New residents

Welcome to Wisconsin!

You are considered a Wisconsin resident if any of these apply:

  • Your principal residence is in this state
  • You pay your income taxes here
  • You are registered to vote here

New Wisconsin residents must do the following:

Step one (select box below)

Apply for a Wisconsin driver license with your out-of-state license.

Timeframes to apply for a WI driver license or ID after establishing residence:

  • Within 60 days for a regular license
  • Within 30 days for a Commercial Driver License (CDL)

OR

Apply for a Wisconsin ID.

Locate your nearest DMV and check wait times.

Notes:

  • In Wisconsin, you will need to show identification at the polls to vote. You can use your Wisconsin driver license or ID.
  • REAL ID. If you currently have an out-of-state REAL ID, you will still need to provide necessary documents to obtain a Wisconsin REAL ID. Wisconsin offers the option of a federally-compliant or non-compliant driver license or ID.

Step two (choose an option below)


When you become a Wisconsin resident, you must apply for a Wisconsin title and license plates for your vehicle.

Out-of-state titles can be used to apply online for Wisconsin title and plates.

You can easily apply online for either standard license plates or special plates (if eligible) for these vehicles (the types marked with * will be able to print a Temporary Plate if eligible):

  • Automobiles and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs)*
  • Autocycles*
  • Light trucks (<8,000 lbs.*, or farm trucks at 12,000 lbs.)
  • Motorcycles (special plates not available online)
  • Moped (special plates not available online)
  • Recreational Vehicle Trailers (campers and mobile homes under 40 feet) (special plates not available online)

Most special plates are available for automobiles, SUVs, autocycles and light trucks. The online process (eMV Public) is not available for personalized plates or plates that require approval or eligibility verification (e.g. Military, Firefighter, Operating Engineer, Collector/Hobbyist). Please mail the appropriate special plate application and fees. See Special plates for specific plate requirements and applications.

How to apply:

1. Review the restrictions.

2. Have these ready:

  • A Wisconsin Driver License or Identification card, last four digits of your Social Security number and date of birth. Here’s how to obtain a driver license with a valid out-of-state license.
  • The vehicle title
  • A printer with 8.5 by 11-inch paper to print off the required documents.
  • Payment Information
    • Your credit or debit card will be charged a convenience fee for this service.
      OR
    • Checking/savings account using ACH (Automated Clearing House) and avoid the convenience fee.

3. Complete the online process.

By selecting the "START NOW" button below, you acknowledge that you understand and agree to the following:

I agree that by completing this online application:

    • I am obligated to mail the required documents to the department for completion of my vehicle transaction.
    • The fees required for this transaction cannot be refunded.
    • Junk vehicles are not eligible for WI title or registration.
    • Salvage vehicles are eligible for title only.

4. Remember to mail the following items after you pay and complete your online transaction:

  • Title and License Plate eApplication/Receipt
  • A valid, original lien release if the vehicle currently has a lien

Send to:

WisDOT-eMV Public
P.O. Box 7907
Madison, WI 53707-7907

Click “Start Now” below to apply online.​

This service may not be available on Sundays from 6 a.m.–9 a.m. due to regular system maintenance.

VIN error note: If you receive an error while entering the VIN, we are unable to recognize the vehicle. Please mail in your application.

Note: Processing times will be longer for mailed in applications. To receive your title and license plates faster (including temporary plates) see apply online above.

Have these ready:

  • A printer with 8.5 by 11-inch paper to print off the required documents.
  • The Certificate of Title (not a photocopy) or other proof of ownership document (for example your out-of-state registration or other documentation issued by a government agency).
    • If you do not submit your title
      • you will only receive Wisconsin registration and plates.
      • you will still pay the title fee. If you later submit your out-of-state title, DMV will issue a Wisconsin title at no additional charge (except counter service fee, if applicable).
  • A Wisconsin Title and License Plate application (MV1). Use this MV1 Application to pre-fill application and calculate fees. Included will be a summary sheet explaining how to submit all documents and payment.
      1. Title fee
      2. Sales tax (if applicable)
      3. Local sales tax (if applicable)
      4. Registration fee for either a license plate transfer or, new plates, or renewal if your current plates expire within the next three months. To legally operate the vehicle on Wisconsin roads, it needs to be registered.
      5. Wheel tax (if applicable)
      6. Electric or hybrid electric vehicle fuel surcharge (if applicable)
YouTube logoThe DMV customer how-to guides will help you complete each section of the MV1 form.

Do not send cash. Make check or money order payable to: Registration Fee Trust

Send to:

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

You must display Wisconsin license plates or temporary plate within two business days of purchase to legally operate your vehicle.

Have these ready:

  • The Certificate of Title (not a photocopy) or other proof of ownership document issued by a government agency, such as:
    • Vehicle registration
    • Registration/plate renewal notice
    • Vehicle record
    • Confirmation of Ownership document
    • Letter verifying ownership
  • Driver license/identification card as proof of identity
  • Payment for your title and plates/registration to receive the vehicle title
  • In addition, there is a $5 counter service fee
  • Payment options

Note: ​If you do not submit your original title, you will only receive Wisconsin registration and plates and you must still pay the title fee. When you later submit your out-of-state title, DMV will issue a Wisconsin title at no additional charge (except counter service fee, if applicable).​

For faster service:

OR
  • Download, complete and bring the MV1 application. Instructions on how to complete and calculate fees are included.​

​Find your closest DMV Service Center

DMV customer how-to guides will help you complete each section of the MV1 form.

Other options to apply in person:

Wisconsin allows third-party agencies to process title transfers and issue new plates for walk-in customers.

Note: Titles are printed and mailed from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Madison.

Driver license or ID questions:

  • Do I have to take a road test again?
  • I have a REAL ID in my previous state, will I get a Real ID in Wisconsin?
  • Can I apply online to obtain my WI Driver License or ID?
  • Can I make an appointment and what documents do I need to bring with me?
    • Yes, an appointment is recommended but not required. For faster service, you can complete the application online, submit it electronically and make an appointment using the WI Driver License or ID Card Guide. The guide will provide you with a checklist of required documents and fees you must bring to the DMV.
  • My out of state driver license is expired, does that matter?
    • An expired (8 years or less) driver license or ID card can be used as a proof of identity document under the DMV’s list of acceptable documents needed to apply for a WI driver license or ID card.
    • If your out of state driver license is expired more than 8 years you will need to retake all tests.

Vehicle title and plate questions:

  • Can I be issued a refund for my out of state plates?
    • WI DMV cannot refund nor credit unused registration on your previous state's license plate.
  • What if I still owe money on my vehicle (I have my out of state title with a lien listed)?
    • Wisconsin is a title holding state, meaning the title is sent to the lender. You will receive a Confirmation of Ownership. When the loan is paid, and the lien is released a Wisconsin title will be issued to you.
  • What if I still owe money on my vehicle (my title is being held by my lender)?
    • You can submit your out of state registration and you will receive license plates and registration only. You will still pay the title fee. If you later submit your out-of-state title, DMV will issue a Wisconsin title at no additional charge (except counter service fee, if applicable).
  • What if I cannot find my out of state title?
    • You can submit your out of state registration and you will receive license plates and registration only. You will still pay the title fee. If you later submit your out-of-state title, DMV will issue a Wisconsin title at no additional charge (except counter service fee, if applicable). If a replacement title is needed you will need to contact the last state it was titled in.
  • Do I have to pay sales tax in Wisconsin?
    • If you have owned your vehicle for 90 days or more, list your purchase price as 0.00. In the Tax Exemption section select Code 9 with Reason over 90 days.
    • If you have not owned your vehicle over 90 days, list the purchase price you paid when you purchased the vehicle.
    • If you paid sales tax: In the Tax Exemption section, select Code 5; submit proof of sales tax paid with your application.
  • Do I need to list a purchase price even though I purchased my vehicle years ago?
    • If you have owned your vehicle for 90 days or more, list your purchase price as 0.00. In the Tax Exemption section select Code 9 with Reason over 90 days.
    • If you have not owned your vehicle over 90 days, list the purchase price you paid when you purchased the vehicle.
    • If you paid sales tax: In the Tax Exemption section, select Code 5; submit proof of sales tax paid with your application.
  • Is my vehicle required to pass an emission (smog) test?
    • Vehicle emissions testing is required by some Wisconsin counties within 45 days after first registering your vehicle. You will receive a letter from DMV if you are required to have an emission test.

​​​​​​Questions?
Envelope​​​ ​Email Wisconsin DMV email service​


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