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How to Register a Vehicle in South Dakota

Vehicle Registration Online Services Guide

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:
  3. A completed Application for Motor Vehicle Title and Registration form.
  4. If someone other than the vehicle owner will sign the registration, you will need a power of attorney.
  5. A Bill of Sale, purchase order or sales contract (if you purchased the vehicle out of state).
  6. 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.


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.


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