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How to Get a Learners Permit in South Carolina

A South Carolina learners permit allows inexperienced drivers to practice their driving skills. Applying for a learners permit can be completed at the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV). The DMV learners permit is available for drivers starting when they are 15 years of age. A learners drivers license allows inexperienced drivers to obtain behind-the-wheel experience so that they are prepared to get a regular drivers license. Learn more about the requirements for learners permit credentials and find answers to other South Carolina learners permit questions by reviewing the following.

Vision and Test Requirements for a Learners Permit in South Carolina

Part of getting a learners permit is completing a vision test and knowledge test. Applicants may not obtain their learners permit online because vision and knowledge tests must be completed in person at an SCDMV office. However, drivers can read learners permit rules and take practice exam questions online to better prepare themselves for the driving knowledge test.

Beginner’s permit requirements for vision include having at least 20/40 acuity in at least one eye. To obtain a DMV drivers permit with bioptic lenses, motorists must adhere to specific rules outlined in state statutes. For example, they must submit a vision report to the SCDMV and proof that they have been trained to drive with such vision assistance tools.

South Carolina Learner’s Permit Age Requirements

To obtain a DMV drivers permit in South Carolina, you must meet age requirements. First, to apply for a learners permit, you must be at least 15 years of age. If you are under 18 years of age when applying for a learner permit, then you must bring an adult. To give consent for your DMV driver permit, a parent or guardian must bring a picture ID and complete two forms: the Application for Beginner’s Permit, Driver’s License or Identification Card (SCDMV Form 447-NC) and the Consent for Minor (SCDMV Form 447-CM). The permit for driving consent forms must be signed while at the SCDMV office unless the adult accompanying you is a driving instructor who can submit the two necessary forms to the DMV. The adult who gives his or her consent for your learners permit application must also be willing to assume responsibility for you and accept liability for any damages you may cause while practicing your driving skills.

Where to Get a Learners Permit in South Carolina

U.S. citizens can get learners permit credentials in person at any South Carolina DMV branch. SC learners drivers licenses are also available for exchange students studying in the state, provided that their host family is able to give permission. International customers wondering where to get a learners permit must visit an SCDMV branch that provides DMV services for non-U.S. citizens. When applying for a beginners permit in South Carolina, you must be able to:

  • Provide documents that prove your age and identity, such as an original birth certificate and Social Security card.
  • Bring two documents that show your physical address in SC (not a P.O. box).
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Pass a driving knowledge test.
  • Bring an adult to give consent if you are under 18 years of age.

A South Carolina beginners permit is required for drivers who move to the state permanently. An SClearners permit is not required for college students or military members temporarily stationed in South Carolina. New residents who hold a permit for driving from a different state can exchange their out-of-state permit at the SCDMV. If the permit is expired, then the driver will be required to take a vision test and driving knowledge test before he or she can get a learners permit in the state of South Carolina. New residents who fail the learning permit skills test will need to wait two weeks before they can retake the test. Additionally, new residents who have held an out-of-state beginner permit for at least 180 days may be eligible to apply for a drivers license rather than get a new learners permit when they move to SC. As long as other learners permit rules are followed, the time in which the driver held an out-of-state permit counts towards the state’s 180-day minimum requirement for holding a permit.

South Carolina Learners Permit Driving Restrictions

In South Carolina, your learner’s permit comes with a number of driving restrictions designed to keep you and other drivers safe. The rules for learners permits vary based on the class of permit you hold. These restrictions are as follows:

  • If you have a regular beginner permit (Class D), then you can only drive from 6 a.m. to midnight with a driver who is at least 21 years of age and has a minimum of one year of driving experience. From midnight to 6 a.m., you can only drive with a parent or guardian.
  • If you have a motorcycle learners permit, then you can only practice from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., or 8 p.m. during daylight savings time. To operate your motorcycle at any other time, a parent or guardian with a Class M license must observe you.
  • If you have a Class E or Class F permit, then you must have an experienced driver with you at all times.

When practicing with your learners permit in SC, the experienced driver must sit in the front seat next to you (excluding motorcyclists). Motorists with a driving permit from another state can practice driving in South Carolina, provided that their out-of-state learners permit has not expired and they abide by the rules listed above.