In the United States a drivers license serves as both permission to
drive and official identification. If you will not be driving in the
U.S., you may apply for a state identification card. Both are issued
through the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV).
Students with a drivers license from another country or U.S. state are
permitted to drive in the United States for a period of 90 days after
their arrival. Before the 90 day period has expired, students must
replace their driver’s license with a driver’s license issued by the state they are living in. Students studying at Winthrop University and living in South Carolina must have a South Carolina drivers license and those living in North Carolina must have a North Carolina drivers license.
Students who have a valid International Driving Permit (IDP), along with
a valid license from his or her home country should also have a South
Carolina driver’s license before the 90 day period expires. The IDP
must be obtained in your home country prior to coming to the U.S.
To get a South Carolina license, students will need to prove proficiency
in their driving ability through a written test of the South Carolina
traffic laws followed by a road skills test. To study for the written
test, see the South Carolina Driver's Manual. After passing the written test, a road test (or
driving test) is required at the SCDMV located at 305 Hands Mill Road.
Students must provide their own car or a friend's car in order to take
the test. The driving test may be taken more than once if necessary.
South Carolina waives the requirement for
knowledge and skills testing for first time applicants from those
countries that have established a formal agreement with South Carolina,
as long as your foreign driver's license has not expired. At the present time, ONLY the following countries have waiver agreements with South Carolina - Canada, France, Germany, America Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, and Northern Mariana Islands.
International students are able to apply for a South Carolina driver's license at the Rock Hill DMV Office located at 305 Hands Mill Road. The expiration date of the driver’s license will be determined by the applicant's authorized period of stay in the United States or the expiration date of the applicant's employment authorization document, but will not exceed 5-years.
To request the letter from the University stating you are a student and listing your local address please complete and submit the International Student Letter Request Form to the International Center. The International Center reserves the right to take 2 business days to complete the requested DMV letter. The International Center will contact the student via email when the letter is ready to be picked up.
If you are applying for a SC drivers license and you have a valid drivers license from your home country, you must provide the driver’s license from your country of origin as proof of prior driving experience. SCDMV requires a translation of your foreign driver's license by a qualified translator unless an IDP accompanies the license. If you cannot show proof of prior driving experience, you must first obtain a beginner’s permit and hold it for 180 days before applying for a driver’s license.
Once you have presented acceptable documentation to the SCDMV, you are eligible to receive a temporary 60-day paper credential. SC drivers license contain your photograph. A paper driving credential does not contain your photograph. If driving with a paper docuemtn make sure to also have your passport with you for identification purposes.
Once you receive your actual driver's license you will not have to travel with your passport. The license is small, plastic and has your photo on it. On this card will be listed an expiration date based on the end date of your I-20 or DS-2019.
Directions to the SCDMV location at 305 Hands Mill Road in Rock Hill -
Estimated Time: 14 minutesEstimated Distance: 6.38 miles
If you have any questions please contact the International Center.