South Carolina Driver’s License Renewal: A Complete  Guide

South Carolina Driver’s License Renewal: A Complete Guide

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Apr 30, 2021

Is it almost time to renew your South Carolina driver’s license? In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know so you can get through the process hassle-free. 

When Do I Need to Renew My License in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, most driver’s licenses expire every eight years on your birthday. The SCDMV will not send out a courtesy reminder, so it’s important to keep track on the expiration date by yourself.

First-time drivers: The SCDMV no longer issues out five-year conditional and restricted licenses – they are instead eight years.

What is the Grace Period?

There is no grace period to drive with an expired license in South Carolina. The consequences for driving with an expired license work the same way as if you left your license at home. If you do not renew your license within a week, you can face a $300 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

If your driver’s license is expired for over nine months, you will have to retake the written and driving tests to renew it.

How to Renew a South Carolina Driver’s License

The SCDMV allows drivers to renew their licenses in a number of different ways: 

  • Online
  • Mail
  • In Person

We’ll go through all of the different options and how to complete the process below. 

Online Renewal

You must meet ALL the following requirements to qualify for online renewal:

  • You are a US citizen
  • You do not have a conditional or situational license
  • Your license has not expired for more than nine months
  • You do not have more than five points in driving violations on your driving record in the last two years
  • Your social security number, legal name, and date of birth must match what is on file at the Social Security Administration
  • Your license must not be suspended or revoked
  • You are not a convicted violent offender
  • You renewed in person on your last renewal period
  • A copy of form 412-NC completed by an SC-licensed eye care professional. You can find a download link on the SDMVonline Website.

If you meet all the qualifications above, you can renew your Class D or Class M license online here. You will be asked to verify your identity, then you will pay $25 with a credit or debit card. The SCDMV will use your photo and signature on file. It will arrive in the mail roughly 15 days after the renewal is processed.

Renewal by Mail

You only qualify to renew by mail if you meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • You are a US citizen
  • You do not have a conditional or situational license
  • Your license has not expired for more than nine months
  • You do not have more than five points in driving violations on your driving record in the last two years
  • Your social security number, legal name, and date of birth must match what is on file at the Social Security Administration
  • Your license must not be suspended or revoked
  • You are not a convicted violent offender
  • You renewed in person on your last renewal period
  • A copy of form 412-NC completed by an SC-licensed eye care professional. You can find a download link on the SDMVonline Website.

If you meet the requirements above, you can fill out form DL-63 found on the SDMVonline website. You will need to mail the form, the eye exam, and a check or money order to the address below. Your new license will arrive in the mail in about 15 days.

SCDMV
Alternative Media
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0035

In-Person Renewal

To renew in person, you’ll need to be prepared to do all of the following:

  1. Find a local SCDMV location. Make sure to check their hours of operation. You may need to book an appointment in advance in some areas.
  2. Decide if you will apply for a standard or REAL ID, make sure to bring the appropriate documents if you upgrade to a REAL-ID.
  3. Provide the company name of your vehicle insurance
  4. Pay $25 and any additional fees for the license
  5. Pass a vision test
  6. Take a knowledge test if you have more than five points on your record in two years
    • If your license is expired for less than nine months, you can renew without a late fee or additional tests
    • If your license has been expired for over nine months, you must retake the written and driving exams. 
  7. Have your picture taken
  8. Receive a temporary paper license if the location does not print on-site. This will act as a valid license until your new one comes in the mail.

SC Driver’s License Renewal Fees

The cost of renewing a South Carolina license will depend on the length of time. In addition, you may need to pay additional fees for tests or payment methods. In general, you should budget the following:

  • Four Years or Less: $12.50
  • Eight Years: $25.00
  • If you need to take a knowledge test: Add $2 each time you take it
  • If you need a copy of your driving record: Add $6
  • If you pay by debit or credit card: Add $1 + 1.7% service fee

Do I Need a REAL-ID in South Carolina?

Starting Oct 1, 2021 you can no longer use a standard driver’s license as your federal id. This will not affect your driving privileges in any way. However, you will not be able to use your driver’s license to board a plane, visit a military establishment, or enter certain government buildings.

You are not required to get the REAL-ID at this point. Keep in mind that if you do not upgrade, you will need a passport or other federally approved id to enter the places listed above.

That’s It!

That’s everything you need to know about renewing your driver’s license in South Carolina. We hope this guide has helped you understand the different options and how to qualify for them. If you need any help studying for renewal exams, well then Zutobi is the perfect study guide to make passing your test feel like a breeze.

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