SC DMV begins issuing new license plates; lawmakers get 1st

These images provided by the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles show the current specialty plates for the University of South Carolina and for Veterans in the top row and their replacements featuring a new, more uniform, black on white design, in the bottom row.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles is starting to issue new license plates that do away with its sunrise and Palmetto tree.

The DMV will begin issuing the redesigned plates on May 1 to comply with state law, which requires a basic design for all license plates, according to a news release from the DMV.

DMV will make the changes in phases until all license plates have been transitioned over to the new look, the release said. Specialty plates will be the first to be changed.

“This is only the first phase of the transition,” said DMV executive director Kevin Shwedo. “It will take time to complete the redesign for every South Carolina license plate. Not everyone will be affected right away and we want citizens to understand how it will work.”

During the initial phase, certain specialty license plates with vehicle registrations that are processed by DMV before May 1 will receive the current version of the license plate. If the vehicle registration is processed on or after the May 1 deadline, a redesigned license plate will be issued.

DMV renews vehicle registrations every two years. If it is not yet time for you to pay your registration, you will get a sticker for your current plate, the release said. Motorists are not required to turn in older versions of their specialty license plates.

The new plates were designed in conjunction with law enforcement officials to provide maximum visibility. The license plate is white with a blue line at the top, above the name of the plate. A red line is below the name of the plate and the emblem is located on the left side of the plate. DMV is working with sponsoring organizations to ensure all plate designs meet both the law and the organizations’ preferences.

For more information about the redesigned license plates for May 1, go to the DMV website at