How To Get South Dakota License Plates

Written by
Amber Hobert
Published on
July 9, 2024
Table of Contents

Getting License Plates

People move to South Dakota for various reasons. Whatever reason is taking you there, you are likely to want to move with your car. As a vehicle owner, one of the things that are likely to get you worried is registering your vehicle with the state.

Of course, this is not a concern for only those who have plans to move. Those who have acquired a vehicle in another state but which they would like to make use of in Dakota may realize that this is something that they need to do too.

However, you needn't worry excessively about this as the necessary information to guide you is well provided for here.

The Process is Easier Than You Think

Applying for vehicle registration does not necessarily require your car to go for emission testing. What this entails is, you can get your vehicle registered or renew your tags easily and quickly.

The County Treasurer will use the first letter of your last name to issue you a license plate in South Dakota, which will correlate with a specific month of the year. For example, applicants whose names start with K and L will get their plates renewed in June.

Those whose names start from T to Z will have theirs done in November. However, note that South Dakota does not offer extensions once your registration expires.

Effectively Renewing Car Registration in SD

If your vehicle's license plates, registration card, or stickers got damaged, expired, or lost, you will have to get replacements. If you don't know how to accurately go about it, you may find the process frustrating.

Following a detailed guide will get you there quite fast. Once you have the correct information, getting these items is not difficult at all.

Steps to Renew Your Car Registration

The first step is to contact your local county treasurer's office and request the suitable types of forms for the process to be initiated and proper documentation to be made.

This is important for you to do because it can be the difference between enjoying a smooth ride in your car in South Dakota and incurring costly fines.

It is against the state’s law to use a vehicle that does not have a valid registration, sticker, or plate. Taking care of this matter as soon as possible is in your best interest. If you lose any of these vehicular documents, you will still be required to take some steps. For example, details about the replacement of license plates will need to be filed.

Also, before your vehicle registration expires, you need to renew its registration at the County Treasurer. The usual practice is for the County Treasurer of the state to send out a renewal notice before the license's expiration date.

You can opt for a reminder via email from the South Dakota department of motor vehicle division. This you can do on the state DMV website. Some biodata will need to be supplied, such as your date of birth and your driver's license number.

South Dakota permits residents to have their registration renewed online 90 days before it expires and up to 30 days after the date of expiration.

Different Online Registration Renewal Options

To renew your vehicle registration online, the registration portal will require you to provide the following:

● Date of birth  

● South Dakota driver’s license number

● Payment

You can quickly obtain a South Dakota registration and license plate by following the outlined steps below:

● Select the vehicle registration that you want to renew

● Pay online for your registration

● You will receive a new registration and tags in 7-14 days

Renewing Your South Dakota Vehicle Registration in Person

Renewing your vehicle registration in person will require you to visit a local branch of the DMV in person. Carry the following items with you:

● Driver’s license

● Renewal notice

● Money for the required registration renewal

You shouldn’t have any difficulty doing this as there are several self-service terminals at different locations throughout the state.    

Replacement Registration and Registration Renewal

A common question that vehicle owners in South Dakota ask is whether vehicle registration renewal is the same as having a replacement registration. The answer is no. When vehicle owners approach the expiration date on their vehicle registration card, registration renewals or vehicle renewals are carried out.

The process of renewing your vehicle registration does not follow the same pattern as that of replacing it. You must note the difference so that you know what forms and documentation to supply. Bear in mind that even if you replace your registration, you will still be required to get it renewed as you approach the expiration date.

Replacing Stolen Plates or License Plate Stickers

You may have been a victim of theft, in which case it would be required of you to get in touch with a law enforcement agency without delay in your locality. It is a requirement under the law in South Dakota to report stolen plates or license plate stickers as soon as it happens.

Before making a report to the law enforcement agency, there are a few things you need to have in place. They include your license plate number as well as any other information about the theft.

While applying for a replacement plate or sticker, you will be required to provide the name of the law enforcement agency where you reported the theft. You will also be required to sign to verify that you did report the stolen items.

Correctly Replace Your Vehicle Registration in SD

If you would like to get a replacement vehicle registration in South Dakota, you must visit your local county treasurer’s office. You should not request a replacement registration via mail or online, as seeing applicants physically is part of what county treasurers are supposed to do.

Ensure that you have the following necessary documents ready and in the correct order when you go for the in-person replacement registration process:

● A valid South Dakota driver’s license

● Your vehicle identification number (VIN)

● Your license plate number

● The make and model of your vehicle

● Payment to cover applicable fees

Apply For a Replacement Car Tag or License Plate

Application for replacement of lost, stolen, or damaged license plates or stickers is done in person. As soon as you get your documents in with the necessary payments made at the Dakota department of revenue, processing of a replacement plate starts.  

Cost of Replacing a License Plate or Sticker

A new plate or sticker costs around $10.00. If you are in South Dakota, you can head over to the treasurer’s office and provide all required paperwork. Once you do this and pay the required amount, you are good to go.

Conditions for Free Replacement Registration

If you have gone through the due process of requesting replacement license plates or a license plate sticker and it was lost in the mail, you can order fresh ones, and they will be supplied free of charge.

To do this, fill out a new application and return it in person to the county treasurer's office. Fill and return the form within 90 days of the original application date if you would like to be eligible for free replacements.

South Dakota’s residents need to complete this process at their local county treasurer’s office. They have offices across the state. For example, in Dakota county, you have the option to apply for replacements or specialty plates. You can achieve this either by mail or online.

License Plates in South Dakota

All vehicle owners in South Dakota must have their vehicles such as trucks, vans, and cars registered with the South Dakota Department of Motor Vehicles. These vehicles must have license plates attached to their front and rear.

However, motorcycles and trailers require plates to be attached to the rear only. All registered vehicles must have decals on their license plates at all times.

Different Types of License Plates in SD

License plates come in various formats, and each type is meant or designed for different categories of people. The following are the different types of license plates that the DMV in South Dakota offers:

● Standard license plates – The state can issue this type of plate to anyone registering a vehicle.

● Specialty license plates – For you to be issued this type of license plate, you must put in an application, pay the required fees. In some cases, there are some additional documents that you will be required to produce.  

● Disability license plates and placards – These plates are issued to people with disabilities. Applicants will need to have valid medical documentation to back up their claims.  

● Temporary license plates – This is the type of plate that is issued to those who need to drive an unregistered vehicle legally. It covers 30 days until you can complete the due process of registration and the proper documents are issued.    

Specialty License Plates in South Dakota

There are different specialty license plates that South Dakota offers, and these have unique designs and emblems with which they are easily identified. The following are some types of specialty plates you will see in South Dakota:

Military Service License Plates

These are plates that recognize the services, experiences, and awards of those who have served in the military, for example:

● Ex-prisoner of war plates

● Purpleheart honorary plates

● Bronze star honorary plates

Collegiate License Plates

These are supportive plates that come with the emblems of universities, colleges, fraternities, and sororities. An example is a plate issued to South Dakota University.

Special Causes License Plates

These plates provide support to local organizations, charities, and some non-profit organizations.

● South Dakota historical society plates

● YMCA plates

Occupational License Plates

These are plates with unique emblems for individuals that are employed in specific occupations.

● EMT plates

● Firefighter plates

Classic Car License Plates

These are plates issued to vehicles that are over 39 years old.

The issuance of all specialty plates normally require some additional fees, and this can vary from one type to another. These fees come in addition to the standard registration fees for a vehicle.

Apply For License Plates and Use Your Vehicle Legally

If you ever find yourself in a situation where your registration materials are lost, stolen, or damaged, there is no reason to fret. You can get things sorted out quickly by doing the needful.

However, you must know this has to be handled as soon as possible as it can be a potential source of trouble. When handled properly, you will be saved from the expense and frustration of fines that are associated with illegal vehicle use.

If you are still in doubt or bothered about how you can tackle this easily, this is where vehicle registration professionals are ready to help you out.

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