Beginner’s permits are issued in four classes according to the type of vehicle you'll be driving. If you're interested in getting a beginner's permit, read the Driver's Manual and visit an SCDMV branch before 4:30 p.m. Before you take the beginner's permit test, prepare now! Take the practice test online.
When you apply for a beginner’s permit, you must pass the vision and knowledge tests, and you must bring documents such as your original birth certificate, social security card, and two proofs of your current, physical address. The United States Citizens' Checklist (SCDMV Form MV-93) has a complete list of accepted documents.
If you're an international customer, the requirements are different. The International Customers' Checklist (SCDMV Form MV-94) has a complete list of accepted documents.
You must be at least 15 to apply for a regular or motorcycle beginner’s permit. If you are under 18, you must bring an adult with you to sign your application.
- Regular beginner’s permit (Class D) allows you to practice driving under the following restrictions:
- From 6 a.m. to midnight with a licensed driver, who is at least 21 and has at least one year of experience, in the front seat of the vehicle.
- From midnight to 6 a.m. with a licensed parent or legally appointed guardian in the front seat of the vehicle.
- Motorcycle beginner’s permit (Class M) allows you to practice driving a motorcycle under the following restrictions:
- From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (or 8 p.m. during daylight savings time)
- You may not operate a motorcycle at any other time unless a licensed parent or legally appointed guardian supervises you.
You must have your beginner's permit for at least 180 days.
You must be at least 18 to apply for a Class E or Class F beginner’s permit.
- A Class E vehicle is a single unit non-commercial vehicle with more than 26,000 gross vehicle weight (GVW), like a large truck or motor home. When you practice driving, you must be with an experienced licensed driver.
- A Class F vehicle is a combination unit non-commercial vehicle with more than 26,000 GVW, like a large truck with a towed trailer or vehicle. When you practice driving, you must be with an experienced licensed driver.
Adult Consent for Minors
If you’re under 18, a responsible adult must sign all of the following:
- Application for a Beginner's Permit, Driver's License, or Identification Card (SCDMV Form 447-NC),
- Consent for Minor (SCDMV Form 447-CM)
The adult must bring a picture ID.
A responsible adult is someone who is all of the following:
- 18 or older
- Willing to assume responsibility for you
- Liable for any damage you may cause
- Fits into a category listed on Consent for Minor (SCDMV Form 447-CM)
The application must be signed at an SCDMV branch, unless it’s signed and submitted by a representative at a driver training school with the Consent for Minor (SCDMV Form 447-CM).
If you’re an exchange student under 18, your host family member, who signed the contract accepting your responsibility, must sign your application. It is your host family’s responsibility to determine if the contract allows it to sign your application.
If you're an emancipated minor interested in getting a beginner's permit the requirements are different.
You're an emancipated minor if you are under 18 and have proof of your emancipated status, such as an original or certified copy (not notarized) of your marriage license, court order, or active military orders.
Out-of-State Beginner's Permits
You may practice driving with your out-of-state beginner's permit in South Carolina.
If you’ve permanently moved to this state from another state, you may exchange your out-of-state beginner's permit for an SC beginner’s permit.
- If your out-of-state beginner's permit has expired, you must take the vision and knowledge tests to get an SC beginner's permit.
- If your out-of-state beginner's permit is valid and you’ve had it for at least 180 days, you may take the vision and skills test to apply for an SC driver's license. You can apply on the 181st day or any day after. The time you held the out-of-state beginner's permit will count toward the 180 day period.
- If you fail the skills test on your first attempt, you must wait two weeks to re-test regardless of your age.