Apply for title, license plates (registration) and/or transfer plates

Sample license plate
Automobiles (passenger vehicles)
Sample truck license plate
Light truck (8,000 pounds or less)


Title goes with the vehicle​

When you purchase a vehicle, or receive it as a gift, you must immediately apply for a new Certificate of Title in your name. This is document proves that you own the vehicle. Never buy a vehicle without receiving a title signed by the previous owner.

You must also apply for Wisconsin vehicle registration in addition to the Certificate of Title in order to legally operate the vehicle on Wisconsin roads.

If you bought this vehicle through a licensed Wisconsin dealer, the dealer submits the title and registration paperwork for you. Wisconsin dealers or agents should use other processing options and not use eMV Public.

Seller responsibilities:

  • Complete and sign the back of title in full, include the odometer disclosure (unless exempt) Note: If the Wisconsin title is lost, you can apply for a replacement title online
  • Give the signed title to buyer. If there are any alternations on title, complete MV2489.
  • Give buyer a lien release for any lien listed on the title. Note: Contact your lien holder (bank or dealer) to have your lien released electronically or have a paper release mailed to you. The original lien release must be mailed in, we will not accept a copy.
  • Complete Seller notification. You can print out the record for your files and a copy will be sent to the email provided.
  • If vehicle is owned by trust, complete MV2790.


How to apply for a title


Note: The online service can be used if you have a Wisconsin title. If you have a title from a different state your application must be mailed in.


By Mail:

1. The Certificate of Title (not a photocopy) signed by the previous owner. If there are any alterations on the title, complete Statement of Intent MV2489

2. Wisconsin Title and License Plate application MV1 completed and signed (make a copy for your records)  

Note: To legally operate the vehicle on Wisconsin roads it will also needs to be registered.

Make check or money order payable to: Registration Fee Trust
Send to: WI Dept. of Transportation
               P.O. Box 7949
               Madison WI 53707-7949

Note: In-person service has been suspended due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. When in-person service becomes available, you will need to show current identification to title a vehicle. DMV customer service centers accept cash, checks, debit cards and the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Some DMV partner agents accept credit/debit cards or checks. Others will accept only cash and/or checks or money orders.

How to 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). There is no fee to transfer a plate with valid registration.
  • Plates are transferable between spouses or same sex domestic partners.
  • Examples where transferring plates is not valid and requires new registration: parent or grandparent to child; between friends.

• Use this online service to transfer plates only

By mail:
• Complete form MV1 with the plate number you want to transfer on the application.
• If the transferring plate has expired or is about to expire, make check or money order for the license plate fee payable to: Registration Fee Trust
• Send to: WI Dept. of Transportation
                 P.O. Box 7949
                 Madison WI 53707-7949


How to 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.

• Use this online service for license plates only

By mail:
• Complete form MV1. Select the plate type in Section G, or use a special plate application
• Make check or money order for the license plate fee payable to: Registration Fee Trust
• Send to: WI Dept. of Transportation
                 P.O. Box 7949
                 Madison WI 53707-7949

Things you should know:

  • Check when you can expect to receive you certificate of title, registration, license plates or renewal stickers. See processing times for DMV products.
  • You can 'Opt Out'  and request to withhold your name and address from mailing lists

Email Wisconsin DMV email service