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New Residents: How Do I Register My Car in Minneapolis or St. Paul?

Registering a Car or Truck with the Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services

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I'm a New Resident of Minnesota. Do I need to Register My Vehicle?

Yes. New residents of Minnesota who have bought a vehicle from another state have 60 days to register it with Minnesota's Department of Vehicle Services.

"Vehicle" here means a car, passenger van, 3/4 ton or less pickup truck, motorcycle, utility trailer, or house trailer.

Different rules apply to other vehicles, particularly commercial vehicles. Contact the Minnesota DVS for more information.

If your registration expires before the 60-day period is up, you must obtain Minnesota registration at or before the time of expiration. If the registration currently displayed on the vehicle is expired or if you had to surrender your license plates in your previous state of residency, you must apply for Minnesota registration immediately.

Who Do I Register My Vehicle With?

You will register your vehicle with the Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services, DVS.

The DVS is the equivalent of what is called the Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV in many other states.

The DVS maintains the official vehicle ownership and registration records in Minnesota.

The DVS issues license plates, and also the decals, or tags, that prove that a Minnesota vehicle's registration and paperwork are current.

How To Register a Motor Vehicle in Minnesota

Visit a DVS location and

  • Show ID
  • Provide proof of vehicle ownership
  • Provide proof of insurance
  • Pay the registration fee
  • Provide an odometer reading
  • Pay registration tax
DVS Locations

The Minnesota DVS website has a list of DVS offices. There is an office in Midtown Minneapolis, one in Downtown St. Paul, and several in the Twin Cities' suburbs.

What ID is Accepted by the DVS?

Here's what ID the DVS will accept to complete the registration.

  • Either a driver's license with a photo from Minnesota or another US state which is current, or expired for less than five years. If it doesn't have a photo, it must be current, or expired less than one year.
  • Or, if you don't have a US driver's license, you need one primary and one secondary piece of ID.

The primary document must contain your full legal name and date of birth. Examples are a valid passport, US birth certificate, or permanent resident card.

The secondary document must have your full name. Examples are a US social security card, a school transcript, or a certified birth certificate from another country.

The full list of documents acceptable as primary and secondary identification is published on the DVS website.

If your full name is different than the name on your ID, you must also present proof of your legal name change.

Proof of Vehicle Ownership

Proof of ownership is either the current valid title, or if that's not available, the current registration document.

If the title reflects a lien and the lien has been paid, you can submit a lien release when you register the vehicle. If the title is being held by a lender, you must give DVS your current registration card.

If you are leasing a vehicle, you must provide a copy of the lease agreement. Or, show a Power of Attorney form from the lease company to you, and the lease company's Minnesota Tax Identification Number.

Proof of Insurance

You must have insurance coverage to register a vehicle in Minnesota. The DVS will want to know the name of your insurance company and your policy number. Take your insurance card, or insurance policy document.

In Minnesota, drivers must carry proof of insurance in their vehicles so they can provide it if requested by a police officer.

What is the Fee to Register a Vehicle In Minnesota?

There is a fee to register a vehicle in Minnesota. The fees depend on the age, value, and type of your vehicle. The fee is made up of several components. This DVS Tax Document may help in getting an idea of the fee to register your vehicle.

Extra fees apply if there is a lien is on the vehicle, if you are registering a vehicle in your name for the first time, and there may be more fees in other circumstances.

Provide an Odometer Reading

Probably the easiest step... unless you have to trek back out to the parking lot to find out. You may know your odometer as your milometer if you are arriving from another country. In other words, how many miles has the vehicle done?

Do I have to Pay a Registration Tax?

When registering a vehicle for the first time in Minnesota, and annually thereafter, you must pay a registration tax.

You have to pay a full year's registration tax, regardless of whether the car has a current registration from another state or not. Contact the DMV for the previous state your car was registered in to inquire about a refund of tax for any time remaining.

The amount of the registration tax to be paid depends on the type, age, and original value of the vehicle.

If all your paperwork is in order, the DMV office will process your application while you wait, and give you your new Minnesota license plates and tags. All that remains is to fix the plates on your car, apply your tags, and your car is now legal to drive in Minnesota.

Questions about Registering a Vehicle?

The Minnesota DMV website has more information and answers to many questions. If you need more assistance, DMV staff are very helpful with any questions you may have over the telephone. Contact numbers for DMV departments, including vehicle registration are listed on the DMV website.

Getting a Minnesota Driver's License

As well as registering your car, new residents who are driving in Minnesota must apply for a Minnesota driver's license within 60 days of arriving in Minnesota. Here's how to apply for a Minnesota driver's license.
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