The graduated driver's license program is designed for people 15 to 17. It allows you the opportunity to develop your driving skills. It restricts nighttime and unsupervised driving at first, but these restrictions are lifted over time.
You will earn full driving privileges at 17, or after keeping your Conditional or Special Restricted license for one year, as long as you received no traffic offenses and were not at-fault in any collisions.
You do not have to visit an SCDMV branch to receive full driving privileges. You will receive a sleeve in the mail from the SCDMV. You must keep your license in this sleeve to take advantage of your full driving privileges. For more information, read Ready for the Road? (SCDMV Brochure DMVB-35).
If you're 15 or 16 and applying for your first driver's license, you must bring the Certification of School Attendance, Driver's Education, and Driving Practice (SCDMV Form PDLA) and all of the following must be true:
- You have held your beginner's permit for more than 180 days.
- You completed a driver's education course (eight hours in the classroom and six hours driving).
- You are enrolled in school (not suspended or expelled), and you have satisfactory attendance.
- You have practiced driving with a licensed individual listed on the Consent for Minor (SCDMV Form 447-CM) for at least 40 hours, including ten hours of night driving.
The Certification of School Attendance, Driver's Education, and Driving Practice (SCDMV Form PDLA) is available at all driver training schools in South Carolina. It is also available at all public and private high schools in the state. Do not download any copies of this form you may find online. The SCDMV will only accept completed forms from authorized issuers. For more information, please contact the SCDMV Office of Inspector General at 803-896-9606.
Driving Restrictions for Conditional and Special Restricted Licenses
- You cannot have more than two passengers under 21 in the car unless you are with a licensed adult who is at least 21. The only exception is if you are transporting family members or students to and from school.
- You may drive alone from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (8 p.m. during daylight savings time).
- You may drive with a licensed driver, who is at least 21, from 6 p.m. (8 p.m. during daylight savings time) to midnight.
- You may drive with a licensed individual listed on the Consent for Minor(SCDMV Form 447-CM) from midnight to 6 a.m.
If you are under 17 and gain six or more points on your record before you have held your license for one year, your license will be suspended for six months.
Conditional License for a 15-year-old Driver
You may hear a skills test called a road test.If you are at least 15 ½, but less than 16, and have met the above requirements, you are eligible for a Conditional license. You must pass the vision and road test to receive this license. If you pass the required tests for your Conditional license and hold the license for a year, you may drive at any time as long as you have had no traffic offenses or been at-fault in any collisions.
All branches accept walk-in customers for the driving test from 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. every day besides Wednesday. On Wednesdays, branch offices do not open until 9:30 a.m. and accept walk-ins until 1:30 p.m.
You must make an appointment to take a test between 2 and 4 p.m.
Special Restricted License for a 16-year-old Driver
If you are 16, but less than 17, have met the above requirements, and have passed your vision and road test, or if you are 16 and have a Conditional license, you are eligible for a Special Restricted license.
A Special Restricted and a Conditional license have the same nighttime and unsupervised driving restrictions. But, if you have a Special Restricted license and you're 16, you may apply for a waiver to drive alone until midnight (more information below).
Special Restricted License with a Waiver for a 16-year-old Driver
If you are 16 and have a Special Restricted or Conditional license, you may be eligible for a Special Restricted license with a waiver. The Special Restricted license with a waiver allows you to drive by yourself until midnight if you work or participate in certain extracurricular activities.
To get a Special Restricted license with a waiver, you must do all of the following:
- Complete the Application for Beginner's Permit, Driver's License, or Identification Card (SCDMV Form 447-NC)
- Bring a letter from your school, vocational training, church, work, or extracurricular activity that says you need this waiver
- Bring a letter from your parent or legal guardian that says your parent or legal guardian is allowing you to have the waiver and why you need this license
- Pass a vision test
- Pay $25