Beginner Permits

Types of Beginner Permits

Beginner’s permits are issued in four classes according to the type of vehicle. Refer to Commercial Driver’s Licenses for information on commercial learner permits.

Class D - Regular Passenger Vehicle. A regular passenger vehicle beginner's permit allows you to practice driving a vehicle while you are accompanied by an experienced licensed driver.

Class M - Motorcycle. A motorcycle beginner's permit allows you to practice driving a motorcycle or motor scooter while an experienced licensed driver supervises you.

 

Class E - Single Unit Non-Commercial Vehicles more than 26,000 GVW. A Class E beginner's permit allows you to practice driving non-commercial, single unit vehicles that exceeds 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight. Examples of Class E vehicles include trucks and motor homes. When you practice driving, you must be accompanied by an experienced licensed driver.

Class F - Combination Unit Non-Commercial Vehicles more than 26,000 GVW. A Class F beginner's permit allows you to practice driving non-commercial, combination vehicles that exceed 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight. Examples of Class F vehicles include the same type vehicles that require a Class E license plus a towed trailer or vehicle. When you practice driving, you must be accompanied by an experienced licensed driver.
 

Beginner’s Permit Requirements

Minimum Age for this type of Beginner’s Permit

Documentation

Tests

At least 15 years old.

If you are under 18 years of age, you must bring your parent or legally appointed guardian with you to sign your application.

At least 18 years old

You must bring your birth certificate, social security card, and proof of residency. Review our Accepted Forms of Identification for more information.

You must pass the vision test, and the knowledge test for this type of license

Class D

YES

 

YES

YES

Class M

YES

 

YES

YES

Class E

 

YES

YES

YES

Class F

 

YES

YES

YES

 

Driving Restrictions

Class D Beginner Permit Restrictions:

  • You may drive from 6 a.m. to midnight if a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has at least one year of driving experience accompanies you in the front seat.
  • From midnight to 6 a.m., you may drive if a licensed parent or legally appointed guardian accompanies you in the front seat.

Class M Beginner Permit Restrictions: 

  • You may drive a motorcycle or motor scooter from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (or 8 p.m. during daylight savings time).
  • You may not operate a motorcycle or motor scooter at any other time unless a licensed parent or legally appointed guardian supervises you.

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Adult Consent for Minors Applying for Beginner's Permit or Driver's License

If you are under the age of 18, your parent or legally appointed guardian must sign the application for a beginner’s permit or driver’s license, unless you have been declared an emancipated minor and can provide court documents, a marriage license or military orders showing emancipated minor status. Emancipated minors must have a responsible adult sign their application and DMV Form 447-CM Consent for Emancipated Minor. A responsible adult is someone who is 18 years of age or older and is willing to assume the obligation of the minor and be liable for any damages the minor may cause. In all cases, the application must be signed in the presence of a DMV employee. DMV employees MAY ONLY accept an application that is not signed in the presence of a DMV employee if it is submitted by a driver training school.

 

Exchange students under the age of 18 must have the signature from a member of the host family that signed the contract accepting responsibility for the exchange student. It is the responsibility of the host family member to determine if the contract allows him to sign the application for a beginner’s permit or driver’s license.

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Applicants with a Valid Beginner Permit from Another State

Beginner's permits issued in other states may be used to drive in SC. 


If you are a South Carolina resident you may exchange your out-of-state beginner's permit for a South Carolina credential.

  • If your beginner's permit has expired, you must take the vision and knowledge tests to obtain a South Carolina beginner's permit.
  • If your beginner's permit is valid and you have had your out-of-state beginner's permit for at least 180 days, you may take the vision and skills test top apply for your SC driver's license. Application can be made on the 181st day or anytime thereafter. The time that you held the out-of-state beginner's permit will count toward the 180 day period.
  • If you fail the skills test on your first attempt, you must wait two weeks to re-test regardless of your age. If you are issued a SC beginner's permit, the time that you held an out-of-state beginner's permit count toward the 180-day period.

The fee is $2.00 for the knowledge test and $2.50 for the beginner's permit.


Note that Section 23-3-460 of the SC Code of Laws states that a person who has been convicted anywhere of an offense listed in 23-3-430 must register with the county sheriff within 10 days of establishing residency in South Carolina. A copy of the Sex Offender Registry Law is available upon request.

 

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