Every motor vehicle, trailer, and semitrailer operated on South Carolina highways must be registered.
Newly purchased vehicles must be registered with a new plate or a plate transferred from another vehicle within 45 days of purchase. All vehicles operating on the streets or highways of South Carolina must display a regular license plate or a temporary license plate. The temporary plate is only valid for 45 days from the date of purchase of the vehicle and is available at local DMV offices or county auditor’s offices. During the 45-day period, a copy of the registration for the older vehicle, the bill of sale, title, rental contract, or a copy of any of these documents must be kept in the new vehicle at all times to verify the dates of purchase to law enforcement. Temporary license plates cannot be used to test drive a vehicle or to operate a vehicle until it is sold.
Application for registration must be made on the form prescribed by the Department. Every application must contain the following: (1) the name, residence, and mailing address of the owner or business address of the owner if a firm, association, or corporation and the county, municipality, if applicable, and school district in which the applicant resides; (2) a description of the vehicle including the make, model, type of body, number of cylinders, serial number, and engine or other number of the vehicle, whether the vehicle is new or used, the date of sale by the manufacturer or dealer to the person intending to operate such a vehicle, in the event a vehicle is designed, constructed, converted, or rebuilt for the transportation of property, a statement of the load capacity for which it is to be registered; and (3) any additional information as may reasonably be required by the Department to enable it to determine whether the vehicle is lawfully entitled to registration and licensing.
In addition to the information required above, if the application is for a motor vehicle which has been transferred from a previous registrant to the applicant, the applicant must complete the odometer disclosure statement on the application.
In addition to the other registration requirements, the Department must collect a federal employer identification number or social security number when a vehicle is registered with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of more than 26,000 lbs. or as a bus common carrier.
A signed statement must accompany the application stating that all county and municipal taxes legally due by the applicant on the vehicle being registered have been paid.
There is a 45 day grace period for late registration.