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What is a Registration?

When your vehicle is "registered," it will have a valid license plate on the back, decal in the lower righthand corner of the plate, and registration card you keep inside the vehicle (many people put this in their glove box). A registration cannot be issued without a title first being issued. 

Registering Your Vehicle

Most people will register their vehicle as soon as they buy it. Generally, if you buy a vehicle from a dealer, the dealer will handle the registration for you. In order to register your vehicle, in any circumstance, you must first pay property taxes your county and have the paid property tax receipt for the SCDMV.

License Plates

You may hear a license plate referred to as a tag.

Regular passenger vehicles receive a license plate with a registration card and a decal or sticker for the license plate. Valid registrations are identified by a color-coded decal in the lower right-hand corner of the plate.

While you may see some plates with a sticker on the left-hand side with simply a number, such as "8" to designate the eighth month of the year - August - this sticker is no longer required to have a valid registration since the month, year, and plate number is now printed on the color-coded sticker on the right-hand side of the plate.

Temporary License Plates

To obtain a traceable temporary license plate, you must bring in the title, bill of sale, or lease contract from the seller of the vehicle, plus a completed and signed Application to Issue or Replace 45-Day Temporary Plates (Form 45-A) to an SCDMV branch.

Find an SCDMV branch