Section G: License Plates

Staggered Licensing

  1. Definitions under the staggered licensing system.
    • “Active vehicle”, a vehicle with current license plates.
    • “Expired vehicle”, a vehicle with license plates that have been expired for less than 12 months.
    • “Inactive vehicle”, a vehicle with license plates that have been expired for 12 months or more.
  2. Initial registration.
    • Upon initial registration, license fees are assessed from date of sale, unless the date of sale is more than 12 months in which case the license fees are assessed from current date with license fees prorated to RMI.
  3. License plate attachment.
    • If attaching a valid (not expired) license plate from an applicant’s plate inventory to a newly acquired vehicle, with a purchase date of 12 months or less, fees are calculated from date of sale. If the plate expiration is equal to or less than three months, registration fees are billed to the following RMI, with credit given for any remaining months on the license plates. If plate expiration is more than three months, no additional registration months are billed. Additional license fees may apply if the age and weight of the newly acquired vehicle is in a higher license fee category, in which case additional license fees are billed. No refund is allowed.
  4. Noncommercial vehicle license renewal.
    • When renewing a registration on a noncommercial automobile, pickup or van (under 6,000 pounds) with an expired license (less than 12 months), license fees are calculated from the date of expiration to the RMI, unless expiration is within 3 months of the renewal date, in which case the vehicle is registered from the expiration date to the following RMI.
  5. Noncommercial declared gross weight vehicle license renewal.
    • When renewing a registration on a vehicle that is required to be licensed under the declared gross weight license system (pickup does not qualify) in which the registration has expired (less than 12 months), license fees are assessed from current date to RMI. License fees are not calculated from the registration expiration date.


License Plates, License Plate Stickers and Ordering of Forms

  1. Number plates shall be of a different design each five-year period and there shall be at all times a marked contrast between the color of the number plates and that of the numerals and letters thereon.
    • For the period of time from January 1, 1996, through December 31, 2000, a new series of plates has been issued on all noncommercial cars and trucks, trailers, motorcycles, and personalized plates.
    • For the period of time from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2005, a new series of plates has been issued on all noncommercial cars and trucks, trailers, motorcycles, and personalized plates.
    • For a period of time from January 1, 2006, through December 31, 2011, a new series of plates has been issued on all noncommercial cars, trucks, motor homes, and personalized plates. A new series of trailer plates has been issued beginning January 1, 2007. A new series of commercial plates has been issued beginning October, 2006.
    • Effective July 1, 2008, a low-speed vehicle shall be issued a distinctive license plate denoting the vehicle as a low speed vehicle.
  2. The plates shall be of metal or other suitable material bearing the name of the state, and a distinctive number for assignment to each vehicle.
  3. The Department of Revenue shall issue either metal plates, decals, or tags made of some durable material for licensing snowmobiles. Such license shall be attached to each side of a snowmobile below the windshield on the hood cowling.
  4. License plates must be ordered on a special license plate order form, which is to be sent to the Department of Revenue. When using the License Plate Order form, circle either plates or decals to indicate which is needed. License plate orders will not be placed, unless the order form is used. Please allow at least six to eight weeks for delivery of plates.
  5. A county treasurer, dealer, and financial institution shall use the appropriate Supply Request form to order applications, registrations, and other forms necessary to register a vehicle. Requests for supplies will not be accepted by the Division of Motor Vehicles unless the form is used.


Serial Numbers

  1. If a serial number of a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer is changed, the owner shall make application for a rebuilt title.
  2. Whenever the serial number is illegible, destroyed, or obliterated, the Department of Revenue shall assign a distinguishing serial number to any motor vehicle, manufactured trailer that weighs over 3,000 pounds, or semitrailer or any component part thereof.
    • If a number is assigned by the department, the owner shall have the number attached by an employee of the Department of Revenue or the Highway Patrol.
    • On manufactured trailers that weigh 3,000 pounds or under and homemade trailers, the county treasurer shall assign a serial number that the applicant is responsible for stamping on the trailer. Upon placement of the assigned number on the trailer, a physical inspection must be made of the assigned number on the trailer by a law enforcement officer and verified thereto on the Permission for Special Serial Number form (DOR:DMV:26).
      • When a manufactured trailer that weighs 3,000 pounds or under is assigned a special serial number by the county treasurer, the application for title shall denote the manufacturer's vehicle information (year, make, and model).
    • The vehicle shall then be registered under the assigned number when such registration is required.
    • Existing liens on the motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer shall continue to be shown thereon.
    • The new certificates of title shall be delivered to the owner, unless otherwise directed by the owner, on surrender of the former certificate of title.
    • The removal, alteration, or failure to have the serial number attached is a Class 6 felony.
    • The fee for issuance and attachment of serial number is $25.
  3. If a travel trailer is converted to a trailer, a weight slip is needed. The title must be submitted for correction of the type of vehicle from a travel trailer to a trailer. A new serial number is not required. A trailer conversion does not require a new serial number, because the serial number does not distinguish and determine the type of trailer.
  4. If a motor cycle or vehicle is changed, a new serial number is required (i.e., a motorcycle converted to a three-wheel motorcycle, title would be issued as assembled, rebuilt). A motorcycle conversion requires a new serial number, because the serial number distinguishes and determines the type of motorcycle.


Duplicate Plates

  1. The fee for duplicate license plates, except for those listed below, or the replacement of lost or damaged decals is $10. (If only one plate is missing, the other plate must be returned to the county.)
  2. The fee for duplicate personalized plates or tabs is $10 and must be applied for directly to the Division of Motor Vehicles by letter, stating reason for duplicate.
  3. The fee for duplicate motorcycle, trailer, and snowmobile license plates is $2.
  4. An affidavit (DMV-102) setting forth the facts making the duplicate necessary must be completed.
  5. The affidavit for duplicate license plate/validation sticker, the applicable fee, the corrected registration with both decal numbers and/or license plates noted, and the remains of the original set of decals (if available) must all be forwarded to the Division of Motor Vehicles.
  6. Send new copy of registration, regardless if duplicate license plates or decals are purchased and cross-reference plate and/or decal being replaced.
  7. If plates are lost or stolen, the loss or theft must be reported to a law enforcement agency and attested to on the duplicate license plate validation sticker application (DOR:D.MV:102). A copy of this form is retained by the county treasurer and the division.


Replacement License Plates/Validation Stickers (Lost in Mail)

  1. In cases where individuals do not receive the license plates or validation stickers that they have purchased through the mail from a county treasurer, the county treasurer may waive the fee normally required for duplicates. The application for replacement of lost plates or stickers must be made within ninety (90) days from the date the plates or stickers were issued. Replacement license plates and/or validation stickers may be issued at no additional charge to the customer.
  2. Replacement plates or decals may be provided whenever the county treasurer is sure that the customer has never received the previously paid-for item(s), and the customer has signed an application for Replacement License Plates/Validation Stickers (DOR:MV:303) attesting to that fact. The original set is canceled, and the customer is required to return those items should they turn up later.
  3. The application for Replacement License Plates/Validation Stickers (DOR:MV:303) is a two-part form, and the county treasurer must indicate whether or not, at the time of replacement, the applicant has registered all the vehicles that are currently owned by the applicant. The original is sent to the Division of Motor Vehicles so that an account for the replacement can be made and the division may insure that the license plates/validation stickers are not being used on an unregistered vehicle. The copy is retained by the county treasurer.
  4. In cases where an individual needs to replace license plates or validation stickers that have actually been used or possessed, duplicate fees must be collected.


Replacement County License Plates

  1. Any person desiring to obtain a new set of license plates denoting their county of residence when they move to another county, may purchase a set of replacement license plates to reflect their new county of residence for $10. The applicant must surrender, to the county treasurer, the set of plates originally assigned to the vehicle. A duplicate plate affidavit must be completed; however, it does not require enforcement acknowledgment.


Licensing Noncommercial Motor Vehicles

  1. The South Dakota driver's license or social security number of each applicant must be given. In the case of a company, the FEIN is required. If the company is a sole proprietorship, the owner’s social security number or driver’s license number may be used.
  2. License fees are computed according to the weight schedules for noncommercial vehicles. (For information on licensing trailers see section entitled, "Licensing Trailers".)
    • License fees on a noncommercial motor vehicle, which is an automobile, pickup or van shall be determined by the manufacturer's shipping weight, including manufacturer’s accessories. The license fees for the vehicle shall be based on the regular noncommercial license fee schedule.
      • The NADA computer system can be used to determine shipping weight. If the applicant disagrees with the weight, the applicant has the option of getting a weight slip.
      • A dealer can certify a weight by initialing the weight field on the application. If a reference guide or invoice is available that shows the weight, the document should be submitted. If certifying a weight, the dealer is responsible for the accuracy of the weight.
    • If a noncommercial motor vehicle is a pickup that weighs more than 6,000 pounds, the owner has the choice of paying license fees under the noncommercial or the noncommercial gross weight fee schedule.
    • License fees on a noncommercial motor vehicle, which is not an automobile, pickup or van shall be based on the declared gross weight (highest legal weight at which the vehicle will actually be operated during the registration period) of the motor vehicle, as determined by the applicant.
      • A pick-up in which the pick-up box has been removed and replaced with something other than a pickup box and the removal, alteration, or replacement causes the weight of the vehicle, including accessories, to exceed 6,000 pounds, the vehicle must be licensed as a truck under the declared gross weight fee schedule (ARSD 64:28:03:12). The title must be submitted for correction of the body type from pick-up to truck. No title fee is assessed.
  3. The owner of a noncommercial vehicle which is required to pay license fees based on the declared gross weight may register the vehicle for a period of 3 to 8 months, inclusive, in lieu of an annual registration.
    • The fee shall be l/12 of the annual license fee for the motor vehicle, based on the declared gross weight fee schedule, multiplied by the number of months for which the vehicle is being registered. The minimum license fee assessed is $15 for a seasonal registration. No administrative fee is assessed on the initial license under this system.
    • Any subsequent seasonal licensing of a vehicle during the licensing period is assessed a $10 administrative fee for each license issued.
    • A pickup, weighing more than 6,000 pounds that is licensed under the noncommercial gross weight fee schedule, does not qualify for seasonal registration in-lieu-of annual registration.
  4. Noncommercial vehicles licensed under declared gross vehicle weight are licensed under the staggered registration system, unless the owner opts for a seasonal registration as detailed in "B" above. The applicant is issued decals denoting the year and month of the vehicle's expiration. In addition, the applicant is also issued tonnage decals denoting the weight for which the vehicle is registered.
    • Twenty-eight ton and over decals will be issued directly from the Division of Motor Vehicles to individuals who have submitted proof of payment of the federal heavy vehicle use tax.
  5. Proof of compliance with the heavy vehicle use tax must be furnished.
    • IRS Form #2290 Schedule 1, stamped received by the IRS.
    • IRS Form #2290 Schedule 1, plus a copy of the canceled check.
    • Vehicles exempt from heavy vehicle use tax must submit the IRS Form #2290 Schedule 1, which has been stamped as received by the IRS.
  6. The county treasurer shall attach to the daily printout of vehicles registered at a tonnage of 28 or over, the taxpayer statement notification concerning payment of the federal heavy vehicle use tax. This form (DMV-HVUT) is to be completed on all vehicles licensed at 28 ton or over in which IRS proof of payment is not available at the time of registration. If proof of payment is available at the time of registration, the county treasurer shall attach the proof (IRS Form #2290 Schedule 1 -- stamped "paid") to the report along with a copy of the vehicle's registration (see commercial vehicles section for documentation required). If proof of payment is not available at time of registration, the applicant has 30 days in which he can operate the vehicle without displaying the tonnage decals. Remember: one of the two forms -- taxpayer statement notification or the proof of payment of the tax must be attached to the county treasurer's report of vehicles licensed at 28 ton or more.
    • Contact for Federal Excise Tax information and form 2290-Heavy Vehicle Use Tax: 1-866-699-4096 –Cincinnati Service Center.
  7. The licensed gross weight of a vehicle may be increased at any time during a registration period. The county treasurer shall collect the difference in fees between the registered weight and the desired higher weight. Plates are not turned in.
    • Requests to lower a vehicle's licensed weight during the registration period may be granted, but no refund is given. The applicant must return the license plates and a new set of plates is issued with the lower tonnage.
  8. License fees on a motor home and converted house car are determined by the manufacturer’s shipping weight, including accessories, under the motor home fee schedule.
  9. An applicant for renewal of South Dakota license plates must present a certificate of title or if the vehicle is mortgaged and the records indicate that the title is held by the lienholder, the license plate renewal certificate (in the event the license plate renewal certificate is lost, a copy may be obtained from the Division of Motor Vehicles for a fee of $2 or a copy of the certificate of title signed by the lienholder is acceptable).
  10. The county treasurer is authorized to renew the motor vehicle registration without a title document or license renewal certificate if the applicant can furnish proof through a South Dakota driver's license or social security card that he is the registered owner of the motor vehicle. The motor vehicle computer record must match the name on the South Dakota driver's license or social security card.


Licensing Trailers

  1. The South Dakota driver's license or social security number of each applicant must be given. In the case of a company, the FEIN is required. If the company is a sole proprietorship, the owner’s social security number or driver’s license number may be used.
  2. Owners of trailers utilized with automobiles, pickups and vans shall purchase a regular annual trailer plate. There is no restriction on the weight carried by trailers licensed in this manner.
    • Vehicles licensed for gross weight (commercial and noncommercial) may tow any regularly licensed trailer as long as the weight of the trailer plus its load is included in the gross weight license of the towing vehicle.
    • On trailers exempt from licensing (see section entitled, "Trailers Exempt from Licensing"), the weight of the trailer and the load being hauled is not included in determining the declared gross weight of a vehicle.
    • A recreational vehicle is prohibited from displaying a trailer identification plate and must be licensed under the noncommercial trailer fee schedule.
      • A recreational vehicle is defined as a vehicular portable structure built on a chassis designed to be used as a temporary dwelling for travel, recreational, vacation or seasonal uses, permanently identified as travel trailer or a recreational park trailer by the manufacturer of the trailer.
  3. A trailer being pulled by a noncommercial vehicle licensed under the declared gross vehicle weight schedule or a commercial licensed vehicle may display a trailer identification plate.
    • This will be the only license identification required on the trailer. The $10 fee is a one-time only fee, as long as the trailer is owned by the applicant.
    • In the event the trailer identification plate is lost, a new plate is issued. The applicant must complete a duplicate plate affidavit and submit a $10 fee to the county treasurer.
  4. In the event of ownership transfer, the new owner must make application in his name for a new trailer identification plate.
  5. A noncommercial vehicle licensed under the declared gross vehicle weight schedule or a commercial licensed vehicle may tow any legally licensed trailing unit (instate or out-of-state), as long as the proper weight fees have already been paid on the power unit. A noncommercial unit not licensed on declared gross weight may not, however, pull any trailer bearing a trailer identification plate, unless a temporary permit is purchased through the county treasurer.
    • The temporary permit may be purchased for a period of time from 5 to 15 days at a fee of $1 per day. There is no limit on the number of these types of permits that may be obtained.
  6. For each trailer, a vehicle registration should be completed. The registration should be carried in the power unit at all times.


Manufacturer's Statement of Origin/Manufacturer's Certificate of Orgin and Vehicle Identification Number Requirements

The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recommends that the following MSO/MCO (Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin/Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin) and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) specifications be used by any vehicle manufacturers operating within the state.

  1. Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin/Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MSO/MCO):
    • At this time, the DMV does not endorse any specific MSO/MCO printer and has no specific requirements for the content of the MSO/MCO form itself; however, the following information must be contained on the document:
      • Date.
      • Invoice number.
      • Vehicle Identification Number.
      • Vehicle year.
      • Vehicle make.
      • Vehicle body type.
      • Vehicle shipping weight, horse power, or number of cylinders.
      • Series/model.
      • Name and address of distributor/dealer.
      • Signature of authorized representative.
      • City and state of authorized representative.
      • On the face of the MSO/MCO, in the assignment area, the manufacturer’s name and address and a signature area for the manufacturer’s signature.
    • The DMV recommends that the security standards established by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) be followed:
      • Paper.
        • Sensitized Security Paper -- paper that is reactive to chemicals commonly used to alter documents.
        • Non-Optical Brightener Paper -- paper without added optical brighteners that will not fluoresce under ultraviolet light.
      • Engraved Border -- a border produced from engraved artwork that shall appear on the front of the document.
        • Prismatic -- rainbow printing that is used as a deterrent to color copying, and/or
        • Copy Void Pantograph -- the word “void” appears when the document is copied.
      • Complex Colors -- colors that are developed by using a mixture of two or more of the primary colors (red, yellow, or blue) and black if required.
      • Erasable Fluorescent Background Inks -- fluoresces under ultraviolet light and reacts to any attempt to erase in such a manner as to be immediately detectable.
      • Background Security Design -- a repetitious design consisting of a pattern that hinders counterfeiting efforts.
      • Microline -- a line of small alpha characters in capitol letters that requires a magnifying glass to read.
      • Consecutively Numbered -- documents that contain a number that is consecutively numbered for control purposes.
        • Security Thread -- with or without watermark, and/or
        • Intaglio Print -- with or without latent image.
    • Document Size -- “Certificates of Origin” size specifications shall be seven (7) inches by eight (8) inches.
    • Paper Stock -- Sixty (60) pound offset or equivalent durability.
    • Construction -- Unless otherwise specified by the user, the form should be constructed and fan-folded for use on high-speed pinfed computer printer and/or continuous typewriters.
    • Layout -- Text matter space for 1/10-inch horizontal and 1/6 inch deep characters per AAMVA H12 Policy for standard format.
    • Facility Security -- To insure the integrity of the manufacturer’s “Certificate of Origin” the user should require the vendor to maintain secure printing and storage facilities.
  2. Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN):
    • Title 49, Code of the Federal Regulations, Parts 565 and 571 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Number 115) specify the format, content and location of manufacturer’s certification labels and the VIN system currently used to simplify vehicle information retrieval and increase the efficiency of vehicle defect recall campaigns. These regulations apply to trailers as well as other vehicles.
    • It is a class 6 felony to remove or alter a VIN plate on a vehicle.
    • In the event the VIN on a vehicle does not match the VIN on the title or paperwork, the vehicle is to be removed from the dealership lot and the Division of Motor Vehicles or Highway Patrol should be notified.
    • As a result, the Division of Motor Vehicles passed Administrative Rule 64:30:02:04:01, “VIN Requirements for Trailers” that requires persons manufacturing trailers use a seventeen (17) digit VIN on each trailer produced. This Rule went into effect January 1, 1989, and applied to all trailers manufactured after January 1, 1989. Since August 1978, the approved VIN system has consisted of seventeen (17) digits. However, some trailer manufacturers were still using systems consisting of fewer than seventeen digits that did not incorporate any manufacturer identification, resulting in several different trailers having identical numbers.
    • Part of the VIN consists of a unique identifier of the manufacturer. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to obtain an assigned World Manufacturer Identifier that is supplied by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) at no charge. We have been asked that your initial contact concerning VIN requirements be made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), VIN Coordinator, at 202-366-6018. Information on assignments of the manufacturer identifiers can be made through the Society of Automotive Engineers at 412-772-8511.
    • Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations and other federal motor vehicle safety standards can be purchased from: Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC 20402 (telephone: 202-512-1800). These are also available in many law or general libraries.


Plate with Owner Licensing System

  1. In July 2008, the state’s vehicle registration system changed from license plate with vehicle to license plate with owner.
    • The ownership of a vehicle, as stated on the title, determines ownership of a plate. All owners on a vehicle’s current title record or a pending title record are also owners of any plate attached to that vehicle and any individual listed as an owner on the title can take action affecting the plate.
      • Exceptions as to who actually owns the plates apply to special and distinctive plates that require qualification (firefighter, veteran, etc.). The person who qualifies for the plate is the plate owner and the only one that can take action affecting the plate.
    • A person cannot move a plate from vehicle to vehicle. The vehicle ownership must transfer before a plate can be detached from the system and removed from the vehicle. So, under most circumstances, the plate can only be detached if:
      • The plate owner no longer owns the vehicle that was originally attached to the plate.
      • The vehicle originally attached to the plate is junked.
      • The vehicle originally attached to the plate is titled out-of-state.
    • Similarly, an unattached plate cannot be moved from vehicle to vehicle and can only be attached to an acquired vehicle.
    • Plate with owner applies to commercial vehicles (renewed under our staggered registration renewal system) and noncommercial vehicles, trailers, motorcycles and historical plated vehicles. It does not apply to boats, snowmobiles, trailer ID plated vehicles, construction plates or prorated (IRP/apportioned) vehicles.
    • There will be situations when plates may stay with the vehicle when ownership of a vehicle is being transferred. A plate can remain attached to the vehicle when the ownership is transferred if one of the following exemptions apply: inheritance; transfer between immediate family members; transfer of ownership as the result of a transfer of a business ownership (exemptions 5-11).
      • Plates may stay with vehicle upon transfer between immediate family members with consideration, but the transaction is not exempt from tax.
      • Plus, a historical plate or a personalized plate can stay attached upon transfer of vehicle ownership, provided the former owner of both the vehicle and the plate authorize the reassignment of ownership of the plate to the new owner.
    • Specialty and distinctive plates (personalized, veteran or military, radio, fire fighter, etc.), are no longer secondary plates, but are now the primary plate. Two sets of plates are not issued. Upon initial application for a special/distinctive plate, a permit is used in the interval between ordering and receiving the plates.
    • An expired plate that is attached to a vehicle on the system remains valid and may be renewed at any time within the plate period. However, an expired plate that is unattached is no longer valid and the plate cannot be used.
    • A license plate transfer can only be made between like plated vehicles (example: a license plate transfer from a motorcycle to an automobile is not allowed). A license plate transfer is allowed between vehicles registered as noncommercial, noncommercial gross weight or a motor home.
    • A plate cannot physically be attached to a vehicle until the owner goes to the county treasurer and completes the registration. In situations where a vehicle is sold and a plate is not immediately used, no refund is allowed, but a credit for the remaining months left on the plate is given when it is attached to a newly acquired vehicle. If the plate expires before attachment, the plate is no longer valid.
  2. Attach/detach. The definitions of “attach” and “detach” are:
    • “Attach”, refers to action affecting a vehicle’s record within the system. Attaching a plate associates, or ties, a specific license plate number with a specific vehicle within the DMV system records, as opposed to physically securing the actual license plate to a vehicle. A license plate number may be “attached” to a specific vehicle. Under certain conditions, a plate number, which is attached, may be “detached” from a vehicle. A plate that is not attached to a vehicle is an “unattached” plate.
    • “Detach”, refers to action within the system that removes the attachment between a vehicle and a specific license plate number.
  3. Report of sale. A report of sale (ROS) must be completed by the seller when a vehicle is sold or transferred. The ROS is a notification that a sale has occurred. It is also used as a means to make a license plate eligible for attachment to another vehicle. The report of sale can be accomplished by one of the following:
    • A new certificate of title contains a tear-off form attached to the bottom of the title. The seller is responsible for completing the information and forwarding the form to the county within 15 days of the sale of the vehicle. The form is bar-coded, which allows it to be scanned and the vehicle information and seller information automatically populated on to the ROS screen. Information that has to be entered includes: purchaser information, date of sale, selling price, purchaser’s name and identification.
    • A seller can complete a report of sale on-line at SDcars.org.
    • During the registration process, if the plate that is selected for attachment to a new vehicle is currently attached to another vehicle, the system activates the ROS screen for updating (detaching the plate) before the registration can be completed.
    • Once dealers are on line, a sale of a vehicle by a dealer creates a pending title record, which replaces any need for a ROS form. If the sale involves a trade-in, the system captures the trade-in information and creates a ROS on the vehicle that was traded in.

    The ROS serves only as notification of a sale and does not cause any action to be taken against the title or registration record, other than to make a plate previously attached to a vehicle eligible for attachment to a different vehicle.

    A ROS between private parties is regarded as mandatory and must be filed within 15 days of date of sale. Failure of a seller to do so is a Class 2 misdemeanor. A ROS is required for the following reasons:

    • Seller must remove the plate from the sold vehicle; and if the buyer has not yet transferred title, file a ROS before the plate that was removed may be registered and attached to another vehicle.
    • Upon receipt of the ROS, the motor vehicle record is updated to reflect the sale of the vehicle and the seller’s plate is eligible to be detached.
    • Filing a report of sale may protect the seller from liability that may result from moving or operating a vehicle after the date of sale.
    • Based on the ROS, the system generates an alert in the event a pending title is not created within 45 days of the date of sale. This alert is used to automatically generate a letter to the new purchaser advising the purchaser of the requirements to transfer title and that penalty and interest is accruing. If no action is taken after that contact, further steps can be taken.
  4. Seller’s permit. A private seller must obtain a temporary license permit that allows a buyer to drive during the interval between purchase and registration. The permit is valid for no longer than 30 days, and is issued free of charge, since registration fees are assessed from the date of sale on the new system. When a second permit is requested (same owner/vehicle combination), justification is required. (A seller’s permit does not pertain to boats and snowmobiles.)
  5. Special plates. Only one set of plates is issued.
    • A plate ordered permit is available for an applicant to use during the interim of plate production of a special plate. Like the regular county plate, all owners of the vehicle own the special plate, unless it is a plate that the applicant must qualify for in order to receive it, such as National Guard, physically disabled person, Prisoner of War, etc.


Non-Resident Title and Registration

  1. South Dakota title and registration statutes do not expressly prohibit an out-of-state applicant from titling and registering in South Dakota.
  2. An applicant must provide the county where the vehicle will be kept and the applicant’s residence post office address on the application for title and registration. If an applicant actually resides out-of-state, the applicant’s actual address must be used on the application. (SDCL 32-3-18 and SDCL 32-5-3)
  3. For applicants that are truly nomads (no abodes in this or any other state), an affidavit attesting that the applicant(s) has no residential post office in this or any other state is required before a mail forwarding address, rather than a residential post office address, can be used on the application.
  4. An applicant must provide either a South Dakota driver’s license number (SDDL) or Social Security number (SSN). Applicants who list a SSN and do not have a SDDL must provide a photo copy of a picture ID (e.g., out-of-state driver’s license, tribal photo identification) for each applicant listed on the application. The photo copy of the ID must be submitted along with the application. (SDCL 32-3-18 and SDCL 32-5-3)
  5. Additional information may be requested if needed.
  6. Providing false information on the application for title and registration is a felony and anyone doing so is subject to further action by the department.
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