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SCDMV now requires vision tests for license renewal

Starting October 1st, people will need to pass a vision screening at the SCDMV in order to renew a license or permit.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolinians are now required to pass a vision screening to renew any license or permit at the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV).

Kevin Schwedo, the Executive Director of the SCDMV said they are now doing vision screenings at the DMV for people who want a license. People are not able to get a license online now unless they have had an eye test.

"The portal opened [October 1st] and the first thing that has to happen with the portal opening is you've got to get the optometrist to go ahead and register," said Shwedo.

People can have the vision screening done at any of the SCDMV Branches. The screening can be waived if a licensed eye care professional electronically submits to the SCDMV through their portal for a certificate of vision examination dated within the past 12 months.

"The need to have a vision test to renew your driver's license was taken out of state law when the state passed the REAL ID bill in 2017," said Shwedo. “Starting October 1, 2020, a driver will have to visit an SCDMV branch office or have an eye professional electronically submit vision test results. The same is true for people whose non-REAL ID driver’s licenses are due for renewal.”

RELATED: SC driver's license or registration expiring soon? SCDMV extends time to renew

According to the DMV, only out-of-state eye care professionals can complete the paper version of the Certificate of Vision Examination (SCDMV Form 412-NC/412-CDL) and provide it to drivers (the exam must have occurred in the past 12 months).

"If you can't see the numbers or the letters, you've got to go to your doc and we cannot give you the test. We cannot renew your license until the doc says that your eyes are satisfactory for driving," explained Shwedo. "He then or she then will put it in through the portal and allow us to go ahead and either reissue your credential online or in-person."

People will have four chances to take the test at the DMV.

Drivers who wear contacts or glasses will have an "A" printed on their licenses. Customers who need to add or delete restrictions associated with their vision must visit an SCDMV branch. This cannot be completed online.

Vision tests for first-time licenses and commercial driver's licenses continue to be required.

Shwedo says your eye doctor sending in the information they need through the portal will be the preferred method because it will speed up the lines at the SCDMV.

People can schedule an appointment at the SCDMV online within a two-week time span. To schedule you an appointment, click here.

They are also doing walk-ins at this time. People will give their number to a staff member and they will call them when it's their turn and they can walk inside the building.

RELATED: SCDMV to require vision test for license renewal