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  • Plate Surrender in South Dakota

    The South Dakota Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) doesn’t require drivers to return their licenses plates if they move to another state; however, there are some situations in which drivers do need to hand over their plates.

    Moving to South Dakota

    Once you move to South Dakota, you don’t have to surrender your old state license plates to the county treasurer’s office. You’ll receive new license plates when you register the car in SD.

    Your former state might want your old plates back, though. Find the drop down menu at the top of this page, choose your old state, and find out its policy on license plate surrender.

    Moving from SD

    Planning a move to another state? You can cross “surrender plates” off your list, because SD doesn’t want them back.

    However, once you get settled in your new state, do make sure to cancel your registration and insurance associated with the SD license plates, at the least. This way, even if the plates are stolen, you’re no longer legally liable for them.

    Selling a Used Car

    Remove your license plates when you sell your used car; they stay with you, not the vehicle.

    With help from the MVD, you can transfer the plates to another vehicle you own, but the MVD recommends surrendering the plates to your county treasurer’s office if you don’t want to transfer them. Remember to cancel your registration and insurance associated with that vehicle and plates.

    The vehicle’s new owner will complete the title transfer and vehicle registration processes and receive his own license plates (unless he has plates he wants to transfer).

    NOTE: You’ll follow this process if you’re donating the vehicle to charity or giving it as a gift, too.

    Buying a Used Car

    When you buy a used car, the seller will remove his license plates. You can then transfer your own valid license plates to the vehicle during the title transfer and register the car processes, or you can apply for new license plates.

    Surrendering Plates: Other Situations

    There are situations when drivers must surrender certain specialty or affiliation license plates.

    Such plates include firefighter plates (if the driver is no longer a firefighter) and historical plates (if the driver decides he wants standard license plates).

    Learn more at SD’s Specialty License Plates page or contact your county treasurer’s office.

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