How to Buy a Personalized License Plate in South Carolina

Personalized license plates are a great way to add a little flair and unique feel to your vehicle. A personalized plate allows you to choose the numbers and digits on your license plate, so that you can have your plate say something meaningful to you. You can try to spell a word or phrase, or simply have something meaningful to you, like the initials of your significant other, or the name of your pet dog.

In South Carolina, a personalized license plate is referred to as a tag, and is very easy to obtain. All you need to do is print out a form, fill out the form with some pertinent details, and pay a small fee; you don’t even need to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). After these quick steps, you’ll have your very own personalized license plate to help your car stand out.

Part 1 of 3: Get the personalized license plate form

Step 1: Visit the South Carolina DMV website. Visit the South Carolina DMV website in your internet browser to start the process of obtaining a personalized South Carolina license plate.

Step 2: Find the available forms and manuals. From the South Carolina DMV website, click the button that says “Forms and Manuals.”

Step 3: Access the personalized license plate form. Scroll down on the page until you see Form MV-96, titled “Application for Personalized License Plates.” Click on this form.

Step 4: Print the application. Print out this application so that you have a physical copy of it.

Part 2 of 3: Fill out the application for a personalized South Carolina license plate

Step 1: Enter your basic information. At the top of the application will be a list of standard information, such as your name and telephone number. Fill out all of this information accurately.

  • Tip: It is best to use a pen when filling out this form, as your answers will not rub away like they do with a pencil.

Step 2: Provide the requisite vehicle information. The form will need to know the model of your vehicle, as well as the current license plate and the vehicle identification number (VIN). Fill out all of this information accurately.

  • Tip: You can find your vehicle’s VIN on your dashboard, driver’s door jamb, glove box, or owner’s manual.

Step 3: Opt in or opt out of a monetary donation. Beneath all your information, the form will ask if you would like to donate money to the Gift of Life Trust Fund. Select Yes or No, then enter the amount of money you wish to donate if you selected Yes.

Step 4: Determine the personalized license plate fees. Near the top of the application is a chart telling you how much the fee is depending on your vehicle and whether or not you are a senior citizen. Use this chart to determine the fee that you owe, and enter that amount in the box titled, “Total Fees included with Application.”

Step 5: Enter your auto insurance information. You are required to provide the name of your auto insurance provider. Enter the name in the box titled, “Name of Insurance Company,” and then sign where prompted.

  • Warning: You cannot receive a personalized license plate if you do not have insurance, and fabrication of insurance is a very serious crime.

Step 6: Enter your choices for your personalized license plate. You have three opportunities to enter a personalized license plate. If your first choice is already taken, your second choice will be used. If your second choice is taken, your third choice will be used. If you leave any of the boxes in the license plate blank, then those will count as spaces.

  • Tip: If you select anything vulgar or offensive for your personalized plate, it will not be accepted.

Part 3 of 3: Mailing your application for a personalized license plate

Step 1: Prepare your application. After your application is completed, review it for accuracy, then fold it up and place it in an envelope with the necessary postage, and the necessary fee money.

Step 2: Send the application. Address your personalized South Carolina license plate application to:

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0008

After your application has been processed, you will be sent your new license plates, and your vehicle will have an extra bit of personalization. If you don’t feel comfortable installing your cool new license plates, you can have a mechanic do the job for you.

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