Metal Permits

Nonferrous Metal Permits

S. C. State Law (16-11-523) requires an individual to have a permit in order to transport or sell any amount of nonferrous metal. Nonferrous metals are metals not containing significant quantities of iron or steel. They include copper wire, copper clad steel wire, copper pipe, copper bars, copper sheeting and aluminum; a product that is a mixture of aluminum and copper; catalytic converters; and stainless steel beer kegs or containers.

To obtain a permit, free of charge, appear in person at the Sheriff's Department’s Region Two Annex, located at 2500 Decker Boulevard, Columbia, SC 29223. Permits will be issued Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. No appointment is needed.  Office will be closed on county holidays. Permit will be valid for two years.

An application may be downloaded here, completed and brought with you to the Sheriff's Office along with the following one of the following: Valid Driver's License, state-issued ID or military ID. (Address on the form must be the same as on driver's license.)

In accordance with SC State Law, effective December 18, 2012, 48-hour permits will no longer be issued.

Please note the following regarding Nonferrous Metal Permits:

• Permits are issued by the Sheriff's Office in the county in which the individual resides.
• Permits for Richland County residents are issued only at the Sheriff's Department’s Region Two Annex, located at 2500 Decker Boulevard, Columbia, SC 29223.
• Permits are non-transferable - meaning it cannot be transferred between people.

No permit is required to recycle aluminum cans.


All permits require a criminal background check of applicant.

There is a 48 hour turn around for non ferrous permits and up to 30 days for approval of precious metal permits.

Dealers in Precious Metal Permits

No person, corporation, or partnership who buys precious metals from the general public, whether in bulk or in manufactured form, with an intent to obtain a monetary profit for himself or for a principal, shall operate in the State of South Carolina, unless he first obtains a permit to engage in the business of purchasing precious metals from a local law enforcement agency and operates only from a permanent place of business. No dealer shall operate on public property from a vehicle, flea market, hotel room, or similar temporary location. Application should be typewritten or clearly printed in ink. All questions must be answered. If the space provided is insufficient, attach sheets of the same size to the application and number answers to correspond to questions.

The Precious Metal Permit application can be downloaded here. Complete the application and return it to the Code Enforcement Division of the Richland County Sheriff's Department along with a check or money order in the amount of $50 made out to the Richland County Sheriff's Department.  Also include a copy of your lease or deed to establish permanency of the business.

Please note that your Precious Metal Permit must be renewed yearly and posted at your business site.

You may contact the Code Enforcement Division at 803-576-5080 for questions pertaining to the Precious Metal Permit Application.

Richland County Code Enforcement
2500 Decker Blvd
Columbia, SC 29223
Office: 803-576-5080