South Carolina Permit Requirements

When applying for your South Carolina driver permit with Department of Motor Vehicle, it is important to know the permit requirements.  Make sure you have the necessary documentation ready for the DMV.

Getting your first South Carolina driver's license is an exciting moment. Before you start dreaming of taking your friends on road trips and fun vacations, find out what you need to do to get your permit and your license.

South Carolina Permits Qualifications

You can only get a driver's license permit in South Carolina if you are at least 15 years of age or older. You will need to show proof that you live in the state, of your name and age and that you have auto insurance. The state also requires that you bring in your social security card and birth certificate.  Most younger drivers show proof of their residency with report cards from a local high school. Drivers under the age of 18 must apply for a permit with a parent or guardian present to sign off on the application. Applicants must also pass a vision test.  The fee for the permit and testing is a mere $4.50.

Passing the South Carolina Written Test

Drivers must take the knowledge exam when applying for a permit. The test consists of 25 multiple choice questions, of which 20 must be answered correctly to pass. If you fail your first attempt, you will need to return a different day for your next attempt. The test will often ask you questions about what different road signs mean, how fast you can drive on certain roads and what you should do during certain situations.

South Carolina Learners Permit

Once you have your learner's permit, you can only drive a vehicle if you have a licensed driver in the car. From 6 a.m. until midnight, you can operate a car with a licensed driver who is 21 or older and has at least one year of experience on the road. This permit is valid for 180 days, and after this time period passes, you can legally apply for a license if you meet the other necessary requirements.

The state requires that drivers complete at least 40 hours of driving behind the wheel practice driving, and complete at least 10 hours of driving at night with a supervising driver over the age of 21.

South Carolina Graduated License Program

After holding the Permit for six months, and completing driver education, applicants can take the driving test and receive a Conditional License at age 15 ½. This allows them to drive alone during daylight hours only.  They cannot take more than two passengers under the age of 21 in their vehicles unless those passengers are family members.

A Restricted License is available upon turning 16.  This allows teens drivers to drive after dark for work or school purposes.  The state restricts teens from driving after midnight and until 6 a.m. unless you have a parent or guardian in the vehicle with you.

After one year with the conditional and/or restricted license, with no tickets or accidents, the license automatically converts to a regular standard license.

All drivers under the age of 17 must complete a driver's training program to receive a license.