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How to Register a Vehicle in Wisconsin

Vehicle Registration Online Services Guide

Wisconsin law requires that motor vehicle owners must register their vehicle with the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) 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 Wisconsin residents who have registered their vehicle in another state must register their vehicle in Wisconsin. The initial vehicle registration must be done in person, and registration renewals must be done annually, either in person, online or by mail.


If you are registering a motor vehicle in Wisconsin for the first time, you must complete the following steps:

  1. All vehicles in Wisconsin must be insured. 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 Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles. In all other circumstances you will need to collect the following additional papers:
  3. Certificate of title, signed by the previous owner.
  4. A completed Wisconsin Title and License Plate application form.
  5. Your own license plates to transfer to the new vehicle or the registration fee if you do not have your own plates - or if your plates will expire within three months.
  6. Proof of your identity (a driver's license is acceptable).
  7. Visit any DMV service center or a third party DMV agent, and bring the completed forms with you.


Registration fees vary by vehicle type and type of license plate you require. In general the fee is $75 for a passenger vehicle with standard plates and $90 with personalized plates. In addition to the registration fee, you will also have to pay sales tax, possibly a local sales tax, wheels tax and a service fee - this is $5 if you visit a DMV service center or $10 if you visit a third party agency.


Owners of motor vehicles in Wisconsin are required to renew their vehicle registration annually, in person, online or by mail. See our Registration Renewal section for complete details.


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