Vehicle Registration

All vehicles traveling in South Dakota must be registered each year. There are two forms of licensing:

  • non-commercial, for in-state non-commercial use; and
  • commercial, for-hire and hauling over 500 pounds of business property unless specifically exempted by law.

Out-of-state operators who plan little travel in South Dakota may choose to obtain a trip permit instead of annual registration (See 30-Day Temporary Commercial Vehicle Permit and Single-Trip Commercial Vehicle Permit in Chapter 6).

Cab Cards

Motor carriers receive a cab card documenting each vehicle’s registration in South Dakota. This card must be carried in the vehicle whenever it is operating.

Non-Commercial Vehicle Registration Fees

License fees are assessed based upon the weight and the age of the vehicle. The schedule of fees listed in Table 2 is for noncommercial vehicles except automobiles, pickup trucks, or vans. Fees are determined by the maximum operational weight, which is the total weight of the chassis, body, equipment, and maximum load of every motor vehicle, trailer, and semitrailer used in combination. The license fee is reduced 30 percent if the vehicle is more than 10 model years old.

Table 2: Non-Commercial Vehicle Registration Fees

Maximum Operational WeightFee
Eight thousand pounds or less, inclusive $120
For each additional 2,000 pounds or major fraction thereof from 8,001 to 20,000 pounds, inclusive$12
For vehicles heavier than 20,000 pounds, the total license fee is 80% of the license fee for commercial vehicles of equivalent weight, pursuant to SDCL 32-9-15.

In lieu of annual registration, non-commercial motor vehicles may be registered for a period of three to eight months for a monthly fee of one-twelfth the annual fee or a minimum of fifteen dollars. An additional administrative fee of ten dollars is charged if the vehicle is registered more than once in the same year.

Commercial Vehicle Registration Fees

South Dakota’s commercial vehicle registration fee is based on gross vehicle weight (GVW). Gross vehicle weight includes the power unit, trailers, and load. Because there are fines for hauling overweight, operators should declare the maximum weight at which they expect to operate when registering.

Table 3: Commercial Vehicle Registration Fees

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) PoundsAnnual Registration Fee30-Day Registration Fee
Under 4000$85$9
4001 – 6000$100$11
6001 – 8000$115$13
8001 – 10,000$130$15
10,001 – 12,000$150$18
12,001 – 14,000$175$21
14,001 – 16,000$200$24
16,001 – 18,000$225$27
18,001 to 20,000$250$30
20,001 to 78,000$40 for each 2,000 lbs or major fraction thereof$7 for each 2,000 lbs or major fraction thereof
78,001 and over $7 in addition to fees above
(Table 20 on Chapter 6 lists calculated fee amounts for GVW up to 50 tons)

The license fee is reduced 10 percent if the vehicle is more than 10 model years old. Trailers can be licensed by purchasing a trailer identification plate for $10.00.

Prorated Registration—International Registration Plan

Interstate carriers pay South Dakota’s registration fee based on miles traveled in South Dakota. The percentage of miles traveled in South Dakota during the year is multiplied by South Dakota’s registration fee. This is called prorated or apportioned registration.

Carriers can apportion their travel in South Dakota and other jurisdictions (states and provinces) through the International Registration Plan (IRP). Fees are charged according to the fee structure and mileage percentage traveled in each jurisdiction.

South Dakota does not have IRP licensing agreements with Alaska, Hawaii, Yukon Territory, or Mexico. A single-trip permit may be needed to meet licensing requirements in these jurisdictions.

Electronic copies of IRP registration cards are acceptable.

Credentials Required at Registration

A bill of sale and vehicle title to prove vehicle ownership and proof of Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) payment to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are required at the time of registration.

Heavy Vehicle Use Tax

Federal law requires owners of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 55,000 pounds or more to produce proof of payment of the Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (IRS Form 2290) before issuance of registration plates or renewal stickers. The form is available at Federal, state, and local government vehicles are exempt from this law.
For more information, call a local Internal Revenue Service office listed at

Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

The Motor Vehicle Excise Tax—4 percent of the vehicle purchase price—must be paid when purchased vehicles are first registered. Like registration fees, this tax is apportioned based on the percent of miles traveled in South Dakota.