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  • License Plates & Placards in South Dakota

    SUMMARY: South Dakota License Plates

    To apply for license plates in South Dakota, you must register your car with your county treasurer’s office. To keep your tags up to date, you’ll renew your plates by renewing your registration. Since SD tags stay with the owner, you’ll usually be able to transfer your plates from one car to the next. If your plates are lost, stolen, or damaged, you must replace plates and stickers right away.

    Keep reading for more information about license plates and tags in South Dakota.

    NOTE: Need disabled parking plates? Find application requirements on our Disabled Plates and Placards in South Dakota page.

    Types of License Plates

    The South Dakota Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires license plates on most vehicles, including:

    • Passenger cars.
    • Trucks.
    • Motorcycles.
    • Motorhomes and recreational vehicles (RVs).

    You’ll need license plates on the front and rear of your vehicle.

    NOTE: Some vehicles may only require a rear plate.

    The letters and numbers on your license plate must not be obstructed, and you must have a validation sticker in the bottom right corner.

    Special Tags

    The SD DMV offers several alternatives to standard license plates, including personalized plates and special interest plates.

    You can also apply for disabled parking plates if you have a qualifying disability and meet other eligibility requirements. You’ll find more information on our Disabled Placards and Plates in SD page.

    Temporary License Plates

    When you buy a car from a licensed dealer, they can give you temporary tags valid for 30 days so you can drive while waiting for your SD license plates to arrive.

    The temporary tags should be attached to:

    • The inside of the lower right corner of the windshield.
      AND
    • The lower left corner of the rear window.

    Temporary tags CANNOT be extended.

    If you buy a vehicle in a private sale, you should receive a seller’s permit from the seller and title and register your car within 30 days.

    Apply for SD License Plates

    To apply for South Dakota license plates, you must register your vehicle with your county treasurer.

    Registration is required within:

    • 30 days of buying a car.
    • 90 days of moving to SD.

    For more information about applying for tags, see our Car Registration page.

    Renew South Dakota Tags

    You’ll need to renew your registration before your validation sticker expires. When you renew, you’ll get a new sticker to put over the old one.

    You should receive a renewal notification in the mail, and you can also request email notification on the SD DMV website.

    You can renew your registration either online, by mail, or in person at your SD country treasurer’s office.

    Complete details are available on our Registration Renewal page.

    Replace Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Plates

    If your South Dakota license plates have been lost, stolen, or damaged, you will need to replace them as soon as possible.

    First, report lost or stolen plates to your local law enforcement agency.

    Next, submit the following to the SD DMV:

    • The Affidavit for Duplicate License Plate/Validation Sticker (Form MV-102).
      • Be sure to include law enforcement report information.
    • Your vehicle registration card.
    • Any remaining license plates or decals.
    • Payment for the replacement fee:
      • $10 for motor vehicle plates.
      • $2 fee for motorcycle plates.

    Submit the application and other items:

    • By mail to the address on the form.
      OR
    • In person at your local SD DMV office.

    Replace Items Lost in the Mail

    If your license plates or stickers were lost in the mail, you must complete an Application for Replacement of License Plates, Validation Stickers or Lost Title Document (Lost in Mail) (Form DMV-303).

    Submit the form either:

    • By mail to the address on the form.
      OR
    • In person at your local SD DMV office.

    Transfer & Surrender SD Tags

    When you sell your vehicle, you must remove the license plates. You can transfer them to a new vehicle you own IF the old and new vehicles are the same type. (For example, you can’t transfer a license plate from a car to a motorcycle.)

    You can keep the license plates on the car if you’re transferring it to an immediate family member.

    To transfer a South Dakota plate to a new car, you must register the car BEFORE the plate expires. If the license plate expires, it CANNOT be transferred or renewed as it is no longer valid.

    If you no longer need your license plate, you can surrender it in person to your South Dakota county treasurer’s office.

    Fees for South Dakota License Plates

    • New plates and renewal: Varies based on vehicle weight and age.
    • Replacement plates & decals:
      • $10 for passenger vehicles.
      • $2 for motorcycles.

    Specialty License Plates

    Personalized plates, also known as "vanity plates," are issued after completing aSouth Dakota Personalized License Plate Application (Form MV-239). Personalized license plates carry an annual fee of $25.

    You may order one of these personalized plates as long as you're a South Dakota resident and own the vehicle.

    This is your big chance to express yourself on your license plate (using between 1 and 7 letters). If you want to use a space or a star, you'll need to put that on the application.

    Be sure to include a copy of your South Dakota vehicle registration with the application.

    Historical (Antique) Plates in South Dakota

    South Dakota refers to its antique vehicle plates as historical plates.

    The requirements for historical license plates for you vehicle are as follows:

    • Your vehicle is at least 30 years old.
    • Your vehicle is not for regular, everyday use. It can only be used for parades, exhibitions, tours, and displays.

    To apply for historical license plates, submit a completed Special License Plate Application (Form MV-101) along with your $10 payment.

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