Military License Plate Updates at SCDMV

April 15, 2022

South Carolina active or prior service members should be aware of upcoming changes to South Carolina military license plates and how to obtain them.

On April 18, 2022, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) will centralize the application process for obtaining a military plate. Applications for military plates will only be processed by mail at SCDMV Headquarters in Blythewood.

Customers who visit branch offices on and after April 18, 2022 to obtain a military license plate will receive an Application for Military License Plate (MV-37) and further instructions to complete the application by mail. Customers will need to mail the completed MV-37 application along with a copy of his or her DD-214, any other required paperwork, and applicable fees to SCDMV Headquarters. Once the paperwork and payment are received, the SCDMV will process the application, and the appropriate plate will be sent to the customer by mail.

Mail-in and processing times could delay the application process. Customers should expect the overall time to obtain a military plate to increase by a few days.

On May 6, 2022, the SCDMV will expand and update available military license plates in accordance with recently enacted legislation. The new legislation came about as a result of the efforts of the SCDMV working with South Carolina legislators, along with every service branch and component, to update and consistently apply standards to military plates.

“Last year, in partnership with the SCDMV, the Legislature passed a standardized, sweeping Military License Plates program that recognizes our Veterans’ service to our state and nation,” said Representative Bobby Cox, who was the primary sponsor of the bill.

Military license plates will be assigned to several different categories. The categories are based on the campaign served, merits awarded, and disability status. Each category will have adjustments to fees and parking privileges.

An updated Application for Military License Plates (MV-37) will list the benefits of each plate, as well as what is required to qualify for each plate. Customers can review the updated application on after May 6, 2022.

“This is really the result of the efforts of our staff, the state legislature, and our partners in the service branches and reserve components,” said Kevin Shwedo, Executive Director the of SCDMV. “We set out to create a military plate program to honor all Veterans and service members, and that’s just what we’ve done.”

To align with the new legislation, several changes will occur.

Some military plates will no longer have plate registration fees. Plate registrations paid before the effective date of the new law, May 6, 2022, will not be eligible for a refund.

Select military plates will have free metered parking in South Carolina. For those who qualify, there is also an option to have certain military plates with disabled parking privileges. Plates with such benefits will have the appropriate design printed on the plate.

Under the new law, qualifying active or prior service members may receive a maximum of three military plates per eligible plate type. For example, if a customer is eligible for only one South Carolina military plate, the maximum number of plates he or she can receive is three. However, if the military customer is authorized to receive more than one type of South Carolina military plates, he or she can receive up to three of each plate type authorized.

Also under the new law, permanent military plates will no longer be issued. Current permanent military plate holders will be grandfathered under the new requirements and are not required to surrender their current permanent plates. The SCDMV will have a voluntary plate exchange to allow permanent plate holders to exchange the plate for a new military plate. However, the exchanged plate will be subject to the updated requirements under the new law.