A Minnesota DMV license plate must be obtained after car owners purchase a new or used motor vehicle. As such, motorists must purchase new registration plates from the Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) division, which is managed by the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS). In general, MN car registration plates are offered in a variety of ways, from standard car tags to specialized plates.

After completing the initial car registration process, vehicle owners must be mindful that they have to renew license plate credentials once per year before these documents reach their expiration dates. If you wish to discover how to get a license plate in Minnesota, or how to renew or replace an existing car tag, review the sections outlined below.

Types of License Plates in Minnesota

Under state law, vehicle owners must obtain new car tags in Minnesota whenever they purchase a new or used vehicle. Most types of vehicles are required to display two car registration plates (or a double plate issue) in the state. However, certain types only require a single plate.

Vehicles requiring two plates include cars, trucks, vans, pickups and buses. Examples of vehicles requiring one DVS license plate on their rears include trailers, motorcycles, mopeds, dealer vehicles or qualifying collector cars. Furthermore, while tractors and farm vehicles only need a single license plate, it must be displayed on the front of the vehicle.

When drivers need to get license plate credentials after purchasing a new or used vehicle, they may purchase a standard passenger plate, commercial plate, special registration plate, specialized plate, recreational plate or personalized plate. Other available car registration tags in Minnesota include dealer permits or plates, handicap plates, prorate plates, weight class plates or local tax-exempt plates.

Furthermore, you may obtain a temporary 21-day DVS car tag permit if you purchase a vehicle from a licensed dealership in the state. Other available permits include a 31-day non-resident permit, which you may obtain at a local DVS office.

How to Apply for a License Plate in Minnesota

After purchasing a vehicle from an individual or private seller, you must apply for new registration plates by mail or in person at a DVS office. On the other hand, car dealerships are capable of handling the DVS license plate application process on your behalf, but only if you purchase a vehicle from them. In any case, if you need to get Minnesota car tags on your own, you must provide the DVS office with the following documents:

  • A completed application form
  • Proof of vehicle ownership and a lien release, if applicable
  • The vehicle’s current registration card, if the certificate of title is held by a lending institution
  • Proof of auto insurance and identification
  • An odometer reading
  • Payment for new plates and registration taxes and fees

How to Renew License Plate Tags in Minnesota

In most cases, car owners must renew license plate stickers once per year before the last day of the vehicle’s expiration month. As such, drivers may complete the Minnesota car registration renewal process in person, online or by mail. When renewing license plate credentials online, applicants must use the official DVS website. During the procedure, applicants must provide their license plate number and the last three digits of their vehicle identification number (VIN).

On the other hand, vehicle owners may request a car tag renewal in person at a DVS office or by mail. If you wish to do so by mail, you must refer to the instructions detailed on your registration renewal notice.

After you renew license plate credentials, the DVS will provide you with new month and year registration stickers. When you receive these new car tag stickers, you must place them on the vehicle’s license plate before midnight 10 days following the car registration’s expiration month. As a general rule, motorists must place the stickers in the lower left and right-hand corners of the plate.

How to Replace License Plates in Minnesota

Drivers are required to replace license plate credentials for passenger vehicles or dealer vehicles every seven years. However, motorists must replace MN car tags sooner if plates or license plate stickers become illegible or sustain enough damages. Additionally, drivers must complete the process of replacing license plate stickers or tags if these credentials are stolen or lost.

To replace car tags in Minnesota, vehicle owners must visit a DVS office and apply for a replacement plate or sticker in person. During the process of how to replace license plate materials, car owners must complete the proper application form and submit it along with the vehicle’s current registration card, if it is available to the applicant. Then, motorists must pay for all of the applicable replacement fees.

How to Transfer License Plates in Minnesota

Unless your vehicle displays special car registration tags or personalized plates, you cannot transfer your license plates from one vehicle to another. Instead, Minnesota car registration plates remain on your vehicle, even after you sell it. On the other hand, if you wish to transfer your special or personalized plates, you must perform the following steps:

  • Complete an application form
  • Submit auto insurance information
  • Provide details about your vehicle, such as its make, model, vehicle identification number (VIN), special plate number and the license plate expiration date

After removing the special DVS license plates and transferring them to another vehicle, you must purchase new tags for the car that will then have no plates.

Minnesota License Plate Fees

License plate costs in Minnesota vary depending on the type of license you wish to obtain. The following are the standard prices for most license plate types in Minnesota:

  • Filing fee for special plates, transfer of plates or duplicate plates – $10
  • Fee for passenger plates – $6 for double plates or $4.50 for a single plate
  • Fee for trailer plates – $4.50 or $2.50 for a lifelong adhesive sticker
  • Fee for truck plates – $6 for double plates or $4.50 for a single plate
  • Fee for motorcycle or moped plates – $4.50

Regardless of which Minnesota license plate you choose to purchase, you will be required to pay a $6 filing fee for your plates every time you renew your vehicle registration.

License Plate Lookups in Minnesota

Before purchasing a vehicle that is not brand-new, you can perform an online DVS license plate lookup and learn more about its history, such as past performance, accident involvement and safety recall information. In addition, a Minnesota DVS car tag lookup can provide you with information about the vehicle’s manufacturer, type of engine and details pertaining to its previous owners.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.