How to Renew Your Driver's License in South Carolina

You can renew your driver’s license in South Carolina online, by mail, or in person depending on your situation. It will cost $25.
Written by Shannon Fitzgerald
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
In South Carolina, you can renew your driver’s license online, by mail, or in person depending on your situation. The fee is $25 and you will be required to pass a vision test with each method. 
If you live in and drive in the Palmetto State, you’ll need to go through the task of renewing your driver’s license every eight years. While the renewal process can seem tedious, it’s important to make sure you do it before the expiration date—attempting to drive with an expired license can lead to serious fines and even jail time!
Whether your license will expire soon or you’re mentally preparing for your next license renewal, this guide is for you. Here,
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When to renew your driver’s license in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the expiration date for your driver’s license is listed in red on the front of the card—just below your issued date. 
It’s possible, but not guaranteed, that the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) will send you a renewal reminder to the mailing address on file prior to your expiration date. However, it’s always best to keep track of your expiration date on your own so you don’t miss it. 

How to renew your driver’s license in South Carolina

In South Carolina, you have the option to renew your driver’s license online, by mail, or in person depending on your situation. 

Renew your license online

You can only renew your license online in South Carolina every other renewal period. In other words, you cannot renew your license online twice consecutively.
Additionally, you must meet all of the following criteria: 
  • You do NOT have a commercial driver’s license, a conditional or special restricted license, or a suspended license (or subject to be suspended license) 
  • You are a U.S. citizen 
  • Your license has not been expired for more than 9 months 
  • Your personal information matches what’s on file with the SSA
  • You are NOT a convicted violent offender 
  • You have no more than five points on your driving record within the last 2 years 
If you meet the above requirements, you can follow the prompts through
SCDMV’s online portal
to renew your license. You will need to have a valid credit or debit card to pay the $25 renewal fee at the end of the process. 
You will also need to electronically submit a
Certification of Vision Examination
from a licensed South Carolina eye care professional to a
separate online portal
. This is to prove that you meet the state vision requirements for driving. 
Once you have completed both the online renewal process and submitted your vision test certification, you can expect your license to arrive in the mail within 15 days from the time it’s processed. 
If you are eligible to upgrade to a REAL ID license online, you will be prompted the option during the online renewal process. If you are not given the option to buy a REAL ID, you are not eligible to purchase one online and must visit the nearest SCDMV branch with the appropriate identification documents. 
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Renew your license by mail

In order to renew your license by mail in South Carolina, you must meet ALL of the same conditions required to renew your license online. 
If you meet these requirements, you can fill out an
to renew your driver’s license by mail and mail it along with a check or money order for $25 to the following address: 
Alternative Media 
PO Box 1498 
Blythewood, SC 29016-0035 
Cash is NOT accepted via mail. 
It’s important to note that while you can complete most of the renewal process via mail, you will still need to submit a Certificate of Vision Examination through the
SCDMV’s online portal
. The DMV will NOT accept emailed, faxed, or paper certificates.
Once the DMV has received and processed both your renewal application and your Certificate of Vision Examination, you can expect your new license to arrive in the mail within 15 days. You will need to mail in your application, payment, and submit your certificate at least three weeks before your expiration date, however.  

Renew your license in person

If you don’t meet the requirements to renew your license online or by mail, you may renew your license in person at the
nearest SCDMV branch
At the DMV, you will need to do the following: 
  • Provide the company name of your vehicle’s insurer
  • Pass a vision test 
  • Pay a $25 fee 
  • Pass a knowledge test if you’ve received more than 5 points on your license within the last 2 years 
  • Take a new photo
It’s recommended that you additionally bring identification documents with you:
You can also choose to optionally upgrade your license by purchasing a REAL ID in person in lieu of a standard renewal—for the same $25 fee. To do so, you will need to bring two proofs of South Carolina residency in addition to your identification information. 
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How long does it take to renew a South Carolina driver’s license? 

You can generally expect to receive your driver’s license within 15 days of its processing if you apply for a renewal by mail or online. Remember, you should submit your renewal application at least three weeks before your license’s expiration so that you can get your new license in time.
If you renew your license in person, you will typically receive your new one immediately—however, they may issue you a temporary license that will be valid until your new license arrives in the mail. 
If your new license hasn’t arrived within three weeks of your application’s submission, contact the SCDMV at 803-896-5000 to check on its status. 

How to save money on car insurance in South Carolina

Staying on top of your car insurance is just as important as getting your license renewal in on time. While finding the right policy for your budget and coverage needs may seem daunting,
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There is technically no grace period for driver’s license renewal in South Carolina. If you are caught driving with an expired license, you can be fined as much as $300 and possibly even arrested if the officer so chooses. 
However, you are given nine months to renew your license once it has expired. Note that this does not give you the authority to drive with the expired license—it only gives you the right to renew until those nine months are up. After that, you will need to take a written and driving test again.
You may renew your driver’s license online every other renewal period in South Carolina. However, you must: be a U.S. citizen with a standard license, have no changes to your personal information, have less than five points on your record within the last two years, not be a convicted violent offender, and your license must not be more than nine months expired. 
You will be required to submit proof of passing a state-approved vision exam, as well.
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