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South Carolina DMV Express
  
Remember, click on the ExpressPlates link for the most efficient way to have your vehicle registered!

General Information

If you purchase a new or used vehicle or move to South Carolina from another state, you must apply for a new vehicle title and registration. You may apply for the title and registration by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department. It is important to note that South Carolina will only issue a certificate of title for a vehicle that is physically located in South Carolina.

Vehicles must be registered every two years. Passenger vehicle registrations are renewed every other year in the month you first registered your vehicle in South Carolina. A renewal sticker will be issued each year after you pay your property taxes. You may renew your vehicle registration through the mail when you pay your property taxes.

For New Residents of South Carolina

If you move to South Carolina from another state, you have 45 days to transfer your vehicle title and registration. You may apply for the title and registration by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department.

You must have the following to transfer your out-of-state vehicle title and registration:

  • Your out of state vehicle title and registration. If there is a lien on your vehicle, you must bring the name and address of the company that holds the lien.
  • Liability Insurance information. You must provide the name of your automobile liability insurance company, not the name of the agent.
  • Completed Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration. To complete the form, you must have your vehicle odometer mileage reading and any current lien information.
  • Paid Property Tax Receipt. Before you can register your vehicle in South Carolina, you must first pay the property taxes that are required in the county in which you reside.
  • Title and Registration Fees. Fee information is available below.

Purchasing a New or Used Vehicle

When you purchase a new or used vehicle in South Carolina, you may either purchase a new plate for your vehicle or transfer a plate from a vehicle you already own. You have 45 days to title and register your vehicle from the date of purchase.

Beginning January 1, 2003, all vehicles operating on the streets or highways of South Carolina must display a regular license plate or a temporary license plate. The temporary plate is only valid for 45 days from the date of purchase of the vehicle and will be available at your local DMV office or county auditor's office beginning December 16, 2002. While operating a vehicle with a temporary plate, you must keep the bill of sale, title, rental contract or a copy of either document in your vehicle all times to verify the dates of purchase to law enforcement. You may also transfer a license plate from another vehicle, but you must properly register the vehicle within 45 days from the date of purchase. During the 45-day period, you must keep a copy of the registration for the old vehicle and the bill of sale, title, rental contract or a copy of either document in your vehicle all times to verify the dates of purchase to law enforcement.

The 45-Day temporary license plates are now available at your local DMV branch office. You can download Form 45-A, Application for 45-Day Temporary Plates and submit this form to your nearest DMV office. You may apply for your vehicle title and registration by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department.

You must have the following to purchase a new plate and title for a newly purchased vehicle:

  • Title or Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin. If you have purchased a used vehicle, you must have the title of the vehicle and the previous owner of the vehicle must have signed the title over to you. If this title does not have the Bill of Sale and odometer information on the back of the document, you must also submit a Bill of Sale. If you have purchased a new vehicle, you must have the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
  • Lien Information. If there is a lien on your vehicle, you must provide the name and address of the lienholder and the date of the lien.
  • Liability Insurance information. You must provide the name of your automobile liability insurance company, not the name of the agent.
  • Completed Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration. To complete the form, you must have your vehicle odometer mileage reading and any current lien information.
  • Paid Property Tax Receipt. Before you can register your vehicle in South Carolina, you must first pay the property taxes that are required in the county in which you reside.
  • Casual Sales Tax. Sales tax totaling 5% of the vehicle purchase price ($300.00 maximum) must be paid when you register a newly purchased vehicle in South Carolina. Truck fees may vary according to the gross vehicle weight of the truck.
  • Title and Registration Fees.

Transferring a Plate and Registration

When you purchase a vehicle in South Carolina, you may wish to transfer the plate from trade-in vehicle to your newly purchased vehicle. You have 45 days to title and register your vehicle from the date of purchase.

Beginning January 1, 2003, all vehicles operating on the streets or highways of South Carolina must display a regular license plate or a temporary license plate. The temporary plate is only valid for 45 days from the date of purchase of the vehicle and will be available at your local DMV office or county auditor's office beginning December 16, 2002. While operating a vehicle with a temporary plate, you must keep the bill of sale, title, rental contract or a copy of either document in your vehicle all times to verify the dates of purchase to law enforcement. You may also transfer a license plate from another vehicle, but you must properly register the vehicle within 45 days from the date of purchase. During the 45-day period, you must keep a copy of the registration for the old vehicle and the bill of sale, title, rental contract or a copy of either document in your vehicle all times to verify the dates of purchase to law enforcement.

The 45-Day temporary license plates are now available at your local DMV branch office. You can download Form 45-A, Application for 45-Day Temporary Plates and submit this form to the DMV. You may apply for your vehicle title and registration by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department.

You must have the following to transfer your vehicle registration to your newly purchased vehicle:

  • Title or Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin. If you have purchased a used vehicle, you must have the title of the vehicle and the previous owner of the vehicle must have signed the title over to you. If this title does not have the Bill of Sale and odometer information on the back of the document, you must also submit a Bill of Sale. If you have purchased a new vehicle, you must have the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
  • Lien Information. If there is a lien on your vehicle, you must provide the name and address of the lienholder and the date of the lien.
  • Liability Insurance information. You must provide the name of your automobile liability insurance company, not the name of the agent.
  • Completed Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration To complete the form, you must have your vehicle odometer mileage reading and any current lien information.
  • Paid Property Tax Receipt. Before you can register your vehicle in South Carolina, you must first pay the property taxes that are required in the county in which you reside.
  • Casual Sales Tax. Sales tax totaling 5% of the vehicle purchase price ($300.00 maximum) must be paid when you register a newly purchased vehicle in South Carolina. Truck fees may vary according to the gross vehicle weight of the truck.
  • Title and Registration Fees. There is a $10.00 fee to transfer a plate from one vehicle to another. The title fee is $15.00. If you would like to expedite the title process and receive your title within three business days, you must pay an additional expedited title fee of $20.00.

Obtaining a Title Only

If you do not plan to drive your vehicle, you may wish to obtain a title only for you newly purchased vehicle. You have 45 days to title your vehicle from the date of purchase. It is important to note that South Carolina will only issue a certificate of title for a vehicle that is physically located in South Carolina. You may apply for the title by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department.

To obtain a title only, you must have the following:

  • Title or Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin. If you have purchased a used vehicle, you must have the title of the vehicle and the previous owner of the vehicle must have signed the title over to you. If this title does not have the Bill of Sale and odometer information on the back of the document, you must also submit a Bill of Sale. If you have purchased a new vehicle, you must have the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
  • Lien Information. If there is a lien on your vehicle, you must provide the name and address of the lienholder and the date of the lien.
  • Liability Insurance information. You must provide the name of your automobile liability insurance company, not the name of the agent.
  • Completed Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration. To complete the form, you must have your vehicle odometer mileage reading and any current lien information.
  • Paid Property Tax Receipt. Before you can register your vehicle in South Carolina, you must first pay the property taxes that are required in the county in which you reside.
  • Casual Sales Tax. Sales tax totaling 5% of the vehicle purchase price ($300.00 maximum) must be paid when you register a newly purchased vehicle in South Carolina. Truck fees may vary according to the gross vehicle weight of the truck.
  • Title Fee. The title fee is $15.00. Obtaining a Duplicate Title If you have lost you title, you may obtain a duplicate title from the Department of Motor Vehicles. You may apply for the duplicate title by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department. To obtain a duplicate title, you must have the following:
  • Completed Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration. To complete the form, you must have your vehicle odometer mileage reading and any current lien information.
  • Title Fee. The title fee is $15.00.

Important note: If there is a lien on your vehicle, the duplicate title will be sent to the lien holder.

Inheriting a Vehicle

If you have inherited a vehicle, you may obtain a title and registration with or without a probated will or estate. You may apply for the vehicle title and registration by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department.

Beginning January 1, 2003, all vehicles operating on the streets or highways of South Carolina must display a regular license plate or a temporary license plate. The temporary plate is only valid for 45 days from the date of purchase of the vehicle and will be available at your local DMV office or county auditor's office beginning December 16, 2002. While operating a vehicle with a temporary plate, you must keep the bill of sale, title, rental contract or a copy of either document in your vehicle all times to verify the dates of purchase to law enforcement. You may also transfer a license plate from another vehicle, but you must properly register the vehicle within 45 days from the date of purchase. During the 45-day period, you must keep a copy of the registration for the old vehicle and the bill of sale, title, rental contract or a copy of either document in your vehicle all times to verify the dates of purchase to law enforcement.

The 45-Day temporary license plates are now available at your local DMV branch office. You can download Form 45-A, Application for 45-Day Temporary Plates and submit this form to your nearest DMV office.

If you are applying for a title and registration for an inherited vehicle, you must have the following:

  • Copy of the Court Appointment or Completed Form 4036, Inheritance Affidavit. If there is a probated will or estate, you must have a copy of the court appointment. The court appointment can be obtained from the County Probate Court and should state the name of the personal representative of the estate. If there was no probated will or estate, you must complete Form 4036, Inheritance Affidavit, which is available on this website or by visiting any DMV branch office. Unless the heir is a spouse, all surviving heirs must sign the Form 4036.
  • Vehicle Title If there is a probated will or estate, the personal representative of the estate must sign the title to transfer the ownership of the vehicle.
  • Paid Property Tax Receipt. Before you can register the vehicle, you must first pay the property taxes that are required in the county in which you reside. To pay the taxes, you should take a copy of the court appointment or Form 4036 and the title that has been transferred to you to your county tax office. You must provide your tax receipt to the DMV.
  • Completed Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration. To complete the form, you must have your vehicle odometer mileage reading and any current lien information.
  • Liability Insurance information. You must provide the name of your automobile liability insurance company, not the name of the agent.
  • Title and Registration Fees

Property Taxes

In South Carolina, payment of personal property taxes is required before a license plate can be issued or renewed. The taxes are paid directly to the county treasurer of the county where you live in South Carolina. Tax rates vary and are determined by the county auditor in each county. If you are a first-time registrant, you will need to take your title or current registration to the county auditor's office in order to receive a tax bill. The amount due is paid to the county treasurer who will issue a paid property tax receipt.

If you are renewing your South Carolina registration, you will receive a property tax bill/renewal reminder from the county treasurer's office. You may pay your property taxes directly to the county treasurer's office in the county where you reside. See Registration Renewals below for additional information.

Registration Renewals

In South Carolina, payment of personal property taxes is required before a license plate can be renewed. Citizens can pay both the property taxes and renewal fees at the county treasurer's office. After this is done, the license plate or validation number is issued in an overnight program and mailed to the customer from the DMV the next working day.

If you do not receive your license plates and/or decal within ten working days, you may obtain one at a DMV branch office. If you have an adjusted tax bill, owe a penalty or must have your registration corrected to reflect a senior citizen discount, you may also visit a DMV branch office. You may be issued a license plate or validation that shows a different expiration date than shown on your vehicle registration. This is necessary because personal property taxes must be paid on a yearly basis while registration fees are collected on a two-year basis.

Insurance Requirements

When registering your vehicle, you must provide the name of your insurance company and policy number. If you are issued a driver's license or beginner's permit for the first time in South Carolina, you will be required to provide vehicle insurance information.

If your liability insurance is cancelled or expired, you must return your vehicle's license plate and registration to DMV or reinstate your coverage. Otherwise, you will be subject to a reinstatement fee of $200 and $5 penalty for each day the vehicle was uninsured or plate(s) was not turned in. The maximum penalty for the first offense is $400 per vehicle. For information on registering as an uninsured motorist, see below.

Registering as an Uninsured Motorist

As of February 1, 1999 vehicle owners can pay a $550.00 Uninsured Motorist Fee. The $550.00 fee is not an insurance premium and the owner is not purchasing any insurance by paying this fee. The $550.00 Uninsured Motorist Fee is for the privilege to drive and operate an uninsured motor vehicle on the South Carolina roads. Owners that pay the $550.00 Uninsured Motorist Fee are liable for damages if they are at fault in an accident.

If you and every driver in your household has held a driver's license for three or more years, you may qualify to register as an uninsured motorist. However, you are not qualified to participate if you (the owner) are presently required to file SR-22 insurance or have been convicted of any of the following violations within the past three years:

  • Disobeying any official traffic device or officer directing traffic
  • Failing to stop for a law enforcement officer when signalled
  • Failing to stop for a school bus
  • Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or property damage
  • Theft or unlawful taking of a vehicle
  • Racing on public highways
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Reckless driving
  • Reckless homicide, homicide or assault involving the operation of a motor vehicle
  • Felony involving the use of a motor vehicle
  • Transporting illegal whiskey, unlawful drugs, or other controlled or narcotic substances
  • Willfully making false statements when applying for a license or registration
  • Impersonating an applicant or obtaining a license or registration by impersonating himself or another
  • Three or more moving traffic violations
  • Two or more accidents that resulted in injury exceeding $600 or property damage exceeding $1,000.

You may obtain the application to register as an uninsured motorist by clicking here

Title and Registration Fees Regular License Plates $24.00 If you are 64 years old $22.00 If you are 65 years old $20.00 Title Fee* $15.00 *Penalties for Late Registration 46 to 60 days $10.00 61 to 75 days $25.00 76 to 135 days $50.00 Over 135 days $75.00 *Penalties for Late Registration Renewal First 14 days $10.00 15 to 30 days $25.00 31 to 90 days $50.00 Over 90 days $75.00 * When assessing penalties, the Department of Motor Vehicles considers the postmark as the date of receipt. EXPEDITED SERVICES DMV offers expedited services for title applications. If you need to obtain your vehicle title within three business days, you may pay an additional $20.00 fee for this service. Change in Title Fee: All title applications with a date of sale on or before June 22, 2003 will be processed for the current $10.00 fee. All title applications with a date of sale on or after June 23, 2003 will be processed for the new $15.00 title fee.

Surrendering Plates

You need to surrender or return your license plate to the department if you:

  • Sell your vehicle
  • Cancel the insurance on your vehicle
  • Purchase a personalized plate
  • Move out of state

You may return your plate to the department at your local DMV branch office or mail it to the following address:

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
Mail-In Section
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0019

If you wish to receive a receipt for the plate, please include your name and address. You may be eligible for a registration refund if you have paid for a full year of registration that you will not use. You may apply for a refund in person or by mail. If you mail your request for a refund, please include your name, address and social security number with your request. Persons moving to another state or transferring their registration to another state are not eligible for a registration refund.

Gift of Life Trust Fund

When you apply for or renew a South Carolina driverís license, beginnerís permit, or identification card, you may choose to add a notation to your license or ID card that indicates your desire to be an organ and tissue donor. You may also complete an organ donor card and carry it with your credential. All DMV offices have Uniform Donor Cards available. The organ donor card may also be downloaded from The Gift of Life Trust Fund website.

The Gift of Life Trust Fund, created by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor of South Carolina in 1996, promotes organ and tissue donation through education and assists South Carolinians navigating the transplant process by providing emergency financial assistance. Each time you apply for, renew your credential, or make any other transaction at the DMV, you may also make a donation to the Gift of Life Trust Fund.