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Wisconsin Car Registration: All You Need to Know

  • Car Registration
  • Sara Sam
  • 5 minutes

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All U.S. states have different car registration rules, so you need to know enough about it beforehand. If you live in Wisconsin or have recently moved to the state, here are the details for Wisconsin car registration. Before signing up, ensure you know the process so you don’t miss out on anything.  

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What documents do you need for car registration in Wisconsin? 

  • Driver’s license or identification card 
  • Original vehicle title with signatures from the seller 
  • The odometer reading completed on the back of the title  
  • A lien release if a lien holder is listed on the title and the loan was paid off 
  • Proof of paid sales tax if the vehicle was bought in the past 90 days 
  • A completed MV1 form 

Where do I register my car in Wisconsin? 

Car registration in Wisconsin is done with the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles. Car registration certificates in Wisconsin are valid for a year.  

However, when you move to Wisconsin, you have up to sixty days to register your vehicle with the state. The steps included in Wisconsin car registration are slightly different if you are new to the state or bought the car from a dealership. However, the DMV allows you to transfer the existing plate to your new car if you are a resident.  

Proof of car insurance or vehicle inspection proof is not mandatory in the state for car registration.  

Car registration for vehicles bought from Wisconsin dealerships  

If you bought your car from a dealership, you have it easier. In other words, when a Wisconsin resident buys a vehicle from a dealer, the dealer will register the car in Wisconsin. However, make sure you get a temporary plate. 

Car registration for new residents 

If you are new to the state, you can register your car in person or by mail. New residents must first establish their residency with the Wisconsin DMV and consequently visit their local Wisconsin DMV with the out-of-state car registration.  

How to register in person 

  • Completed Form MV1 (Title/License Plate Application) 
  • Driver’s license, valid U.S. passport, or military I.D. as proof of identification.  
  • Proof of preceding state sales tax paid if residents owned the vehicle for less than 90 days. 
  • Payment for registration and title fees and county wheel tax, if applicable.  

How to register by mail 

If you prefer registering by mail, ensure that your out-of-state plate is not expiring anytime soon. This is because registration by mail can take longer.  

To register by mail, send a Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1) and payment (check or money order payable to Registration Fee Trust) to the address on the application. 

Car registration for used vehicles bought from a private party 

You must register in person or by mail if you purchased your car from a private party.  

Steps to register your car in Wisconsin 

In-person 

Visit the DMV office with a completed Form MV-1, identification proof, and registration fees. In addition, you’ll have to pay the title and tax fees.  

By-Mail 

Send your completed Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1) to the address stated on the application, together with the appropriate payment for the registration, title, and tax payments. 

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How much is the car registration fee in Wisconsin? 

The fees differ based on several parameters, like the type of vehicle and whether your county imposes additional taxes, and the type of vehicle. The title transfer charge is $164.50, while the registration fee for a passenger car is $85. However, it will cost $100 for an electric vehicle.  

How to renew your car registration in Wisconsin 

You should renew your car registration every year in Wisconsin. Wisconsin does not require a state inspection, but if you live in a county with an emissions requirement, you must have an inspection every two years.  

You can renew your car registration in Wisconsin online. Head over to the online portal. However, Wisconsin also offers non-DMV third-party renewal options like walk-ins. In addition, mail options are also available. Renewal paperwork and fees can be sent to:

Wisconsin Department of Transportation 

P.O. Box 3279 

Milwaukee, WI 53201-3279 

However, if you own a commercial vehicle, the renewal form can be sent to:

Wisconsin Department of Transportation 

P.O. Box 3290 

Milwaukee, WI 53201-3290 

Renewals are usually done within 14 days, and you should receive your new stickers in the mail. 

Car Insurance in Wisconsin 

Even though car insurance is not mandatory for car registration in Wisconsin, it is better to have yourself covered. With a platform like Way.com, auto insurance is a hassle-free process. Get multiple rates on auto insurance from different companies if you want to save time and money. With more than 200 leading insurance providers on our network, you will surely find affordable insurance deals in the state. 

How do I replace the lost registration sticker or plate in Wisconsin? 

You can request a replacement online if your license plates or registration sticker were damaged or lost. Firstly, fill out form MV2118 for a license plate, and form MV2026 for replacement stickers. Complete the additional steps by clicking “Replace your title, plates, or stickers.” 

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