My brother-in-law is going to come and visit us for a couple of weeks. I'd like to take him to fish with me, but he is Mexican, and the last time I got my fishing license in my state, I was asked for my SSN. Obviously, he doesn't have a social security number, so I'd like to know if it is even possible for tourists to fish/hunt legally in the US in public lakes.


According to the web site of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, either a SSN or an alien identification card is required:

Social Security Number: The disclosure of your social security number or alien identification number is required to obtain SC hunting and fishing licenses. This complies with SC Code of Laws Section 63-14-1080 and Federal law 42 USCA 666(a) (13), which requires a licensing agency to provide this information to the Child Support Enforcement Unit of the Department of Social Services to establish, modify and enforce child support orders.

There is a non-resident license application for mail-in applications, but it requests a US address.

It is unclear to me whether non-resident licenses are available only to US residents (who live outside of SC), or to anyone, including US non-residents, but it appears (based on the above quote about US Federal Law, and the application form) that a licence likely is not available to non-US residents.

To be sure, you may need to contact the office directly.

Another option might be to find a private lake/pond where you can fish without a license.

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  • yah, seems the license is available only to US residents with a US ID card or passport (iow, US citizens). His best bet may be to get something like the licenses organisers of fishing trips for tourists get, and that could well be a rather expensive option. – jwenting Aug 29 '14 at 12:52
  • @CGCampbell: To have an Alien ID number you must be a US legal resident, though, which is what jwenting said. – Flimzy Aug 29 '14 at 14:19
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    Interesting, according to USCIS an Alien number is a number given to noncitizens. My brother-in-law visa has an Alien number on it. I guess I'll have to call SC DNR and ask them directly. Will report back with my findings. Thanks! – ILikeTacos Aug 29 '14 at 14:29
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    @AlanChavez If/when you do call SC DNR, please come back and add an answer yourself (you can even accept your own answer as THE answer). That way we'll all know. – CGCampbell Aug 29 '14 at 14:53
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    @pnuts Admittedly, that was the line of my thinking from when this was first asked. Why would any locality that has a licensing scheme for hunting/fishing ever deny licenses to foreigners? At the very least charge them more. More income to support wildlife management. – CGCampbell Aug 29 '14 at 22:58

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