Automobiles (passenger vehicles)
Light truck (8,000 pounds or less)
When you purchase a vehicle, or receive it as a gift, you must immediately apply for a Certificate of Title.
The seller must complete the assignment of title in full, including the odometer disclosure (unless exempt), and give you the original document with a lien release for any lien listed on the title. Never buy a vehicle without receiving a title signed by the previous owner.
To apply by mail or in person
You will need the following items:
- The Certificate of Title (not a photocopy) signed by the previous owner
- Completed and signed Wisconsin Title & License Plates form
MV1 (make a copy for your records)
- A license plate to transfer or the appropriate registration fee if you do not have plates or if your current plates expire within the next three months
- Sales tax
Local sales tax (if applicable)
Wheel tax, if applicable
- Electric vehicle surcharge, if applicable
- Check or money order made payable to:
Registration Fee Trust
- Current identification, if applying in person at a DMV customer service center or to a DMV agent. DMV customer service centers accept cash, checks, debit cards and the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Some agents accept credit/debit cards or checks. Others will accept only cash and/or checks or money orders.
Transfer plates only
If you already have a title for your vehicle, and you have current Wisconsin license plates in your name from another vehicle that you no longer own or operate, you can transfer plates to the first vehicle. Both vehicles must be the same type (example: transfer plates from auto to auto, or truck to same weight class truck). Plates are transferable between spouses or same sex domestic partners.
To apply by mail or in person:
Complete form MV1 with the plate number you want to transfer on the application.
Apply for license plates only
If you don't have license plates for a vehicle titled in your name (never had plates or the plates were transferred to another vehicle) you must apply for new plates to operate the vehicle.
To apply by mail or in person:
Complete form MV1. Select the plate type in Section G, or use a special plate application, and mail it with the required fee.
You must display Wisconsin license plates within 2 business days
To legally operate your vehicle you must display a permanent or temporary plate within two business days of purchase.
You may submit the MV1 application with the title and appropriate fees at any DMV customer service center offering registration service or at one of our DMV Agents. If you apply at a DMV customer service center, there is a $5 counter service fee in addition to title and registration fees. An agent will charge a $3 plate fee and/or a service fee up to $5.
Obtain service at:
When can I expect my certificate of title, registration, license plates or renewal stickers?
See processing times for DMV products.
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