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  • Registration Renewal in Wisconsin

    Registration Renewal in Wisconsin

    You need to have current license plates in order to legally drive in WI. Luckily, the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) makes the process easy.

    There are several ways to renew your registration. Make sure to do so right away to avoid late fees or penalties for driving without proper registration.

    WI Vehicle Registration Renewal Notice

    You will receive a vehicle registration renewal notice from the Wisconsin DMV before your car registration expires. Your notice will contain important information about your renewal process, including your expiration date and renewal fee.

    Didn’t Receive a Renewal Notice?

    If you do not receive the notice or if you lose it, you can still renew your registration using your:

    • Current registration.
      OR
    • License plate number.

    If your registration has expired, you will have to pay a $10 late fee.

    Note that it is illegal to drive with expired registration. You may be subject to criminal penalties if found driving without valid registration.

    Renew Your WI Vehicle Registration

    The Wisconsin DMV offers registration renewal:

    • Online.
    • By mail.
    • In person.

    Your car may need to pass an emissions inspection before you can renew your car registration. See the “Wisconsin Emissions Inspections” section below for more information.

    Online

    You can renew your registration online with Wisconsin DMV. An additional $1.25 fee will be added to your normal registration fee. (See “WI Vehicle Registration Renewal Fees” below.)

    To renew online, you’ll need:

    • The Renewal Reference Number (RRN) from your renewal notice.
    • A valid credit card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover) to pay the applicable fee.
      • (See “WI Vehicle Registration Renewal Fees” below.)

    If you did not receive your renewal notice or if you have lost the notice, you can:

    • Find your RRN using the DMV’s license plate lookup.
      OR
    • Use the Product Number on your current registration certificate.

    NOTE: If the RRN is not on your renewal notice and you don’t get a result in the license plate lookup, your license plate cannot be renewed online.

    Once you have paid your renewal fees you will:

    • Print the renewal confirmation and keep it in your vehicle.
    • Receive a new Certificate of Vehicle Registration and license plate stickers within 10 business days.

    By Mail

    To renew your vehicle registration by mail, include:

    • Your renewal notice.
    • Check or money order made payable to “Registration Fee Trust” for your registration fee.
      • (See “WI Vehicle Registration Renewal Fees” below.)

    Send your notice and payment to the address shown on your notice.

    In Person Car Registration Renewal

    You can renew your registration in person at:

    You will need your registration renewal notice, as well as payment for your registration fees and service fees. (See WI Vehicle Registration Renewal Fees” below.)

    DMV Service Centers

    Wisconsin DMV service centers:

    • May charge a service fee in addition to your registration fee (see our section on fees below).
    • Accept cash, checks, most debit cards, and credit cards (MasterCard, American Express, and Discover).

    Third party agencies

    When you use a third-party agency, understand that they:

    • Can charge a maximum $10 service fee for renewal transactions.
    • Accept different forms of payment, depending on location. Make sure to call ahead.

    WI Vehicle Registration Renewal Fees

    Wisconsin vehicle registration fees vary by type of vehicle:

    • Cars: $75 per year.
    • Trucks:
      • 4500 lbs. and under: $75 annually.
      • 6,000 lbs. and under: $84 annually.
      • 8,000 lbs. and under: $106 annually.
    • Motorcycles: $23 every 2 years.

    Additional Service Fees

    Certain methods of renewal come with additional fees:

    • Online: $1.25.
    • Third-party agency: $10 maximum fee.

    No additional fees are required for renewal by mail.

    Accepted Methods of Payment

    Your method of payment will depend upon your method of renewal:

    • Online: Use a valid credit card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover).
    • By mail: Pay by check or money order made payable to “Registration Fee Trust”.
    • In person at a DMV Service Center: Pay by cash, check, or major credit/debit card.
    • In person at a third-party agency: Accepted forms of payment vary, depending on location. Make sure to call ahead.

    Military Member Registration Renewal

    Wisconsin residents who are active-duty military are required to renew their registration even if they are stationed out of state.

    You can ask someone else to complete your vehicle registration renewal for you. Make sure that your designated person explains that you are on active duty. They will need your renewal notice or current registration card, plus payment for your fee.

    Wisconsin Emissions Inspections

    The Wisconsin DMV requires periodic emissions inspections. Required inspections are noted on the renewal notification.

    The following counties require emissions inspections:

    • Kenosha.
    • Milwaukee.
    • Ozaukee.
    • Racine.
    • Sheboygan.
    • Washington.
    • Waukesha.

    A car is also required to pass an emissions test after:

    • Transfer of ownership (must be completed within 45 days of the transfer UNLESS a test was performed within 180 days before the transfer).
    • First Wisconsin registration.

    If you are required to have an emissions test, you must do so within 180 days of your registration’s expiration date.

    For further details about emissions tests in Wisconsin, please see our guide to WI vehicle inspections.

    Duplicate Registration or License Plate

    If your Wisconsin registration or license plate is stolen, lost, or damaged, you can request a replacement from the WI DMV.

    Replace Your Certificate of Registration

    Duplicate certificates of registration can be requested:

    • Online.
    • By mail.

    Online

    You can reprint your certificate of registration by completing the Duplicate Certificate of Registration Application online.

    NOTE: You MUST be the registered owner, lessee, or driver of the vehicle to use the online application. Only individual drivers, not businesses, may use this system.

    You will need:

    • A printer to print a copy of your registration certificate.
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDF of your certificate.
      • You must print your certificate. The DMV will not mail it.
    • A form of payment:
      • Major credit or debit card.
      • E-check: Have your checking or savings account information ready.
    • A valid e-mail address.
    • Wisconsin driver’s license or ID number.
    • Last four digits of your Social Security number.
    • Your date of birth.
    • The VIN of the car that you need a duplicate registration for.

    The fee for a duplicate registration is $2, plus a $.50 online convenience fee.

    By Mail

    To request a duplicate registration by mail, you will need:

    Send the application and payment to the address on the form.

    Request a New License Plate

    New license plates must be requested by mail.

    Non-Personalized Plates

    To request replacement plates, you will need:

    Send the application and payment to:

    Wisconsin Department of Transportation
    P.O. Box 7949
    Madison, WI 53707-7949

    You will get a new license plate number, so the DMV will also send you a new registration certificate* as well. The new license plates can take up to 2 weeks to arrive by mail.

    *New registration certificates are not issued to drivers replacing personalized plates. (See below for more information.)

    Personalized License Plates

    Take the same steps to order your personalized replacement plates as those for regular plates (see above).

    Understand that it will take slightly longer for your plates to arrive. They will arrive within 8 weeks.

    Because you will not be issued a new license plate number, you will not receive a new registration certificate.

    NOTE: If your personalized license plate was reported as STOLEN, send your Replacement License Plate Application (MV2118) to:

    Wisconsin Department of Transportation
    Special Plates Unit
    P.O. Box 7911
    Madison, WI 53707-7911