Registration Renewal in South Carolina
COVID-19 Effects on Registration Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed office locations, extended license and registration expiration dates, and/or limited the transactions they are processing. If possible, residents should use the DMV's online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the DMV's most recent updates for the latest information.
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!
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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:
- Beaufort County
- Berkeley County
- Charleston County
- Chester County
- Darlington County
- Dorchester County
- Greenville County
- Lexington County
- Pickens County
- Richland County
- Spartanburg County
- York County
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.
Uninsured Motorist Registration
If you haven’t been convicted of any traffic violations in the past 3 years, then you can elect not to purchase liability insurance and, instead, pay a $550 uninsured motorist fee to the DMV.
The uninsured motorist fee is not an insurance premium, so if you are found at fault in an accident, you will be financially responsible for any and all damages.
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.