How to Get a Temporary License Plate in South Carolina

In South Carolina, you can work with your dealer and the DMV to get temporary license plates that last for 45 days.
Written by Samuel Todd
Edited by Amy Bobinger
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
In South Carolina, you can get a trackable temporary license plate from any dealer that is enrolled in the state’s EVR program. Your temporary plate will last for 45 days.
  • You can get a temporary, trackable license plate in South Carolina for $5 after you buy a car.
  • These trackable tags fight fraud while allowing you to drive your new vehicle while you wait for your permanent plates to come in.
  • Your temporary tag will be good for 45 days from the issue date.

Does South Carolina issue temporary plates?

Yes. South Carolina offers trackable temporary plates that are valid for 45 days.
If you’re still waiting for the transfer of your car’s title, temporary plates are a must-have—they’ll give you the freedom to drive on any South Carolina road while you wait for permanent plates. Plus, the application fee is only $5!
MORE: How to complete a title transfer in South Carolina
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How to get a temporary license plate in South Carolina

To get a temporary license plate in South Carolina, you’ll need to work with the same dealership you bought the car from, as well as the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SC DMV). 
Caution: If you see an online service that claims to provide temporary plates, be careful—it’s probably a scam!

Temporary plate application process

Either you or your dealer will need to complete a
Form 45-A
before you can get your hands on 45-day temporary plates.
If your dealer completes the vehicle registration form, you’ll simply need to sign it and provide basic information (for example, your name, license number, and car VIN). Then, the dealer will work with an EVR Provider or the SC DMV to get your temporary plates.
If you complete the form yourself, you’ll have to provide much of the same information, including your name, driver’s license number, insurance company, and car make/model. 
Next, it’ll be up to you to take the form to a
South Carolina DMV location
in person so it can be processed. You’ll also need to bring one of these three things:
  • The vehicle’s title
  • The bill of sale
  • The lease contract
And that’s all there is to it! Once you’ve brought your completed Form 45-A and proof of the sale, you’re on your way to getting temporary plates. Best of all, the application fee is just $5!
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Can I drive a car without plates if I just bought it in South Carolina? 

Yes! As long as you have temporary license plates,
proof of insurance
, and either the car’s title or its bill of sale, you’re good to go.
Remember, South Carolina temporary plates only last 45 days, and they’re only valid on SC roads. To be safe, install your permanent plates as soon as you get them—don’t wait for the expiration date on your temporary tags.

Do temporary South Carolina license plates work well?

South Carolina’s temporary plates are an awesome way to get behind the wheel of your car before you get your official metal plates.
Crime deterrent: Up until 2019, South Carolina law enforcement officers had problems with fraudulent temporary plates. They were easily forgeable, and many drivers kept using their paper tags well after they had expired.
In 2019, South Carolina introduced new
trackable temporary license plates
. These plates require more information from the dealer, including a code that ties the buyer to their vehicle. 
Since the introduction of the trackable plates, fraud has plummeted—so it’s safe to say that the new plates are working.
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