Updated on July 20, 2021
Did you know Wisconsin only requires emissions testing in Milwaukee and the southeast counties of the state? If you live in this region, you need to provide proof of an emissions inspection every other year, or every two years depending on your vehicle. If your car is less than five model years old, you need an emissions inspection every other year. Older vehicles require a bi-annual inspection.
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There are a few exceptions to the emissions inspection rules including vehicles less than three years old, vehicles over 14,000 pounds, and of course, electric vehicles don’t require inspections. Keep reading to learn more about renewing your vehicle registration in Wisconsin!
Wisconsin Vehicle Registration Renewal Guide
How to Renew Your Car Registration in Wisconsin
A vehicle registration notice will be sent out from the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles before your current vehicle registration expires. There is a late fee of $10 if your registration expires.
Emissions Testing and Renewing Your Registration
Do I need to have an emissions test before renewing my vehicle registration in Wisconsin?
The state of Wisconsin requires emissions inspections periodically. These will be noted on your renewal notification. If you live in the following counties you will need to have an emissions test:
Vehicles must have an emissions test any time ownership of the vehicle is transferred and if it is the first time it is registered in the state of Wisconsin.
Residents of Wisconsin can renew their registration online, in person, or through the mail.
Wisconsin Online Registration Renewal Fees
To renew your registration online you will be charged an additional $1.25 fee.
Wisconsin Online Registration Renewal Requirements
You will need to have the following information to renew online:
- Renewal reference number that is located on your renewal notice.
- Valid credit card to pay the fees.
Renewing Your Vehicle Registration In Person In Wisconsin
To renew your registration in person you will need to have the following with you when you visit your local DMV office:
- Registration renewal notice.
- Insurance information.
- Personal property tax receipt.
- Payment for your renewal fees as well as any service fees.
You can renew your registration either at a DMV service center or a 3rd party agency that offers this service.
Replacing a Lost, Stolen or Damaged Registration In Wisconsin
Although losing or damaging your Wisconsin license plate or plate sticker can be a bit frustrating, replacing either of them is a relatively easy process. The Wisconsin DMV provides easy access to plate or sticker replacement.
Below is a simple guide on how to replace your vehicle registration. After you read this guide, you can contact the Wisconsin DMV at (608) 264-7447 for further questions. Do not delay in getting a replacement car tag. Driving without a valid vehicle registration and/or license plate sticker is against Wisconsin law.
Replacement Registration vs. Registration Renewal
When your vehicle tags or stickers expire, you must renew them to drive your vehicle legally in the state of Wisconsin. You should try to renew your registration before they expire.
If your plates or sticker have been lost or stolen, however, the process to replace them is different than renewing them. Thus, if you replace your current tags and documents, you will still have to renew them on or before the expiration date.
In Wisconsin, you have the option to renew your registration if replacing them falls within a year of their expiration. So it is possible to do both at the same time under Wisconsin DMV guidelines.
Replacing Stolen License Plates In Wisconsin
Report and replace stolen Wisconsin license plates or plate stickers as soon as possible.
When your license plates or stickers are stolen, it puts you in jeopardy of driving illegally in the state of Wisconsin. Therefore, you should report the stolen plates to your local law enforcement agency.
When you arrive at the police station, you will fill out a detailed report and document any other information required. The officer at the police station will then give you further documentation to take with you when you apply for replacement plates and a license plate sticker.
You will bring the documentation to the nearest Wisconsin DMV to begin the process.
How to Register a New Car In Wisconsin
You must arrive in person at your local DMV for new car registration. When you arrive at the local DMV, you will need to go through the following procedure.
Bring the following documentation to complete the new vehicle registration process in person at the Wisconsin DMV:
- The police report of the stolen plates or stickers.
- Proper identification including your license and social security number
- Fill out the replacement or duplicate applications for a new license plate
Replacement Registration Fees In Wisconsin
How much does it cost to replace your car registration in Wisconsin?
The replacement fee for a replacement car tag is $10.
Replacing a License Plate Sticker In Wisconsin
A license plate sticker can fall off the license plate or get stolen from time to time. When this happens, you’ll need to visit the DMV as soon as possible to rectify the situation. Replacing the sticker is an easy process and takes little time.
Although you should visit the DMV office in person, you do have the option of replacing the sticker by calling 608-264-7447.
You’ll need to verify your license plate and vehicle identification number (VIN) over the phone.
If you choose to visit a local DMV to replace your license plate sticker, please have the following documented information with you:
- Make, model, and year of the vehicle, as well as the VIN.
- The number on the license plate.
- Your full identity.
- Your complete physical street address.
If you call the office and complete the registration process, the DMV will mail your license plate sticker to you within 24 hours. If you visit the DMV on site, you will receive it on your visit.
Surrendering Old Wisconsin License Plates
What do I do with my old license plates in Wisconsin?
You may have recently discovered that your old license plates are severely damaged and cannot be used anymore. If this is the case, you will follow the same procedures for replacing the plate as you do for a lost or stolen plate or sticker.
Your best option is to surrender the license plates when you apply for a replacement car tag. The DMV will take your plates, issue your new plates, and reissue a new expiration date for license plate renewal in Wisconsin.
If you have any further questions on how to replace your license plates, stickers, or registration documentation, please contact the Wisconsin DMV (608) 264-7447. You can also go online to find out more information. Keep in mind; you should never drive your vehicle without plates or a sticker.
Doing this goes against Wisconsin traffic laws.