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Apply for South Carolina Learners Permit

South Carolina Beginner's Permit Application

Applying for a South Carolina beginner's permit is the first step towards a license for every first-time applicant. You can submit your application for a South Carolina learners permit at any local DMV office when you meet the minimum age requirements. Every learners permit applicant in South Carolina is required to take a vision exam and a learners permit test. Those who choose to apply for the beginner permit before their 18th birthday will need to follow the state's graduated license program.

Graduated Driver License

Some of you may be aware of the fact that teenagers are not the most responsible lot. Which is quite all right in most cases, but not when it comes to driving. Driving is a potentially dangerous activity that may result in material and health damages, both the the driver and others who surround him. Statistics tell us that teenage drivers are four times more likely to have a traffic accident than an average driver. Obviously, this is not good and something must be done about it. Well, something IS being done about it. The state has developed the multi-step licensing system that allows teen drivers to gain some driving experience in a relatively low-risk driving environment before getting our on the road alone. These measures are known as the South Carolina graduated drivers license program. At the moment, the program covers only learner's permit applicants under 18 years of age, if you are 18 or older, you do not need to follow the program rules.

Applying for Beginners Permit - Under 18 Years of Age

The minimum age for applying for a learner's permit in South Carolina is 15 years, however there is no law that says that you cannot start preparing for this step before then. The first thing you need to do is to learn the theory behind driving and that means memorizing all traffic signs and digging deep into the state driving law. Although you are not required to learn the vehicle code, you must be competent enough to know what to do in all of the common traffic situations.

Why do you need to know all this before you file your application for a South Carolina driver's permit? Because the application procedure requires you to take a knowledge exam that will cover those things and you will not be issued with a permit until you pass the test. Preparation is the key here, don't go to the DMV unless you are sure that you can pass the learners permit test.

When you think that you are ready, visit a local DMV office, file the required paperwork, take a vision exam and the permit test. Should you pass the tests, you are issued with a South Carolina beginners permit and you can start practicing driving under the supervision of a licensed driver. The permit needs to be held for at least six months and you must complete a DMV-approved South Carolina drivers education course prior to graduating to the next level of the program.

Applying for Learners Permit - 18 Years of Age and Older

Surprisingly, learners permit requirements are the same no matter how old you are and you need to follow the same procedures as younger applicants. Start by reading the South Carolina permit handbook, since it's one of the best ways to learn the state's driving rules. The knowledge exam that you are required to take at the DMV is based on the rules put forth in the manual, so it contains virtually everything you need to know to be able to pass the exam. You can compliment reading the book with South Carolina permit practice tests, they come in handy when you want to see how well you memorized the driving law.

When you feel prepared, go down to the DMV to file your application for a South Carolina drivers permit. You will be required to present proof of identity and some other paperwork at the time. The DMV will also have you take a written permit test and a vision exam on the spot. If the paperwork is in order and you pass the tests, you are granted a beginner's permit. This permit will need to be held for at least 180 days and you are to observe all South Carolina permit restrictions during this stage. When the period is up, you are good to schedule the drivers test and apply for a South Carolina driving license.

Testing Requirements

Every first time learners permit applicant in South Carolina is required to take two tests - a vision exam and a knowledge test that covers the state driving rules and traffic signs. Failure to pass either of the tests will result in your driving privilege being denied.

Vision Exam

Is there even a need to stress the importance of seeing well when it comes to driving? Surely, you realize that the vehicle you're traveling in is capable to cover great distances in the matter of seconds, so you must be able to see well ahead. In addition to that, you must also have proper peripheral vision that will allow you to stay aware of your surroundings at all times. The following minimum vision requirements must be met when you apply for a South Carolina learner permit:

  • visual acuity 20/40 or better in each eye
  • visual field of at least 110 degrees

If you do not meet these requirements, you are referred to an eye care specialist that will examine your sight and provide a complete report for the DMV. In certain cases, your driving privilege may be restricted to operating vehicles during daylight hours only. If your eye sight is well below the minimum standard and the situation cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, you may be denied the privilege to drive.

Learners Permit Test

The permit test in South Carolina consists of multiple choice questions on the state's driving rules and road signs. Taking the test is a must for everyone, there is no way around it and if you want to pass the test the first time you take it, you should invest some time into preparing for it.

There are many ways to prepare for the knowledge exam and you can pick the one that suits you best, however we advise that you always start with reading the official driver permit manual. Not only does the handbook cover the state driving rules, but it also provides a great outline of the whole permit application process, so it will serve as your guide to to the DMV. Don't dismiss the book just because it is free.

Paperwork Requirements

Since your South Carolina learner permit can serve as proof of identity, the DMV needs to make sure that you are truly the person you claim to be and documentation requirements are quite extensive. When you apply for a South Carolina drivers permit, you are required to provide the following documents:

  • proof of identity
  • proof of birth date
  • Social Security Number
  • proof of US citizenship or legal presence
  • proof of South Carolina residency

If you are under 18 years of age at the time when you submit your application, one of your parents or legal guardians needs to sign your application for a learners permit. Without this signature, the application is not valid.

Operating Under a Permit

Honestly, there are not that many rules for you to observe while you are operating under a South Carolina learners permit, however there is one rule that you must remember and follow - you are not allowed to drive alone. The main purpose of the permit is to allow you to practice driving, but this practice must be conducted under the supervision of a person who holds a valid South Carolina drivers license. The supervising driver must be at least 21 years of age and have at least one year of driving experience. The supervising driver must be seated in the front seat next to the licensee.

This limitation and other drivers permit restrictions will be lifted once you pass the South Carolina driving test and prove that you have sufficient control of the vehicle to be allowed to start driving alone.