Master the SC

South Carolina
Driver's Written Test!

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New South Carolina Drivers License

Who Needs a License?

Residents of South Carolina find many uses for the multiple licenses available in the state from daily living to recreation and even employment. Any time you are operating a motor vehicle in the state, you must carry the appropriate license for that type of vehicle. This includes the following license types:

Non-commercial drivers will find the following types of licenses available at the DMV. The license type you will require depends on the type of vehicle you intend to drive for non commercial usage.

  • Class D, E and F non-commercial licenses apply to small and large vehicles used for personal use only. These may include person cars under 26,000 pounds and person vehicles over 26,000 pounds such as a truck or mobile home. Drivers will also be allowed to operate three wheel recreation vehicles with these license types.
  • Class G licenses allow you to operate a moped while a Class M allows for driving a motorcycle on public roadways.
  • Class A, B and C commercial licenses are for use when driving for a living. The type will depend on the vehicle type you intend to drive.

What are the Requirements for getting a License?

In order to obtain a license of any type, you must fulfill the document requirements determined by the DMV which will include:

  • Proof of your full legal name and date of birth
  • A social security number if a citizen, usually fulfilled with a social security card
  • Proof you are a citizen of the US, or have legal permission to live in the country
  • Proof of residency in the State with a valid, permanent address

In addition, those applying for a full-privilege license of any type must provide proof of Automobile Liability Insurance at the time of application. You will be required to indicate in your documents if no one in your household; including yourself do not own a vehicle in which to provide you with insurance.

You may also need to provide additional documents if your name has changed at any time since birth. A list of accepted documents as well as alternative documents for your social security number can be found at the DMV, online at the DMV website and in your Drivers Handbook.

  • Additional requirements for minors will include a parent signature on the license application accepting responsibility for you, a beginner’s permit that has not expired and proof that you have completed the required practice hours with your permit.

What Tests do I need to get a License?

In order to receive a license you must pass a vision screening, written knowledge test and a drivers test if this is your first license. There will be a $2.00 testing fee applied to your license costs for the written test.

Taking a Drivers Education Course

If under the age of 17, driver’s education is mandatory. It must be an approved course consisting of 8 hours in the classroom and 6 hours behind the wheel. You will be required to show proof of completion at the time of application for a license.

Preparing for the Written Test

The written test will consist of multiple choice questions that will test your understanding of traffic laws and rules, as well as your knowledge of common road signs. You must pass the test in order to receive a license so it is important to study in advance. There are several great ways to achieve this:

  • Obtain a copy of the cheat sheets listed for South Carolina from that will contain all of the important information you will need to know to pass on the first attempt. In addition, obtain the coordinating practice tests to gauge your progress as you study and assure you are ready for the test.
  • You may use the Drivers Handbook generated by the DMV which contains all traffic laws, rules and road sign information. There is a $5.00 cost for purchasing a Drivers Manual through the DMV.

Using a study plan read through the materials at least twice and test your knowledge before attempting the test.

Scheduling an Appointment

An appointment is required for the road test portion of licensing. You must call the DMV and leave a message with your name, age and a return number. A DMV employee will contact you with an appointment time.

What to Bring on Test Day

On the day of written testing you will need your driver’s license application, signed by a parent if under 18 as well as all required documentation. This will include your proof of legal name, date of birth and any name changes in addition to your valid social security number. Proof of citizenship or legal presence and residency within the state is also required.

Bring any corrective lenses or contacts to assure you pass the vision test and a check, cash or money order for license fees.

Costs of a Drivers Test

  • A five year license will cost the $12.50 fee
  • A ten year license will cost the $25.00 fee

Both license types will also have an additional $2.00 for a knowledge test.

Proof of Insurance

Proof of insurance is required when applying for any full-privilege license. Those applying for a beginners permit will not need proof of insurance. Auto Liability Insurance is required for a license to be issued. If you and no one else in your household own a vehicle in which to be able to provide you with liability insurance, you must indicate this on your application in order to be waived from the requirement.

Taking the Written Test

The written test found on is administered at the DMV office during the license application process for a $2.00 fee. You will be given the written test after all other requirements have been fulfilled and guided to the testing area. Any use of study materials or cell phones is considered an automatic failure for testing.

Study in advance to assure you receive a passing score on the first try. You may wish to obtain cheat sheets and practice tests located on the website that contains all of the information you must study to assure a passing score. Test your progress as you read through materials by taking the practice tests. In addition you may wish to use the Drivers Manual provided by the DMV however there is a $5.00 charge for the manual.

Taking the Driving Test

The road test is administered by appointment only after all other tests have been passed. You must provide a safe vehicle with proper registration and insurance to take the test. If the vehicle does not pass safety and documentation requirements the test will be postponed until it does.

During the test you will be asked to identify and use the entire vehicle’s equipment which may include windshield wipers, headlights and other devices on the dashboard. Be sure to know the vehicle you intend to use for testing to pass this portion of testing. Your valid permit must be with you during testing.

The examiner will then provide you with instructions to complete specific maneuvers on roadways such as right and left hand turns. You must complete each maneuver correctly and prove you are a safe driving in control of the vehicle in order to pass the test.

Renewing your South Carolina Drivers License

Who needs to renew their license?

Each resident of the state who wishes to continue driving a vehicle on roadways must renew their license by its expiration. Each class must renew their license on time. A license can be issued for a five year or ten year time period.

How do I renew my South Carolina License?

Depending on your qualifications, you may renew in two ways; by mail or in-person at the DMV office. You may only renew your license by mail every other renewal date. If you have not received any violations equaling over 5 points and your license is not expired you may be eligible to renew by mail. All other applicants must renew in person.
h2. What tests do I need to take to renew?

A new vision screening must be completed by the renewal date for five and ten year license holders. The vision screening may be completed by a physician and the certificate mailed in along with an application for mail-in renewals. If you have accumulated over 5 points on your license since your last renewal or your license has been expired more than 9 months, you may be required to retake the written test as well.

Preparing to renew my South Carolina license

You must double check the renewal requirements online before beginning the process. If you qualify for mail renewal you will need to obtain a renewal by mail form and complete the information on the document. If required to take the vision test remember to bring any corrective eyewear on the day of renewal. Those required to take the written test during renewal should study their cheat sheets and DMV Drivers Handbook to assure a passing score. An eye test certificate completed by a physician must be prepared in advance and mailed along with the mail-in renewal.

What is the cost to renew my license?

A five year renew will cost $12.50 and a ten year will be $25.00.

Steps to renew your license

You may renew by mail once every ten years if you meet qualifications. Renewals by mail are completed by filling out the renewal by mail form and submitting to the DMV office along with a check for your renewal fees. A vision screening certificate must be completed by a physician and returned with the form.

If you are required to renew in person, renew your license at any local DMV branch. All in person renewals must pass a new vision screening test. If you have over 5 points on your license you must also take the written test.

  • Visit the DMV branch and fill out a renewal form
  • Take a new vision screening and pass
  • If required, retake the written test and pass
  • Take a new photograph and pay the renewal fees with a check, cash or money order

Getting a South Carolina Learners Permit

Who needs a learners permit?

Anyone wishing to obtain a drivers license of any Class must first obtain a beginners permit Each class of license has a coordinating beginner’s permit that must be obtained at the correct minimum age. For a standard Class D learners permit, applicants must be at least 15 years old.

Requirements for getting a learners permit

In order to receive a learner’s permit, drivers of all ages must provide the correct documentation at the time of application to the DMV including:

  • Proof of your full legal name and date of birth. If your name has changed at any time since your birth, documentation will be required.
  • Proof of a valid social security number with either a social security card or an approved alternative.
  • Proof of your US citizenship or permission to legally live in the US.
  • Proof of your residency in the state and a permanent address.
  • Minors under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present to sign the application at the DMV and accept responsibility for you.
  • You must also pass a vision screening and written test.

Driving with a South Carolina learners permit

If you wish to use your permit to practice, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years old with a minimum of one year driving experience at all times. For your safety and that of the other drivers, you must not drive between the hours of midnight to 6am. Use the practice time you are given during the 180 day period as a great way to obtain behind the wheel skills you will need to drive safely on roadways.

The DMV requires that minors complete at least 40 hours of behind the wheel training with 10 hours completed at night. You must also complete drivers training during this time which will consist of an additional 6 hours of driving time with a instructor as well as 8 hours in a classroom.

Cost of a learners permit

The learners permit will cost $2.50 and an additional $2.00 for the written test

Steps to getting a South Carolina learners permit

In order to obtain a beginners permit, you must apply in person at the DMV office and complete the following steps:

  • Fill out a drivers license permit and have a parent or guardian sign the application in front of a clerk.
  • Submit approved documentation proving your full legal name, date of birth and any name changes since birth if applicable.
  • Provide proof of a valid social security number.
  • Provide both proof of citizenship or legal presence in the US and proof of residency in the state.
  • You must then pass a vision screening and written test.
  • Take a photograph, sign the electronic documents and pay the appropriate fees in check, cash or money order.
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