Plate with Owner Regulations

Plate with Owner Regulations


"Plate with owner" applies only to vehicles sold, traded, or otherwise transferred on and after December 1, 1997.

"Plate with owner" applies to all classes of vehicles except snowmobiles, ATVs, Prorate Trucks and Prorate Trailers, Antique, Collector, DAV (Disabled American Veterans), POW (Former Prisoner of War), and Official vehicles.

Dealers should remove North Dakota license plates from any vehicles they have in inventory.

Vehicle owners must remove the license plate(s) from their vehicle whenever the vehicle is sold or transferred. These vehicles will be considered unlicensed, and subject to a full-year license fee when sold.

The transferee (buyer) may operate the vehicle for a maximum of five (5) days from date of acquisition without displaying any visible evidence of registration. However, the transferee must have dated evidence of ownership in the vehicle during these five (5) days. Dated evidence of ownership is either a dated bill of sale or a dated copy of the certificate of title.

When the owner of a vehicle sells, trades, or otherwise transfers the ownership of the vehicle and removes the license plates, the vehicle will be considered unlicensed. When the transferee (buyer) applies for a title transfer, a full-year license fee will be due on the vehicle, less any available credit.

A $5 fee is due on each registration and title application that involves a credit from previous license plate(s). The plate transfer fee may be deducted from the available credit when the plate(s) are transferred to a replacement vehicle.

The Motor Vehicle Division has available a self-issuing temporary registration permit, similar to a notary certificate, that can be used on vehicles for 30 days from date of acquisition, during which time the transferee must obtain proper registration and title for the vehicle. The division has provided a supply of these permits to all dealers, branch offices, and law enforcement agencies, who must make them available to anyone asking for them. There is no charge for the permit, and the dealership has no responsibility to determine whether the permit is being properly used. These permits are not intended to replace the notary certificates now issued by dealerships and others, except in the case where the dealership is not submitting an application on behalf of their customer. An initial supply of these permits will also be sent to all lending institutions, who may make them available for their customers. Additional supplies of the permits will be available from the division upon written request.

The owner of a vehicle who has removed license plates from a vehicle at the time it was transferred will be allowed a credit towards the registration fees due on a replacement vehicle. The credit will be based on the number of unused months left on the registration (license plate) when a replacement vehicle is acquired. The credit will not be available unless the license plate(s) is going to be transferred to the replacement vehicle. The license plate number from which the credit is calculated must be prominently noted on the application for title and registration of the acquired vehicle. To receive credit, the plate(s) must remain with the same owner, except as noted below.

Transferred plates may not be displayed on the replacement vehicle until the vehicle has been registered with the Motor Vehicle Division, and a new registration card has been received by the owner.

The available credit will expire if not used by the expiration date on the plate(s).

Available credit can be used towards only one replacement vehicle. If the available credit exceeds the registration fees due on the acquired vehicle, the balance of the credit will be lost. The balance of the credit may not be used to offset other fees that are due, such as title fee and taxes. There are no refunds available in this situation.

To transfer license credits, the class of vehicle (license type) does not need to be the same. (example: motorcycle license credit on a passenger vehicle replacement) The current license plate(s) and decal(s) that cannot be used on the replacement vehicle must be returned to the Motor Vehicle Division before a credit can be granted.

If plate(s) are lost, the owner may apply for duplicate plates. A $5 duplicate plate fee is due, and may be deducted from the available credit.

Only license fees are transferable. Other special fees collected at the time of registration, such as Public Transportation Fund, Abandoned Vehicle Fee, Motorcycle Education Fee, and Unsatisfied Judgment Fee, are not transferable.

There is no minimum amount of fee that can be transferred.

Transferees (buyers) may bring their applications for title transfer and registration to any of the thirteen motor vehicle branch offices, or the Motor Vehicle Division office in Bismarck. Transferees may also call the Motor Vehicle Division (701-328-2725) for help with computing credits if the application is going to be mailed to the division.

License fees on replacement vehicles are due from the date first used on North Dakota streets and highways (generally, the date of sale). Credits are determined starting from the month after the plate(s) are transferred (there is no credit for the month if a vehicle is used even one day of the month).