South Dakota law requires that motor vehicle owners must register their vehicle with the South Dakota Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) before taking it on the road. Both new and second-hand vehicles must be registered, regardless of whether they are purchased from a dealer or an individual. In addition, new South Dakota residents who have registered their vehicle in another state must register their vehicle in South Dakota.
The initial vehicle registration must be done in person, but registration renewals can be done in person at a County Treasurer's office, by phone (only in some counties) or by mail.
If you are registering a motor vehicle in South Dakota for the first time, you must complete the following steps:
- All vehicles in South Dakota must be insured while being driven. When you register your vehicle you must provide proof of insurance. The easiest way to do this is to obtain auto liability insurance.
- Collect the necessary paperwork. If you bought your vehicle from a dealer, then the dealer will have sent the necessary paperwork to the South Dakota Motor Vehicle Division. In all other circumstances you will need to collect the following additional papers:
- A completed Application for Motor Vehicle Title and Registration form.
- If someone other than the vehicle owner will sign the registration, you will need a power of attorney.
- A Bill of Sale, purchase order or sales contract (if you purchased the vehicle out of state).
- Visit your local County Treasurer's office with your completed forms.
Registration fees in South Dakota are based on the weight and year of the vehicle and whether you require specialized license plates. There are different fees for cars and pickups and non-commercial trucks and vans but typically the fees will include some or all of the following:
- The registration fee itself.
- 3% excise tax.
- License plate fees if you want personalized license plates.
RENEWING YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION
Owners of motor vehicles in South Dakota are required to renew their vehicle registration annually, and can do so in person, by phone or by mail. See our Registration Renewal section for complete details.
- The process for registering a motorcycle is generally the same as a car registration. There are different procedures for boat registration and custom car registration.
- There is no late fee if you fail to pay your renewal on time. But remember that you will receive a traffic ticket if you are caught driving without current registration.
- Auto Insurance is needed to legally operate all vehicles in South Dakota.
- See also Renewing Your Vehicle Registration.
- See also Title Transfers and Car Insurance.