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In most states, you cannot apply for or replace a license plate online. Instead, most states require you to request a new or duplicate license plate in person at a DMV office. However, certain states or counties may allow you to complete these transactions online. In any case, you must apply for a new license plate within a few days of your vehicle’s date of purchase. To do so, you must provide a certificate of title, odometer disclosure, smog certification (if applicable) and bill of sale (if needed). Then, you must pay any applicable DMV service fees. To prepare for this procedure and save time, download our informative online guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know about standard and custom license plates. In it, you will also learn about requesting, renewing and replacing a car registration.

2. By Mail

In most states, you cannot apply for a license plate by mail. However, many states allow you to replace or surrender a license plate by sending the required materials through the mail. When replacing a plate, you will be required to send a completed application form containing personal details and vehicle specifications to the appropriate DMV mailing address. If you wish to surrender an existing license plate after selling your vehicle, you may do so by mailing the plate to the correct DMV branch in your state. Due to mailing and processing times, be mindful that the mail-in method may subject you to certain delays.

3. In Person at a DMV Office

You will most likely need to visit a DMV office in person to apply for a license plate in your state. During your visit, you will be asked to provide proof of identity, documents that verify your car ownership and a completed application form. In addition, you will be required to pay the applicable DMV fees, which vary depending on whether you apply for a standard or personalized license plate. When visiting a DMV, you may also replace or transfer an existing license plate, as long as those procedures are offered in your state. To avoid mistakes or taking additional trips to the DMV, make sure that you are fully prepared for license plate transactions prior to filing your application.


Wisconsin DMV license plate services include several procedures, such as obtaining an initial registration and renewing, replacing or transferring existing tags. The detailed information provided below on WI car registration plates and registration services acts as a basic guide to obtaining various types of vehicle registration in Wisconsin.

Furthermore, below you will find that whether you need new vehicle plates, are renewing your plates or are replacing your plate documentation, Wisconsin laws are specific in order to provide residents with a fast and convenient solution to car tag registration needs.

Types of License Plates in Wisconsin

Wisconsin new registration plate types include standard car tags, temporary license plates, personalized tags and dozens of organizational designs. Wisconsin drivers may license plate designs that reflect various sport teams, military groups, professions and charities. These special types of license plates require a small additional fee on top of the normal registration fee.

How to Apply for a License Plate in Wisconsin

The fastest way to get a license plate in Wisconsin is online. You may also apply for car tags in WI in person or by mail.  If you are wondering how to get license plate services online, simply log into the official state online portal.

This official state portal will walk you through the process of obtaining new registration plates by allowing you to title and register your vehicle in your name. Before you begin the online process to get license plate registration, have the following items available:

  • Wisconsin Certificate of Title signed by the seller with an odometer reading and lien release, if applicable
  • A valid WI driver’s license or ID card, last four digits of your SSN and your birthdate
  • Valid credit card or ACH checking/savings account for payment
  • A printer with 8.5 x 11 paper

Once the online DMV car tag application is submitted and paid, mail the payment receipt along with the title to the address on the receipt. Then print and display your temporary car registration tag. Your license plate and sticker should arrive in the mail between 7 and 10 days.

To get your plates mail or in person, complete and sign the Title and License Plate Application (Form #MV1) and mail it along with the associated fee payment. Alternatively, you can apply for your Wisconsin car tags at any DMV customer service center. To do so, you must bring the completed MV1 form along with a valid payment for the processing fee.

A car dealer is required by law to file your application for WI plates within 7 days of sale and provide you with a temporary tag. You must get your own plates and registration if you purchase a vehicle in a private sale.

How to Renew License Plate Tags in Wisconsin

You may renew a license plate in Wisconsin online, by mail or in person. For online transactions, follow the steps for how to renew license plate tags on eMV Public and use a credit card or ACH bank account to pay fees.  The WI DMV will mail you your license plate renewal sticker within 7-10 days. For renewing a Wisconsin registration or tags by mail, complete and mail your renewal notification card to the address printed on it. Include payment by check or money order, made payable to Registration Fee Trust.

You can renew your plates at any DMC customer service counter or at one of many authorized agencies and businesses that provide plate renewal services. A complete list of businesses and agencies are on the WI DOT website and include sheriff’s departments, grocery stores and gas stations. The agent will give you a new DMV license plate sticker and Certificate of Vehicle Registration.

How to Replace License Plates in Wisconsin

You must promptly replace license plate tags in Wisconsin that have been damaged, lost, stolen or illegible. Your options for how to replace license plate tags are the same as with license plate renewal, namely online, by mail or in person.

When replacing tags, a new plate number will be issued to you. Once you receive your new plates, destroy the old ones, if available.

How to Transfer License Plates in Wisconsin

To get license plate transfer services for a different title in your name, you can apply online, in person or by mail. A license plate transfer can only be done if you are the individual (not a business) owner or lessee of both vehicles. To transfer a car title and plates by mail or in person, complete form MV1 and mail or take it into a DMV customer service center for processing.

Wisconsin License Plate Fees

Each Wisconsin DMV car tag service has its own fees, which vary slightly. Generally, these costs range from $5 to $15, depending on the type of license plate you apply for.

Replacement tags can range in price, depending on the design. Moreover, replacement specialty plates are often more expensive than standard plates. If the registration on the tag-bearing vehicle is current, there is no fee to transfer it to another car.

License Plate Lookups in Wisconsin

You can get a license plate lookup in Wisconsin by completing Form MV2896, Vehicle/Driver Record Information Request. It will reveal the vehicle year and make, the plate expiration date and the renewal reference number (RRN) which is used for online renewals.

Last updated on Monday, February 4 2019.

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