South Dakota Plates ?

July 10, 2008

Here’s a reprint written by a good friend who has moved from our little paradise here at Lake Chapala to the real everlasting one in heaven.

“April-2006–Many people have complained that they called SD DMV and were told they can not register. Please don’t call there!!

Only use the number below. This one county in SD seems to be the only place that is doing out of state registration!

The more people who call the state MV in SD the more likely they will clamp down on Clay county! This year we renewed and got our new plates with no problem.

Both of our cars are now wearing red, white and blue South Dakota plates. We did this for a bunch of reasons. There is some confusion about the law in Mexico and if you must have a current registration on a U.S. plated vehicle.

If you expect to at any time visit the U.S. with the vehicle you will need a current registration and insurance which can only be obtained if the vehicle has an up to date registration. It is our understanding that Mexican law does require that U.S. plated vehicles have a current registration. This is despite the current status of your FM3. As far as the government is concerned if
your FM3 is current your importation sticker is current. This has nothing to do with your vehicle’s registration! If you are stopped and your registration is expired you may under Mexican law be ticketed and fined. This has happened to drivers in tourist areas, such as Puerta Vallarta.

For registration, South Dakota does not require a vehicle inspection or proof of current U.S. insurance. You can register and renew annually via the internet and mail following the steps below.

This is the form page of the South Dakota website –

This is the phone number and address: 1-605-677-7123

Clay County Treasurer

211 W. Main St.

Suite 201

Vermillion, S.D. 57069

You will need to download these forms from the page listed above:

Affidavit for Vehicle/Boat Registration – Statement of Fact, also used to correct an error that may have been made on documentation.

Uniform Damage Disclosure Statement – Disclosure of damage on qualifying vehicles.

You fill out the forms. You get the VIN number of your vehicle. You call the treasurer at the phone number above. The very nice lady there will tell you how much it costs to transfer your title and the cost to register your vehicle for the balance of the current year, i.e. to transfer a ’02 Jeep Wrangler was $55.00 US to title and register.

You then FED-EX her your existing title, and the forms with a check to the above address. You need a U.S. Address where they will then mail your new title, registration and plates. The plates and registration should be in the mail and to the U.S. address within a week. The new S. D. title should be to the stateside address within two weeks. Whomever or whatever is handling your
stateside address will then Fed-Ex them here to you.

Purchasing a new car stateside: You can buy a car in most states in the U.S. and have it titled in S.D. by the dealer. This then allows you to only pay 3% sales tax to S.D. not whatever is the sales tax of the state you buy it in! For example, if you buy a car in Texas, you then save 5% of their 8% sales tax. If you buy a car privately you will pay S.D. a 3% registration tax on the
purchase price listed on the transferred title.”

This post is just for informational purposes only. Please consult appropriate legal or other professional advice before deciding on any particular course of action.

  • James Moore

    Is the S.D. registration still working? I heard that it has been “shut-down”.

  • Sid Grosvenor

    HI James, As far as I know there’s not been a change in registration in South Dakota.

    You must follow the steps outlined in my article exactly or you may have problems.

    If anyone has hear anything different please share with our members. Sometimes people do not follow the steps and get turned down and then they say it doesn’t work anymore.

    Thanks for your post James. Tu amigo, Sid

  • James Moore

    Thanks for the follow up Sid. I will follow the steps closely. Onward.

  • Dr. Lowell

    Once you have received your plates to a US address, and it is time to renew the registration, will SD sent the stickers to a Mex. address?

  • Sid Grosvenor

     Hi Dr, Lowell,

    Thanks for your question. I’m not sure if they will or not, Safest bet is ti have them sent the stickers to a friend or family member in the USA.

    In the registration  process they ask where the car will be garaged. This need not be in South Dakota. Most people use the address of a friend or family member in the USA for this location. This would be a good address to use. The friend could then send it to you here at Lake Chapala.

    Another option is to use the Handy Mail Service here at Lake Chapala which gives you an address for letter mail/magazines in Laredo, Texas which appears to be a residence.

    This is a forwarding address which then sends your letter/magazine sized mail by courier to the Handy Mail street address here at Lake Chapala.

    I use the service and receive my USA mail several times a week. To learn more about Handy Mail just put “Handy Mail and” in a Google search box and several articles should pop up.

    Hope this answers your question. Keep them coming. Tu amigo, Sid

  • Johnny

    Is this still working ?

  • Sid Grosvenor

    You can still get South Dakota plates, but you can not have a US plated car here as a temporary or permanent resident now in 2913.

  • Johnny

    Thanks Sid! I live here in the states so I will be registering

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