Beginner’s permits are issued in four classes according to the type of vehicle you'll be driving.
Study the Appropriate Manual Before Testing
When you apply for a beginner’s permit, you must pass the vision and knowledge tests, provide your social security number, and bring required documents such as your original birth certificate, and proof of your current, physical address (two proofs for a REAL ID card). 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 individual listed on the Consent for Minor (SCDMV Form 447-CM) with you to sign consent.
- 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 any licensed individual listed on the Consent for Minor (SCDMV Form 447-CM) in the front seat of the vehicle.
- Motorcycle beginner’s permit (Class M) allows you to practice driving a motorcycle under the following restrictions:
- Unaccompanied 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 supervised by someone with a motorcycle license who is 21 years of age or older, and has had at last one year of driving experience. That individual must be within a safe viewing distance of the you when operating a motorcycle.
You must have your beginner's permit for at least 180 days unless you hold a valid driver's license.
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.
Renewing a Beginner's Permit
You may renew your regular beginner's permit (Class D) for $2.50 when it expires.
If you choose to renew your permit online, you must provide identifying information to login below. At the end of the process, you must pay for the permit with a valid credit card.
If you're not a US Citizen, you cannot renew your permit online.
If you're a US Citizen interested in renewing your beginner’s permit online, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- You have a regular (Class D, E, or F) permit. Class M – Motorcycle beginner's permit is not eligible for online renewal.
- You can pay with a valid credit or debit card.
- You are a US Citizen.
- You do not have a commercial learner’s permit.
- Your permit has not expired for more than 9 months.
- Your social security number, legal name, and date of birth must match what's on file with the Social Security Administration.
- Your permit is not suspended or subject to be suspended.
- You are not a convicted violent offender.
- You did not renew your permit by mail or online the last time you may have renewed it.
If you are eligible for renewing your permit online, you will pay $2.50 plus a service fee to receive a new permit in the mail. The SCDMV will use your current photograph and signature and mail your new card to the address on file. It will take up to fifteen business days to receive your renewed permit in the mail.
RENEW BEGINNER'S PERMIT ONLINE
Motorcycle beginner's permits (Class M) cannot be renewed more than three times. Before a motorcycle permit can be renewed, you must make an attempt to pass the skills test. This includes all of the following:
- Taking your motorcycle to the skills test pad
- Passing the pre-trip inspection. If you do not pass the pre-trip inspection, it is not considered an attempt at the skills test.
- Making a bona fide attempt to pass the skills test
If you fail the motorcycle skills test three times, you may not receive another motorcycle permit. You will be required to take an SCDMV authorized motorcycle safety course and pass the skills test as part of that course to receive your license.
Adult Consent for Minors
If you’re under 18, and applying for a beginner's permit or driver's license, a responsible adult must sign the Consent for Minor (SCDMV Form 447-CM) at an SCDMV branch, unless it’s signed and submitted by a representative at a driver training school.
The adult must bring a picture ID.
A responsible adult is someone who is all of the following:
- 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)
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.
It is $2.00 for a knowledge test and $2.50 for the beginner's permit.
No Driving Experience
If you have no driving experience and are interested in getting a beginner's permit, you must hold the beginner's permit for 180 days regardless of your age.
SC Code Sections 23-3-430, -460, 56-1-110, 56-1-50