Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

eMV Public frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Registration information

What happens if I don't report an accurate purchase price?

If the purchase price of a vehicle is under reported or questionable, you may be contacted by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) for additional information or payment of taxes due.

Questions regarding sales tax should be directed to DOR at (608) 266-2776.

What type of license plates can be transferred in e-MV Public?

Regular auto, light truck, farm and motorcycle license plates. This includes any specialty type license plates, i.e. Green Bay Packer, Milwaukee Brewers, Womenís Health Foundation, etc.

The following specialty license plates cannot be transferred as part of the e-MV Public application as WisDOT needs to verify eligibility of the owner of the plates:

  • amateur radio
  • antique and antique motorcycle
  • heavy truck
  • bus
  • collector
  • driver education
  • farm trailer
  • heavy farm
  • historic military vehicle
  • hobbyist
  • human service vehicle
  • low speed vehicle
  • light trailer
  • recreational vehicle trailer
  • moped
  • motor home
  • municipal vehicle
  • municipal cycle
  • municipal official
  • state owned vehicle
  • semi trailer
  • truck tractor
  • trailer
  • ex-prisoner of war

Can I renew my license plates within e-MV Public?

Yes, license plates that expire within 90-days can be renewed as part of the application process. If you are electing to transfer a license plate that expires within 30-days, you will be required to renew the license plates as part of the application process or to purchase new license plates.

What is a date of operation?

The date you first drove the vehicle as the owner of the vehicle; it is used to determine the license plate expiration date for autos and light trucks. Motorcycles and farm plates have a set expiration and will have a prorated registration fee dependent upon the application date.

Please refer to Vehicle license plates fees for more information.

How can I operate my vehicle if I don't have a license plate to transfer?

If you are not transferring a license plate and request new license plates as part of the e-MV Public application, you will receive a temporary license plate at the completion of the application process in an Adobe PDF document that you can print on your computer and place in the rear window of your vehicle. You will receive new license plates in the mail within two weeks after WisDOT processes your paperwork.

Motorcycles are not required to display a license plate and will not receive a temporary license plate to print. The operator of the vehicle will need to carry a copy of the application (e-MV Public receipt) on their person to show as proof of registration if they are stopped by law enforcement.

Can I order a replacement license plate within the e-MV Public application?

The e-MV Public application does allow you to order replacement license plates as part of the application process. The new license plate number will be listed on the e-MV Public receipt.

What is a plate type?

A plate type defines what type of vehicle the license plates are to be displayed on. WisDOT issues numerous license plate types, such as:

  • AUT = automobile plates
  • LTK = light truck
  • FRM = farm truck
  • CYC = motorcycle
  • TRL = trailer

See the Wisconsin license plate guide for more information regarding all plate types including special plates.

Where can I find my plate type?

On your Certificate of Vehicle Registration along with the registration type for special plates; i.e. Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Womenís Health Foundation, etc.

What is gross weight?

The total weight a vehicle is rated to carry by the manufacturer, including its own weight and the weight of its load.

Can I raise the weight of my license plate in e-MV Public?

The e-MV Public application does allow you to choose a higher or lower weight for light trucks (LTK) when transferring an existing plate. A sticker indicating the "new" weight class will be mailed with your other products, Wisconsin title, registration, etc. If you increase the weight of a light truck plate, the e-MV Public application will calculate any costs associated with the change in weight class and will show on the Fee Information screen.

Can I transfer someone else's license plate?

Wisconsin law allows for license plates to be transferred between spouses, same sex domestic partners or direct family members when transferring a vehicle from a deceased parent/child. You must apply for a new license plate for all other transfers.

What if I don't have a printer?

You will need to complete your e-MV Public application on a computer that has a printer. You will need to print a copy of the receipt for your records and submit one to WisDOT to complete the application.

When does the temporary license plate expire?

In 90 days or upon receipt of your new metal license plates, whichever occurs first.

What should I do if my regular plates don't arrive before the temporary plate expires?

Contact the e-MV Public support team at (608) 267-9418 or email emvpublic@dot.wi.gov.

What happens if I lose my temporary license plate or it gets destroyed?

Obtain a new temporary license plate by taking a copy of your application (e-MV Public receipt) to a DMV customer service center who issues title, registration and/or license plates. You will be required to pay a counter service fee.

Where should I place the temporary license plate?

On the inside lower driverís side rear window, or, if the vehicle does not allow for display on the inside lower driver's side rear window, display it as close as possible to the rear window, in a manner that is clearly readable from the outside of the vehicle. See e-MV Public instructions for more information.

Can I cut/trim down the temporary license plate?

There is a fold line near the bottom of the temporary plate to reduce the size of the plate.

When can I physically move my license plates to my new vehicle?

Once you have completed the e-MV Public application. We recommend that you carry a copy of your application (e-MV Public receipt) in the vehicle until you receive your Certificate of Vehicle Registration and title. This is when the transfer has been officially completed in our records.

Why can't I order replacement plates for my personalized license plates in e-MV Public?

In the initial phase of the e-MV Public application, replacement personalized license plates are not allowed as programming has not been done for this type of transaction. We hope to include this enhancement in future phases of the e-MV Public application.

Questions? Contact the eMV support team
Last modified: August 16, 2012

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