South Carolina Permit and Driver's License FAQ

  • Applying for Your SC License
  • Preparing for the SC Permit Test
  • Taking the SC Permit Test?
  • Preparing for the SC Driving Test
  • Taking the SC Driving Test
  • Renewing Your SC License
Close all

Applying for Your SC License: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age requirements for getting started?

South Carolina is another of the many states that have instituted a Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program (GDL) for teen drivers. The program is designed to reduce crashes involving teens and includes the following stages and age levels:

  • Learner’s Permit – 15 years old
  • Conditional License – 15 years, 180 days old
  • Special Restricted License – 16 years old
  • Regular, Unrestricted License – 17 years old

What documents am I required to bring with me when applying for a license in South Carolina?

  • Form MV93 – Permit Application
  • Social Security Card and citizenship proof
  • Residency proof
  • $2.50 for permit fee

Here are accepted forms of identification for South Carolina.

Where do I file my SC driver’s license application?

You should file your application at a local SCDMV office.

How can I contact my local office?

Visit https://www.scdmvonline.com/DMVNew/offloclist.aspx for office locations and contact information.

Do I have to take a Driver’s Ed Course?

Yes, to receive your driver’s license in South Carolina you need to complete drive’s ed. It is not required for your learner’s permit.

What if I am new to South Carolina?

To transfer an out-of-state learner’s permit to South Carolina visit a local SCDMV office with identification and $2.50 for the permit fee. South Carolina will count the time you’ve held your permit against its 180 day requirement to apply for a license.

Close all

Preparing for the SC Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

What subjects are commonly covered on the written test?

South Carolina traffic laws, road signs and safe driving practices are all covered on the written test. The questions that make up the test are drawn from the South Carolina Driver’s Manual. Here are two examples of content from the manual that you could be asked a question about:

  • The maximum un-posted speed limit in an urban district or residential area is 30 miles per hour. The maximum un-posted speed limit in a rural area is 55 miles per hour except when a higher limit is allowed by the federal law.
  • Use one hand steering only when backing or operating vehicle controls (wipers, flashers, lights, etc.) that require a temporary reach from the steering wheel.

How is the test formatted?

The test is multiple choice.

Are there a lot of “trick” questions on the written test?

No, questions are drawn from the content in the South Carolina Driver’s Manual. The questions are not meant to trick you but rather ensure that you have the knowledge to drive safely in the state of South Carolina.

How many questions are on the test and how many do I need to answer correctly to pass?

There are 30 questions on the test and you must answer at least 24 of them correctly to pass.

What are the best ways to prepare for the written test?

You should read/study the South Carolina Driver’s Manual extensively. You should also take practice tests online to identify areas that you need to study more.

Where can I get a free South Carolina Driver’s Manual to study?

We offer free copies of the manual.

How can I improve my odds for passing the first time I take the test?

When studying pay attention to numerical figures, such as distances, lengths and measurements – for example, stopping distances for different speeds, etc. You should also study road signs so that you recognize them by sight. Also, be sure to devote study time to the drugs and driving section of the manual. To get a better idea of the type of questions you will face on the test, take a practice test.

What should I do the night before the test?

Plan on reviewing the driver’s manual and taking a practice test the night before your exam. If you ace the practice test or just miss a question or two, then try to get to bed early so you are rested for the exam. If you do not do well on the practice test, obviously you should study more. If you do really poorly on the practice test, maybe you should consider delaying your test so that you can get significantly more study time.

Close all

Taking the SC Permit Test?: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment to take the written test?

Contact your local SCDMV office to see if appointments are accepted. If they are, it is recommended that you make one to avoid a possible long wait.

Where do I take the written test?

You will take the test at a local SCDMV office.

What do I need to bring when I sit for the written test?

  • Form MV93 – Permit Application
  • Social Security Card and citizenship proof
  • Residency proof
  • $2.50 for permit fee

Here are accepted forms of identification for South Carolina.

Who should accompany me to the written test?

You should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Do I need to pay a fee to take the written test?

Yes, you will need to pay a fee of $2.50.

What should I expect when I sit for the written test?

The test has 30 questions covering traffic laws, road signs and safe driving methods. The questions are drawn from the driver’s manual and you can miss up to six of them and still pass the test. When taking the test, you cannot refer to the manual or to any notes. To familiarize yourself with the test format, take a practice test.

What happens after I pass the written test?

You will receive your Learner’s Permit and can begin supervised driving practice. You must complete 40 total hours of driving practice with at least 10 of those hours coming at night.

What happens if I fail the written test?

You can retake the test.

How soon can I retake the written test?

You will have to wait two weeks after your first and second attempts to retake the test. If you fail three times or more you will have to wait 60 days to take the test again.

Close all

Preparing for the SC Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve passed the written permit test, what are the next steps?

Your Learner’s Permit will allow you to drive between 6 a.m. and midnight as long as you are accompanied by a licensed supervising driver who is 21 years of age or older and who has at least one year of driving experience. You need to log 40 hours of driving practice, with 10 of those hours completed at night, to apply for a conditional license.

How long after getting my Learner’s Permit can I apply for a license?

You must hold your Learner’s Permit for at least 180 days and be at least 15 years and 180 days old to apply for a conditional license.

Can I drive anywhere in South Carolina with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, as long as you are accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or older with at least one year of driving experience, you can drive on any South Carolina public road or street.

Should I practice driving solely during the day?

No, South Carolina also requires that you long 10 hours of driving practice at night.

Does anyone have to be in the car with me when I’m driving with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or older who has at least one year of driving experience.

What should I do if I have a lost South Carolina Learner’s Permit?

Visit a local SCDMV office with proper identification and $2.50 for the replacement fee to receive a new permit.

How can I be sure I’m prepared to ace the driving test?

The best thing is to get a lot of quality driving practice. You should drive in traffic, where you need to use good defensive driving skills, and you should also practice common vehicle maneuvers such as parking, making proper turns, stopping and starting.

Are there particular driving maneuvers I should practice?

Yes, you should practice parallel parking; stopping smoothly; backing; stopping at stop signs and traffic signals; turning around with a three-point turn; approaching corners; yielding the right of way; stopping and starting on grades; turning; and passing.

How can I simulate the driving test?

You should practice both completing maneuvers and driving in traffic as you will be asked to do both on the test. If you have access to an empty parking lot or seldom used road, those can be good locations to practice maneuvers like three-point turns, parallel parking, stopping and starting and more. You should also drive in traffic where you need to obey traffic signs, observe and respond to other cars, and signal when making a turn.

Close all

Taking the SC Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule my driving test?

Contact your SCDMV office to schedule your road test.

Where do I take the driving test?

You will take the test at a local SCDMV office.

What should I bring to the driving test?

  • PDLA form confirming driver’s ed completion, school attendance and completion of supervised driving practice hours
  • Proof of residency and citizenship – acceptable documents
  • $12.50 for five year license or $25 for 10 year license
  • Properly functioning vehicle
  • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of insurance

Who should bring me to the driving test?

A licensed parent or legal guardian should bring you.

What will I be asked to do on the driving test?

You will be asked to perform various maneuvers as well as to drive in traffic. You will need to show competence at, among other things: parallel parking; stopping smoothly; backing; stopping at stop signs and traffic signals; turning around with a three-point turn; approaching corners; yielding the right of way; stopping and starting on grades; turning; passing; and maintaining good driving posture.

What are the most common reasons new drivers fail the driving test?

Nerves, not listening to the examiner, being unable to perform a maneuver, leaving the roadway, getting a moving violation or becoming involved in an accident are all common reasons for failure.

What are five mistakes I should be sure to avoid when taking the driving test?

  • Not checking blind spot when changing lanes
  • Using poor driving posture
  • Not being able to parallel park
  • Not obeying a traffic sign or signal
  • Speeding

What happens if I fail the driving test?

You will be allowed to retake the test.

How soon can I retake the test?

You must wait at least one week to retake the test following your first and second attempts. On your third attempt and thereafter you will have to wait 60 days before you can retake the test.

I’ve passed the road test, now what?

You will receive your Conditional License.

What restrictions come with a South Carolina license?

Restrictions include:

  • Can only drive unsupervised during daylight hours 6 a.m. to 6 or 8 p.m. depending on time of year
  • Can drive from 6 p.m. (or 8 p.m. during DST) until midnight with a supervising driver age 21 or older
  • Can only drive between midnight and 6 a.m. if accompanied by a licensed parent or legal guardian
  • Cannot carry more than 2 passengers under 21 years old unless accompanied by a licensed adult age 21 or older unless transporting family members or students to and from school

A special restricted license allows you to waive the restrictions due to an interference with work or school. You can get a special restricted license at 16.

You can get an unrestricted license once you turn 16 years old and have held your conditional or special restricted license for one year.

What are the insurance requirements for drivers in SC?

South Carolina requires that drivers purchase liability and uninsured motorist coverage to drive legally in the state. Minimum coverage requirements are:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 for all persons injured in one accident
  • $25,000 for all property damage in one accident

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you, the policy holder, by paying if you are injured and/or your property is damaged by a driver who does not have auto insurance. There is a $200 deductible by law.

Close all

Renewing Your SC License: Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to renew my license or replace a lost/stolen license?

South Carolina driver’s licenses are valid for either 5 or 10 years and expire on your birthday. You can renew by mail or in person. You will receive a renewal notice with instructions before the expiration date. You can renew your license up to nine months after it has expired.

You can replace a lost or stolen license by visiting a SCDMV office with proper identification. You will need to pay a $10 replacement fee.

Where can I renew my South Carolina driver’s license?

You can renew by mail or in person at a SCDMV office. If renewing by mail, you can only renew for a five-year term. When renewing in person, you can choose either the five-year or 10-year renewal option.

Will I be required to take a vision test when renewing my license?

Yes, you will either need to pass the vision test or show proof that you have passed an eye exam in the past 12 months to renew your license.

South Carolina’s minimum visual acuity standards are:

  • 20/70 or better in at least one eye or if applicant’s weaker eye is worse than 20/200, the stronger eye must read 20/40 or better.
  • Worse than 20/70 in each eye but 20/70 or better with both eyes together.

The South Carolina DMV Test — What You Need to Know

Before you can get your driver’s license in South Carolina, you need to first apply for your beginners permit.  Why postpone getting your beginners permit another day? A permit provides you with your first real taste of driving.  Soon the days of bumming rides from friends and family or taking public transportation will be a distant spot in your rearview mirror.

More commonly known as the South Carolina permit test, the test is designed to ensure you have the knowledge to be a safe and responsible driver.  The South Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for administering the test and has offices throughout the state.  But before you head down to take the exam, it’s important to understand that the test can be a real challenge for the unprepared.

Get a Higher Score With SC DMV Practice Tests

How would you feel if you failed your written test?   Now imagine the feeling of walking out of the DMV office empty-handed. With statistics revealing that 70% of people fail the exam every year, it’s more important than ever to prepare yourself.

That’s why we’re here. To help you pass your test, stress-free.

On this page, you’ll find a collection of study resources to help you do just that. By using our powerful study resources, you’ll find preparing for the test to be an easy and simple process.

Our sample interactive South Carolina practice tests are designed to give you a closer look at what the real exam format looks like. You’ll also find a copy of the official South Carolina Driver’s Manual. Interested in getting a motorcycle permit?  We have study tools to help you prepare for that exam too.