The SCDMV offers a "Veteran" designation on beginner's permits, driver's licenses, and identification cards if you served honorably in the United States Armed Forces. If you're interested in adding this designation, you may present one of the military documents listed below:
- Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DoD Form DD-214) that must show a characterization of service or discharge status of "honorable" or "general under honorable conditions".
If you were discharged before 1950, you must provide a Certificate of Discharge or Enlisted Separation Paper because the DoD Form DD-214 did not exist until January 1, 1950.
- National Guard Report of Separation and Record of Service (NGB Form 22) that must show:
- a characterization of service or discharge status of honorable or general under honorable conditions; and
- at least 20 years of qualifying military service in the National Guard.
- Letter from a Military Reserve component notifying you of your eligibility for retirement pay at age 60 because of your 20 years of service.
- Veteran Identification Card issued by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
A Veterans Health Identification Card is not acceptable.
If you're a military dependent, spouse, or civilian employee on a military base, you're not eligible for the "Veteran" designation.
Adding the Veteran Designation
There is no fee to add the "Veteran" designation to your beginner's permit, driver's license, or identification card. If you're interested in adding this marking, you must visit an SCDMV branch with one of the military documents listed above.
If an acceptable military document is already on file with the SCDMV, you do not have to present it again to add "Veteran" to your beginner's permit, license, or ID card.
Military Waivers for Commercial Driver's Licenses
You may hear a road test referred to as a skills test.
The SCDMV allows qualified military service members to waive the commercial skills test and/or knowledge tests to get a commercial driver's license (CDL) based on their commercial motor vehicle (CMV) experience and/or training. Someone who already holds a CDL cannot use this program to upgrade their CDL.
If you have one of the following military occupation code (MOS) ratings, you could exchange your CMV training and experience for a South Carolina CDL without having to take knowledge and skills tests by applying for an even exchange waiver. You must follow any federal regulations before receiving your CDL.
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If you do not have one of the above MOS ratings but you have the experience of operating a military CMV as a service member, you may apply for a waiver that allows you to apply for a South Carolina CDL without having to take the skills test.
- You must have operated the same type of military CMV for the class license you are seeking for 3,000 miles or more during the 2-year period immediately preceding your application, or your military discharge date.
- You must still pass all required knowledge tests and follow any federal regulations before receiving your CDL.
Qualifications for Both Waivers
You qualify for one of the two waivers if all of the following are true:
- Active duty military or left active duty military within the last 12 months
- Operated a military CMV
- Hold a valid SC license
- Did not hold another driver's license within the last two years
If your license was suspended, revoked, cancelled, or disqualified at any point over the past two years, you're not eligible for either of the waivers.
Applying for a Waiver
Your commanding officer must complete and sign the CDL Skills Test Waiver for Military Personnel (SCDMV Form DL-408A). You must submit it and a copy of your Active Duty/Reservist Military ID or Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214, WD-AGO, DD-256, or NGB-22) to the address below:
CDL Help Desk
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0028
You may also email the documents or fax them to 803-896-2676.
Temporarily Stationed in South Carolina
If you and your dependents are temporarily stationed in South Carolina, you are not required to get an SC driver's license if this is not your home state. You must have a valid license from your home state if you want to drive in this state.
Stationed Outside of South Carolina
If you're an active duty military member or a dependent, or a Department of Defense (DoD) employee stationed outside South Carolina, you may renew your SC driver's license online or by mail.
renew driver's license
To renew your SC license by mail, submit all of the following documents:
- Application for Permit, License or ID Card (SCDMV Form 447-NC)
Provide a special mailing address, like your APO, for the new license to be mailed to.
- Current color photograph of yourself (from the top of your head to your shoulders) without your face or head covered
- Military orders showing continuous active duty outside of SC
- Payment of $25
Make payment out to the SCDMV. Do not mail cash.
Mail all the documents to the following address:
SC Department of Motor Vehicles
Post Office Box 1498,
Blythewood, SC 29016-0035
Expired Driver's License
If your driver's license has been expired for less than nine months, you will renew it the same way you would if your license was not expired. If you have more than five points on your license within the two years before you renew, you will have to take the knowledge test again.
If your driver's license has been expired for at least nine months, the process is slightly different depending on your situation. If you are stationed outside of South Carolina for no less than 90 continuous days on active duty and your license expires, SC considers the license valid as long as at least one of the following is true:
- You're a military service member.
- You're a dependent of a military service member.
- You're a DoD employee.
This rule only applies if your license expired during one of the following:
- You're serving outside of the state.
- You're serving outside the state and it expired within 90 days of the start of that service.
You would renew your driver's license just as you would if it was still valid, but you must visit an SCDMV branch within 90 days from discharge or returning to the state to waive the knowledge and road tests. When you visit an SCDMV branch, you must bring proper documentation of your military service record, or DD-214 if discharged. If you come to renew your expired driver's license after 90 days of discharge or returning to the state, you must take the knowledge and road tests.
Proper Documents for Expired Driver's License
If you're an active duty military member or a dependent of one and have a driver's license that's been expired for nine months or more, visit an SCDMV branch within 90 days of discharge or returning to the state and present the following documents to avoid taking the knowledge or road tests:
- Valid military ID; and
- Copy of service record showing dates of assignment outside South Carolina; or
- If you're permanently discharged following your out-of-state assignment, you may submit your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DoD Form DD-214) as proof of your discharge date.
If you're a DoD employee and have a driver's license that's been expired for nine months or more, visit an SCDMV branch within 90 days of discharge and present all of the following documents to avoid taking the knowledge or road tests:
- Valid DoD ID
- Copy of military orders supporting temporary service outside SC