Beginner Permits

Types of Beginner Permits

Beginner’s permits are issued in five classes according to the type of vehicle.

Class D - Regular Passenger Vehicle
Class E -
Single Unit Non-Commercial Vehicles more than 26,000 GVW
Class F -
Combination Unit Non-Commercial Vehicles more than 26,000 GVW
Class G -
Moped
Class M -
Motorcycle

Refer to Commercial Driver’s Licenses for information on CDL beginner’s permits. Review our Accepted Forms of Identification for obtaining an initial driver license or identification card.

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Class D - Passenger Vehicle Beginner Permit

A regular passenger vehicle beginner's permit allows you to practice driving a vehicle while you are accompanied by an experienced licensed driver.

To get a Class D Beginner's Permit:

  • You must be at least 15 years old.
  • You must bring your birth certificate, social security card, proof of residency and insurance information. Review our Accepted Forms of Identification for more information.
  • If you are under 18 years of age, you must bring your parent or legal guardian with you to sign your application.
  • You must pass the vision and knowledge tests.

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 guardian accompanies you in the front seat.

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Class E - Single Unit Non-Commercial Vehicles Over 26,000 GVW Beginner Permit

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.

To get a Class E Beginner's Permit:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must bring your birth certificate, social security card, proof of residency and insurance information. Review our Accepted Forms of Identification for more information.
  • You must pass the vision and knowledge tests.

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Class F - Combination Unit Non-Commercial Vehicles Over 26,000 GVW Beginner Permit

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.

To get a Class F Beginner's Permit:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must bring your birth certificate, social security card, proof of residency and insurance information. Review our Accepted Forms of Identification for more information.
  • You must pass the vision and knowledge tests.

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Class G - Moped Beginner Permit

If you are 14 years old, you may apply for a license to operate a moped by taking the vision and knowledge test. If you are at least 15 years old and have a driver's license, you do not have to have a moped license to operate a moped.

If You are Under 18 Years of Age:

  • You must bring your parent or legal guardian with you to sign your application.
  • You must bring your birth certificate, social security card, proof of residency and insurance information. Review our Accepted Forms of Identification for more information.
  • You must pass the vision and road skills tests.

If You are 18 Years of Age or Older:

  • You must bring your birth certificate, social security card, proof of residency and insurance information.
  • You must pass the vision and road skills tests.

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Class M - Motorcycle Beginner Permit

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

To get a Class M Beginner's Permit:

  • You must be at least 15 years old.
  • You must bring your birth certificate, social security card, proof of residency and insurance information. Review our Accepted Forms of Identification for more information.
  • If you are under 18 years of age, you must bring your parent or legal guardian with to sign your application.
  • You must pass the vision and knowledge tests.

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 guardian supervises you.

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Exchanging a Beginner Permit from Another State

You may exchange your out-of-state beginner’s permit for a South Carolina beginner’s permit. However, if there is an exchange, you must have the permit for at least 180 days before you can apply for any type of license. Application can be made on the 181st day or anytime there after.   The time that you held the out-of-state beginner’s permit will count toward the 180 day period. If your beginner’s permit has expired, you must take the vision and knowledge tests to obtain a South Carolina beginner’s permit.

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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