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Motor Vehicle

Cars in a Neighborhood

Over 1.2 million vehicles are registered in South Dakota, all of which are identified by a legal document called a vehicle title. As vehicles are bought and sold, the title becomes the legal documentation of each change in ownership. Both the buyer and the seller must follow specific procedures to ensure the title is correctly transferred from one owner to the next.

Motor vehicle titling and registration is handled through your local county treasurer’s office. An Application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration must be signed by the record owner(s) or by an authorized agent for the record owner(s). In addition to the title, when selling a vehicle the party selling the vehicle should provide to the purchaser a Bill of Sale.

If you have questions in regards to your driver's license, please contact the Driver's License Office which is a division of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.  

Online Services

The Motor Vehicle Division provides and maintains your motor vehicle records. Our online services allow you to:

  • Review and renew your vehicle registration/decals and license plates.
  • Purchase new license plates
  • Opt-in for email renewal and general notifications
  • Find out the estimated renewal cost of your vehicles
  • Report the sale of a vehicle
  • Print a seller's permit

Get Started

 

Laws & Regulations

South Dakota laws and regulations regarding vehicle ownership.

 

Driver’s Privacy and Protection Act

A written form must be submitted to the South Dakota Motor Vehicles Division before motor vehicle records can be released.

Request Form

 

Contact

We strive to make our services as convenient as possible and encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Motor Vehicle Frequently Asked Questions

Also known as the online Vehicle Registration & Plates portal. See questions about reviewing and renewing your DMV registration, license plates and motor vehicle records.

You can contact your local county treasurer’s office or the South Dakota Motor Vehicles Division at (605) 773-3541.

Non-commercial vehicle fees are issued in accordance to the vehicle's age and weight. Visit the staggered, non-commercial vehicle fee page for current rates. Other fees, as well as policies on other vehicles, can be found on the Title & Registration page.

ELT stands for Electronic Lien Title. When you have a lienholder on your vehicle loan, your title will remain in an electronic form only until the time your loan is paid off and the lienholder releases their interest in your vehicle. At that time a paper title will be printed and mailed to you. South Dakota has been an ELT state since October 2012.

Vehicles owners may obtain a duplicate title by completing an application for duplicate certificate of title along with submitting a $10 fee. Submit the form and payment to a local county treasurer’s office or mail to the SD Motor Vehicle Division at 445 E. Capitol Ave Pierre, SD 57501.

Contact your local county treasurer’s office to change your address in your customer record or visit the Vehicle Registration & Plates Portal.

Contact your local county treasurer’s office to complete an affidavit for duplicate license plate/validation sticker. Fees can be found on the form.

Effective July 1, 2015, vehicle owners have 45 days to apply for title and registration of an acquired vehicle. All vehicles acquired prior to July 1, 2015 must be titled and registered within 30 days.

There is not a provision for extensions on the 45 day requirement. Interest and penalties will accrue on the motor vehicle excise tax. All fees are assessed from the purchase date regardless of when an applicant applies for title and registration.

Interest is at a rate of 1 percent or $5, whichever is greater, for the first month; and 1 percent per month thereafter on any application made after 45 days from the date of purchase. (Interest is not calculated on interest.) A one-time penalty equal to 10 percent of the tax or $10, whichever is greater, is automatically applied against any application made after 60 days from the purchase date.

No, you don’t. A vehicle is exempt from tax when it is transferred without consideration (no money is exchanged) between spouses, between a parent and child and between siblings. A title transfer fee of $10.00 will apply.

South Dakota is a plate with owner state. This means that the license plates are retained by the owner. If you purchase a new vehicle, you will transfer the license plates from your old vehicle to your newly acquired vehicle. You can do this at your local county treasurer’s office. Be sure to take your old plates with you to the county treasurer’s office.

A seller’s permit allows the new owner to drive legally while waiting to apply for title. A seller's permit may be printed by the seller at the Vehicle Registration & Plates Portal or may also be obtained at a county treasurer's office. The seller's permit is valid for 45 days. The seller has 45 days to deliver title. If necessary, the buyer may purchase a 5 to 15-day permit from the county treasurer's office as per SDCL 32-5-8.3.

Effective July 1, 2015, damage disclosure is no longer mandated. Damage disclosure will remain noted on titles issued before July 1, 2015.

If you have titled and licensed your vehicles in another state, you will be granted reciprocity when you come to South Dakota and will not have to pay any additional tax if your state’s tax rate is above South Dakota’s 4% tax rate. If a state with no tax or a lower tax rate than South Dakota’s 4%, then you will need to pay the additional tax rate to match the 4%. You have 90 days from your date of arrival to title and license your vehicle in South Dakota.

You should know that your state may prohibit registering your vehicle in another state.

You will need your original out of state titles, a copy of your state driver license, social security number, and an Application for Title (MV-608). Take this paperwork to your local county treasurer’s office to complete registration process. They will be able to tell you the appropriate fees pertaining to that county.

In South Dakota, an ATV MUST be titled. If purchased in South Dakota, an ATV is subject to the 4% motor vehicle excise tax. However, if purchased out-of-state, you will need to show proof that sales or use tax has been paid at the time of application for title and registration.

You will need to complete a Drivers Privacy Protection Application (DPPA). Take your local county treasurer’s office or mail to SD Division of Motor Vehicles (address can be found in contact us area). You must qualify to receive this information with one of the following reasons: 

  1. For use by any government agency
  2. For any state authorized purpose relating to the operation of a motor vehicle, public safety or for use in connection with car safety, prevention of car theft, and promotion of driver safety
  3. For use by a business to verify the accuracy of personal information submitted to that business to prevent fraud or pursue legal remedies
  4. In connection with court, agency or self-regulatory body proceedings
  5. For use by insurers in connection with claims investigations, antifraud activities, rating or underwriting
  6. To notify vehicle owners that their vehicle has been towed or impounded
  7. For use by a licensed private investigative agencies or security services for any purpose by the DPPA

You'll start by visiting the Vehicle Registration & Plates Portal. Click the VIN CHECK icon, enter a vehicle identification number (VIN) and you will see if there is a lienholder on that vehicle.

Log into the Vehicle Registration & Plates Portal, select the vehicle that was sold and choose report of sale in the dropdown menu.

For questions about the Electronic Lien & Title process, please email us at DOR.DMVELT@state.sd.us.

Get Started by Vehicle Type


title and registration
boats

Boats

Complete an application for the title and registration for your boat. Boats over 12’ length or motorboats of any length are required to be titled at the time of registration.

Learn More About Boats
cars, trucks, and vans

Cars, Trucks & Vans

Complete an application for your motor vehicle title and registration and apply for license plates.

Learn More About Cars, Trucks & Vans
historic vehicles

Historic Vehicles

Register your historic vehicle and apply for specialty license plates.

Learn More About Historic Vehicles
low-speed vehicles

Low Speed Vehicles

Complete an application for your low-speed vehicle title and registration and apply for your license plates.

Learn More About Low Speed Vehicles
manufactured homes and mobile homes

Manufactured Homes & Mobile Homes

Find forms, information and permits for manufactured/mobile homes.

Learn More About Manufactured Homes & Mobile Homes
motorcycles

Motorcycles

Complete an application for your motorcycle title and registration and apply for motorcycle plates.

Learn More About Motorcycles
offroad vehicles

Off-Road Vehicles

Complete an application for your off-road vehicle and, if applicable, apply for registration and license plates. Off-road vehicles must be titled even if they are not registered for use on highways.

Learn More About Off-Road Vehicles
rebuilt vehicles

Rebuilt Vehicles

Complete an application for your rebuilt vehicle to be titled and registered, apply for license plates and schedule an inspection.

Learn More About Rebuilt Vehicles
recreational motorhomes and converted housecars

Recreational, Motorhomes & Converted Housecars

Title and register your recreational vehicle, motorhome or converted house car.

Learn More About Recreational, Motorhomes & Converted Housecars
snowmobiles

Snowmobiles

All snowmobiles used on public and private lands and any frozen public waters within territorial limits of South Dakota must be licensed. Complete an application for your snowmobile to be titled and licensed and apply for a snowmobile decal.

Learn More About Snowmobiles
trailers

Trailers

Complete an application for your trailer to be titled and registered and apply for license plates.

Learn More About Trailers
trucking

Trucking

Motor carrier’s vehicles must be commercially licensed within every state in which it travels.

Learn More About Trucking