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How to get a South Carolina Driver's License

South Carolina Drivers License
  • South Carolina Driver's License Guidelines
  • How to Prepare for the Written Exam
  • Required ID and Paperwork

SC Driver's License Rules and Requirements

Find out the steps to get your drivers license, pass your DMV written test, replace your out-of-state license and the required paperwork to bring to the DMV office to get your driver's license.

Try Sample Test!

All applicants need to be familiar with the South Carolina Driver's Manual. Think you know the material? Take our DMV practice test now and test your driving knowledge.

Get your SC Driver's Permit

You must be at least 15 years of age and have held a beginner's permit for 180 days to apply for a regular South Carolina Conditional Drivers License.

  • You must be at least 16 years of age and have held a beginner's permit for 180 days to apply for a Special Restricted License.
  • You must be at least 17 years of age and have held a beginner's permit for 180 days to apply for a regular South Carolina Drivers License.

Once you receive a valid limited instructional permit, you will then need to pass a road skills test to receive a SC drivers license.

Applicants under 18 must have held a learners permit for 180 days and complete 40 hours (including 10 at night) of supervised driving time before taking the road skills test.

Prepare for the Written Knowledge Test

All new drivers are encouraged to study for this driver education exam so you don't miss the opportunity to get your learners permit as soon as you reach the approved age. Online practice tests are available that provide real sample questions from the DMV Exam - Take the South Carolina practice test now and test your driving knowledge.

New South Carolina Residents

If you are a new resident, you may use a valid driver's license from your former state for up to 90 days. However, you must convert to a South Carolina driver's license before the end of the 90-day period.

The written exam and road skills tests are not required to change a valid out-of-state license to a SC driver's license, however you will need to pass a vision exam.

If your driver's license from your home state has expired you must also pass the knowledge and road tests.

International Drivers

All persons authorized by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to live, work or study in the United States on a temporary or permanent basis will be eligible to apply for a beginner's permit, driver's license.

If you are applying for a driver's license, you must also submit a valid driver's license from your country of origin as proof of prior driving experience. If your out-of-country license has expired for more than nine months, you will have to take the knowledge and road tests.

Drivers from other countries may obtain a South Carolina driver's license without taking a test other than the vision test if South Carolina has reciprocity with their home country. The following countries have reciprocity with South Carolina for noncommercial vehicles: France, Germany, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau and the Northern Marinana Islands for regular driver licenses only.

Required Paperwork

Before you head to the South Carolina DMV Office, make sure you have all of the following required documents to get your driver's license:

On the Road

Once your licensing requirements have been met, you will receive your new:

  • Restricted License (15 to 17 years of age) valid for 5 years.
  • Full driver's license (18 and older) valid for up to 10 years.

Remember... the safe operation of a vehicle requires practiced skill, knowledge, and a respectful understanding of the limitations imposed by the other drivers and the environment.

South Carolina Driver's License Resources

Free Driver's License Practice Test
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