Registration Renewal in South Carolina


To drive legally in South Carolina, the SC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires residents to renew their registration every 2 years.

New to South Carolina?

If you need to register your car for the first time, visit our Vehicle Registration page.

South Carolina Registration Renewal Notice

The DMV will send out a renewal notice several weeks before your registration is set to expire. Registration renewal is typically during the month you first registered your vehicle. The renewal notice will list such things as:

  • Renewal fee.
  • Vehicle property tax.
  • Vehicle information.
  • Insurance verification, if required.

You must pay your vehicle property tax to your County Treasurer’s Office before you can renew your SC registration.

Didn’t Receive a Renewal Notice?

You are still required to renew your registration on time, even if you did not get a renewal notice.

If you normally receive a DMV renewal notice but didn’t this time, contact your County Treasurer’s Office to see if there is a problem with your renewal.

If you moved recently, update your address with the South Carolina DMV as soon as you can. Your vehicle registration must reflect your current address.

Renewing Your South Carolina Registration

You may renew your South Carolina registration online, in person, or by mail. You may only renew online if you received a mailer from the SCDMV notifying you that you need to verify your insurance or if you owe additional fees.

DID YOU KNOW?: Proof of car insurance may be REQUIRED when renewing your registration!

Compare rates and buy your policy online: Open the Insurance Center >>

How to Renew Registration Online

Registrations are usually completed at the same time that personal vehicle property taxes are due. If you live in the following counties, you may renew your registration and pay your taxes online at the same time:

If your county is not listed, you will need to renew in person or by mail.

To renew online, follow all directions on your county office page (above) and submit the following:

  • Your license plate number.
  • Insurance company name and/or policy number (unless you elected to self-insure).
  • A valid Visa, MasterCard, or Discover Card number to pay your renewal fees.

Note: Once you renew online, your new SC registration certificate and stickers will be mailed to you the next day.

If you receive a notification in the mail indicating that your registration wasn't processed correctly, you may properly finish the transaction online with the SC DMV or contact the DMV to check the status of your order.

Renew Car Registration in Person

Go to your County Treasurer's Office and provide:

  • Your DMV renewal notice/tax bill or current SC registration certificate.
  • Payment for your fees (cash, check, money order, or major credit card―call the office before visiting to confirm it accepts credit cards).
  • Proof of car insurance, if required.
  • Your driver's license or other identification.

Once you pay your fees, the DMV will mail your renewal SC decals overnight to your address.

How to Renew Registration by Mail

You may renew your SC registration by mail at the same time you pay your vehicle property tax by mail. To do so:

  • Review your renewal notice/tax bill.
  • Follow the instructions provided.
  • Mail the form along with your payment in the envelope provided.

Your new certificate and stickers will be mailed to you once your renewal is received and processed. If, after 10 working days, you don’t receive anything, contact your County Treasurer’s Office

South Carolina Registration Renewal Fees

SC DMV registration renewal fees vary depending on such things as:

  • The type of vehicle you drive (e.g. passenger car, motorcycle, RV, etc.).
  • The overall weight of the vehicle.
  • If you have specialty plates.
  • Local county fees.

Your renewal notice will list the exact amount that you need to pay to renew your vehicle. While your specific fees may vary, the standard registration fee for a passenger car is $40, and $10 for motorcycles.

Late Fees and Penalties

Late fees will apply if you fail to renew your SC registration by the expiration deadline, and the longer you wait, the more you will have to pay:

  • First 14 days―$10
  • 15 to 30 days―$25
  • 31 to 90 days―$50
  • Over 90 days―$75

SC Liability Insurance Requirements

South Carolina requires all vehicles to be insured. Failing to carry proper coverage at all times can result in the suspension of your driver’s license and registration, which you will have to pay to get reinstated ($100 initially, plus $5 for each day you didn’t have coverage).

Additional information regarding SC insurance requirements may be found on our Car Insurance page.

South Carolina Emissions Testing

Currently, South Carolinians do not need to get their vehicle’s emissions tested before renewing the registration. Additional information regarding SC air quality and steps for decreasing your vehicle’s pollution may be found on our Smog and Emissions page.

Replacement Certificates, Stickers, and License Plates

If you lose your SC registration certificate or license plate stickers, you need to order replacements from the DMV right away. If your SC license plates have been stolen or are no longer legible, then you need to get new ones before you drive.

You may be charged an additional registration fee, depending upon when your old plates expired, in order to extend your new registration and plate to the full 2 years allowed.

South Carolina Registration Renewal: FAQs

What do I need to renew my registration in South Carolina?

To renew your registration in South Carolina, you must FIRST ensure that your property taxes have been paid to your county, which is when you will pay for your license plate renewal. The county will then notify the SCDMV that your status is in good standing. You must also have valid car insurance and provide the name of your insurer upon renewal. Lastly, you'll need valid payment for your property tax and renewal fee.

How much is registration renewal in South Carolina?

It typically costs $40 to renew a passenger vehicle registration in South Carolina, and $10 to renew a motorcycle registration. However, this fee will vary based on your specific vehicle type.

Can I renew my South Carolina car registration online?

You may renew your registration online either as part of your property tax payment (assuming your county allows online payments) or as a separate transaction directly with the SCDMV. This may happen if you didn't pay your renewal at the same time as your property tax or if you're submitting a late payment with a late fee attached. You can complete your online renewal at the SCDMV's website.

Where do I pay my taxes on my car in South Carolina?

You can pay your vehicle property taxes online, by mail, by phone, at a kiosk, or in person, depending on what your specific county has set up. Find your county website for details.

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