Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.
Applying for title and registration
Automobiles (passenger vehicles)
Light truck (8,000 pounds or less)
When you purchase or receive a vehicle as a gift, you must immediately apply for a Certificate of Title. The seller must complete the assignment of title, including odometer disclosure (unless exempt) and signature and give you the original document with a lien release for each lien listed on the title. Never buy a vehicle without seeing and receiving a title signed by the previous owner.
Apply for a title using form MV1. Make a copy of the completed MV1 form for your records.
You will need the following items:
- The Certificate of Title (not a photocopy) signed by the previous owner
- Completed and signed MV1 form
- Current identification, if applying in person at a DMV customer service center or to a DMV agent
- A license plate to transfer or the annual registration fee if you do not have plates or if your current plates expire within the next three months
- Title fee
- Sales tax
- Local sales tax (if applicable)
- Wheel tax (if applicable)
- Check or money order made payable to: Registration Fee Trust
If you purchase a vehicle from a Wisconsin dealer, you may not use the MV1 form. Wisconsin dealers are required to help you with the paperwork and submit the application for their customers on the MV11 Application for Title/Registration or electronically.
You can also use the MV1 form to apply for registration (license plates) for your vehicle. If you already have valid Wisconsin license plates in your name, you can transfer them to another vehicle, if it is the same type (example: car to car, or truck to same weight class truck). Write the plate number you want to transfer on the application form.
If you don't have license plates, we will issue them to you. You will receive a Certificate of Registration with the Certificate of Title. License plates will arrive two to three weeks after you receive the Certificates of Title and Registration. The title is the ownership document for your vehicle. It is an important document and should be kept in a safe place, but not in your vehicle. The Certificate of Registration should be kept in the vehicle as proof of current registration.
You must display Wisconsin license plates within 2 business days
To legally operate your vehicle you must display a permanent or temporary plate within two business days of purchase.
You may submit the MV1 application, along with the title and appropriate fees at any DMV service center offering registration service or at one of our DMV Agents. If you apply at a customer service center, there is a $5 counter service fee in addition to title and registration fees. An agent will charge a $3 plate fee and/or a service fee up to $5.
If you already have a valid plate in your name to transfer, you may submit the application by mail. Valid license plates are transferable between spouses or domestic partners. If transferring a vehicle from another family member or seller you will need to purchase your own plates. Make copies of your application and keep them in your vehicle until you receive your Certificate of Registration.
Where you can obtain service
- DMV customer service centers accept cash or checks only. Credit cards are accepted for online transactions.
- Some service centers only provide driver licensing services, while others provide both driver licensing and registration and titling services. If you have all of the required fees and documents, you'll walk out with new Wisconsin license plates and a new Certificate of Title. If you are submitting a title from another state as part of your application, your new Wisconsin title will be mailed to you in a few days. DMV service centers charge a $5 service fee in addition to registration and title fee. Only cash, checks or money orders are accepted at DMV service centers.
DMV has contracted with third party agencies and businesses to provide title, registration and/or registration renewal services for walk-in customers. Plates or stickers are given to the customer upon completing the transaction. Titles are printed and mailed from DMV in Madison. Our service agents are located in more communities around Wisconsin, and some offer later and weekend hours. These agents may charge a maximum service fee of $10 for a renewal transaction and $19.50 for a title transaction (in addition to DMV title or registration fees). Some agents accept credit cards. Others will accept only checks, cash or money orders.
We also have agents that will issue a temporary, cardboard license plate, which you can display on your vehicle until your metal plates arrive in the mail from DMV. The agents will take your application; check to make sure it is completed correctly and collect all fees due to DMV. In addition, they will charge $3 for the temporary plate, and a $5 service fee. Some agents will accept only cash, checks or money orders. The temporary plate is good for 90 days from the date of purchase by which time you should receive your metal plates.
'Opt Out' - withhold your name and address from mailing lists
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) uses the information provided on the MV1 and other forms to title and register vehicles in Wisconsin, collect fees, and enforce Wisconsin laws. Under open records laws, WisDOT must make nonexempt information available upon request. WisDOT makes some information available to companies for business purposes. If you want your name and address withheld from such business mailing lists, download form MV3592 (Request to Withhold Name and Address) or obtain one from any DMV service center. Complete, and return to the address given on the form.
If you want to know when you can expect a DMV product, such as a certificate of title or registration, license plates or renewal stickers, see processing times for DMV products.
Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (608) 267-2103
Last modified: November 13, 2012
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