Military Service Members and Retirees

Veteran Designation

SCDMV offers a “VETERAN” designation on driver licenses, identification cards and beginner permits for individuals who served honorably in the United States Armed Forces. To apply, veterans must present an acceptable document based on the SC Code of Laws 56-1-140 and the standards set by the South Carolina State Office of Veterans' Affairs.

 

If your military discharge date was AFTER January 1, 1950, you must provide Form DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), which indicates an honorable discharge. No other proof of service will be accepted.


If your military discharge date was BEFORE 1950,  you must provide a “Certificate of Discharge” or “Enlisted Separation Paper.  Veterans discharged before 1950 will not have a Military Form DD-214 because that form did not exist until January 1, 1950. 

 

Military dependents, spouses or civilian employees on military bases are not eligible.

 

There is no cost to add the VETERAN designation to a driver license, identification card or beginner permit.

 

Because state law requires documentation of military service, veterans applying for the designation must visit a DMV office. To get the best service in the shortest amount of time, DMV recommends that customers visit offices on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Customers should also remember that the days before and after a holiday are extremely busy at DMV.

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Military Commercial Drivers Skills Test Waiver

SCDMV allows qualified military service members to waive the commercial skills test to obtain a commercial driver license. The waiver allows them to apply for a SC commercial driver license without having to take the skills test. However, applicants must still pass all required knowledge tests and comply with mandatory federal regulations before receiving a commercial motor vehicle license.

 

To qualify, applicants must be active military personnel or within 12 months after separation of military service. They must also have served in a military position requiring the operation of a military commercial motor vehicle. Applicants must have a valid SC driver license and cannot have held more than one other driver license within the past two years. Drivers whose licenses were suspended, revoked, cancelled or disqualified during the previous two years are not eligible for the waiver. 

 

While other states or entities may provide similar versions of the application, DMV will only accept Form DL-408A for the waiver. The form must be signed by the applicant’s Commanding Officer. Service members should allow DMV two weeks to process their applications.

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Temporarily Stationed in SC

Military service members (and his dependents) temporarily stationed in South Carolina are not required to obtain a South Carolina Driver's license if this is not his state of domicile. However, he must have a [valid] driver's license from his home state to operate a vehicle in South Carolina.

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Stationed Outside of South Carolina

Active duty military and their dependents, and Department of Defense employees who are stationed outside of South Carolina may renew their driver’s license by mail. Mail the following documents to SCDMV, PO Box 1498, Blythewood, SC 29016-0035.

  • Completed Form DL-63 Mail-In Renewal Application.

    • The vision screening section of the form must be completed by a licensed eye care professional if renewing a driver’s license.

    • Provide a special mailing address such as your APO address for the new credential to be mailed. 

  • Check made payable to SCDMV in the amount of $12.50 for a five year license.

  • Current photograph in color of yourself from top of head to shoulders without your face or head covered.

  • Copy of military orders showing continuous active duty service outside of the state.

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Expired Driver's License

A.       Credentials that are expired within 9 months from the expiration date

If you apply for a South Carolina license within nine months of the expiration date on your current license SC Code of Law §56-1-215 allows DMV to renew it without administering the knowledge test or road test whether you are military or civilian. You will be required to pass the eye exam or submit a statement of visual acuity (Form 412-NC or 412-CDL) from an eye care professional to qualify for a SC driver’s license.

  • The knowledge test is required if you have a South Carolina credential and you have accumulated more than 5 points within the two years prior to renewal.
  • You may not possess a valid license from South Carolina and another state. Each qualified driver can have only one driver's license. 

B.      Credentials that are expired beyond 9 months from the expiration date

If you are a civilian, you must take the knowledge and skills test if your driver’s license (SC or out of state) expires beyond 9 months from the expiration date on your license.  


If you are stationed outside of this state for a minimum of 90 continuous days on active duty and your credential expires, South Carolina law considers the license valid as long as you are a:

  • military service member, or the
  • dependent of a military service member, or a
  • Department of Defense (DoD) employee. SC Code of Law §56-1-218 does not protect dependents of civilian DoD employees.

This rule only applies if the credential expired:

  • while serving outside of this State; or
  • within ninety days from the beginning of service outside of this State  

Driver's license that are expired beyond the 9 months will be renewed just as it would be if it were still valid. You have up to 90 days after being discharged from the service or returning to the state to receive the waiver of testing. You must provide the following documentation to be eligible to waive the knowledge and road test for an expired credential.  

Association

Acceptable Documentation Must be Presented

U.S. Military service member

and/or their dependents

Valid military identification card; and

A copy of his military service record, a document of his branch of military service showing the date of active military duty assignment outside the State as well as the return date to the State; or

In the event that the individual is retiring or leaving the military his DD-214 would show the dates of discharge.

 

NOTE:  The spouse and/or dependents would use these same documents.

DOD employee

A valid DOD issued identification card; and

Military orders supporting temporary services outside of this State.


If you have a South Carolina driver’s license you are required to provide a proof of residency document and any source documents that may not be stored in DMV’s system.  

If you are transferring an Out of State driver’s license for a South Carolina license the standard documents for basic license transfer still applies (proof of: residency; US citizenship/identity/DOB; and social security number). Click here for information on these required documents. 

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