How to Apply for Car Registration in Wisconsin
Applying for a Wisconsin vehicle registration is one of the first steps you must take after purchasing, acquiring or inheriting a new or used automobile. Until you register your car in Wisconsin, you cannot legally operate it on public roads and highways without the risk of incurring penalty fees.
Under state law, you must apply for a DMV registration within two business days of purchasing a new or used vehicle. As proof of your compliance with this law, you must attach temporary or permanent license plates to your vehicle once you complete the vehicle registration process.
If you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, however, you may obtain these temporary plates from the dealer. To learn more about these requirements and the steps you must take to register a newly acquired vehicle, review the information below.
Note: If you have already registered your vehicle but have lost your registration, you must request a duplicate registration rather than apply for a new one.
How to Get Wisconsin DMV Car Registration Credentials
To obtain new car registration credentials for your recently acquired vehicle, you may choose to complete the application process in person or by mail, depending on your preference.
If you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, however, the dealer will submit your registration materials directly to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) under the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). Therefore, you will only need to apply for new registration credentials on your own if you purchase a vehicle from a private seller.
If you choose to register your newly acquired vehicle by mail, you may begin the application process using the Department’s eMV Public online system. After beginning the process online, you must submit your application materials by mail. To learn more about the auto registration application process for privately purchased vehicles, download our comprehensive auto registration guide.
Many drivers wonder, “Where can I apply for car registration near me if I wish to apply in person?” If you choose to register your newly acquired vehicle in person rather than by mail, you must visit an authorized DMV agent or customer service center to submit your application materials.
During your visit, you must submit proof of vehicle ownership (such as a certificate of title), a completed application and customer identification. You must also pay vehicle registration fees at this time.
When registering a newly acquired vehicle in Wisconsin, you may choose to transfer your existing license plates to the new automobile. However, you may only transfer plates from one vehicle to another if both vehicles are of the same type.
To get WI vehicle registration records by mail, you may choose to begin the registration application process online by logging into the state’s eMV Public system, as this method saves you time and walks you through every step along the way. However, you must be able to pay car registration fees with a bank account or an accepted credit or debit card.
To begin your online application, you must also be able to provide the following information:
- Your vehicle’s odometer reading.
- Your driver’s license or state-issued ID card number.
- Your date of birth.
- The last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN).
After completing your online car registration application and paying the necessary fees, you must print your eMV Public receipt and mail it to the Wisconsin DMV along with several other important documents.
For instance, you must provide the DMV with the vehicle’s original certificate of title and a lien release statement, if applicable. After submitting your application materials to the Wisconsin DMV, you must wait to receive your permanent credentials in the mail.
How to Get Temporary Wisconsin DMV Vehicle Registration Plates
After applying for DMV auto registration credentials, you must attach permanent or temporary license plates to your newly registered vehicle within two business days.
If you need to purchase temporary plates for your privately purchased vehicle, however, you must visit a DMV customer service center, title/registration service agent or a temporary license plate agent to submit your request.
For more information about applying for a car registration, download our free guide.