Vehicles can be registered with the Wisconsin in person or by mail. Individuals need to provide proof of ID, a completed application form, and payment for the registration fee.

New residents to the state will also need their out-of-state registration and proof of sales tax to their previous state (if applicable).

Temporary registrations are also available. The Wisconsin DMV also allows residents to transfer their existing plates to their new car if they choose.

Registering a Vehicle in Wisconsin

Whether individuals are a new resident or the owner of a new car, they’ll need to register their vehicle with the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Here’s the information individuals need to finish their moving requirements with the DMV.

New to Wisconsin?

New Wisconsin residents must register their vehicle with the Wisconsin DMV after establishing residency. Individuals can register in person or by mail. Most Wisconsin vehicle registration certificates are valid for 1 year.

Register in Person

To register a vehicle in person in Wisconsin, individuals can visit their local WI Division of Motor Vehicle office with:

  • The current out-of-state car registration.

If it has gone missing, learn how to apply for a duplicate on our Replacing a Lost Registration page.

  • A completed Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1).
  • Proof of identification (e.g. driver’s license, valid U.S. passport, military ID).
  • Proof of sales tax paid to the prior state if residents owned the vehicle for less than 90 days.
  • Payment for registration and title fees, plus applicable municipal or county wheel tax (see Wisconsin Vehicle Registration Fees below).

Residents will not be re-charged when they apply for a WI title.

Register by Mail

WI residents who choose to register by mail need to keep in mind that the mail processing time takes several weeks. If the current out-of-state plate is close to expiring, consider applying in person.

To apply, send a completed Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1) along with proper payment (make check, or money order made payable to Registration Fee Trust) to the address listed on the application.

NOTE: Unlike most other states, providing proof of auto insurance is not required when registering a vehicle in Wisconsin, or is proof of passing a vehicle inspection. However, the vehicle may be required to pass a smog check when it comes time for registration renewal.

How to Register a Car in Wisconsin

State law requires residents to display Wisconsin plates “temporary or permanent“ on their new vehicle within 2 business days of purchasing.

Keep in mind that:

  • Driving without plates can result in a fine of up to $200.
  • Handmade License Applied For or dealer-issued plates are not valid.
  • If individuals mail their registration application to the DMV, bring proof of payment to the local DMV office to obtain a 90-day temporary plate for free.

NOTE: DMV Temporary License Agents charge $3 for the application and temporary tags. Wisconsin residents may also be charged a $5 service fee.

Vehicles Purchased from a Wisconsin Dealership

Residents of Wisconsin who purchase a vehicle from a dealer, the dealership will submit the WI car registration paperwork. Before leaving the dealership, be sure to get a temporary plate.

Vehicles Purchased from a Private Party

WI residents who a vehicle buy from a private party need to register the vehicle on their own. Individuals can apply in person or by mail.

Register in Person

To register a vehicle in person in Wisconsin, visit the local DMV office with:

  • A completed Title/License Plate application (Form MV1).
  • Proof of identification (e.g. driver’s license, U.S. passport, military ID).
  • Payment for all applicable registration, title, and tax fees (see Wisconsin Vehicle Registration Fees below).

Even if individuals are not applying for a title at this time, the state requires them to pay the title fee. Residents will not be re-charged when they apply for a WI title.

Register by Mail

It’s best that residents only register by mail if they’re in no hurry to obtain permanent plates. Processing can take several weeks or longer.

Submit a completed Title/License Plate application (Form MV1), along with proper payment for registration, title, and tax fees (see Wisconsin Vehicle Registration Fees below), to the address listed on the application. A WI vehicle registration certificate is valid for 1 year, starting on the registration date.

NOTE: Proof of car insurance is not required when registering a vehicle in Wisconsin. Proof of passing an emissions test only comes into play during registration renewal.

Temporary Vehicle Registration

To apply for a temporary 90-day registration while waiting for the permanent registration to arrive, visit your local WI Division of Motor Vehicles office with:

  • A completed Title/License Plate application (Form MV1).
  • Payment for the permanent WI car registration certificate (see Wisconsin Vehicle Registration Fees below).

Individuals who are a non-resident shopping for a vehicle in Wisconsin may buy a temporary plate to drive the vehicle home. Temporary plates cost $3 (They’ll also be charged a service fee no higher than $5). Visit any Wisconsin DMV office to obtain them.

Transferring WI License Plates

Residents of this state may transfer their existing license plates to their new vehicle provided that:

  • The vehicle is of the same type (e.g. car to car, motorcycle to motorcycle).
  • The license plate is still valid.

To notify the DMV, submit a Title/License Plate application (Form MV1), making sure to complete Section B. Mail it to the address on the application. No fee is required if the plates are valid.

Vehicle Registration Fees

What residents pay to register their vehicle is based on registration fees, titling fees, and a possible wheel tax, depending on the individual’s place of residence. The vehicle registration fees in Wisconsin are as follows:

Vehicle Registration & Titling Fees:

  • Passenger vehicle: $85.
  • Electric vehicle: $100.
  • Motorcycle/moped: $23 (biennial fee).
  • Duplicate registration: $2.
  • Title Fee: $164.50.

Wheel Tax

A Wheel Tax is charged depending on the town, village, city, or county of register. Some charge, others don’t. The current places that collect the wheel tax are:

  • Eau Claire County: $30.
  • St. Croix County: $10.
  • Iowa County: $10.
  • Lincoln County: $20.
  • Langlade County: $15
  • Marathon County: $25.
  • Milwaukee County: $30.
  • Dane County: $28.
  • Dunn County: $20.
  • Crawford County: $20.
  • Green County: $20.
  • Portage County: $25.
  • Richland County: $20.
  • City of Milwaukee: $30.
  • City of Beloit: $20.
  • City of Evansville: $20.
  • City of Fort Atkinson: $20.
  • City of Gillett: $20.
  • City of Green Bay: $20.
  • City of Janesville: $20.
  • City of Kaukauna: $10.
  • City of Lodi: $20.
  • City of Lomira: $20.
  • City of Madison: $40.
  • City of Manitowoc: $20.
  • City of Milton: $30.
  • City of Montello: $20
  • City of New London: $20.
  • City of Platteville: $20.
  • City of Portage: $20.
  • City of Rice Lake: $20.
  • City of Sheboygan: $20.
  • City of Appleton: $20.
  • City of Waterloo: $15.
  • Township of Arena: $20.
  • Village of Bellevue: $20.
  • Village of Eden: $20.
  • Village of Iron Ridge: $10.
  • Village of Prairie du Sac: $20.
  • Village of Tigerton: $10.

All passenger cars or trucks weighing 8,000 lbs. or less will be subject to the tax. The state does not dictate or regulate the amount of the tax. It is based on the sole discretion of the individual’s place of residence.

Fee Refunds

WI residents may request a refund on the unused portion of their registration when entering the military, as well as civilians if they request one before the beginning of a new registration.

To request a registration refund, gather:

  • The current WI car registration certificate.
  • The vehicle registration year sticker.
  • A letter explaining the reason for your refund request.

Send documents to:

Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 8070
Madison, WI 53708

Obtain a Duplicate Wisconsin Vehicle Registration

If the Wisconsin vehicle registration certificate has been lost, stolen, or damaged, WI residents can order a duplicate. They can do so online, by mail, or in person.

Online Replacement

To be eligible to replace the registration online, individuals must:

  • Be the registered owner of the vehicle.
  • Own a printer with standard-sized paper.
  • Have access to Adobe Acrobat (the certificate will be in PDF form).
  • Have a valid method of payment (credit/debit card or e-Check) for the $2 application and online convenience fees.

Go to the Wisconsin DMV online replacement portal and submit:

  • A valid e-mail address.
  • A WI driver’s license or ID number.
  • The last 4 digits of the resident’s Social Security number.
  • The resident’s birthdate.
  • The VIN number.

Replace by Mail

To replace a registration certificate by mail:

  • Complete a Duplicate Certificate of Registration Application (Form MV2026).
  • Write a check or money order for $2.
  • Mail the application and payment to the address listed on the form.

Replace in Person

Residents of Wisconsin who wish to replace their registration in person at their local DMV office can complete the Duplicate Certificate of Registration Application (Form MV2026) and hand it in, along with your $2 replacement fee, to the office agent.

Registering a Non-Operational Vehicle

If a vehicle has been in storage, individuals need to complete a non-operation statement to avoid late Wisconsin vehicle registration penalty fees.

To qualify for this waiver, residents vehicle must have been off the road for one of the following scenarios:

  • 12 months, if the vehicle is registered annually.
  • 1 quarter or more, if the vehicle is registered quarterly.
  • 1 month or more, if the vehicle is registered under the state’s consecutive monthly registration program.

If residents qualify, they can submit a completed registration renewal notice or completed Substitute Renewal Notice/Non-Operation Statement (Form MV2016). Individuals can submit either document by mail (to the address listed on the form) or in person at your local Wisconsin DMV office.

Motorcycle Registration in Wisconsin

All Wisconsin residents must register their motorcycles with the Division of Motor Vehicles before riding the roadways of the Badger State. This guide will help WI residents with the forms and processes they need to know!

New Wisconsin Residents

Upon establishing Wisconsin residency, individuals must obtain license plates and registration for their motorcycle. Residents of this state have the option of completing either:

  • Registration and titling.

By doing these actions together, individuals can both drive and sell your vehicle in Wisconsin.

  • Registration only.

Individuals who choose to only register their motorcycle, can legally drive it on Wisconsin’s roads, but cannot sell it.

Residents will still be charged a title fee—if they choose to title separately, it will then be issued at no additional cost.

Wisconsin residents can register in person or by mail by providing:

  • The out-of-state title and registration.

If you’re registering only, the title isn’t necessary.

  • A completed Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1).

Applicants under 18 years old must have this form signed by your parent/guardian and notarized.

Proof of:

  • Identification—see the DMV’s guide to acceptable paperwork.
  • Paid sales tax to the resident’s prior state of residence, if they’ve owned the motorcycle for under 90 days.
  • Payment for the $23 plate fee, plus any other applicable taxes and fees (see below).

Visit the local DMV office with the necessary paperwork, or send it to:

P.O. Box 7949
Madison, WI 53707

A motorcycle registration in Wisconsin is valid for 2 years. Note that motorcycles are exempt from emissions inspections, so there are no further steps once the bike is registered in the state.

*NOTE: Though proof of insurance is not required, operating your motorcycle without proper motorcycle insurance could result in a ticket, fines, and a higher insurance rate.

Wisconsin Motorcycle Registration

After buying a motorcycle in Wisconsin, individuals must apply for a Wisconsin title and registration immediately.

The process depends on whether residents got their motorcycle through:

  • A dealership.


  • A private seller.

Purchases from a Dealership

Residents who buy a motorcycle at a dealership in Wisconsin will not have to worry about submitting the necessary paperwork because the dealership handles the registration process. However, residents need to make sure they ask the dealership agent before they leave if any additional steps will be required.

In general, the motorcycle titling and registration fees will be added on to the purchase price. Once the DMV has received the paperwork from the dealer, they’ll send the resident’s license plates and permanent registration by mail.

Purchases from a Private Seller

When individuals purchase a motorcycle from a private seller, they must complete the titling and registration process yourself.

Wisconsin gives residents the option of registering:

  • Online.
  • By mail or in person.
  • Online Registration

The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles eMV Public application can help you residents register their new motorcycle from a computer. First, check the motorcycle’s eligibility to confirm that this service is an option.

Before WI residents begin, they need to make sure they have a working printer to print their receipt, plus:

  • The signed-over vehicle title.
  • If the motorcycle is under 20 years old, include an odometer statement.
  • A lien release, if applicable.
  • A driver’s license or ID card.
  • WI residents also need to submit their SSN and birthdate.
  • A valid bank account or credit/debit card for payment.

Note: The WI DMV charges a convenience fee for credit/debit transactions.

Once individuals submitted their eMV Public registration application, they’ll need to:

  • Print the receipt.
  • Gather the appropriate paperwork listed above.
  • Send all documents to the address on the receipt.

Temporary plates are NOT required to get the motorcycle on the road—but residents DO need to keep their printed receipt on them at all times while riding as proof of registration until their permanent document comes in the mail.

Registration by Mail or in Person

If the motorcycle doesn’t qualify for the online application, or residents prefer to visit a WI DMV office, individuals can register their motorcycle in person.

To register a motorcycle in person, WI residents need:

  • The signed and completed title.
  • Include an odometer reading if the bike is under 20 years old.
  • A completed Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1).
  • Residents who are under 18 years old need their parent/guardian’s signature, AND the application must be notarized.
  • Proof of identification—the DMV provides a list of documents.
  • Payment for the $23 plate fee plus any other applicable fees and taxes.

Head to the local DMV branch with everything listed above, or send it all to the applicable address listed on the application form—either for standard registration or special plates.

Motorcycle Registration Fees & Taxes

Individuals may be required to pay the following fees and taxes when they register or renew their motorcycle registration in Wisconsin:

  • Motorcycle registration: $23 for 2 years.
  • Use the DMV’s fee chart for prorated rates.
  • Personalized plates: Additional $15 per year.
  • Title: $164.50.
  • Lien fee: $10.
  • Sales/use tax: 5%.
  • County tax (if charged): 0.5%.

Wisconsin Boat Registration & Licenses

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is responsible for processing all boat title and registration applications. Continue reading to learn about registering and titling a vessel as well as the qualifications needed to operate watercraft on WI state waters.

WI Boats Requiring Title & Registration

All motorized boats and all sailboats more than 12 feet in length must be registered with Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources.

Boats that are exempt from registration in Wisconsin include:

  • Boats from another country temporarily in Wisconsin.
  • Ships’ lifeboats.
  • Non-motorized sailboats 12 feet or less in length.
  • Manually propelled watercraft, like canoes, kayaks, and rowboats.
  • Boats registered with a federally recognized American Indian tribe or band.
  • Non-recreational vessels owned by an entity of the U.S. government or military.
  • Any boat registered in another state and using Wisconsin waters for no more than 60 consecutive days.
  • Additionally, you must title any motorized vessel with a 1988 or newer registration, measuring 16 feet or longer.

Individuals who aren’t sure about whether their boat requires a Wisconsin registration and/or title can give the Department of Natural Resources a call at (888) 936-7463 for assistance.

Apply for WI Vessel Title & Registration

After purchasing a vessel, residents of Wisconsin have 10 days to submit a title/registration application to the DNR.

WI residents who are applying for a Wisconsin registration only (i.e. the vessel is exempt from the DNR’s titling requirements) can submit an application online through the Department of Natural Resources Go Wild portal. Individuals need to create an account and provide the necessary payment for WI boat registration fees.

If the watercraft requires title AND registration OR residents prefer not to use Go Wild for registration can submit a title/registration application in person OR by mail. To do so, begin by gathering:

  • A completed Boat Registration and Titling Application (Form 9400-193).
  • A document to prove ownership of the vessel, like:
  • Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (new boats).
  • Properly-assigned certificate of title (used, previously titled boats).
  • Vessel registration card (used boats exempt from titling).
  • The applicable vessel title/registration fees.

Once individuals have these items, they can submit their application by any of the following methods:

  • In person at any DNR service center.
  • By mail to:

DNR Processing Center
P.O. Box 78701
Milwaukee, WI 53278

Once the DNR receives the application, they’ll provide residents with a temporary operating receipt, which they can use to operate their boat while waiting for their official title and/or registration to arrive by mail.

Wisconsin vessel registrations are valid for 3 years and expires on March 31st of the final registration year.

Wisconsin Boat Title & Registration Fees

The fees to title and register a boat with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are as follows:

  • WI boat title: $5.
  • Per lien added: $5.

Initial and renewal vessel registration for:

Motorized boats measuring:

  • Less than 16 ft: $22.
  • 16 ft to 26 ft: $32.
  • 26 ft to 40 ft: $60.
  • 40 ft or more: $100.
  • Non-motorized sailboats 12 ft to 16 ft in length: $17.
  • Registration transfer fee: $3.75.


  • Registration card OR decals: $2.50.
  • Boat title: $5.
  • Sales tax:
  • State: 5% of the purchase price.
  • Local: Depends on your county of residence. See the WI county sales tax chart for specifics.

WI Vessel Renewals & Replacements

Wisconsin boat registrations are good for 3 years and begin on January 1st. Your vessel registration will expire on March 31st of the last registration year. The WI Department of Natural Resources will send you a renewal notice prior to your registration’s expiration date.

Individuals can renew their Wisconsin boat registration in any of the following ways:

  • Online by providing information about the boat and the necessary registration renewal fees on the DNR’s Go Wild portal.
  • In person by submitting the renewal notice and the applicable renewal fees at a DNR service center OR sales location.
  • By mailing the completed renewal notice and the appropriate registration renewal fees to the address on the renewal notice.

Wisconsin residents who didn’t receive a renewal notice can submit a completed Wisconsin Boat Registration and Titling Application (Form 9400-193) in its place.

Replacement Boat Title & Registration

If the boat title, registration card, OR decals are lost or damaged, residents of Wisconsin have a few options for requesting replacements.

The easiest way to replace a boat title or boat registration is through the Department of Natural Resource’s Go Wild online portal—simply create an account (residents need to provide information about themselves and their vessel) and provide the necessary fees for duplicate title, registration, and/or decals.

Other replacement title and registration options are to submit:

  • A completed Wisconsin Boat Registration and Titling Application (Form 9400-193).
  • The appropriate duplicate title, registration, or decals fees.

WI residents can provide the required items above:

  • In person at the nearest DNR service center.


  • By mail to:

DNR Processing Center
P.O. Box 78701
Milwaukee, WI 53278

Boater Safety Courses in Wisconsin

A boating safety course certificate is required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1989, who wants to operate motorboats or personal watercraft (PWC) unsupervised.

Additionally, the WI Department of Natural Resources imposes the following age restrictions when it comes to operating boating on state waters. Visit the DNR’s guidelines to boating eligibility for details.

Even if Wisconsin residents are not required to take a boating safety course, they should still consider enrolling. Individuals can become a safer boater and earn discounts on boat insurance!

Accepted Forms of Payment

The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles accepts the following forms of payment:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Cash
  • Checks
  • Discover
  • MasterCard
  • American Express

Residents of Wisconsin need to keep in mind the WI DMV process a credit/debit convenience fee, which is the percentage of the total transaction cost. Ask the Wisconsin DMV for more info. WI residents need to make sure they have the proper form of identification and payment to avoid late fees, delays, and other penalties associated with registering a form of transportation.

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