All Vehicles - Title, Fees & Registration
A Guide for Buyers and Sellers
Over 1.2 million vehicles are officially registered in South Dakota, all of which are identified by a legal document called a vehicle title. While the primary purpose of a title is to establish who owns the vehicle, titles also provide vehicle information like make, model year, weight and the vehicle identification number (VIN). 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.
Maintain your motor vehicle records on our online customer portal. On this site you can:
- Review and renew your vehicle registration/decals and license plates
- Purchase new plates
- Update your address
- 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
NOTE: a valid South Dakota drivers license or ID is required in order to use the online Vehicle Registration & Plates portal.
NMVTIS Vehicle History Report
The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) is a national vehicle database where individual's are able to run a history report to check the odometer reading and brand history. These reports aim to protect you from purchasing stolen vehicles, unsafe vehicles and fraudulent activity.
Methods of Annual License Renewal
There are currently four options for annual renewal of a vehicle registration. License renewal can be accomplished in person at the applicant’s county treasurer’s office; by mail through the county; Internet renewal through the online Vehicle Registration & Plates portal or through a DMV Now License Renewal Kiosk located in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Pierre, Aberdeen, Mitchell, Watertown and Yankton.
To renew in person, the applicant should take the renewal notice and a photo ID (either a driver license or ID card) to his or her local county treasurer's office. If the vehicle to be renewed is not shown on the postcard, proof of ownership of such vehicle in the form of the title or license renewal form must be presented. Contact your local county treasurer's office for acceptable forms of payment.
Renewal by Mail
If renewing by mail, mail the renewal postcard and payment for the fees owed to your county treasurer’s office. If the vehicle to be renewed is not shown on the postcard, proof of ownership of such vehicle in the form of the title or license renewal form must be presented. Acceptable forms of payment are check (in-state only), cashier’s checks or money orders. Include in your payment the appropriate postage fee ($5 for each plate/plates and $1 for each decal/decals). Also include on the postcard, your driver’s license number or ID number from a valid ID card. Allow two weeks for processing for renewals received by mail. For more information, contact your local county treasurer's office.
An applicant must have a valid SD driver’s license or a valid SD ID issued by the SD Department of Public Safety, along with their date of birth in order to renew online. In the case of a business, a FEIN number, along with the state assigned customer number (as indicated on the vehicle’s renewal notice sent out by the state) is needed to obtain access to the system. Costs include the registration fees, mailing fees (mailing fee is $1 for each registration renewed) and a processing fee. ($1.50 for echeck or 2.25% for debit or credit card).
Law enforcement may ticket for driving on expired plates. Certain boat and snowmobile renewals cannot be done online at this time. Address changes must be made through the applicant’s county treasurer’s office or online prior to renewal. Customers may renew through the online Vehicle Registration & Plates portal. Acceptable forms of payment include electronic check and credit/debit cards (Discover, MasterCard and Visa only).
DMV Now License Renewal Kiosks
DMV Now License Renewal Kiosks are fully automated motor vehicle registration renewal stations which dispense license renewal tags on the spot. Learn more about the list of DMV Now License Renewal self-service terminal locations. A vehicle owner can navigate through the easy touch screen (voice assistance available) with a valid South Dakota driver’s license, South Dakota identification card, or if a company, the information provided on its renewal notice. Once the payment has been submitted and the transaction is completed, the license renewal tags and vehicle registration are dispensed directly from the machine.
During the transaction, the customer is asked to scan the bar code on their South Dakota driver’s license or South Dakota identification card. This action retrieves all the vehicle owner’s registrations and allows them to select only the registrations they want to renew. Vehicle owners from any county can use the terminal with the proper identification. Acceptable forms of payment include electronic check and credit/debit cards (Discover, MasterCard and Visa only). There is a processing fee of $1.50 for echeck or 2.25% for a debit or credit card.
Motor vehicles registered in the State of South Dakota are subject to the 4% motor vehicle excise tax. Mobile / Manufactured homes are subject to the 4% initial registration fee. All fees are assessed from purchase date regardless of when an applicant applies for title and registration. Registrations are required within 45 days of the purchase date.
Vehicles or homes that are registered late are subject to interest and penalty charges.
Interest: Interest on the tax owed for each month or part thereof for which the tax payment is late is assessed at the rate of 1% or $5, whichever is greater, for the first month; and 1% per month thereafter on any application made after 45 days from the date of purchase.
Penalty: A one-time penalty equal to 10% of the tax or $10, whichever is greater, is automatically applied against any application made after 60 days from the purchase date.
|Motor Vehicle Excise Tax||4% of purchase price|
|Late Title Application Penalty||$1.00 for every week past your 45-day grace period.
Maximum fine of $50.
|Duplicate Title Fee||$10|
License Plate Renewal Dates
License plates are issued based on the first letter of your last name which then correlates to a particular month. For example, someone with the last name starting with a "J" will be required to renew their plates in March of each year.
|First Letter of Last Name||Month|
License Plate Fees
Fees are based on the weight and year of the vehicle / trailer in addition to its intended use. For more information about each of the classifications and fees, please click the links below.
- Non-Commercial License Fees (PDF)
- Non-Commercial Trailer Fees (PDF)
- Gross Weight License Fees (PDF)
- Motorcycle Fees (PDF)
- Non-Commercial Motorhome Fees (PDF)
- Commercial Fees (PDF)
|Wheel Tax||View which counties impose this tax|
|Plate Mailing Fee||$5|
Electronic Lien & Title (ELT)
The South Dakota Motor Vehicle Division has an Electronic Lien & Title System (ELT), which allows lienholders to reduce the handling, storage and mailing costs of paper titles by replacing them with an electronic version. No paper title will be printed while there is a lien noted, unless one of the exceptions in South Dakota law apply. SDCL 32-3-70
How Does the ELT System Work?
Lenders have the option to utilize a third-party provider that will provide electronic notices of title issuance and lien perfection when a record is issued in the state system. Upon the release of a lien, a participating lender will send a lien release electronically through its provider. Upon receipt of the electronic lien release, the title will be printed and mailed to the owner, unless directed otherwise by the lender. For more information on the Electronic Lien & Title system, take a look at the ELT Guide (PDF).
Notation of Liens on Existing South Dakota Printed Titles
To have a lien noted on an outstanding title, the owner or lienholder shall present the original South Dakota certificate of title (or valid duplicate) and a copy of the security agreement to the titled owner’s county treasurer’s office. A lien notation fee of $10 must also be submitted. Note: the check or money order must be made out to the appropriate county treasurer (not to the Motor Vehicle Division).
Release of Liens on Printed South Dakota Titles
The signature of the lienholder on the face of the certificate of title is not needed if there is a notice of the satisfaction for liens noted on a South Dakota certificate of title. Note: while liens can be canceled in any county, lien notations must be made in the titled owner’s county of record.
On Titles Which Are Held by the Lienholder
It is the responsibility of the lienholder to have the lien against the record holder released by the county treasurer within 20 days after final payment. No fee is assessed for the release of a lien.
It is the responsibility of the lienholder to execute a release within 20 days after final payment is received. The lienholder shall mail or deliver the release to the owner. The certificate of title and lien release shall be forwarded by the owner to any county treasurer. No fee is assessed for the release of a lien.
The State of South Dakota allows customers with a vehicle 30 years old or older with no record on file to obtain a bonded title.
Request a Bonded Title
To start the process, a Bonded Title Request Form, along with a $2 fee for the record search, must be submitted to the Motor Vehicle Division office in Pierre, along with all necessary documentation indicated on the form or requested by the Motor Vehicle Division.
If no record is found, the Motor Vehicle Division will determine the vehicle’s value from the information submitted. If more information is needed, the vehicle may require an inspection by a Motor Vehicle Division Agent. Once the vehicle’s value is determined, the Motor Vehicle Division will complete and send back a Vehicle Valuation for Surety Bond form along with any other submitted paperwork.
A bond must be purchased from a South Dakota surety bond company. Once purchased, the customer will submit all previously submitted documents, a completed Application for Motor Vehicle and Boat Title & Registration, and any applicable fees to their local county treasurer's office. If the title application process is not completed within 24 months, from the date the request form is submitted, the request will be considered abandoned and a new bonded title request form will required.
When issued, there will be a disclaimer on the title, indicating it is a bonded title.
Release of a Bonded Title
The bonded title disclaimer can be removed for two reasons:
- The original certificate of title is found and turned into the Motor Vehicle Division or;
- Three years have passed and there have been no claims filed on the bond.
To remove the bonded title disclaimer complete and submit a Bonded Title Release Form, along with any required documentation, an Application for Motor Vehicle and Boat Title & Registration, and any applicable fees to your local county treasurer's office.