where to go to complete your license- and vehicle-related tasks. In your state, this agency is the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Other departments and agencies in South Carolina that you may find yourself in contact with include:

  • The Department of Natural Resources, which issues boat licenses and registrations.
  • The Judicial Branch, which upholds state laws and assesses traffic violations and penalties.
  • The State Election Commission, which regulates elections and voter registration.
Just Moved?

Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.

SC Driver's License/ID Cards

If you have an out-of-state driver's license, you will need to transfer it for a South Carolina license within 90 days of your move. You will need to visit your local SC DMV office in person and pass the vision exam. In some circumstances you may be required to pass the written and driving tests. For more information, see our Applying for a New License page.

If you're a teenager, you can transfer your out-of-state driver's permit as long as the driving training you received in your previous state meets the SC graduated driver's licensing (GDL) program requirements. Our Applying for a Teen License page has all the information you need.

NOTE: If you need a commercial driver's license (CDL) in SC, see our Applying for a New CDL page.

Identification Cards

If you don't drive but need a form of identification, you can apply for a South Carolina ID card. You'll need to visit the SC DMV in person and provide proof of your identity and payment. Check out our Identification Cards in SC page for more details.

Register Your Car in South Carolina

When you become a resident of South Carolina, you have 45 days to register your out-of-state car. For complete instructions, please visit our Car Registration in SC page.

Special Vehicles

If you own a moped, a recreational vehicle (RV), or an off-road vehicle, these are referred to as special vehicles and must also be registered with the SC DMV. You'll find more information on our Special Vehicles in South Carolina page.

Car Insurance Requirements

When you visit the SC DMV office to register your car, you will be asked to provide the name of your auto insurance provider. Make sure you've updated your address with your insurance company so the DMV can find your information. To compare quotes and see if you're getting the best value for your money, visit our Car Insurance page.

Required inspections

Currently there are no smog or emissions inspections required in South Carolina. That doesn't mean you can't do your part to help improve our air quality. You can learn more on our Car Inspections page.

Organ Donor & Voter Registration

If you were a registered organ donor in your previous state, you'll need to re-register in South Carolina once you're a resident. If you're undecided about organ donation, more information can be found on our Organ Donation page.

Before you can vote in any upcoming elections, you'll need to register to vote in SC. This applies even if you were a registered voter at your last out-of-state address. Our Voter Registration in South Carolina page explains what you need to do.

Military Members Stationed in South Carolina

If you are only in South Carolina temporarily to fulfill your military obligations, you may be exempt from some of the state's vehicle registration and driver's licensing requirements. Please refer to our Drivers in the Military page for more information relating to you and your family.

DMV Office Location & Resources

When you're ready to visit the DMV in South Carolina, use our handy Office Finder tool for your closest location.

Additional Helpful Resources:

DMV.ORG BBB Business Review