A personalized license plate is one of the best ways to add customization to a vehicle. With a personalized license plate, you can share a sentiment on the front and back of your car. You can use a personalized plate to advertise a business, support a charity or organization, cheer on a sports team, school, or special group, or simply showcase the initials of your kid or spouse.
Applying for a personalized license plate in South Dakota is quick, easy, and very affordable. So if you’ve been searching for a way to impart some of your personality on your vehicle, a personalized license plate may be the perfect option for you.
Part 1 of 3: Choose your personalized license plate
Step 1: Visit the South Dakota personalized plates page. Go to the South Dakota Department of Revenue personalized plates page.
Step 2: View the license plate designs. View the available license plate designs.
Click on the links on the sidebar to browse through all of the available South Dakota license plate designs.
These plates cannot be personalized, but you should look at them anyway to make sure that you don’t prefer a plate design to a custom message.
Step 3: Choose a plate message. Select your license plate message.
Visit the plate availability page.
Write your desired plate message in the box.
Tip: Your license plate message can contain up to seven characters, including letters, numbers, and spaces. You cannot use any special characters.
Warning: Crude, offensive, and inappropriate plate messages are not allowed. They may appear as available on the availability checker, but your application will be rejected. You also cannot spell foreign words with your license plate message.
Step 4: Check the message availability. Check the availability of your chosen plate message.
After typing your message, click the “Check” button to see if the plate is available.
If the plate is unavailable, keep trying until you find an available one.
Part 2 of 3: Order your personalized license plates
Step 1: Download the form. Download and print the personalized plates application.
After finding an available message, click the link that says “SD personalized license plate application." You can also find this form on the personalized plates page.
Print the form.
- Tip: If you prefer, you can also fill out the form on your computer and then print it.
Step 2: Select car. Select the “Car, truck or motor home” box.
Step 3: Fill out your personal info. Fill out your personal information on the form.
Write down your name and address on the application.
- Tip: You must be the registered owner of the vehicle that you are purchasing personalized license plates for.
Step 4: Fill out your vehicle info. Enter your vehicle information on the form.
List the year, make, current license plate number and expiration date, current validation decal number and expiration date, title number, and vehicle identification number.
- Tip: If you do not know your vehicle identification number, you can find it on the driver’s side of your dashboard, where the dash meets the windshield. This number is easily viewable from outside the car, through the windshield.
Step 5: Fill out your plate info. Enter your personalized plate information on the form.
Enter the license plate message that you checked in the spot titled “1st choice.” If you are worried that your plate may not still be available, or may be rejected, you can list a second choice.
Describe the meaning of your plate message. This helps the Department of Revenue determine whether your message is appropriate.
Select “Annual” under the applicable fees.
- Tip: Make sure that you are filling out the plates in the section titled “Car, truck or motorhome” and not “Motorcycle."
Step 6: Sign and date. Sign and date the form at the bottom.
Step 7: Pay the fee. Pay the personalized license plate fee.
Write a check or get a money order made out to the South Dakota Division of Motor Vehicles for $30. You can also include cash.
- Tip: If your personalized plate application is rejected, your money will be refunded.
Step 8: Mail the form. Place your application and payment inside a stamped envelope, and mail it to:
State of South Dakota
Division of Motor Vehicles
445 E. Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501
Part 3 of 3: Install your personalized license plates
Step 1: Receive your plates. Receive your personalized plates in the mail.
Once your application has been received, reviewed, and accepted, your plates will be manufactured and sent to you in the mail.
- Note: It can take a few months before your new personalized plates arrive.
Step 2: Install your plates. As soon as you receive your personalized plates in the mail, install them on both the front and back of your vehicle.
Be sure to place current registration stickers on your plates before driving your vehicle.
Step 3: Surrender your old plates. Surrender your used license plates by destroying the registration information on them, and recycling them or throwing them away. You can also bring them into a local Division of Motor Vehicles office.
With personalized license plates, you’ll be happy every time you go to your car. Your car will have a little bit of your personality on the front and back, and it will be truly unique to you.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Personalized License Plate in South Dakota and was authored by Brady Klopfer.